As one of the Ravenswood Community Council’s core initiatives, the Greening of Ravenswood beautifies community gardens, parks, and open spaces, supports environmental education at area schools, and promotes the achievements of local business owners and residents who help create a more resource-sustainable neighborhood.
Among our current greening sites: Ravenswood, McPherson and St. Matthias elementary schools, the three Ravenswood CTA Brown Line stations (Irving Park, Montrose and Damen) and the intersection of Hermitage/Lawrence. Plans for greening also include sustainable living, and so our efforts will continue throughout the year in support of bike safety and bike sharing, supporting community gardens, strengthening local schools and providing networking events for residents and businesses alike to learn of and engage in sustainable lifestyle choices through our Sustainable Speaker Series.
The Greening of Ravenswood History
The Greening of Ravenswood was initially conceived as a response to the Ravenswood Community Council’s maintenance of the Ravenswood Corridor. Eventually focus shifted to addressing the Asian Beetle infestation (which first impacted Ravenswood in 1998) and led to the removal of trees on some of the area’s key streets. Former Alderman Eugene Schulter and the 47th Ward responded with an urban reforestation effort. In the last decade, the effort evolved to raising money for plants and flowers to fill the landscaped medians and planters, for cleanup projects and to support community gardens.
Greener Ravenswood Fundraiser
Today, the RCC’s annual Greener Ravenswood fundraiser helps to establish a comprehensive network of information and resources focusing on advocacy and education, with the following priorities:
- Build awareness at our local schools and model green consumer practices
- Highlight the achievements of local businesses and residents in sustainable living
- Support community gardens, parks, and open space planning
This yearly event features sustainable and green vendors, product demonstrations, mini-clinics, local chefs, local brews, a silent auction and our annual Raven Awards, which honor local residents and businesses that exemplify sustainable practices in our community.
Greener Ravenswood has grown into a beloved and much anticipated summer celebration that drives the RCC’s ability to further beautify, educate and improve our neighborhood’s infrastructure in environmentally friendly and resource-responsible ways.
Past beneficiaries of Greener Ravenswood include:
- McPherson Elementary School
- St. Matthias Elementary School
The Berteau Greenway
The Ravenswood Community Council’s Greening Committee oversees the maintenance of the Berteau Greenway (Berteau between Ravenswood and Ashland) and its bioswales. Bioswales are landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. They consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides and are filled with vegetation, compost and/or riprap. As a part of its effort to further green education in Ravenswood schools, the Greening Committee organizes ‘Green & Clean’ events with neighborhood schools where students learn about how bioswales function, why they’re important, and how to maintain them.
Sustainable Speaker Series
In late February 2014, RCC hosted its inaugural Sustainable Speaker Series at Dolce Casa Café. The event drew more than 40 attendees and featured presentations from River Valley Farmers Table, JL HoneyBee Farms, Midwest Pesticide Action Center and a compost expert with Door-to-Door Organics. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with experts on hand and watch demonstrations of their craft. All enjoyed libations and delicious bites from River Valley Farmers Table Chef Jordan Rose.
September 2014 found the RCC setting up shop at Begyle Brewing for the next SBS, combining a self-guided brewery tour with open house style presentations from electricity expert and Chicago Conservation Corps representative Janice Thompson, Water Director for the Center for Neighborhood Technology Harriet Festing and representatives from Chicago Market Co-Op. Guests took advantage of these great learning opportunities while enjoying cold brews and food from Mangal Grille.
Please help us identify areas of the 47th and 40th Wards that could benefit from green improvements by using our contact form. If you are interested in joining the Greening committee or know an entrepreneur who would benefit from a spot at one of our events, please contact us at the RCC’s Events and Marketing Coordinator, Gene Wagendorf.