Programs & Activities

Urban Explorers

Urban Explorers is an afterschool and summer science education program focused around living in relationships.

Little Ones

Little Ones is an early childhood program focused on culturally based science learning, geared towards 2 – 5 year olds, with their siblings, parents and grandparents involvement.

Indigenous Science Days

Indigenous Science Days is a community program that focus on culturally based science.  The activities take place at multiple places in the Chicago land area, including Bunker Hill, Little Red School House, Montrose Dunes and Dunning Read Conservation Area.

For activities and information visit Indigenous Science Day

Prairie Keepers

Prairie Keepers summer program is a 7-week intensive course for Native youth ages 10 to 18 that provides an opportunity to learn the basics of urban prairie restoration and management.  A grant from After School Matters funded ten paid positions for youth, ages 16 to 18 years old for the summer of 2013.

Growing Circle

Growing Circle is a gardening and restoration initiative housed out of the American Indian Center. The AIC has been involved in helping create a healthier Chicago for a decade now with the inception of our medicinal garden. We also have an ongoing partnership with Dunning Read Conservation Area and have partnered with Union Pacific to start planting our new heritage garden this Spring on a block long embankment. In addition to these partnerships we want to help community make their own personal garden spaces. We’re committed to making a healthier community by making a healthier Chicago. We meet every Thursday during winter programming at AIC from 5-7. Winter programs started the week of January 27th and ends the week of March 10th.

For more information join our Facebook group:
Or contact us at:

AIC garden

The garden’s purpose is to provide community members access to medicinal/edible ceremonial plants; an outdoor classroom for youth and adults to learn about plant identification and prairie ecosystem; an urban prairie demonstration area; habitat for local wild life; and a public green space for the community and neighborhood.  It has served as an outdoor classroom throughout the year for Urban Explorers, Little Ones, Indigenous Science Days and Prairie Keepers programs.

Dunning Read Conservation Area (DRCA)

DRCA is a 25-acre conservation easement located on the campus of the Chicago Read Mental Health facility where the AIC maintains a wet meadow restoration area, helps facilitate edible plant harvesting, control invasive plant species, and monitors wildlife within and outside of the conservation area. In 2013, AIC staff and community worked on restoration through phytoremediation (using plants to clean soil, water and air) and traditional land management practices such as prairie burning and seed spreading. The AIC manages around 2.5 acres of land at the site.

Metra Heritage Garden

The AIC has partnered with the Union Pacific to develop a Heritage Garden along the Metra train tracks on Ravenswood Avenue, along a block-long embankment between Sunnyside and Wilson. In the garden, they plan to grow Native foods and plants that are originally found in the area of Chicago.

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