Pizzo 30! A Summer of Events


Our summer of educational events is almost over (a Plant Identification Training class is scheduled for August 30 – sign up here!).

Our Summer Events Provided Exposure to All Things Natural

  • Bus Tour – In our ongoing effort to educate and bring people out into nature, we went on a bus tour which included stops at our Leland, IL nursery and prairie with a second stop at the Pizzo residence in Clare, IL where we got a private tour of Jack Pizzo’s prairie and Buffalograss lawn.
  • Nature Walks – We also held a number of free nature walks across the Chicago region with native plant enthusiast and expert, Evan Barker.
  • Plant ID – Plant Identification Training sessions were held to teach and show attendees how to identify the native and non-native plants that surround us. Our August 30th session still has space available – learn more and sign up here.
  • Community Association Manager Seminar – Property and Community Association Managers gathered together for an informative seminar and detention basin tour in Montgomery, IL. Participants earned two CMCA Continuing Education Units for attending the seminar.

If you have questions, need help, or want us to bring an educational session to you, contact us! We can be reached at info@pizzogroup.com or use the contact form

We are celebrating 30 years as the leading ecological restoration firm in the Midwest. Jack Pizzo started his company in 1988 as a way to do everything he could to help our environment. We’ve come a long way since then and want to share it with you!

Join us this summer as we celebrate with a series of events where we share our knowledge and together we experience what Mother Nature has given us.

We’ve planned bus tours, nature walks, seminars and plant ID training. Join us!



Tour leader, Jack Pizzo

Over the course of five and a half hours, you’ll tour the prairie at the Pizzo Native Plant Nursery in Leland, IL where you’ll see hundreds of species of native plants and a prairie teeming with wildlife. From there, we’ll head over to Jack Pizzo’s property in Clare, IL and get a quick tour of his prairie and then enjoy a luncheon on Buffalograss — the popular turf grass alternative.

Bring your cameras for some incredible photo opportunities to capture mother nature at her best. Boxed lunch and beverages provided.

SCHEDULE: The bus tour will likely go from 10am-3:30pm on July 25 with a western suburb pickup/drop-off location (Naperville or Aurora). There will be a cost of $40 to offset the cost of the bus and will include beverages and a boxed lunch.

RSVP: This event has passed. Check out the photos here!


WHAT: A hands-on lecture plus field training session for anyone interested in learning how to identify native and non-native plants found in the Chicago region, such as landscape contractors, landscape architects, environmental consultants, or interested enthusiasts. This all-day course covers methods for identifying plants found in both wetland and upland habitats, including regional books and websites, how to use a dichotomous key, tips for taking useful photos, and how to use iNaturalist. Participants will learn common terminology for describing leaves and flowers and gain an introduction to the major invasive species, common native plants, and largest plant families in our area.

WHEN: August 30; 9:00am-3:30pm

WHERE: Lemont Township Community Room – 16300 Alba Street Lemont, IL 60439 (Google Maps)


Co-leader, cassi saari

cassi saari is an ecologist and field botanist with ecology + vision, llc – an ecological consulting and sustainable landscape architecture firm in the Chicago region. At e+v, cassi leads natural areas assessments, conducts floristic inventories and tree surveys, and monitors habitat restoration projects. She is an ISA Certified Arborist and SER Certified Ecological Practitioner with ten years of experience in the conservation community. cassi co-directs Habitat 2030, a club for nature nerds, and is involved in a multitude of community science efforts, including serving as a curator on iNaturalist.org and organizing the Illinois Botanists Big Year competition.


Co-leader, Evan Barker

Evan Barker graduated from DePaul University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and is now Pizzo & Associates’ Quality Control Manager and Prescribed Fire Coordinator. Evan manages plant ID training and testing, as well as planning, compliance and execution of dozens of prescribed burns each year. He was the winner of the 2016 Illinois Native Plant Society’s Illinois Botanists Big Year Competition where he found, photographed, identified and confirmed over 875 plant species within the state. 


COST: $125 – includes snacks, drinks, a boxed lunch OR $115 and you bring your own lunch.

This session is limited to 18 participants

RSVP: Sign up here


WHAT: Meander through well-managed natural areas with an ecological expert. Learn fun facts about the plants that surround us every day. Discover what they are, how they benefit us, and what bugs, birds and animals they attract.

Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the beauty of mother nature. There are several options to choose from:


Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL
Join us at the historic Graceland Cemetery on Chicago’s north side for one of these nature walks. This 2.5 acre prairie is a 2018 Gold award winner for Best Ecological Planting – awarded by the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association and is fully integrated into the functional portions of the cemetery.

Bring your camera and binoculars, because you’ll see dozens of locally native plant species and any number of rare birds as Graceland has become one of Chicago’s best bird-watching hotspots.

Grand Haven Homeowners Association – Romeoville, IL 
This gated adult community integrates award-winning restoration projects in and around its retention ponds and grounds. On this walk, you’ll see how the Pizzo Group can integrate the needs of multiple stakeholders and produce beautiful and sustainable natural areas within housing developments. Dozens of native species bloom throughout the year, and a mosaic of grasses and sedges add structure to the expansive natural areas enjoyed by all.

Marley Pond, Orland Park, IL 
This park boasts two naturalized basin edges that were bursting at the seams with eagerness to return to native vegetation. One of our most successful plantings, this installation is only a few years old and is already performing at a very high level. Wildlife seen at these sites is almost as various as the vegetation, with dozens of wildflower species and a graceful setting that allows park visitors to appreciate nature while getting active with their families.

TIME: 9am-11am, unless otherwise noted.

COST: Each nature walk is free and is limited to the first 15 participants who register. Cold beverages will be provided.

RSVP: These events have passed. If you’d like to be on our Nature Walk notify list, email info@pizzogroup.com and tell us to “Put me on the Nature Walk list!”

NATURE WALK GUIDE: Evan Barker, Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. Evan is a native plant and ecological restoration expert, and the winner of the Illinois Botanists Big Year 2016.


Two CAMICB Credit Hours

WHAT: A two hour session and tour for community association managers and HOA Board members. Each attendee will learn:

  • Terminology and common challenges for Community Association Managers, HOAs and common spaces
  • The benefits of a good restoration
  • How to ensure a good end product
  • What good restoration looks like (and why)

Two CAMICB credits will be provided. This session will include coffee, breakfast items and a tour of the onsite detention basin.

DATE: This event has passed. Would you like us to present this at your office or in an area near you? Let us know! Email info@pizzogroup.com

WHERE: Montgomery Civic Center/Police Department – 10 Civic Center Dr, Montgomery, IL 60538

COST: Free

RSVP: This event has passed. Would you like us to present this at your office or in an area near you? Let us know! Email info@pizzogroup.com