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Green Landscaping: Greenacres

2008 Awards

2008 Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards
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2008 Award Winners

Exhibits and Visitor Centers Parks/Prairies/Woodlands Naturalized Detention Sustainable Stormwater Management Wetland/Stream Corridor Restorations Certificate of Recognition

Exhibits and Visitor Centers

Lake County Forest Preserves

Ryerson Woods Welcome Center

Native landscaping is a key component of  the Ryerson Woods Welcome Center. The project includes 2 rain gardens, native plant beds and 4 vegetated bioswales in the porous asphalt parking lot.  The building and landscaping is used as a teaching tool.

Stormwater management is an integral component of this project.  Much of the rainwater from the building roof is harvested and stored, ready to be used in the building's fire sprinkler system.  Two rain gardens collect the remaining stormwater from the roof. 

The parking lot is made of porous asphalt, which allows rain water to flow through the asphalt.  The water is stored in a layer of rock under the asphalt where it can infiltrate into the groundwater.  There are 4 vegetated bioswales in the parking lot to help with the heaviest rains. To date, there is no indication that bioswales have been used for that purpose.

Museum of Science and Industry

Native Landscaping at the Smart Home:  Green + Wired Exhibit

The Museum of Science and Industry collaborated with many partners to design and install the native landscape at the Smart Home Exhibit: 

These partners include: Jacobs/Ryan Associates, Christy Webber Landscapes, and Openlands Native Habitats Program, a Clean Air Counts partner, Master Gardeners, and Chicago Department of the Enviroment’s Greencorps.

The area surrounding the Smart Home is configured as a bioswale. The intention is to demonstrate how native plants promote onsite management of stormwater.

This project is arguably the most visible native plant installation in Chicago. Every single visitor to the Smart Home (approximately 140 per day) sees the bioswale and the berms. The exhibit materials explain the benefits of native plants and the facilitators (tour guides) have been provided with education so that they can explain their importance and answer questions.

Parks/Prairies/Woodlands

Chicago Park District

West Pullman Park

The West Pullman Park is on Chicago's south side.  The park is home to a basketball court, a children's playground, a recreation center and the ONLY remnant grove of black oaks in the City of Chicago.

In 2001, the Chicago Park District began a project to convert a portion of the site to a natural habitat. The West Pullman Savanna project was completed in summer 2002 and involved converting 1.5 acres of turf grass into a diverse oak savanna. Thousands of wildflowers, grasses and sedges, numbering over 50 native species, were seeded and planted in the understory.  
 
Since 2002, the site has received supplemental seed and is regularly maintained to control invasive species.  The site also has educational signage about the significance of this site and its history.   Community groups and neighborhood schools volunteer at the site to plant native plants and learn about restoration and invasive management practices.  

Nicor

Elgin Prairie

Nicor Gas restored approximately seven acres of vacant land from turf grass to native landscaping (prairies) at a Nicor Gas Reporting Center where regional employees report to work on a daily basis.  For years, the vacant had been planted with turf grass and it was mowed every two weeks.  Nicor Gas restored the area with a broad array of native prairie species.  Nicor estimates that they save over $5,000 per year on mowing.

Keson Industries Corporate Campus

Aurora, IL

Keson Industries wanted to reduce the amount of turf grass at their complex in Aurora, IL and conducted a turf-to-prairie conversion on 5 acres. Restoration began in 2006.

Prior to restoration, this 5 acre plot was maintained as high-quality turfgrass. It received regular fertilizer and pesticide applications along with regular mowing.

As part of the long-term stewardship plan invasive species control is the main management activity that occurs on-site. Techniques employed for invasive species control include brush cutting, hand pulling, selective herbicide treatments, and prescribed fire.  Mowing has been eliminated in the areas converted to native plants.

Ball Horticultural Corporate Campus

West Chicago, IL

Ball Horticultural Company wanted to set an example for other corporations by restoring areas on their corporate headquarters in West Chicago to an ecologically stable landscape.

This included improving erosion control, wildlife habitat, diversity, aesthetics, and air and water quality. In planning the project, the property was divided into a wetland mitigation area, south woods, west woods, Oak savanna, existing lawn, tall-grass prairie, and an old field.
 
To gain acceptance within the community the company began restoration of the tall-grass prairie in 2003. This area needed the least amount of invasive plant removal and gave the quickest results with flowers blooming the following spring.  To connect the prairie to the wetland, the west woods and old-field were restored next. With the  opening of the canopy in the west woods, more sunlight reached the ground stimulating the growth of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses.  Seed and woody plants were installed within the woods to enhance the remnant populations.

The wetland mitigation area was vegetated in 2004, and required a DuPage County Stormwater permit. A new detention basin and the existing lawn were seeded with native species, while clearing and seeding began in the South woods as well.
 
After installation was complete, interpretive signs were installed as well as houses for Blue Birds, Wood Ducks, and Tree Swallows.  

Village of Sandwich

Harvey Creek Conservation Area

Harvey Creek Conservation Area is the newest park in the Sandwich Park District. 

The site was almost entirely in agricultural row-crop use prior to development. Two wetlands were delineated on site; otherwise there was little "natural" area to protect. Much of the site discharge flows to an unnamed tributary of Little Rock Creek commonly called Harvey Creek, which flows to Big Rock Creek then into the Fox River.

Now it is the largest parcel of land in the parks system consisting of 30 acres of wetlands and restored prairie. A walking path skirts the boundaries of the park to provide recreational and educational opportunities. An open-air shelter provides picnic tables for park guests. Interpretative signs are located nearby to provide information on native plants and wildlife located in the wetland. A 12 foot bridge spans an inlet to Harvey Creek to complete the circular path of the Tim Rediger Memorial Trail. The park is handicapped accessible to accommodate all users.

Town of Linn, WI

Town of Linn Nature Park

The Town of Linn Nature Park is a 160-acre community park that consists of 154 acres of tallgrass prairies, old field grasses, wetlands, and oak savannas. The savannas are remnant savannas and consists of 150+year old Bur and White oaks.   The Park is in the FoxRiver-Illinois River Basin with a tributary of Nippersink Creek running through it. The park's restored wetlands enhance water quality through biofiltration and serves as groundwater recharge for the area. The reintroduction of deep rooted native