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Nature and Gardening ProgramsIMG_0781

The Park District of Oak Park offers a variety of programs for adults and children that awaken our appreciation for nature in all its forms.  Classes are held at the Oak Park Conservatory or at the Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center. We offer classes and workshops taught by University of Illinois extension Master Gardeners and by our own Conservatory staff who are trained in horticulture and botany. Our goal is to teach the best management practices and increase your success in the garden, to help residents engage in conservation practices and to connect children to nature.

Sharpen your urban gardening skills, create a new garden design, and explore the possibility of raising chickens or bees, or have your child explore the natural world through our programs.


Sustainable Saturdays at Austin Gardens

Join this open-house discussion every second Saturday of the month at Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center! As a family-friendly event, anyone is welcome to come and learn about the sustainability topic of the month and make an arts & craft or watch demonstrations. Participants receive handouts that they can take home to carry sustainability into their own personal lives.

No pre-registration necessary! See below for the monthly themes:


Topic: Geothermal Heating, how we keep buildings warm!
Handout: Ways to keep your house warm & reduce your heating bills at home
Craft: Help weave a rug on our loom out of recycled fabric, that will stay at Austin Gardens


Topic: Habitat Restoration
Craft: Recycled Cans or Broken Pot toad house


Topic: Rain Gardens

Experiment: Pervious vs. Impervious surfaces

Craft: K-cup Daffodils



Topic: Arbor Day

Craft: Egg Carton Tree



Topic: Rainwater Collection

Demonstration: Mosquito Habitat Mappe

Craft: Recyled Bottle Rain Gauge



Topic: Green Roofing

Handout: Ways to keep your house cool & reduce A/C bills at home

Craft: Turtle Planter



Topic: Solar Panels

Craft: Recyclable Paper Sunflower



Topic: Protecting Native Species

Demonstration: iNaturalist Demo

Craft: Recycled Can Mason Bee House



Topic: Monarch Migration

Craft: Recycled Magazine Butterfly



Topic: Bat Week

Craft: Origami Bats

Craft #2: Help Paint a Bat House, to hang up at Austin Gardens



Topic: Native Plants

Craft: Milkweed Seed Bombs



Topic: Passive Solar Heating

Experiment: What absorbs more heat? White or Black?

Craft: Recyclable Birdfeeder

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