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Friends of the Parks (FOTP) is a non-profit organization in Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1975, it acts as a watchdog group and environmental advocate for the Chicago area. Specifically, it monitors the condition and safety of the Chicago Park District and the forest preserves of Cook County.

FOTP's office is in downtown Chicago. Its staff of approximately eight people relies on volunteer efforts for many of its activities.

Annual events organized by FOTP include the Earth Day Parks and Preserves Clean-up, mobilizing several thousand volunteers on a single day in April to beautify and clean over 100 Chicago area locations; and a black tie ball which features a charity auction.

FOTP assists in educating the public regarding environmental matters. It provides environmental education programs for Chicago students through two programs: Nature Along the Lake (NAL) for elementary students, and the Earth Team, an after-school apprenticeship program for high school students.

FOTP encourages grassroots efforts to organize local park organizations and acts as a liaison for organizing volunteer events to maintain and improve Chicago area parks, forest preserves, and other greenspace.

On May 3, 2016, a statement released by Melody Hobson stated that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art would seek a location outside Chicago after a protracted confrontation with FOTP.[1]

In May 2018, Juanita Irizarry, Executive Director, said that Friends of the Parks "disagree with the choice to locate [the Obama Center] on public parkland rather than vacant land across the street from Washington Park."[2] Nonetheless, Friends of the Parks did not join the lawsuit initiated by Protect our Parks against the Obama Center.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lucas Museum's Chicago Plan Now Appears Dead". CBS Chicago. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  2. ^ Lynn Sweet (14 May 2018). "Federal lawsuit filed to block Obama Center in Jackson Park". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 7 June 2018. Juanita Irizarry, executive director Friends of the Parks, also released a statement, saying officials with the group welcome the Obama Center to the South Side "but disagree with the choice to locate it on public parkland rather than vacant land across the street from Washington Park."
  3. ^ Tony Briscoe (15 May 2018). "Federal lawsuit accuses Obama center organizers of pulling an 'institutional bait and switch'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2018. we welcome the Obama Presidential Center to Chicago’s South Side but disagree with the choice to locate it on public parkland rather than vacant land across the street from Washington Park," Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, said in a statement Monday. "While we are not involved with this lawsuit in any way, it is an indication of the fact the Friends of the Parks is not alone in our concern about Chicago’s parks being seen as sites for real estate development."

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