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Green Landscaping: Greenacres

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exit EPA (About PDF)

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2003 Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards Descriptions

Park District and Municipal Winners

Corporate Winners

View the Honorable Mention Award Description

Local Government (7)

Chicago Park District
Jackson Park Lagoon Rehabilitation
Chicago, IL
Project Size: approximately 45 acres
Contact: Shirl McMayon

Beginning in 2001, the restoration of the lagoon at Jackson Park took three years to complete at a total cost of $3.5 million. Project goals included: 1) restoration of the ecological balance of the lagoon and surrounding buffer landscape; 2) preservation of the historic Olmsted landscape; and 3) accommodation of contemporary visitor use patterns.

Water level control at Jackson Park lagoon was achieved through the installation of the large water control structure and weir visible at the outfall of the lagoon into Lake Michigan. A new force main moving clean, oxygenated water from Lake Michigan into the Columbia Basin improves water quality The shorelines around the lagoon and islands were restored with native wetland plants. Non-native invasive woody plants were removed from the lagoon’s banks and islands and replaced with native oaks, plums, and hawthorn trees, in addition to thousands of native shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses. Winding pathways and recycled boardwalks guide visitors through this restored native landscape.


City of Chicago
Chicago Center for Green Technology
Chicago, IL
Project Size: 4 acres
Contact: Grace Troccolo

The Chicago Center for Green Technology is a rehabilitated brownfield; a former dump site from which 600,000 tons of construction and demolition debris was cleared. The site is now home to an environmentally sustainable facility where people can learn how to make their own homes and businesses more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The philosophy behind the landscape parallels that of the building. The objective was to create an aesthetically pleasing and biologically diverse landscape that users and visitors can enjoy and learn from as well as attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife, and to do this without requiring heavy watering, chemical treatments and mechanical maintenance.

The site features a native wetland landscape which has already become home to a Mallard family and a Kildeer, as well as a variety of non-invasive insects. The parking lot, paved with a reflective, non-toxic surface, features an absence of curbs so that driveway waste is filtered through the bioswales before it reaches the detention pond. The landscape is planted entirely with native prairie, savanna and wetland plants that will provide a botanically diverse site that will attract many native species of insects, birds and small mammals. Many of these plants provide a good food source of seeds and berries. We have created the base for a sustainable, ecological series of landscape habitats that will evolve over time into a healthy, functioning natural landscape community.

Crystal Lake Park District
Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve, Protection and Stewardship
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Project Size: 180.5 acres
Contact: Rita Hickman

The Crystal Lake Park District dedicated Sterne's Fen as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1994. Since that time, the Park District has encouraged and participated in restoration and management of this rare fen wetland community. That restoration effort has included removal of invasive species and controlled burns. This rare fen wetland, of which only 142 acres survive in the entire state, has flourished under the auspices of the Crystal Lake Park District and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

Sterne's fen supports three rare graminoid fen wetland complexes that were identified on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. Only 142 acres of this type of fen wetland survive in the entire state. Additionally, Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve supports 191 native plant species, including 10 species listed by the Illinois Dept. Natural Resources as Endangered or Threatened.

Lake County Forest Preserves
Independence Grove Forest Preserve
Libertyville, Illinois
Project Size: 1,100 Acres
Contact: Steve Messerli

Opened in 2002, Independence Grove is an 1100-acre Forest Preserve located adjacent to the Des Plaines River that includes a 300-acre outdoor recreation and environmental education area which was born through an ambitious reclamation of a former sand and gravel quarry. The Preserve features a 115-acre lake, over seven miles of trails, swimming beach, marina, Visitors Center with educational exhibits and cafe, Native Garden and lakefront plaza. It was designed as a gateway to introduce outdoor recreation visitors to native landscaping and other aspects of the Forest Preserve District’s mission.

The 300-acre activity area around the lake at Independence Grove represents one of the largest native landscapes in the Chicago area, and rivals those found in botanic gardens throughout the country. Native aquatic plantings are featured along the 4.5-mile shoreline of the lake and also at the ornamental pond located in the Native Garden. While these native landscapes were being established with many thousands of live woody and herbaceous plants, the vast majority of the remaining acreage was seeded with native prairie seed or planted with native trees and shrubs. North of the lake, the 75-acre St. Francis Woods represents one of the highest quality examples of remaining pre-settlement forest found in Lake County. Native landscaping is promoted through programming, volunteers and annual plant sale.


Village of Frankfort
Frankfort Prairie Park
Frankfort, Illinois
Project Size: 13.6 acres
Contact: Howard Sloan

In 1995, Dr. William Zales, Professor of Botany discovered a native prairie remnant containing over 43 different species of prairie plants. Dr. Zales rated the site as "a high quality natural area". The Village of Frankfort wished to preserve the area and set about acquiring the prairie remnant and surrounding property for the creation of a Prairie Park. In 2001, the Village hired a leading native plantings consultant to design and develop a restoration and preservation plan for the area. The plan included the preservation of the native prairie area, restoration and creation of eight (8) acres of native tall grass prairie including 3-4 acres of wet prairie, a two (2) acre fishing pond with emergent shoreline and treatment train of best management practices consisting of natural swales, rocky stream, stilling pools, sediment basins and natural aeration system. Over 150 species of native flowers and grasses thrive within the park.

Village of Park Forest
Central Park Wetland Restoration Project
Park Forest, IL
Project Size: 45 acres
Contact: John Joyce

During the last three years the Village of Park Forest has undertaken the restoration of a tiled 45-acre wetland bog located right in the center of the community.

