Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

About Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

Brushwood Center serves 10,000 community members annually through diverse programming, including more than 1,200 school age children from overburdened communities in Lake County and 250 military Veterans.

Since 1984 Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods has been a nexus between communities, nature, and the arts across Lake County and the greater Chicago region. Brushwood Center’s four primary program areas include: 1) At Ease: Nature and Art for Veterans | This program empowers military Veterans’ wellbeing by connecting them to nature through a series of art and nature workshops. At Ease began in 2014, and has engaged more than 500 Veterans across the Chicago region during this time period, with significant growth over the last three years. 2) It’s A W.I.N. (Art & Wellness in Nature) | Recognizing the importance of nature for children, It’s A W.I.N. strives to create equitable access to natural areas for underserved youth in Lake County through trainings, field trips and off-site visits to support children, community partners, and caregivers. It’s A W.I.N. reaches more than 1,000 youth and families each year. 3) Inspirational Public Programs | Brushwood Center offers thought-provoking exhibitions, concerts, and an art supply exchange to inspire action for the planet. We host the annual Smith Nature Symposium, which honors internationally recognized environmental leaders. 4) Regional and National Collaboration | Brushwood Center is a leader in efforts across the Chicagoland region to facilitate increased collaboration between natural areas and healthcare providers through our engagement in research and regional and national coalitions.

Thanks to our committed network of supporters and volunteers, Brushwood Center:

Receives consistently high ratings for program impact: 93 percent of Veteran participants said nature and art experiences reduced their levels of tension and stress.

Serves as a focal point for area artists, musicians and performers, increasing in numbers from 80 in 2018 to 250 in 2020.

Amplifies environmental leadership through the Smith Nature Symposium, reaching more than 2,400 viewers across the nation.

Engages actively with more than 50 community partners through our programs.


What would a $1,000 contribution to your program / organization provide?

$1,000 supports 40 Nature Explorer Backpacks / Mochilas de Explorador, distributed to families from low-income communities each summer through our partner libraries.

What would a $10,000 contribution to your program/organization provide?

$10,000 underwrites a full year of Nature Photography teaching fees for our At Ease program for Military Veterans.

Give Time, Things, Support

Give Support (monetary donations)
You can join the Brushwood Center family of supporters! Brushwood Center depends on the generosity of donors to support our nature, art, and wellness programs throughout the year. Please consider a gift of any amount to make this impact possible.

Donations can be made online or checks can be mailed to:
Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods
21850 N. Riverwoods Road
Riverwoods, IL 60015

Contact Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods
21850 N Riverwoods Rd , Riverwoods, IL 60015
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