4. Garfield Park Conservatory
Nina Foster(202) 414-0791
Web Site: http://www.garfieldconservatory.org/
|Volunteers helping to build raised beds.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is a source of real pride to a neighborhood that had been in decline. It works with residents to transform vacant lots and neighborhood eyesores into vibrant gardens, instructs elementary school teachers on how to use the conservatory’s resources in their classrooms, lets children visit self-guided stations with activities ranging from planting to crafts, and gives high school students environmental and arts-based training to aid them in college and in the workforce.
"Chicago is home to many of the nation’s finest cultural institutions and Garfield Park Conservatory is no exception," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). "Seen by many as a sanctuary during cold Chicago winters, the Garfield Park Conservatory has been able to remain free to all who visit through the strong support of community members. Through activities aimed at beautifying the neighborhood and promoting healthy lifestyles, the Conservatory continues to engage children and adults in new and innovative ways. This national award is well deserved."
"Congratulations to the Garfield Park Conservatory for its receipt of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service and for its leadership in providing countless valuable resources to youth and adults alike in this west-side community," said U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (IL).
"The Garfield Park Conservatory has been the ‘secret Shangri-la’ in the often tragically underused oasis of Garfield Park on Chicago’s West side for a century. In recent years the Conservatory, designed by legendary landscape architect Jens Jensen, has once again been coming into the West side’s collective conscience, in part due to some innovative outreach programs. One such program, done with the help of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, has become something in which Chicago’s West side can, and does, take special pride. The Garfield Park Community Garden Network, works with residents to repurpose vacant lots and neighborhood eyesores into vibrant community gardens. So far, the network has created eighteen community gardens covering two acres of urban landscape. Youth programs focus on early education, improving elementary school science curricula, and helping teens develop skills for college and the workplace—all while fostering a love and respect for the natural world," said Representative Danny K. Davis (IL-07).
Community Member: Tiara Livingston
Tiara Livingston, age 19, has participated with the Garfield Park Conservatory’s Green Teens program since her freshman year of high school. Growing up on Chicago’s West Side, Tiara saw first-hand the challenges and trouble her neighborhood was facing. Through the Green Teens program, Tiara gained job readiness skills, participated in resume and cover letter workshops, and learned more about the opportunities that a college education would provide. Today, Tiara is a sophomore at DePaul University. "The Conservatory is more than a flower house. It is a place where people come together and enjoy nature. Its beauty helps build the community through volunteering," remarked Tiara.
Next Winner: Long Island Children's Museum