The Park District Goes Green

Being environmentally friendly is no new goal of the Naperville Park District, but staying on top of the latest innovations is.

After realizing they had no clear way of collaborating environmentally green policies across the board, the park district formed a green team in 2009, and since then have been finding new ways to stay on top of their environmental policies.

“It’s one of our core values to be environmentally responsible about what we have here in Naperville,” said Sue Omanson, Community Development Manager for the Naperville Park District. “All of our natural areas, our river, we have a lot of beautiful land and we want to take care of it.”

One of the green team’s goals is to put together a sustainability report to present to the public, highlighting their environmental efforts.

“A focus on energy use and that we use that wisely, both using and saving energy and our natural areas and our wildlife, so that’s our third one and then we recycle and try to reduce and use materials well and then the last one is environmental education,” said Omanson.

The park district has many green initiatives, but one of the most visible examples is the introduction of the Knoch Knolls Nature Center.

“We’re definitely using less electricity here then maybe some of our other facilities because of our solatubes, the solar harvesting, we have dimming lights,” said Angelique Harshman, Knoch Knolls Nature Center Manager. “Sometimes things that are greener actually cost a bit more, but in the long run, when you do use environmentally friendly systems, those systems will pay off.”
But a more immediate pay off may be a high honor. The nature Center is currently in the running for being world recognized for their green efforts.

“A LEED Platinum building, so that’s leadership in energy and environmental design and that’s a designation that’s created by the U.S. Green Council and it’s to encourage environmental practices when creating designs for buildings, the construction process and the operations of the building,” said Harshman.

The Park District has one final partner in their green movement, the public.

“When you come to the parks, we always have recycling containers available, they’re right next to our garbage cans, so just think a minute before you throw something in the trash,” said Omanson.

The sustainability report for the Park District is expected to be released in the beginning of February.

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