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2002 Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards Descriptions

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Chicago Wilderness

Park District and Municipalities Winners


South Shore Nature Sanctuary
Chicago Park District
Chicago, Illinois

Contact: Mary Van Haaften [(312) 742-5362, mary.vanhaaften@chicagoparkdistrict.com]

The new nature sanctuary was created on a 3.5-acre peninsula on the shore of Lake Michigan, adjacent to an evolving dune, which contains three species of state listed plants. The peninsula had previously been used for dumping and was overgrown with aggressive weeds and trees. A recycled plastic boardwalk extends over a portion of the dune landscape, and over a small wetland. Winding pathways guide visitors through a newly installed shortgrass prairie and along pockets of woodland. Native Oak, Plum, Hawthorn trees, dozens of native shrubs, and hundreds of wildflowers, and grasses were planted for wildlife habitat.

Acres Pond Restoration
Crystal Lake Park District
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014

Contact: Rita Hickman [(815) 455-1763, clpdnature@aol.com)]

The Crystal Lake Park District recreated a naturally occurring wetland and fen around an established pond that is also used for local stormwater management.

This recreation included removal of non-native aggressive plants and animals, installation of native wetland plants and animals, creation of a sediment pond at the stormwater pipe location, creation of a fishing hole and installation of a walking path, bridges, pier and interpretive signs. 

Elmhurst Great Western Prairie
Elmhurst Park District
Elmhurst, Illinois

Contact: David Price [(630) 993-8909, dprice@epd.org]

The Elmhurst Great Western Prairie is a six acre prairie remnant located between two abandoned railroad easements. (The Chicago Great Western on the north and the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin in the south-now known as the Illinois Prairie Path) Since 1977 this remnant has been restored and maintained by the Elmhurst Park District, the Prairie Management Advisory Commission and the community through the removal of woody growth, cleanups, controlled burns, seed collection, propagation and replanting. To increase public awareness, support, and enjoyment of the prairie they provide a number of on-going informational programs including: brochures, tours, slide presentations, a public display and school programs.

Plum Creek Nature Center
Forest Preserve District of Will County
Beecher, Illinois

Contact: Robert Byerton, [(708) 946-2216, rbryerton@fpdwc.org]

The Plum Creek Nature Center landscape is designed to function as a living exhibit, demonstrating how landscaping with native plants conserves natural resources and contributes to a healthy environment, as well as providing beauty and pleasure. In addition, the landscape provides food, nest sites and shelter for a variety of wildlife. People come to the nature center to learn about backyard habitat enhancement. Interpretive signs help in this endeavor.

Prairie Garden Park
Wayne Park Commission-Village of Wayne
Wayne, Illinois

Contact: Peg Jensen [(630) 584-3090, villageofwayne@yahoo.com]

Once a weedy corner, 1.48 acres were planted with prairie forbes and grasses by the Wayne Park Board and volunteers in June 2001. The lot is located by a busy intersection in a suburb with a rural feel. The Prairie Garden Park exemplifies how the community and local government can work together to recreate a piece of an area’s natural heritage. Throughout the seasons the garden is ever changing, colorful, and beautiful.

Ty Warner Park
Westmont Park District
Westmont Illinois

Contact: Robert Fleck [(630) 969-8080, rfleck@wpd4fun.org]

Acres of forb enhanced prairie serve as a buffer to the enhanced wetlands, carrying runoff through vegetated swales and eliminating erosion concerns around newly constructed stormwater wetlands. Each detention pond was lined with emergent and aquatic plantings to improve water quality and eliminate erosion.

Husky Park
Wheeling Park District
Wheeling, Illinois

Contact: Mark Harrison [(847) 465-3331, harrison@wheelingparkdistrict.com]

Husky Park is a five acre park that was comprised mainly of a dry detention basin, asphalt pathways and two tennis courts. It was in a state of disrepair. It serves a bounded single family residential neighborhood as a mini park and it is located behind a school. The western portion of Husky Park was as a 3- acre storm water detention facility and pumping station. The storm water detention basin in Husky Park had an occasional wet bottom which inhibited the proper growth of the turf and made maintenance of the turf difficult. This wet condition lent itself to the creation of a wetland environment with some simple drain tile abandonment and additional excavation at the basin's low points.

