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Taking Action for the Environment

Greener Grove meets once a month to discuss projects that are in the works and learn about new opportunities to make change. Check this page and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on ways you can get involved.


This past week at our monthly meeting, Greener Grove and PDHA had the honor of hosting Jason Michnick, Village of Downers Grove’s first ever Environmental Sustainability Coordinator. Michnick was hired for this role in January 2024, as a result of Greener Grove’s petitioning and support for the Village to reinstate and engage with the Environmental Concerns Commission to prepare and implement an impactful sustainability plan. We urged the Village to adhere to the most aggressive plan they had outlined, which included hiring a Sustainability Coordinator to facilitate the growth of sustainability in our village. 

Greener Grove's May 28 Meeting was held at the Downers Grove Public Library; 36 people were in attendance.

In the past few months, the Village of Downers Grove has begun planning for four separate plans: the comprehensive plan, mobility plan, sustainability plan, and streetscape plan. This planning is called “Guiding DG”, and these plans are the 20-year aspirational vision that will be able to guide more actionable short term goals to go into the village’s future two-year plans. Check out the Guiding DG website to find more information on this process. 

In that capacity, Michnick attended our meeting to present on the importance of regional and local sustainability policy. As members of the Greenest Region Compact, an important charter for the Chicagoland region with 284 municipalities, each local municipality has the opportunity to develop a successful model for environmental stewardship in a suburban context with the framework of the compact as a guide. Michnick posited that Downers Grove has the ability to learn from, innovate and become a leader within this region, and that together, with our neighboring villages,  we can make a measurable difference. Michnick also pointed out that partnerships within the village with groups like Greener Grove and Pierce Downers Heritage Alliance, are essential to achieving our environmental goals. 

With that, Michnick asked our group what environmental practices we would like to see the village prioritize. A lively discussion ensued, and group participants listed and discussed 19 issues: preparing for the impacts of climate change, tree preservation, single-use plastics, banning harmful lawn chemicals, light pollution, and food waste, to name a few. In general, it was difficult for participants to put the issues in priority order because all of it matters. After much discussion, it became clear that the group’s top priority was creating public awareness and a culture of environmental stewardship in Downers Grove. 

Michnick facilitates discussion while keeping track of environmental priorities for Downers Grove residents.

More data and discussion is needed to determine which actions will have the most impact on sustainability metrics in Downers Grove. 

Michnick’s visit to our May Greener Grove meeting was one of several stops. In order to get an understanding of what the residents of DG want in this plan, Michnick has visited middle and high schools, senior residence homes, and has held an open house. Through these information-gathering initiatives, the whole community has had the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on which environmental issues are most pressing. The plan will then be put together using this community input combined with studies that are underway about the current climate conditions in DG. These studies include a partnership with Argonne National Laboratory to collect data in order to better predict the climate conditions in 50 years. Studies, along with the guidance from the Greenest Region Compact objectives, let us know where we are now and what we can do to make progress. 

What can I do to help?

  • Provide your input. Fill out the surveys on the Guiding DG website.

  • Volunteer to be a data collector for Argonne’s study. Find out more at Guiding DG Sustainability here

  • Talk to your neighbors, friends, and families about environmental concerns! One conversation can spark change.

  • Join us at our next monthly meeting, Thursday, June 27th, at 6:30 pm, for a Tree Walk with Urban Forester/Educator Steve Ruffolo.

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Thanks to everyone for making Earth Week a success! It was wonderful to see the community come together to learn, plant, clean up, and celebrate. We can’t wait to make Earth Week an annual tradition in Downers Grove. 

Let’s keep the momentum going with our upcoming events

May 4 River Sweep 

Nature Conservancy Sponsored "River Sweep Clean Up."

Join fellow DG residents and pick up trash and litter in a DG wetland area! Saturday, May 4th between 9-12 (can come and go when needed) Wetland area around 40th St and Glendenning Rd in northeast DG. This is DG Park District land that is part of this overall clean-up effort. 


Contact to get detailed info and waivers that will need to be signed to participate.

May 21 Fishel Park

Stop by our Greener Grove Booth at the Tuesday night Summer Concert Series in Fishel Park.

May 28 Downers Grove Public Library

Greener Grove meeting with DG Sustainability Coordinator, Jason Michnick. He’s asking us to share our ideas of what we would like to see regarding the sustainability plan the village is in the process of creating.

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Each year, people all around the world participate in celebrations to demonstrate their support for environmental protection.  This year, Greener Grove is helping to organize six Earth Week events for the Downers Grove community!  We will be drinking wine, planting trees, visiting gardens, watching a film about regenerative agriculture, learning about cicadas, and beautifying local parks - and we hope that you will join us!

Earth Week 2024 in Downers Grove!

Friday April 19, 7-9 pm, Sustainable wine presentation + informal wine tasting

Cellar Door's sommelier is going to give a presentation on sustainable wine at the Downers Grove Public Library from 7-8 pm.  Those who are interested in further discussion and sampling can then head to Cellar Door, where sustainable wines can be purchased.  A suggested donation of $15 will help us cover the cost of the presentation. Every donation will be entered into a raffle for one of three bottles of sustainable wine. To RSVP, click here for tickets on Eventbrite.

Saturday April 20, 12-3 pm, Tree-plenish community tree planting event

Downers Grove North High School's Outdoor Environmental Club and Greener Grove will be planting tree saplings at Concord Square Park.  Please wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty, and bring a shovel and gloves.  For more details and to RSVP, or to donate to buy tree saplings, please click here.

Saturday April 20, 2-4 pm, Downers Grove garden walk

Join Downers Grove Organic Gardeners and Greener Grove for an organic garden walk.  After meeting up at Gilbert Park, we will walk to several houses along Gilbert Avenue, where we will be given a guided tour and presentation highlighting each gardener's sustainable gardening practices.  Click here for tickets on eventbrite.

Monday April 22, 7:30-9:30 pm, Common Ground film screening + discussion

Greener Grove is supporting the After Hours Film Society in showing the highly acclaimed environmental film, Common Ground, at the Tivoli Theater on Earth Day.  This documentary explores how many of our challenges connect to a broken food system, and profiles farmers using regenerative models of agriculture to pave the way to positive climate, health, and economic solutions. Stay for a discussion after the film. For more details and to buy a ticket, please click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 7-8:30 pm, Greener Grove Meeting: Return of the Cicadas

Be prepared for one of the wonders of nature as the 17-year cicadas return to Northern Illinois this year. Join Greener Grove and PDHA (Pierce Downer Heritage Alliance) at the Downers Grove Public Library as Urban Forester, Steve Ruffolo, outlines this amazing phenomenon and answers your questions.

Saturday April 27, 10 am-12 pm, Downers Grove Park District Volunteer Day

Greener Grove is partnering with the Park District to beautify our local parks for spring!  We will help to prepare Fishel Park and Hummer Park for the season by mulching trees, picking up sticks and debris, and removing trash at each location. Gloves, tools and staff assistance will be provided - we are advised to dress for the weather and to get messy.  The park district will provide light snacks and give all volunteers an oak seedling to plant at home.  For more details and to RSVP, please click here.

We are so excited for a great Earth Week here in Downers Grove.  We really hope to see you at these events!  Please feel free to share this information with your friends and neighbors, and please do not hesitate to email us at if you have any questions or feedback.

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Community Education

This summer, find us at the Downers Grove farmers market to talk environmental change, meet like-minded neighbors, and participate in fun nature-focused children's programming, such as crafts, story time, or sing-alongs.

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