Schools and Gardens

From creating open green space on Chicago Public School campuses to facilitating community garden workshops, 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 Chicago Public 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 Gardens program, Eco-Explorations, Space to Grow, and Birds in my Neighborhood 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.

Photo: DJ Glisson

Birds In My Neighborhood

Birds in my Neighborhood acquaints students and teachers with the common birds in their garden, neighborhood, and city through in-class lessons and field trips.

Building School Gardens

Building School Gardens installs gardens at Chicago public schools to improve school campuses as vital open space for Chicago residents.

Garden Workshops

Lessons are taught by local experts focused on maintaining school gardens environmentally sustainable manner.

Eco-Explorations

Openlands works with partners and regional elementary and high schools to provide a curriculum-based educational experience at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve called the Eco-Explorations Program.

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.