Oakton announces Earth Month events

Oakton College's Des Plaines campus has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat.

Des Plaines, Ill. (March 29, 2023) – Bring your friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate Earth Month with Oakton College. Through a series of interactive events, community members can learn about Oakton’s ecosystem and help re-wild the area to benefit local wildlife.

“At Oakton College, we celebrate the Earth and each other through a month of engaging discussions and activities meant to foster a closer relationship with the systems that support us all – whether that be each other or our environment. This year's events have been curated by faculty, staff, students, community members and close partnerships, so there’s something for everyone,” said Charmaine John, Oakton College sustainability specialist.

Discover Oakton’s Biodiversity Out in the Field
Tuesday, April 4, 2 - 3 p.m., Des Plaines Campus
Kick off Earth Month with Oakton’s Distinguished Professor of Biology Paul Gulezian, Ph.D., who will lead a nature walk through some of the ecosystems of Oakton’s Des Plaines campus. We will observe many plants, animals, and fungi present and active during springtime in the Chicago region. Please bring proper footwear to walk in the woods, which may be wet in places. Binoculars will be available to borrow for the walk.

Every Thursday in April (April 6, 13, 20, and 27), noon - 4 p.m., Des Plaines Campus
Join the movement to re-wild two acres of Oakton property to benefit local wildlife! All Earth Month, we’re planting thousands of native plants that will feed the birds and butterflies for decades. Drop in anytime during the pre-scheduled sessions, or schedule a time that works for you and your friends by emailing naturalist@oakton.edu for your planting party.

Creating Justice Symposium: Celebrating the Contributions of Arts to Social Justice Movements
Friday, April 14, 1 - 7 p.m., Des Plaines Campus
Watch artists and activists share their work through presentations, performances and workshops. All sessions are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day, and the event will culminate with a free shared dinner and musical performance.

This important event has taken place at Oakton since 2012. Featured presenters and performers include Deep Time Chicago, a group of five artists, educators, activists, and sisters who dream of better ways to mark our time on Earth; Pin Save the Climate, a group of artists, educators, social workers, and parents making pins and donating all profits to organizations best equipped to create change; and many others.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Panel on Climate Change
Monday, April 17, 4 - 5:30 p.m., Des Plaines
Hear from the Asian American and Pacific Islander subject matter experts on climate change, sustainability, and stewardship. Speakers include K. Malulani Castro, Eriko Kojima and Charmaine John.

Castro is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability. His scholarly and professional work broadly focuses on organizational evaluation and planning. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how indigenous communities have historically, traditionally, and contemporarily understood and implemented evaluation to support self-determination, sustainable living, and landback.

Kojima is a volunteer leader/organizer in community-based biodiversity conservation. She currently serves on the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves Board of Directors. In addition, she is a stewardship workday leader with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, serving primarily at the three Somme preserves (Somme Prairie Nature Preserve, Somme Prairie Grove Nature Preserve, and Somme Woods) in Northbrook, which are part of the North Branch Restoration Project.

John is the sustainability specialist at Oakton College. She coordinates environmental sustainability initiatives on campus, such as energy reduction, electrification, local food production, wildlife protection, green event planning, and student service learning. She previously worked with Cook County Forest Preserves, Village of Northbrook, and Greenest Region Corp.

The Wonders of Beeswax
Wednesday, April 19, noon - 1 p.m., Skokie
Discover the art of candle making during this hour-long artisanal workshop guided by a beekeeper. You’ll participate in the centuries-old process of candle-making and learn the rich history of beeswax.

For more information about these and other events at Oakton, please visit events.oakton.edu.