community organizing

Chicago Conservation Corps

I am super excited to be accepted into the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) Spring 2016 Environmental Leadership Training Program!

The Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) is a program of the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in collaboration with partners across the city.

The Chicago Conservation Corps recruits, trains, and supports a network of volunteers who work together to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and schools through environmental service projects.

Chicago Conservation Corps Leaders

Leaders participate in 20+ hours of training classes that equip them with a broad understanding of urban environmental challenges and opportunities. Local experts teach these classes, which cover environmental principles and skills in six subject areas: water, energy, green space, green health, waste & community organizing.

Making a difference
Following the classes, Leaders turn their learning into action by developing and leading environmental service projects in their communities with support from C3 Partners and staff. After the project is complete, the Leader is recognized at an annual Leader Graduation Celebration and is eligible to complete further Leader projects.

I am a little late, but we had our first 3.5 hour class last week on community organizing.C3 2

We spent the first part of class learning about the other trainees in the course.

To do so, we started with a pretty cool exercise to find out where we all lived. The class lined up according to our addresses North and South of the center of the city grid (which is State and Madison Streets in the Loop). So I am 17 blocks north of the epicenter of the Chicago street grid system. We all lined up and then moved to show where we lived East and West, moving closer or farther away from our hypothetical Lake Michigan.

It was cool to see that we all came from different parts of the city and that had everyone applied to the program for many different reasons.

Afterwards, The Institute of Cultural Affairs came and presented on community engagement tools. We also discussed what could be an asset to a community and how to map those assets. Some examples are:

  • Natural Assets (parks/green space)
  • Cultural Assets (events/strong work ethic)
  • Human Assets (skills/abilities)
  • Social Assets (clubs/organizations)
  • Political Assets (elected officials/government groups)
  • Material Assets (meeting spaces/community centers)


Tomorrow’s class will focus on energy! I will let you know how that goes!