Friday, August 29, 2008


Getting it Done New Tools for Communities summary of proceedings online at


Upcoming Events: Saturday September 13, 2008 board the bus at 300 N. Central Park Ave.

The itinerary is as follows: Time 9am to 12 noon, RSVP the bus only seats 40, brown bag lunch to follow tour, at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
773-638-1766 x 14

420 s. Central Park Ave

3250 W. Adams

313 W. Maypole

3100 W. Carroll (Artist Garden)

3141 W. Walnut (Jacab's School Community Garden)

3251 W. Washington Blvd

3317 W. Walnut St

9/13 Pre-registration form due for Harvest Competition at the County Fair
9/20 COUNTY FAIR, GARFIELD MARKET PLACE, walk to a Heritage Garden
9/24 Open Space Meeting
10/16 Mobile Exhibition, 5-8pm

10/17 5-8pm Opening
Phantom Gallery Presents: "Let Us Examine the State of Our Environment",Chicago Artists Month Featured Community Artists Environmental Art Installations on display through 10/19 Closing


Mayor's Office Requesting a Meeting on Vacant Lot Spraying

Jaime Zaplatosch
Education Coordinator
25 E Washington, Suite 1650
Chicago, IL 60602
ph 312-863-6270
fax 312-863-6251

45 years. 55,000 acres protected. Join us October 31 at the Openlands 2008 Annual Luncheon. Visit for more information.

From: Steve Pincuspy []
Good Afternoon,
It has been several months since we wrote a letter to the Mayor's Office requesting a meeting on the issue of vacant lot spraying. Thanks to your support and persistence the Department of Streets and Sanitation finally agreed to meet with us. Representatives from the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago and Safer Pest Control Project recently met with the Streets and Sanitation Deputy Commissioner Bobby Richardson as well as other staffers, including attendees from the Chicago Department of Environment. Our agenda was to present the concerns brought to us by numerous local neighborhood groups and citizens such as yourselves pertaining to the use of Roundup to maintain vacant lots. Part of our investigation uncovered that the City has been aggressively using Roundup in vacant lots. Merely three years ago the City used no Roundup whatsoever. Since then the number of applications has risen to somewhere between 10,000-15,000 a year.

While the city maintains it must protect public safety through vegetation management on abandoned lots, staffers failed to acknowledge the irony of using herbicides that can potentially affect public health and the environment when used in vast quantities - a safety issue in itself. Our position remains that health should not have to be compromised in the slightest to maintain these lots and improve neighborhood safety. As part of our meeting with the Department, we urged the Department to explore alternatives to spraying and to improve communication with residents in communities affected by the sprayings. The Deputy Commissioner was willing to explore these options and discuss alternatives to spraying.
They have agreed to establish a “No Spray List” for vacant parcels through the 311 system. Residents can now call 311 and request that a neighboring parcel be added to a do-not-spray list.

The Department also agreed to further publicize that free mulch and hand-gardening tools are available to the public and community groups to use in taking care of vacant lots in their neighborhoods. In addition to these measures, the Safer Pest Control Project will be working with them on a “best-practices manual” that will narrow the conditions under which Roundup can be used, as well as improve the protocol for applications. finally, we hope to spur the City to create a coalition of neighborhood groups and block clubs willing to take advantage of the resources available for beautifying vacant lots. They have agreed that this is a sound idea, in principle.

We were glad to see the City has finally agreed to take some action on this issue. However, vigilance will be required to ensure that these ideas are translated into reality. We ask for your continued input to ensure the health and safety of our communities. Please stay tuned as we moved forward on this and other healthy green space issues.
Steve Pincuspy
Senior Program Associate

Safer Pest Control Project
4611 N. Ravenswood , Suite 107
Chicago, IL 60640
p: 773-878-7378 x.203
f: 773-878-8250
Safer Pest Control Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides and promoting safer alternatives in Illinois .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Openlands & Greater Englewood Garden Association Plant Alert

Openlands & Greater Englewood Garden Association

FREE PERENNIAL PLANTS for ALL gardeners– First come first served! Wednesday August 27th from 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM or until the plants are gone.

DIRECTIONS:The plants will be given away at the site of the Rowan Trees Farmer’s Market one block north of 63rd Street on Normal Avenue (600 West) in Englewood starting at about 11:30 AM. There is not a lot of room to park at this site, so you may have to walk to the site and carry plants back to your car if you are driving. Most of the plants are in one gallon containers, and about ¼ of them are in 2 gallon containers. Bring a cart if you can and be sure to bring newspaper or other protection for your car.

Volunteers are needed to help unload the delivery truck and assist people in picking up the plants. Please let me know if you can be there to help at 9:30 am. Volunteers get first choice of plants and BUGs students get credit hours!
Julie – 312/863-6256 or

Please RSVP by Monday, August 25th ! Thanks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Join Creativity Champions Community @

Check out a new online community for creativity champions at This is a space for sharing, collaborating and advancing the idea of creativity as a global priority. Tom Tresser is the organizer.