Schools and Gardens

From creating open green space on Chicago Public School campuses to facilitating community garden workshops to leading field trips in Lake, Will, or McHenry Counties, Openlands seeks to create daily opportunities for people to discover and explore nature in the hope of inspiring life-long environmental stewards.

We commit to long-term relationships with our school partners, working with students to see nature in a school garden, around their neighborhoods, and across landscapes. As our expertise in environmental education has grown over the years, we have developed new programs to help students recognize the nature around them and to engage entire school communities in conservation.

Our Building School GardensSpace to Grow, and Birds in my Neighborhood programs assist teachers in developing outdoor curriculum, transform schoolyards into lush gardens and safe playgrounds, and foster a culture of conservation in these schools. Our education programs will continue to evolve, and we will continue to listen, continue to engage, and continue to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

School and community gardens in Chicago are always looking for assistance from volunteers. Get involved on a garden team near you.

Photo: DJ Glisson

Birds in my Neighborhood

Volunteer with Birds in my Neighborhood and organize in-class lessons, bird walks, and field trips.

Building School Gardens

Building School Gardens supports gardens at Chicago Public Schools to improve campuses as vital open space and educational resources.

Space to Grow

Space to Grow transforms Chicago schoolyards into vibrant spaces to play, learn, and be outside, while helping neighborhoods to reduce urban flooding.

Teacher Resources

Openlands and our teacher-partners in Chicago Public Schools have developed class lessons for nature education and outdoor learning.