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World Environment Day 2014: Climate Change with Tom Skilling - Saving the Monarch Butterfly - the Power of Pollinators

Visitors of all ages can “Meet a Scientist,” boost their eco-IQ, take home seedlings and participate in Garden-wide nature, science and gardening activities on Saturday, June 7

Adriana Reyneri
(847) 835-6829, direct

Event Date: 
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GLENCOE, IL (April 29, 2014) – A panel of experts led by Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist for WGN-TV, will present the latest information on climate change and its implications for Chicago-area residents during a keynote presentation on World Environment Day, Saturday, June 7, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

World Environment Day celebrates conservation efforts with a range of family-friendly activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the Garden. Events are focused around this year’s theme of pollinators and include a free lecture on ways home gardeners can help save the monarch butterfly.

“We’ve planned a fun, interactive day for visitors of all ages,” said Kristie Webber, director of interpretive programs. “Guests can engage with Garden scientists and horticultural experts, learn about our conservation work and leave with practical tips for being a conservationist at home.”

Admission and activities are free, though registration and a $12 fee are required to attend the Climate Change Panel at 10:30 a.m. in the Alsdorf Auditorium. (Members receive a 20 percent discount.)

Don Wuebbles, Ph.D., University of Illinois professor of atmospheric science, will summarize recently released studies projecting climate change in the United States and the world. Greg Mueller, the Garden’s chief scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President of Science, will describe the Garden’s efforts to conserve diverse plant habitats critical to coping with climate change. Tom Skilling will report on the trends he has observed in local weather patterns. Speakers will also take questions from the audience.

Visitors interested in learning steps to protect the iconic orange-and-black monarch butterfly can attend a public lecture by Scott Hoffman Black, the executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Black will give a talk titled “The Monarch Butterfly: How You Can Help Save this Iconic Species,” at 1 p.m. in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. The event is free, but registration is required.

The Plant Science Center will also host ongoing “Meet the Scientists” programs. The Garden’s ecologist can introduce you to some of your eight-legged neighbors and show you how spiders can be pollinators. Researchers will also present their work with Chicago’s native bees, Illinois prairie ecosystems and identification of mushrooms, an important part of our soil ecology. Visitors can learn how and why to create a rain garden, and discover the benefits of green roof gardens. They can get involved in the Garden’s Plants of Concern program and hear about such local coalitions as the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership, dedicated to ridding our region of detrimental plants. One of the event’s two free plant giveaways will take place at the Plant Science Center, where visitors can pick up a butterfly weed plant (Asclepias tuberosa), a host plant to the monarch butterfly.

Families can learn more about “Powerful Pollinators” and create stick sculptures through hands-on activities along the Esplanade. The Little Garden Club of Wilmette will encourage visitors to attract pollinators by creating pocket prairie gardens. Children can follow the monarch’s spectacular migration on a giant floor map provided by the Geographic Society of Chicago. The Heller Nature Center will host a special activity to help families learn more about bees, while Animalia Project will feature pollinating puppets. Garden horticulturists will demonstrate organic vegetable gardening, successful composting, butterfly gardening, best tools and tool care, best planting and mulching practices, eco-friendly lawn and rose care, eco-friendly pest control and water-wise gardening. You can even give your indoor environment a boost by learning about “Houseplants for Healthier Homes.”

Organic wine tasting, cooking demonstrations and more will be take place at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. Visitors can sample wines provided by Bonterra Organic Vineyards and watch free cooking demonstration at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. by chef Nicole Pederson, of the Found Kitchen and Social House. Guests can also hear the current “buzz about bees” and take home a white cherry heirloom tomato seedling. Fresh vegetables will be available for purchase on the Esplanade at the Farmers’ Market Stand run by the Garden’s urban agriculture program, Windy City Harvest.

Children who want to work the soil can take part in special super seeds and planting activities at the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden. Those drawn to the water can head to the Kleinman Family Cove to discover the insects, macroinvertebrates and other animals and plants in the Garden’s aquatic habitats. Take the Grand Tram (fee applies) and disembark at the Learning Campus to visit both of these locations.

Recycling programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in parking lot 4 for plastic plant containers and (new this year) a wide array of consumer electronics. Check our website for a full list of electronic items that will be accepted.  

Visitors can easily take the train to World Environment Day. The Garden Trolley will shuttle visitors from the Glencoe Metra station from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on June 7. Cost is $2 round trip; free for Garden members; and free for children under 5.           

World Environment Day is generously supported and attended by Bartlett Tree Experts, Baxter International Inc., ITW and UL LLC. The companies will promote sustainability and present questions on different types of pollinators. Call (847) 835-5440 or visit for the latest information on World Environment Day activities at the Garden.


Editors, please note: For digital images, contact Julie McCaffrey at (847) 835-8213 or at

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