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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.


Mon. Dec 4th, 7 PM

Wearing a t-shirt or carrying a tote bag with our logo on it is a great way to raise awareness for Greener Grove when we’re out at the farmer’s market, Village Council meetings, or just around town. But, ordering these items new has a detrimental impact on the environment. Each year, 92 million tons of clothing ends up in landfills. Even though most of us donate the clothing we no longer want, almost two-thirds of clothing castoffs head directly to the landfill. What’s abundantly clear, is that we produce far too much clothing in the first place, and ordering new items only adds to the problem.

Reduce and Reuse

The best way to help the environment when it comes to clothing, is to

  • buy secondhand,

  • buy fewer pieces that are well-made and will last for a long time, and

  • swap clothing you no longer want with friends and family.

We decided that the eco-friendliest approach for making Greener Grove merch is to reuse what we already have! It will save us a pretty penny, and help protect the planet, too.


Our general Greener Grove meeting on Monday, December 4th at 7 PM, will be an opportunity for some holiday fun and the creation of Greener Grove swag through the use of block-printing.

Michelle showcases our new Greener Grove block stamp

Greener Grove est. in 2023

We have had our logo made into wooden block stamps in several sizes, which can then be stamped onto clothing or accessories using green, black, or white fabric ink. Bring items you already own, or we will also have secondhand clothing from a resale shop available for purchase at the event. There is a required $5 donation per item you want to block print to help cover costs. We did a test-run of the process and they turn out great!

Test run of block printing, using second-hand shirts donated by Kitschy Style

The Holidays & Clothing

Another note as we go into the holiday season, is to re-think the way you gift. Clothing purchases increase significantly around the holidays, but here are a few ways you can help:

  1. Avoid returns. Returns are responsible for 5 billion pounds of landfill waste and 15 million tons of carbon emissions per year. Be sure to know sizes and try-on before you buy. When in doubt, give a gift card so the recipient can try on for themselves. (This goes for things other than clothing, too!)

  2. Boycott fast fashion brands. Companies like SHEIN, Temu, BooHoo, Forever 21, ASOS, Charlotte Russe, among others, are leading us into a new era of trend consumption, and pushing production rates to over 100 billion garments annually. Do some research and buy from brands that are slow fashion and insist on fair wages for garment workers.

  3. Party Consciously. Tis the season for holiday parties and gift exchanges. Instead of buying a new outfit, ornament, or white elephant gift, host a clothing & gift swap with friends so you get something new to you, without buying new!

Wishing everyone the happiest, healthiest holiday season, and we hope to see you at our December meeting!

Tote will be available for purchase at Dec. 4th social
Stylish Tee will be available for purchase at Dec. 4th social

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Updated: Oct 17

Summer often has a way of slowing things down a bit as we enjoy longer days, impromptu get-togethers with family and friends, and time for outdoor activities like gardening and biking. Greener Grove has been on a summer schedule as well - though not slowing down at all!

At our September 25th general meeting, each of Greener Grove’s four subgroups shared what they’ve been working on and some ideas for what’s next…

Community Activism - We’ve continued to connect with others in our community at the YWCA Farmers Market. On September 9th, we invited visitors to our booth to make leaf rubbings and learn more about how to identify trees in our area. We also hosted a tree walk and composting event.

Greener Grove Composting Event

Leaf Rubbing from Sept. 9 Farmers' Market

Political Partnerships - We’ve been a constant presence at Village Council meetings these past months advocating for including environmental sustainability initiatives in the Village’s long-range plans. Participating in discussions - both listening to others and sharing ideas - has had a positive impact: The Village Council has agreed to create a sustainability plan, reinstate the Environmental Concerns Commission, and add a staff person to support sustainability initiatives.

Projects - We spent a good portion of the meeting brainstorming ideas for future events, including a native plant sale and hosting a movie night featuring a sustainability-themed film. We also discussed future guest speaker topics, including how to select a residential solar energy company and how to sort recyclables (what can go in the blue bins and what are the options for plastics that are not recyclable). Partnering with other organizations in the community, like the Downers Grove Organic Gardeners (, who share our commitment to the environment can help us reach a broader audience and leverage resources.

Communications - Early on this year, we focused on building our website. The site will continue to evolve as we add content. Stay connected with the Greener Grove community through our e-newsletter (sign up here if you haven’t already!) and by following us on Instagram and Facebook.

Join us for Greener Grove’s Next General Meeting - Monday, October 23, 2023 at 7pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church located at 1125 Franklin, 3rd Floor (accessible via stairs or elevator), Downers Grove.

Get involved - join a subgroup - email us at to let us know what subgroup you would like to connect with - you can join more than one!

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Greener Grove Leadership. From left to right: Steve Ruffolo, Louise Kelly, Suzanne Lestina, Phil Bolton, Carol Richart

Sharing a passion for the environment and Downers Grove, Louise Kelly, Carol Richart, and a group of residents came together in Fall 2022 to petition the DG Village Council to bring back the Environmental Concerns Commission. This commission formerly worked with the Downers Grove Village Council, but had been made inoperative in January of 2020. In collecting signatures on the petition, they met many other residents who shared their passions and a belief that DG needed to do more to improve the environmental health of our community.

While the petition did not have immediate success, a conversation had been started. Louise and Carol were joined by Phil Bolton, and together they decided to start meeting regularly to keep the momentum going. In January 2023, they hosted the first Greener Grove meeting. Community members attending this initial meeting shared many ideas and hopes for the future of DG, and shortly after, Steve Ruffolo and Suzanne Lestina joined the leadership team.

Greener Grove is organized into four subgroups, each led by a member of the leadership team:

  • Projects - Phil Bolton

  • Political Partnerships - Steve Ruffalo

  • Community Activism - Carol Richart

  • Communications - Louise Kelly

Suzanne Lestina handles the business of the organization and is spearheading our efforts to establish Greener Grove as a 501c3 organization. You can learn more about what each subgroup has been doing these past few months here.

It truly takes a village when you are trying to create something new: We partner with other organizations in the area to share ideas, take advantage of lessons learned, and get the word out, including the Pierce Downer’s Heritage Alliance (PDHA).

The leadership team is focused on the activities of their individual subgroup, as well as long-range planning. Each member serves a 2 to 3 year term. Leadership team elections for some positions will be held in April 2025.

Have questions? Please email us at

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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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