Nature and Gardening Programs
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