Island in the Sky

Island in the Sky: A Field Guide to Studio Gang’s Chicago Rooftop

Studio Gang


Steve Apfelbaum and Susan Lehnhardt, Applied Ecological Services
Liza Lehrer, Urban Wildlife Institute at Lincoln Park Zoo
Michael Repkin, Omni Ecosystems
Michael Thompson, Chicago Honey Co-op

Elizabeth Hamilton

Classic Color


Created and published by Studio Gang, Island in the Sky is a field guide to the prairie ecosystem we’ve developed on the rooftop of our Chicago office—a “living laboratory” where we’re testing the ability of green roofs to cultivate biodiversity in the city.

This pocket-sized booklet contains original illustrations and information describing the bats, bees, birds, grasses, shrubs, trees, and wildflowers found on our rooftop (nearly 100 species in total!). It also includes interviews with the key collaborators helping us develop the ecosystem, who draw on their expertise to offer different scientific perspectives on rooftop ecology and its potential.

By sharing our own case study experiment and revealing the greater role that green roofs can play in urban areas, this small book aims to build toward a bigger movement in which ecological green roofs sprout across the city, forming a lush network that supports biodiversity region-wide.