Focused on Green Initiatives
The Wheaton Park District is committed to setting an example and adopting a leadership position in establishing and maintaining sound environmental policies, practices and educational opportunities.
A park district committee was formed with the mission to establish and maintain sound environmental policies, practices and educational opportunities for the employees and patrons of the Wheaton Park District. The Board of Park Commissioners voted to adopt an environmental policy created by the committee at the January 21, 2009 board meeting. The policy assists the Wheaton Park District in achieving environmental excellence in all park district programming and operations and further promotes the district’s role model status of sound environmental practices.
Since the initial creation of the policy, the Environmental Policy Committee has transitioned into a team of staff members who are committed to setting an example and adopting a leadership position in establishing and maintaining sound environmental policies, practices and educational opportunities at the Wheaton Park District. The Green Team’s focus on greening the park district has influenced all aspects of the organization by establishing and maintaining sound environmental policies, practices and educational opportunities for park district employees and patrons.
Greening Your Park District
Click on any of the topics below for details about conservation efforts and initiatives at the Wheaton Park District.
Wheaton Park District Earns Water Quality Flag
In an effort to continue greening the Wheaton Park District, the Green Team earned another certification through SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) and the DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee. On May 16, 2018 the park district received the Water Flag.
To earn the water quality flag, they had to demonstrate a commitment to stormwater management and the quality of water in their watershed. They hosted an employee training session where a watershed model program was provided by SCARCE to our Green Team. They were also recognized for previous commitment to restoring shoreline habitat by replacing traditional parking lots with permeable pavers and committing to promote native landscaping being involved in the Native Plant sale for 18 years.
The commitment to clean water isn’t a new initiative; the water quality flag journey started long before the district was aware of the certification. It can be followed back to 1980 with the acquisition of the Lincoln Marsh Natural Area. Lincoln Marsh staff have educated thousands of children and families on the values of wetlands through various programs for over 25 years.
For more information about this initiative, visit the S.C.A.R.C.E website at scarce.org/water-quality
Wheaton Park District Earns Earth Flag
Kay McKeen of SCARCE and DuPage County Board members Grant Eckhoff and Tony Michelassi presented the Wheaton Park District Green Team with an Earth Flag for their efforts to develop and educate staff and patrons, as well as implementing various green initiatives throughout the district.
For more information about this initiative, visit the S.C.A.R.C.E. website at scarce.org/
Wheaton Park District is proud to play a part in these recycling opportunities for the Wheaton community.
Download an overview of Recycling at the Wheaton Park District (PDF).
Recycling at the Community Center
Inside the Facility
Visit the Recycling Center, adjacent to the lobby sitting area to recycle:
- Ink cartridges
- Cell phones
- Shoes | Learn more: ShoeBox Recycling Program (PDF)
Seasonal recycling collections are held inside the Community Center for holiday lights and used sports equipment.
Clothing & Textile Recycling Bins
Paper Recycling Bin
Outside the Facility
Paper, clothing and textiles are collected in bins located at the west/northwest end of the parking lot.
Clothing & Textiles
What Can Go in the Bin?
Acceptable: clothes, shoes and household textiles regardless of condition. Household textiles include tablecloths, towels, beddings, blankets, bedspreads, etc. Clothes, shoes and textiles must be clean and dry, and dropped off in tied plastic bags. A sturdy plastic bag protects the clothes from dirt and simplifies handling.
Not Acceptable: mattresses, furniture, appliances, carpet, household items, toys or trash.
Download: Clothing & Textile Recycling (PDF)
The Paper Retriever bin accepts the following:
- Old park district brochures
- Junk Mail
- Office Paper
- Notebooks (spiral-bound notebooks do not need the metal spiral removed)
- Soft Cover Books
- Hard Cover Books (with covers removed)
- Bagged shredded paper (bags will be removed by the Paper Retriever recyclers)
Please do NOT include:
- Phone Books
Recycling at Central Athletic Complex
500 S. Naperville Rd., Wheaton IL
Clothing, textiles, and shoes in any condition are accepted at this location.
GreenCity Project collects unwanted textiles and resells them in the U.S. and abroad, effectively diverting millions of pounds of clothing from landfills.
Supporting Monarch Populations
In recent years, there has been a decline in the monarch butterfly population and as a result, a nationwide push has been underway for educating and increasing awareness of monarch habitats. Due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides, primary food sources, such as milkweed have become scarce. Because 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations.
To support monarch populations, the park district adopted a resolution and chose 5 initial locations to be certified by Monarch Watch (monarchwatch.org) as monarch waystations. These waystations provide milkweed plants, nectar sources, and needed shelter to support successful migration of monarch butterflies. Waystations are located at Northside Park, Cosley Zoo, and Lincoln Marsh Natural Area.
Monarch Resolution 4.17 (PDF)
Permeable pavers have been used to replace existing asphalt pavement at various facilities, including: Cosley Zoo, Lincoln Marsh, Northside Park, Prairie Administrative Building, Central Athletic Complex, and Rathje Park. Permeable pavers help to slow storm water runoff and improve water quality of waterbodies nearby.
Grants from DuPage County for water quality have helped to fund this initiative.
