“Openlands: African American Heritage Water Trails Project”
EnviroThursday - Space Place and Humanities Seminar Series
Speaker: Lillian Holden, Education and Outreach Coordinator at Openlands
Paddling, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and birding - Chicago’s Calumet Region has it all. Learn about how Openlands, a regional non-profit, supports communities adjacent to the Little Calumet River in regional eco-tourism, land acquisition, economic empowerment, and heritage. This interactive session will harmonize multiple teaching techniques to optimize learning.
Lillian Holden works with volunteers, teachers, and staff to build and inspire advocates for nature. Lillian believes that a positive introduction to nature at an early age can change the trajectory of the world’s current climate crisis and inspire careers in science. She also believes that exploring the environment in a child’s neighborhood can cultivate a life-long appreciation for nature and can rebuild communities. Bird watching in one’s neighborhood, planting native plants, and growing fresh collards, bell peppers, and basil in the schoolyard can create an awareness that nature lives not only at the park and farm but can be found and created in your front yard and backyard. After completing her 10-month Ameri-Corp apprenticeship with Openlands as a Public Ally, Lillian worked for The Student Conservation Association (SCA) as a program assistant/nature guide for Chicago Park District’s summer campers and had the privilege to teach hands-on environmental education to grades 3rd – 8th in parks such as Montrose Beach, Gompers Park, The South Shore Cultural Center, and Big Marsh. Now a full-time Openlander, Lillian is excited to use the skills gained during the time of her Ameri-Corp apprenticeship and occupancy as the program assistant with The SCA. Lillian is CPR trained, restorative justice trained, and trauma-informed certified. She is also a certified Openlands TreeKeeper. Lillian holds an Associates Degree in Arts from the City Colleges of Chicago.