January 2022 Jacob Campbell.jpg
January 2022 Burnham Nature Corridor
January 2022 Planting trees
January 2022 Designing a Gathering Space -  Pilsen Artists
January 2022 Celebration at Sankofa
January 2022 Dia de los Muertos
April 2022 Ikebana Nancy_Margot
April 2022 Ikebana Group
Hydrangeas 2022 2
Hydrangeas 2022 1
Hydrangeas 2022 3
April 2022 Ikebana1
April 2022 Ikebana1b
April 2022 Ikebana2
April 2022 Ikebana2b
April 2022 Ikebana2c
April 2022 Ikebana3
April 2022 Ikebana3b
Sept 2022 Plaque dedication
Sept 2022 Friendship plaque
September 2022 WR HIstory 1
October 2022 WildMile 2
October 2022 WildMile 5
October 2022 WildMile 7
October 2022 WildMile 4
October 2022 WildMile 3
October 2022 WildMile 6
October 2022 WildMile 11
October 2022 WildMile 9
October 2022 WildMile 8

Sig Schmidt, Ginny Davis, Judy Ishii, Jill Niland

The framework of the floating island

Phil Nicodemis and Nancy Wieting

Dona Vitale

The Wild Mile

Our guest speaker, Phil Nicodemus, representing the organization, Urban Rivers, captivated us with his decription of their current project, The Wild Mile. Their idea is to transform the Chicago River's North Branch at Goose Island  into a sanctuary for native plants and wildlife. They are installing floating islands of trees and native plants attached to the shore. Their first installlation across from Goose Island is already a success and they are expanding their efforts further south on the river.

To find out more about this fascinating project, please visit the following sites:

Urban River Website 

Article in Chicago Tribune

Article in Block Club Chicago

A few weeks after this presentation, 4 NGS members visited the site on the river and were totally impressed by the work of Urban Rivers.



Dedication of the Friendship Garden


Greenhouses, Golf and Gardens: the Story of Warren Park and West Ridge.

We rededicated the "Rose of Sharon Garden" to the "Friendship Garden" to reflect its purpose of honoring NGS members who are deceased.

The garden is located in Warren Park along the entry walk and is maintained by NGS members.

A new plaque was designed and made by NGS member, Nancy Wieting.


Our program for the evenng featured speaker, Dona Vitale, who is on the Board of Directors and serves as Outreach Chair for Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society, will present the story of how West Ridge and Rogers Park came to be and discuss the area's early farms and gardens.

Dona captivated the audience  with her descriptions of the settlement of West Ridge and photos of the large greenhouses along Western Avenue and the golf course that preceded Warren Park.

Row 1. The first arrangement using cherry blossoms and ranunculus

Row 2. The second arrangement using cherry blossoms, ranunculus, grasses, fiddleleaf ferns, hyacinth and tulips

Row 3. A horizontal arrangement using cherry blossoms, ferns, grasses and boxwood.



NGS friend and gardener to many members, Ann McIntee, spoke on her favorite topic -  selecting and caring for Hydrangeas.  She discussed the types, placement, care and pests.

Fact: we all tend to think that hydrangeas require shade but that's not true. Many of them need some sun for at least part of the day.


Links to resources:



Nancy Wieting and Margo Wang


Jacob Campbell

Burnham Corridor

Planting Trees wth Pilsen Neighbors

Pilsen Artists and Design Team

Bronzeville Musicians

Dio de Los Muertos Celebration

Dr. Joy O'Keefe,  Assistant Professor and Wildlife Extension Specialist, at University of Illinois spoke to us via Zoom from Urbana, Illinois.

Dr. Joy O'Keefes' research primarily focuses on ways to facilitate the coexistence of bats and humans in human-altered landscapes. She works to understand the roosting and foraging ecology of bats, identify best practices for studying bat ecology, characterize bat behaviors, and assess the quality of mitigation practices designed to help bats. Dr. O'Keefe collaborates with many organizations and people who interact with bats, including private landowners, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and state agencies.

