In honor of National Solar Appreciation Day, the Chicago Ridge Park District offered residents the opportunity to come out and celebrate at a Solarbration at Freedom Activity Center. (Photos by Kelly White)

In honor of National Solar Appreciation Day, the Chicago Ridge Park District offered residents the opportunity to come out and celebrate at a Solarbration at Freedom Activity Center. (Photos by Kelly White)

Chicago Ridge fetes solar power at Solarbration 

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Members of the Bruno family, of Chicago Ridge, Adilynn, 7; Roman, 13, and Christian, 12, enjoy learning about solar power at the Chicago Ridge Park District’s Solarbration.

By Kelly White 

In honor of National Solar Appreciation Day, the Chicago Ridge Park District offered residents the opportunity to come out and celebrate. 

Cleverly called Solarbration, the free event was held at Freedom Activity Center, 6252 Birmingham St., Chicago Ridge, on March 11. 

“This event breaks up the winter blues with allows residents to take a look at solar energy and the outcome of having a greener planet,” Jennifer Grabowski, Recreation Supervisor at the Chicago Ridge Park District, said.  

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In honor of National Solar Appreciation Day, Jennifer Grabowski, Recreation Supervisor at the Chicago Ridge Park District, organized a Solarbration at Freedom Park.

Solar Appreciation Day is held internationally annually as a way to learn about solar energy and technology and the Solarbration is an event to celebrate the park district’s use of solar energy and leaving a greener planet.   

The park district has been taking big steps over the years to fulfill their stewardship of reducing pollution and scaling down their carbon footprint.  

In 2022, the park district added two roof Solar PV Systems – one at Frontier Park Fieldhouse, 9807 Sayre Ave, and one at Freedom Activity Center. The systems offset nearly 40 percent of the facilities’ annual electricity usage in year one.  The system produced enough clean energy to prevent over 132 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere annually, while reducing the park district’s energy consumption and environmental footprint. 

This year marked the park district’s second annual Solarbration

“I like this event because the park district really has worked hard to leave less of a carbon footprint and to share that with families through fun activities is amazing,” Grabowski said. “I enjoy talking to all the families and having fun activities to share with them.” 

The event featured several activities for families that all were based on solar energy or the sun itself, including kits to make solar pizza box ovens. Children in attendance were also able to create a sundial, make a bracelet with color changing beads, and create a colorful scene by using the sun to make shadows.  

But the fun did not stop there. There was also an indoor scavenger hunt that helps explain how our solar usage is good for the planet, and so many other things. 

All residents in attendance received a goody bag with a solar-powered car kit, solar color-changing water bottle, and more. 

“Kids were able to learn about solar energy and the sun and how the sun can be used for recreation purposes by completing the different activities,” Grabowski said. 

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