Community Greening

Chicago, “City in a Garden”

You may be familiar with Chicago’s motto, “Urbs in Horto,” a Latin phrase meaning “City in a Garden.” Although at the time of Chicago’s incorporation in 1837 this was more aspirational, today 570 public parks can be enjoyed year-round across the city. Innumerable green spaces and community gardens have also taken root as neighborhoods recognize their positive impact on community and environment.

The greater Ravenswood area is no exception. You will find several accessible public parks and community spaces from North Center to Bowmanville.

Community Gardens

The Ravenswood Community Council is actively seeking volunteers to help maintain our greenways and bioswales. Whether you’d like to join a community garden or help us keep our shared spaces clean and green, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

The Berteau Greenway & Lawrence Avenue Bioswales

Berteau between Ravenswood and Ashland / Lawrence Ave

The Berteau Greenway & Lawrence Avenue Bioswales

The Ravenswood Community Council oversees the maintenance of the Berteau Greenway (Berteau between Ravenswood and Ashland) and its bioswales. Filled with vegetation, compost, and riprap, the bioswales are landscaped drains. The gently sloping sides and greenery of the bioswales help remove silt and pollution from the runoff water. Additionally, there are bioswales along Lawrence Avenue that SSA #31 manages.

Get Involved

As the seasons change, the Ravenswood Community Council needs volunteers to help with cleaning the bioswales. The RCC also works with neighborhood schools to teach students about the importance of bioswales for stormwater management and the environment. Learn more about volunteer opportunities here.

Bowmanville Community Gardens

Ravenswood and Balmoral Avenues

Bowmanville Community Gardens

Situated at Ravenswood and Balmoral Avenues, the Bowmanville Gateway Garden has provided vital open space to grow food, build community, and learn key skills for a more sustainable future since 2009. In 2017, the Bowmanville Community Organization (BCO) partnered with Neighbor Space to acquire the land on which the garden resides. Within the expanded space, neighbors envision year-round food growing, ecological education, and accessible gardening for people of all ages and abilities.

Get Involved

An active neighborhood association, the Bowmanville Community Organization hosts regular events and community greening days.

Follow the Bowmanville Community Organization Facebook page to stay up to date on events they organize.

Montrose Metra Community Gardens

Ravenswood Ave, between Montrose and Berteau

Montrose Metra Community Gardens

The Montrose Metra Community Gardens (MMCG) feature raised-bed plots, native fruit trees, and native plants, as well as public spaces along the west side of Ravenswood Ave, between Montrose and Berteau. Break out your gardening tools and attend some of their volunteer days, workshops, and educational events.

Additionally, the MMCG and the Ravenswood Community Council also oversee the Sunnyside Savanna Gardens, located just north of Montrose on west Ravenswood Ave. Previously maintained by the American Indian Center, the Sunnyside Savanna Gardens feature more than 70 native species as well as a walking path and community seating.

Get Involved

The Montrose Metra Community Gardens are always looking for volunteers. To keep up with their upcoming calls for volunteers, follow the MMCG Facebook Page.

Winnslie Parkway

Ravenswood Ave, between Winnemac and Ainslie

Winnslie Parkway

One of the oldest established greenspaces in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, the Winnslie Parkway is a scenic walking path located along the east side of the Metra tracks from Winnemac to Ainslie. Parkway highlights include a wood-chip trail, natural seating areas, and native flowers.

The gardens were redesigned in 2013 by landscape architect Stephen Christy, following the completion of a significant Metra construction project. Since then, the Winnslie Parkway has become a favorite spot for locals and commuters to unwind, stretch their legs, and enjoy the outdoors. The space is managed and cared for by Friends of Winnslie Parkway (501c3) and Schanmier Landscaping.

Get Involved

Friends of Winnslie hosts several annual volunteer events, including a spring “Chip the Pathway” party and seasonal garden cleanups. Contact them via the Parkway website for details on the latest volunteer opportunities and donation needs.

Neighborhood Parks

Neighborhood Parks

Throughout the year, Chicago’s park districts offer free athletic and arts programs for all ages as well as a chance to meet our neighbors away from the hustle and bustle of busy streets.

Chase Park

Chase Park amenities include a running track, an outdoor pool, a newly-renovated accessible playground, two baseball fields, one football/soccer field, four tennis courts and a large playground area.

4701 N. Ashland Ave

Mon – Sun, 6am – 11pm

Park District Webpage

Welles Park

Welles Park’s most popular feature is its iconic green, wrought-iron, European-style gazebo. Equipped with electricity for lights and sound, the gazebo is used for outdoor concerts, storytelling and other performances.

Park amenities include an ADA accessible, soft-surface playground for children. Welles Park provides year-round programs and activities for children and adults.

2333 W. Sunnyside Ave

Mon – Sun, 6am – 11pm

Park District Webpage

Winnemac Park

Winnemac Park encompasses 22.38 acres of land and features a scenic prairie garden, several youth programs, and an accessible playground.

Tennis courts and baseball diamonds are popular when the weather is hospitable, but there is plenty of room for nature-lovers to roam, read a book, or picnic.

5100 N. Leavitt Street

Mon – Sun, 6am – 11pm

Park District Webpage

Further Reading and Resources

If you’re new to gardening, local business and chamber member City Grange, would be thrilled to assist you. 

Chicago Community Garden Gardeners Association

Join us! Help keep our community green.

Volunteers are a key component in helping to maintain important urban features like the bioswales on Lawrence Avenue and the Montrose Metra Community Garden. Not only do these green spaces enliven public spaces, they also have an important role in cleaning runoff water and fostering native species to help combat erosion and encourage biodiversity.

Become A Volunteer

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