Wetlands Education Program at Lincoln Marsh
The Wetlands Education Program was developed in 1991 as a collaborative project between the Wheaton Park District’s Lincoln Marsh Natural Area and Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District #200. This program addresses Illinois State Learning Standards for late elementary. The online educational materials were made possible by federal grant funds awarded to District #200 by the Illinois State Board of Education from the Technology Literacy Challenge Grant Fund. As a Community Partner in this technology program, the Wheaton Park District continues its commitment to advancing wetlands education and environmental education.
Cosley Zoo offers FrogWatch Participant Training
Cosley Zoo is a local chapter of FrogWatch USA
FrogWatch USA, is AZA’s (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) flagship citizen science program that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. FrogWatch USA volunteers play an important role in amphibian conservation. Over 2000 amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction and many more are experiencing sharp population declines. This alarming trend may be a sign of deteriorating wetland health because amphibians can serve as indicator species.
Rathje Park Improvements
The park district recently completed plans to repair the shoreline and improve the quality of the pond at Rathje Park. This park is a popular location for fishing in the summer and ice skating in the winter. The project also included replacement of the parking lot with permeable pavers and a rain garden near the preschool building to collect storm water run-off.
While these improvements will benefit water quality, we will continue to treat for invasive plants and algae growth that has occurred at this pond and others throughout the district. This problem is often more prevalent in the spring due to stratification. More information is available from the State of Illinois’ EPA website: Lake Stratification and Mixing (PDF).
Elliot Lake Restoration
Located along Gary Avenue just south of Cosley Zoo and the park district administrative offices, Elliot Lake is an important part of stormwater in the area as well as a popular fishing location. Over the years, the shoreline has eroded and was in need of restoration. This work began in fall 2014 with improvements to the berm that separates the lake from the Winfield Creek. The project was completed in 2015 with native buffer planting along the shoreline. Maintenance of the shoreline will continue until it is fully established in approximately three years.
Lincoln Marsh Natural Area Benefits Area Water Quality & Flood Control
Highly regarded for its recreational and educational opportunities for people of all ages, Lincoln Marsh offers 150 acres of respite from the hustle and bustle of traffic and commerce. The natural integrity of the area is impressive, despite its urban setting. Prairies, woodlands, and savannas surround open water marsh areas that dot the landscape.
Ecological Habitat Preservation & Stormwater Management provided by Lincoln Marsh:
- Acts as a natural stormwater retention facility during heavy rains and floods
- Stores 650 acre feet of storm water. This translates to 211,803,430 gallons!!!†
- Essentially saves $10 million that would be required to construct a stormwater retention facility
- Improves surface and groundwater quality for surrounding communities
- Wetland plants, soil, and hydrology cleanse silt and chemical pollutants from the water
†According to a study conducted by Hey and Associates in 1992.
Central Athletic Complex
Central Athletic Complex receives 13 acres of stormwater storage.
In 2009 the Park District completed 5,000 linear feet of shoreline restoration at Northside Park. The park was further enhanced by a 40,000 cubic yard dredging project, a vegetated detention basin and nearly 180,000 square feet of permeable pavement.
Coins for Conservation Kiosk at Cosley Zoo
Stop by and visit the Coins for Conservation Display at Cosley Zoo and donate your spare change to help support conservation efforts for these endangered species:
Vaquita – The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal
The population of this small porpoise has been reduced to just 30 individuals due to drowning from entanglement in nets used for illegal totoaba fishing. Your contributions will fund Vaquita CPR, a bold plan to bring the remaining vaquitas into a sanctuary until their habitat in the upper Gulf of California can be made safe. Extinction of the vaquita is imminent without the elimination of gillnets and gillnet fishing.
Asian Wild Horse – The Only True Wild Horse on the Planet
Conservation efforts have increased this horse’s population from only 14 individuals to more than 500. Far from being safe, much work still needs to be done to ensure their survival. Your donations will help secure the future of Asian Wild Horses in their natural habitat by supporting the development of artificial water holes. These water holes will encourage expansion of the horses in the Hustai National Park in Mongolia.
Blanding’s Turtle – Illinois Endangered Reptile
Due to illegal capture, loss of habitat, predation, and vehicle and fishing accidents, this once-numerous local resident is now struggling to survive. Your donations will help Cosley Zoo and its local partners, like The Forest Preserve of DuPage County, in efforts to rear young turtles for release and improve the quality of their natural wetland habitat. Donations will fund continued research and purchase food and equipment vital to the long-term success of this project.
The Wheaton Park District Supports Healthy Air!
School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education, or SCARCE, was awarded a Community Needs Grant of the DuPage Foundation to improve air quality in DuPage County. With the help of the DuPage County Department of Transportation, SCARCE made 200 “No Idle Zone – Healthy Air = Healthy Kids” signs and donated the signs to facilities serving children, such as schools, libraries, and park districts. The Wheaton Park District was a recipient of 12 of these important and educational signs to help support our existing efforts at improving air quality.
Why Promote Anti Idling?
- Asthma increases as a result of car exhaust (American Lung Association).
- Idling cars and buses create fumes that can be asthma triggers.
- Fumes are toxic pollutants and probably human carcinogens.
- Idling wastes fuel and money.
For more information, visit scarceecoed.org.