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Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour

Green Community Connections and West Cook Wild Ones are collaborating on the first-ever “Birds, Bees & Butterflies Native Garden Tour” in Oak Park and River Forest on Sunday, Sept. 7, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

You will fall in love with these gardens that are teeming with birds, bees & butterflies, a celebration of the creative process!  The tour will include about 10 public and private native gardens. A guided bike tour of the gardens will be offered or, tour-goers can take the tour at their own pace in a vehicle of their choice.

The tour will focus on Oak Park and River Forest landscapes featuring plants that are native to pre-settlement Illinois. Unique plants for shade, sun, rain gardens, clay soil and other applications will be highlighted.  Information and support will be offered for participants that are new to native gardening, and ideas will be exchanged among experienced native plant gardeners.

Native plants and their accompanying insects and ecosystem services are essential to the survival of the plant and animal biodiversity of this region, and we can make a big difference!

Participants can register and pick up a map on the day of the tour at Cook County Forest Preserve at the northwest corner of Lake and Harlem.  Advance registration is also available online at

The tour wraps up with a drop-in Native Garden Fair at the Cook County Forest Preserve District General Headquarters at Lake and Harlem Avenues in River Forest from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Participants can enjoy refreshments, mingle with fellow native gardeners, learn more about native gardening and where to get native plants, obtain seeds to start now or in the spring, and sign up to be part of the exciting OPRF Wildlife Corridor, which will link Thatcher Woods with Columbus Park through residential native gardens.  There will also be games and children's activities.

Suggested donation is $7 for adults; children are free 

Earlier Event: August 23
Sugar Beet at Oak Park Farmers' Market
Later Event: September 8
Can't We All Just Get Along?