For more informatiom, visit these websites:




Ikebana Spring


Our guest presenter, Margot Wang of the Ohara School of Ikebana, who spoke to us via Zoom in February, returned for an in-person demonstration of Ikebana floral arranging using spring flowers.


This was a program to showcase how ikebana relates to the season and the landscape. The Ohara School of Ikebana is known for its focus on naturalistic styles and the use of seasonal materials. The school was founded by Unshin Ohara (1861-1916).  Ohara School believes that it is important to observe nature.


The Moribana style features a triangular one-sided floral structure in which the triangle is composed of a subject (heaven), an object (man) and a secondary (earth). The tall piece is the subject and should be twice the diameter of the base while the object measures one-third of the subject and leans 45 degrees toward the viewer. The secondary surrounds the subject and object. Space between elements is considered to be part of the arrangement.

See if you can identify the three elements in the finished pieces shown below.


Gardens to Heal via Zoom


Our monthly programs are usually held on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM in the Warren Park Field House, 6601 N. Western Ave. Chicago.


We usually feature a social get-together with refreshments followed by a guest speaker.


Bat Ecology via Zoom


Our speaker was Margot Wang, Ikebanist.  Ms Wang wears many hats including:

  • President, Ikebana international Chicago Chapter
  • 2nd Term Master, the School of Ohara in Japan
  • Master Instructor, Ikebana on Halsted Chicago
  • Active Member, North American Ohara Teachers Association
  • Admin, World Ikebana Society Facebook Group
  • Docent, Chicago Lincoln Park Conservatory


 A healing garden is designed to provide "positive distraction and sensory engineering that stimulates a full range of senses including hearing, touch, taste, smell and memory through exposure to natural elements.” ~ KirisuI nternational

The elements of a Japanese healing garden are:

  • Water: Flexibility
  • Boulders: Strength
  • Horticulture: Growth & Life
  • WU-XING 5 elements: metal, wood,
  • water, fire, earth

She introduced us to Hoichi Kurisu, noted designer of Japanese Gardens and his vision that gardens should provide restorative spaces for collective and individual well being. Some examples include: 

  • Oregon State Penitentiary, the first garden based on the healing concept.  
  • Legacy Garden at the Midwest Temple, Chicago. 

She also discussed the design and creation of the Caldwell garden at the north end of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The garden at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP)  is the first penitentiary garden in the country and uses prisoners for building and garden maintenance. The results are amazing.

To view a You Tube viseo about the  the OSP garden,click below,

        The Healing Garden Behind Prison Walls Video


Roots and Routes Program

via Zoom


Our guest speaker, Jacob Campbell, PhD, is an Environmental Anthropologist with the Keller Science Action Center at the Chicago Field Museum. The mission of the Keller Science Action Center is to put science into action for the Earth's future, to protect and restore the places that are critical to life on earth. 

Jacob leads the social science team for the Chicago region. He established and sustains the Roots & Routes initiative with the Chicago Park District and a network of community leaders, artists, and organizations. 

From their website Mission Statement:

“Roots and Routes” is a collaborative project aimed at creating and sustaining the longest stretch of lakefront natural area within the Chicago Park District system, the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC), in order to maximize benefits for neighboring communities and nature.


Dr. Campbell had the NGS participants mesmerized by the description and photos of the work he is doing with community members and artists in developing  5 Gathering Spaces along the Burnham  Wildlife Corridor south of McCormick Place.  The neighborhood communities particpating in this project are Pilsen (Hispanic), Bronzeville (African American) and the Chinese-American Museum. The Gathering Spaces are unique to the designing culture and are connected by paths along the lakefront.

For more information on this project, visit these websites:

Roots and Routes Initiative at the Field Museum

Burnham Corridor Map

Burnham Corridor Gathering Spaces Map

Field Guide for Burnham Corridor

Community-wide Art Initiatives


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