March 8, 2024

Mayor Brandon Johnson Announces Chicago’s First Native and Pollinator Garden Registry Advisory Board

The Board reflects the City’s ongoing commitment to protect native habitats and increase nature-based solutions to climate change

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Brandon Johnson, together with City and community leaders, today announced the City’s first Native and Pollinator Garden Registry Advisory Board. The Board is tasked with creating a native and pollinator garden registry, developing criteria for applications, and reviewing and providing recommendations to the Commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), who will oversee and maintain the registry.

“Now, more than ever, we need to engage available resources to help us find climate solutions _ especially those inherent in nature,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Native and pollinator gardens are vital to Chicago, not only as green space, but also for the benefits they provide for native wildlife.”

Board members were selected based on recommendations from DSS, the Chicago Departments of Environment (DOE), Transportation (CDOT) and Planning and Development (DPD), the Mayor’s Office, and Alderman Brian Hopkins, lead sponsor of the Managed Native and Pollinator Garden Registry ordinance. The appointees come to the Board with technical expertise and knowledge on gardening and native plant species. 

The following individuals received appointments to the Native and Pollinator Garden Registry Advisory Board: 

  • Jessica Fong, Director of Education for Openlands 

  • Naomi Davis, Founder and CEO of Blacks in Green (BIG) 

  • Laura Milkert, Chicago Region Conservation Ecology Manager for the Field Museum 

  • Lorraine Kells, Volunteer for the Chicago Community Gardeners Association  

  • Brittany Buckles, Entomologist and Beekeeper for Midwest Alveole 

In addition to the full board members, the following City officials will serve as ex officio advisory board members: 

  • Breanne Heath, Senior Program Specialist – Gardening, Chicago Parks District 

  • Ron Daye, Chief Landscape Architect, Department of Planning and Development 

  • Gloria Pittman, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Streets and Sanitation 

  • Alderman Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward  

“I am thrilled to work alongside Board appointees to create a registry for native and pollinator gardens,” said Alderman Brian Hopkins. “This registry—created by an ordinance I was proud to sponsor—will allow for residents who have purposefully landscaped native plantings on their properties to do so without the threat of being ticketed by the City.”

The Native and Pollinator Garden Registry Advisory Board will go into effect immediately with an initial meeting anticipated in April. Board members will serve in staggered four-year terms, with half of the initial board serving two-year terms.