By the early 80’s rough terrain and the high cost of mowing resulted in the discontinuation of mowing. In 1999 the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association selected the site as a Watershed Demonstration Project. Through a grant from SSMMA, a wetland restoration and management plan was prepared for the site. Since that time, with the assistance of three grants, restoration activities have continued.

Village of Vernon Hills
Vernon Hills Village Hall Complex
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Project Size: 1.3 acres
Contact: Evan Teich

Use of native plantings and grasses around our water detention pond and grounds. Use the natural landscaping as a model for potential developers in the area.

Corporate (6)

Butterprint Farm Rural Wildlife Preservation
Monee, Illinois
Project Size: 7.9 acres
Contact: Bill Banks

An old farm with a very interesting history was purchased by naturalist Bill Banks and his wife Diane as a site to rehabilitate and release wildlife. Twenty one acres of the farm are planted in pumpkins, corn, and cereal rye. Much of the rest is devoted to native plantings.

A portion of the woodland was restored back to an original pond using native aquatic plantings. The remaining woodland was planted with native woodland wildflowers. A 2 acre native prairie, now in its 16th year of restoration, contains native plants collected from the surrounding area and roadsides. Another native prairie was established in the front of the farm utilizing the existing seed bank in the soil.

In the month of October, we educate the public on early farm life and talk about native habitats and wildlife not seen closer to Chicago. Last year, an adult Bald Eagle swooped low down to the ground right in front of a hay wagon full of visitors. Many people throughout the farm were amazed. We want to educate the public on the importance of protecting early farms for wildlife habitat and as refuges for local wildlife.

Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy
Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve
Chesterton, IN
Project Size: 167 acres
Contact: Katie Rizer

Coffee Creek Center is a 640 acre sustainable development in Chesterton, Indiana. The focal point of this development is the 167-acre Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve. This natural area contains a variety of unique habitats in various states of quality - mesic woodlands, beech bluffs, oxbow wetlands, seeps, marsh, floodplain, pasture and Coffee Creek. These habitats have been the subject of intense restoration efforts for the past 7 years to bring back to life a piece of native Indiana.

Through exotic species control, burning, planting and over 3,000 linear feet of stream bank and channel restoration, the native biodiversity has improved. Public spaces within the Preserve invite people to visit and appreciate the restoration work and native plantings. Throughout the development (which is 15+ yrs from build out) native plantings help to connect the built and non-built places on site. Multi-use trails allow easy access depending on the habitat sensitivity. Annual long-term monitoring evaluates the restoration process and allows adjustment to the management plan into the future.


ConopCo Realty & Development, Inc.
Sears Prairie Stone
Hoffman Estates, IL
Project Size: 780 acres
Contact: Aris Hantgos

Sears Prairie Stone is the world headquarters of the Sears Robuck Co. plus a business park. Natural Landscaping is used throughout the whole area to provide beauty, habitat, and low maintence landscape. We try to burn all prairie areas in the spring. We are actively combatting big weedy areas. We do transect studies and replant areas that do not establish well. We have a huge wetland in the middle of the property and we have planted many areas with native prairie to help biodiversity and provide habitat. Detention ponds and vegetated swales help to manage the stormwater on the site. There are hundreds of birds and amphibians and reptiles and mammals and insects living on the property. The central wetlands connects two large Cook County forest preserves and is a natural corridor for wildlife migration.

Fuller Park Community Development
Eden Place Nature Center
Chicago, Illinois
(43rd Pl. and Stewart Avenue)
Project Size: 3 acres
Contact: Michael Howard

Eden Place is a doorway for the Southside residents of Chicago to the world of nature. Aspiring to provide a live simulation of a nature preserve; providing a bio-diversified environment exploring the mechanics of a wetland, prairie, and woodland.

The entire prairie and wetland consist of native plants and half of the perennial bed consists of flowers and plants native to Illinois. Eden Place has seen the return of a myriad of wildlife. Our resident pair of Mallard ducks and a red shouldered hawk who claims the site as his hunting ground are just a few of the examples of wildlife returning to the area. The most recent returns have included raccoons, rabbits, cardinals, and a paragon falcon.

Prairie Sun Consultants
Prairie Sun
Naperville, IL
Project Size: 1/3 acre
Contact: Patricia Armstrong

We started out with only one native plant on our property. We planted over 300 different native species of trees, shrubs, vines, prairie grasses and wildflowers, ferns, and woodland wildflowers. We now have terrific bird and insect habitat and low maintenance, beautiful all year landscape in our urban yard.

We burn the prairie every March. We census blooming species twice a month. We keep records of birds, insects and other wildlife observed. We have created habitat that draws about 75 different species of birds and hundreds of kinds of insects. There are 20 nesting species of birds.

The prairie soaks the rain into the ground so there is almost no run off from the property.

Universities Research Association
Fermilab Main Injector Mitigation Project
Batavia, Illinois
Project Size: 10
Contact: Rod Walton

This project consists of approx. ten acres of constructed wetland, seven acres of which is forested, and the remaining three acres are sedge meadow. The wetland was constructed as mitigation for six acres of wetland destroyed as part of a very large construction project in 1993. Realizing the difficulties inherent in wetland creation, we chose the site very carefully, took special pains in grading and supplying the wetland with salvaged soil from the original area disturbed, and provided a very diverse mixture of species as seed and plugs to get the project off to a good start. Tree species used were swamp white oak, white oak, ashes, maples, etc.

The site continues to be monitored and managed. It is home to numerous uncommon species, including Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows and various butterflies (e.g., dion skippers, coppers, fritillaries, etc.) It is contiguous to restored tall grass prairie on three sides, forming a diverse and extensive ecotone area.



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