A letter from our Executive Director:

Dear friends,

“Parks are not sacred!” That was the declaration of a supporter of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park recently at a community dialogue about the subject in Hyde Park.

We’ve been reflecting on this point of view while busily preparing for our 29th annual Earth Day Celebration and Cleanup. It promises to be a big one—with more than 130 parks and forest preserves signed up to participate. And we’re expecting more than 5,000 volunteers who will pick up trash, mulch trees, get gardens ready for the season, and all around invest in community and commitment to caring for our Mother Earth.

While some might not see such efforts as sacred acts or the spaces we steward together as sacred ground, we know that many of you indeed hold up our parks and lakefront as sacred. Some mean it literally. Some mean it figuratively.

Regardless, we friends of the parks consider it our duty to stand in the gap to safeguard our society’s short- and longterm access to the personal, community, public, and environmental health benefits that parks and green and blue spaces provide. Sometimes the struggle is ratcheted up a notch. Or several notches, as has been the case over these last few years.

Some of you have manifested your commitment by participating on park advisory councils. Some of you particularly enjoy digging in the dirt. Some serve on a committee to help us advance a particular favorite cause or have served on the Friends of the Parks board or put in significant time on behalf of our organization some other way. Many of you have activated recently to voice your points of view through park planning processes like the recent South Lakefront Framework Plan process covering Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center.

We so appreciate your investment alongside us in “Your Earth, Your Legacy,” in these different ways, echoing FOTP’s apt Earth Day theme for this year.
Whether you are spending your time mulching with us as part of our Earth Day Celebration and Clean-up, insisting on inclusive decision-making about how to improve the east end of the Midway Plaisance absent the above-ground parking garage that we collectively fought off, or speaking up for the protection of the South Shore nature sanctuary, we celebrate you and your love for our parks.

And because we know you care so much, we invite you to ratchet your investment up a notch with a special Earth Month donation to undergird the collective work to defend our parks as sacrosanct.

Yours in partnership,

Juanita Irizarry
Executive Director

P.S. As the details are changing daily, please check our website at https://fotp.org/issues/projects/obama-presidentiallibrary-2/ for the latest on our work to promote a park positive outcome in Jackson Park in light of the Obama Presidential Center.


Here are a selection of relevant newsletters, news articles, and editorials about issues in or related to parks. For each section, the most recent articles are on the top (and the oldest articles are on the bottom).

Friends of the Parks’ Newsletters

Spring Newsletter 2018

Fall Newsletter 2017

Summer Newsletter 2017

Winter/ Spring Newsletter 2017

Fall Newsletter 2016

Obama Presidential Center & Jackson Park

Friends of the Parks’ Press Releases:

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North Branch Industrial Corridor

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Last Four Miles Initiative

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DuSable Park

Friends of the Parks’ Press Releases:

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Festival Framework

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Rails to Trails

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Other Advocacy

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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Friends of the Parks’ Press Releases:

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