Now in its 13th year, the Naperville Park District’s Green Team recently completed its 2020 Sustainability Report, which is available online at http://www.napervilleparks.org/greeninitiatives. The report summarizes the District’s environmental initiatives in the following five areas:
- Purchasing environmentally responsible products
- Protecting natural resources
- Conserving energy
- Reducing and managing waste
- Furthering environmental education
“Environmental education, stewardship and sustainability are part of the Naperville Park District’s core values,” said Executive Director Ray McGury. “In addition to managing over 2,400 acres of public land, the Park District incorporates sustainable practices in our daily operations. This past year highlighted the importance of nature, parks and open space and the desire of our community to enjoy activities outdoors more than ever. We are committed to continuing to care for our natural environment for enjoyment now and for future generations.”
Some of the Naperville Park District’s accomplishments noted in the 2020 Sustainability Report include the following:
- The Parks Department completed the third year of the Sustainable Parks initiative, using organically based products to maintain playgrounds and 8 designated parks throughout the District.
- Unanticipated paper savings due to the pandemic included using 50% less office paper than in 2019 and saving 9.9 million sheets of paper by discontinuing printing of the quarterly Program Guide. These reductions in paper use (and discontinuing delivery of the Program Guide) saved more than $173,600 and saved 183 tons of wood.
- The District’s energy efficient sports lighting system saved 417,289 kilowatt hours of electricity and an estimated $45,767 in energy costs through use of push button controls and remote controls to turn on lights only when needed.
- In spite of limitations due to the pandemic, including the cancelling of Earth Week and the Earth Day Fair, more than 400 volunteers contributed 2,170 hours to help Naperville Park District with park maintenance and environmental projects in 2020.
- At the 2020 Pumpkin Smash, a record 14,529 pounds of pumpkins were composted at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, a 172% increase over 2019.
- Wolf’s Crossing Community Park, the District’s newest park, includes the following eco-friendly elements: LED lighting, 6.9 acres of natural area, a nature play area, two interpretive signs explaining prairie plants and pollinators, and 254 trees.