Do It Your Way with DIY Green Block Parties

 Little girls painting decorations.

By Sally Stovall

Summer is upon us and with it the annual block party season. Block parties are a special part of celebrating community and our wonderful outdoor spaces. It’s also a great way of recognizing and celebrating the many sustainability initiatives and resources in our community – whether it’s native or edible gardens, backyard or curbside composting (offered through the villages of Oak Park and River Forest), solar panels or learning about the awesome trees on your block. By shining a light on these important community assets, we encourage one another and help to build a more resilient future for our children.

One of Oak Park’s Green Guides worked with her block to plan a DIY green party on her block: “I held a Green Party yesterday in order share the Green Guides sustainability information. Attached are some pictures. The day started out doing eco-crafts with the kids to educate about upcycling and the environment. Next, we went on backyard tours of different gardens and compost setups. This was followed by a green themed dinner on a neighbor's lovely back deck. Bringing our own plates and silverware was a big change but we got the hang of it. :)”

This is a great opportunity to be creative, have fun and fit what works for your block. For example,  my block doesn’t have an official block party, but our Green Guide is planning to invite us all to visit the “little library” on our block and host the Oak Park Library’s “Book Bike,” nicknamed the Paperback Rider. The Book Bike is intended to increase the library’s reach in the community, taking services and resources to the neighborhoods. We also have native front yard gardens that we will visit and learn more about why they are important from a representative of Wild Ones. We’ll finish up with refreshments and a simple zero waste demo.

We would love to hear what you are planning to highlight and celebrate sustainability initiatives on your block this summer.  Please share your story on the Green Community Connections Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GreenCommunityConnections/ or through our web site contact page:  http://www.greencommunityconnections.org/contact-us/.

The Village of Oak Park and River Forest also offer informative guides to holding a Green Block Party. For Oak Park: http://www.oak-park.us/village-services/refuse-recycling/keep-oak-park-beautiful/green-block-party-request-form. For River Forest: https://vrf.us/residents/block-party-permits.