Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

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Restoration Workday! November 19

We welcome you to join us for our annual Restoration Workday! Come out and enjoy our beautiful campus and help to restore our natural areas.



A Partnership in Preservation

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A recent Saturday morning began with birdsong, a cloudy sky, and a buzz of excitement at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus as a group of individuals gathered as part of an ecological field site visit organized by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Attendees included staff from the two organizations, stewards of regional restoration sites, and site volunteers who joined together in an effort to learn more about the partnership between the FPCC and Oakton Community College.

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For over 25 years, Oakton and the FPCC have been working closely with each other to understand, manage, and restore the natural areas within this 250 some acre plot along the Des Plaines River. It is near impossible to determine where Oakton land starts and Forest Preserve land begins, the only indicators being scattered stone markers along the borders. And that’s probably the way it should be. The lack of constructed barriers and fences allow the land to flow naturally from ecosystem to ecosystem, which include woodlands, prairies, and ephemeral ponds. FPCC purchased the land which is now Kloempken Prairie in the mid 40’s while Oakton’s land was purchased from the Catholic Church three decades later (though much of the area had been used for local agriculture as evidenced by the multiple drainage ditches).

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Earth Week at Oakton Community College! 4/18-4/23

Every year, Oakton Community College prepares a week of hands-on programming to educate and engage our communities on issues related to the environment during the week of Earth Day. This year, we are happy to offer another mix of workshops, lectures, hands-on exploration, and restoration events and we welcome you to join us. All events are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Please share with your friends and families!




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Restoration Work Days with Cook County Forest Preserve

The Forest Preserves of Cook County offer a number of opportunities to explore nature and to give back to the community.  Volunteer opportunities are offered year round for anyone age 12 and up. Get your friends and family involved, or go alone and make new friends once you are there.

Further details from Kevin Kuhn:

Cut/burn invasive brush, harvest native seed in season, and have fun!
• Tools, gloves, onsite training, supervision provided; dress for the weather
• Year round workdays available; scheduling flexibility may be needed
• Ages: 12 thru adult; chaperone ratio 1:10 required for student groups

Ready to sign up? Go to and search for already scheduled workdays via our online calendar. Use dates and zip code to find sites near you. It is important to contact the volunteer site steward before signing up as a group. If you don’t find a workday that works for your group, please contact me and I will help you connect with one of our experienced site stewards to plan a successful workday.

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Alternative Spring Break: Cook County Forest Preserve

The Forest Preserves of Cook County would like to invite your students to join us for a unique volunteer opportunity: Alternative Spring Break- Land Management Crew Volunteer. Please help us spread the word.

 Alternative Spring Break

Dates: Choose a week from March 7 to March 28th

Description: Spend your spring break in the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) working alongside our Land Management Crews. Learn about how the FPCC manages natural resources on our holdings, the tools used to do the job and ways we are adapting to environmental changes in a highly urbanized environment. Typical work days include invasive species removal, brush pile burning, tree care and removal, herbicide application and other general land management responsibilities.

Requirements/Duties (full list on job description): Typical work days include: invasive species removal, brush pile burning, tree care and removal, herbicide application, prescription burning and other general land management responsibilities. Continue reading

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Earth Week 2015 at Oakton Community College–Events and Activities!

Oakton Community College is gearing up for its annual Earth Week celebrations! From April 20-25, we invite students, employees, and community members to join in a variety of educational experiences centered on environmental awareness and sustainable practices.

A number of our own Oakton faculty and staff will be presenting lectures and leading volunteer workdays. We have also invited a few representatives from community businesses and organizations to share their knowledge. All workshops and activities are free and open to the public (most will be held at the Des Plaines campus)!

There will be plenty of hands-on experiences including: a bird walk, campus nature walk, Lee Center building tours, environmental restoration (garlic mustard removal), water quality and invertebrate sampling in Lake Oakton and prepping our community gardens.

In addition, a number of presentations will be held. Topics include:

  • The Environmental Crisis in Light of Marx’s Critique of Capital
  • Environmental Philosophy and Deep Ecology
  • Municipal Water Cycle: What happens to water after we use it?
  • Natural Areas at Oakton
  • The Beauty of Plant Life: Images of native plant life cycles
  • Native Fauna and Fungi on Oakton’s Campus
  • Recycling Tips and Repurposing for Art
  • Air Pollution
  • Sustainability in a Business Setting
  • My Big, Fat, Green Renovation
  • Sustainable Food & Healthy Eating

Ecology Club will be on hand to sell milkweed and strawberry plants throughout the week and the Green Committee will provide snacks on both campuses. We will also be partnering with USAgain in a clothing, shoe and textile drive. Please visit for a full schedule and updated details as they become available!

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Openlands–Treekeeper Course Registration

Openlands is accepting applications for its Treekeeper courses.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about your local natural areas and be stewards in your own communities, while gaining great leadership skills and hands-on experience.

TreeKeepers course will be starting on March 10 at Kennicott Park in Chicago – register here

and March 18th at The Morton Arboretum  –register here


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