The Power of Nature in Garfield Park

By Eleanor Greene
Intern, IMLS

They may not have super-human strength or x-ray vision, but the staff and visitors at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, Ill., believe in the power of nature. For community member Tiara Livingston, the conservatory gave her the boost she needed to know she could succeed in science or in anything she wanted to do. Livingston joined the Green Teens program just to fill the hours in her day, and ended up staying through four years of high school. Livingston was inspired by the stories and successes of adult mentors who worked at or visited the conservatory. She’s now a student at DePaul University and also works at the conservatory. In this video, Director Eunita Rushing stresses the importance of having a program that inspires and educates youth and teens in the community to keep them busy and teach them real-world skills. Rushing hopes that when they become adults they’ll be able to come back to the conservatory and explain what it meant to them, inspiring the next generation.

The Garfield Park Conservatory was one of 10 winners of the 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Winners for the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service will be announced on April 23, 2013.

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