Attention all pollinators! Prime real estate is now available just eight miles west of Chicago in suburban River Forest, Illinois. Enjoy native gardens on your way to work by visiting one of the 36 Parkway for Pollinators Gardens. Your kids can enjoy pollinator gardens at school and more gardens are located along the main corridor, Lake Street. Also, make sure to visit the 18,000 square feet of native plantings in the parks. River Forest is also a Tree City USA and close to the Des Plaines River for additional ecosystem support. For more information contact your listing agent, the River Forest Sustainability Commission. New pollinator properties added weekly during the summer!
Seriously, River Forest is a great place for pollinators. With 27,000 square feet of native gardens (excluding private gardens), River Forest is committed to helping pollinators thrive. The River Forest Sustainability Commission created the Parkways for Pollinators initiative to meet the need for pollinator habitats. We partnered with a local nonprofit with expertise in organic gardening and native plants, the Deep Roots Project.
The program’s purpose is three-fold: support pollinators, educate residents about native plants and pollinators, and ask residents to pledge to the Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family campaign. This campaign asks resident to pledge not to use synthetic chemicals on their lawns and gardens and implement sustainable lawn care practices.
Of course we want everyone to have fun while learning, so garden education and planting are offered at our popular Green Block Parties. By utilizing this already successful program that has been running for the past seven years, we offer residents a new activity: planting a native garden on their block’s parkway for everyone to enjoy. We’re replacing grass with plants with a purpose.
We couldn’t do this on our own. These gardens are free to all Green Block Parties with grant support from our local sustainability planning project PlanItGreen and the ComEd Green Region Grant Program in partnership with Openlands, a metropolitan conservation organization.
Our project leader and expert, the Deep Roots Project, meets with the resident in charge of the block party—ahead of time—to select an appropriate site. The 4’ x 10’ site is prepared before the party so that children and adults can participate in the fun hands-on planting activity and learn about native flowers that attract butterflies, humming birds, and other pollinators on the block.
The gardens are maintained the first year by Deep Roots—residents can contact the Deep Roots or the Commission at anytime with questions about their garden. In its first year, the Parkways for Pollinators Gardens initiative was incredibly successful, installing 15 gardens on parkways throughout River Forest; this year, 20 more gardens were added. The program will continue into the summer of 2020.
The Commission has been encouraging native plantings through working with Park District, Village of River Forest Public Works, and residents. We encourage residents to plant natives for their deep root structure to support healthy soils with the added benefit of supporting pollinators. We are thrilled to work with Green America’s Climate Victory Gardening program, and have mapped over 27,000 square feet of gardens fighting climate change and providing important habitat. So if you see a pollinator let them know, River Forest has space for them!