Honoring Our Mother Earth

Honoring Our Mother Earth Environmental Green Team is an educational, advisory and action ministry.  HOME engages Ascension parishioners in Pope Francis’ encyclical on integral ecology and Catholic social teaching, Laudato Si’.  We care for our common home and the disadvantaged in many small and big ways, locally and globally.  Our big green effort last year was the Zero Waste initiative, which continues to ask each of us to be mindful to sort accurately and reduce our waste at school, church, work and home. To be a member of the HOME team we ask for some volunteer time and energy on any of our initiatives.  You are most welcome! Gina Orlando — gina@ginaorlando.com   708-524-9103.


Join Us!

Explore the magical world of native plants

Native Garden Tour in Oak Park and River Forest, 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 5, 2018


Have you ever walked by a beautiful garden brimming with blooms and butterflies and thought, I wonder how they did this? The upcoming Birds, Bees & Butterflies Native Garden Tour in Oak Park and River Forest will give you a chance to satisfy your curiosity and talk to the people behind their own gardens. Passionate native plant enthusiasts, master gardeners, professional designers and experienced naturalists will guide you through 12 enchanting gardens that creatively incorporate native plants.

“Whatever your experience level, you will enjoy opportunities to learn from the gardeners themselves, who are all passionate about native plants and are eager to share their knowledge, tips and tricks,” says Pam Todd, co-founder of West Cook Wild Ones, which is hosting the tour. “Whether you are just getting started from scratch or want to expand an established garden, you can get your questions answered.”

On the tour, you can discover ways to fall in love with your yard, create a healthier home for children and wildlife, fight climate change and hack your water and energy bills. Gardens featured on the tour incorporate a range of approaches, themes and styles, including

  • butterfly & pollinator gardensA picture of our very own Ascension native garden. Thank you to Susie Cahill for her wonderful gardening skills!
  • shade gardens & shrubs
  • rain gardens & bioswales
  • parkway gardens
  • bird & wildlife habitat
  • mixing edibles and natives
  • transitioning a traditional garden

The tour is 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 5, 2018, in Oak Park & River Forest. Ticket prices start at $7 and are free for kids ages 18 and younger. For more info, visit: https://westcook.wildones.org. Go here to view a poster about the event.


Spring 2018 Observations from the de facto parish Zero Waste Ambassador

It’s been two years since the implementation of the Zero Waste initiative in the Ascension School’s lunch program and subsequently at the majority of parish and school event taking place in the Pine Room.  Our efforts have been pretty significant in reducing the amount we send to landfill.  There is, however, room for improvement, especially since there is a potential for being fined if our recycling and/or compost is contaminated with prohibited items.


The 5 major prohibited items that I see in our recycling and compost bins on a regular basis are:

1. Plastic bags and plastic wrap (all kinds), either loose or used to contain recycling materials – these are not recyclable as they get caught in the recycling sorting machines.  They are either LANDFILL or you can recycle the plastic bags at most grocery stores and Kohl’s.  Ascension will begin getting fined at $250 per occurrence for plastic bags in the recycling dumpster.

2. Red Solo cups #6 – these are LANDFILL

3. Plastic forks, spoons and knives– these are LANDFILL

4. Food-soiled paper plates, napkins, cups in recycling– these are COMPOST

5. Styrofoam plates, cups – these are LANDFILL


All the Pine Room bins have either a sign on the front of the bin or attached to the bin with a clamp.  Please look at the signs and recycle, compost or put in landfill as required.

You can simplify the waste sorting process for your group by reducing the amount of landfill items you provide.  Here are some examples:

☼ instead of providing juice boxes, use paper cups and bottled juice

☼ instead of providing bottled water, use the paper cups and water pitchers/filtered water from the Pine Room

☼ limit your use of individual bags for chips, granola bars, etc. 

☼ use paper cups & paper plates instead of the #6 hard plastic items or Styrofoam

☼ eliminate the use of plastic tablecloths


Thanks to the Ascension HOME Team, we now have navy polyester tablecloths for use by any group using the Pine Room or gym.  These tablecloths of rectangular, but can be folded to use on the round tables.  They will be kept in the east storage room in a properly labelled bin. Any group using the tablecloths is responsible for laundering them and returning them to the bin within 3 days of using them. 

As we move into our third year of the zero waste program, I’m sure we can continue to improve our efforts toward this end.  Thank you.  Kathy Marifjeren