Corporate Winners


Prairie Restoration
American NTN Bearing Manufacturing Corporation
1500 Holmes Rd
Elgin, Illinois 60123

Contact: Heather Murphy [(847) 622-4576, hmurphy@anbmntn.com]

Over a period of 3 years, NTN restored 4 acres of company property to a native tallgrass prairie. There are a total of 42 native species planted on this site including 8 species of native grasses and flowers. Maintenance activities include weeding for non native species, attempting to burn and then mowing, and also herbiciding weeds. They will reseed next year and continue to burn.

Northbrook Prairie Restoration Project
Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
Northbrook, Illinois

Contact: Volker Kotscha [(847) 664-2100, Volker.R.Kotscha@us.ul.com]

In summer 2003, the Underwriters Laboratories facility in Northbrook, Illinois converted 7 acres of our property to native plants. Two separate areas were converted a 2-acre portion along the northern banks of Lake Welborn, and a 5-acre strip of land adjacent to the North Branch Chicago River.

The area by Lake Welborn had previously been covered with noxious weeds. UL built a brick amphitheater into the side of the hill facing the lake. They removed the weeds and surrounded the new amphitheater with native plants such as purple prairie clover, black-eyed susans, nodding onions, gray-headed coneflowers, little bluestems, purple coneflowers, wild oats, Canada rye, and many other species.

The 5 acres bordering the North Branch Chicago River was previously a strip of lawn that was mowed each week. UL removed the grass and planted black-eyed susans, rough blazing stars, switch grass, butterflyweed, rattlesnake master, hoary vervain, and other native plants. They plan to introduce white oaks to this area to further increase the absorption of stormwater runoff.

Honorable Mention

The Kilgoblin Wetland
Village of Barrington
Barrington, Illinois

Contact: John Heinz [(847) 381-7903, Johnheinz@ci.barrington.il.us]

The Village of Barrington purchased this property for the purpose of providing stormwater management on this weed-strewn piece of land bounded by the Union Pacific and E J & E Railroad tracks as well as the spur that connects the two tracks. The desire was to eliminate the direct discharge to the creek and create a discharge that would allow stormwater quality to be improved by allowing sediment to be deposited at the front end of the area and allow nutrients to be absorbed by wetland and native vegetation on its travels through the wetland to the creek. This "daylighting" project eliminated a storm sewer and the water was allowed to be discharged overland before its discharge to the creek. A flow structure was put in to create an open water element of this wetland and the remainder of the 3.5-acre triangle was planted in native prairie and emergent species.

North Park Nature Area
Park District of Franklin Park
Franklin Park, Illinois

Contact: Joseph Modrich [(847) 455-2852, jmodrich@parkdistrictoffranklinpark.org]

The Nature Area of the North Park Redevelopment Project displays plants and flowers native to Illinois. The Nature Area has over thirty species of plants, from mighty oaks to prairie grasses and wildflowers, each identified by individual signs.

Waukegan River Wetland Restoration
Waukegan Park District
Waukegan, Illinois

Contact: Cameron Bettin [(847) 360-4729, cbettin@waukeganparks.org]

The Waukegan Park District successfully completed improvements to a wetland located along the Waukegan River flood plain. The wetland is surrounded by steep slopes on the east and south sides, and the Waukegan River on the west and north sides. The existing one-acre wetland consisted mostly of a monoculture of cattails and willows with a higher quality fen along the south slope of the ravine. The Park District 1.Reduced erosion next to the wetland along the banks of the Waukegan River and reduced erosion from a storm sewer that empties into the wetland. 2.Removed existing cattail vegetation and excavated a 1/3 acre pool in the center of the wetland that will help filter suspended sediments in the Waukegan River flood plain during high flows. 3.Thinned and removed non-native plants from the area, planted native species to anchor soils and increased the biodiversity. 4.Created an interpretive display for educating the community and nearby schools about nonpoint source pollution and the benefit of this wetland to the community of Waukegan.

Calumet is my BackYard

Victor Crivello [(773) 785-1594, captainvic@direcrvinternet

This prairie project was completed by a partnership of three High Schools, the Southeast Industrial Development Commission, Kinder Morgan Terminals, and Bold Chicago.

Using native prairie seeds and plugs, student labor, and volunteer expert advice Bold Chicago created two acres of prairie and planted 400 yards of drainage ditch establishing a wetland in a heavily industrial area in Southeast Chicago.


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