• Greener Buildings

    Earth Flag

    You'll see an Earth Flag flying outside some of our facilities - the flag shows that the district passed the requirements to become a designated Earth Flag organization due to our commitment to the environment. below are a few of the green features you'll find in our facilities.

    William Sherman Interpretive Center

    The Interpretive Center at Lyman Woods is the Park District's most eco-friendly building. It was designed and constructed with green building materials including steel frame construction, Hardie board siding, water and energy saving fixtures as well as a green roof with native prairie plants. The center is now host to many of the district's nature-themed programming and camps.

    Visit the Nature Center page for more details of the building's green features.

    Recreation Center

    The Recreation Center was built with water saving fixtures in the rest rooms and locker rooms. Over 20 lbs. of water bottles are recycled per week from the Fitness Center and 75 lbs. of paper are recycled per month from the Recreation Center facility. In addition the building has the following green features:

    • Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs or LED lights for recessed or can lighting
    • Lighting Upgrades -T8 overhead lighting
    • Motion sensors on lights in mostly empty rooms (offices)
    • Energy efficient windows
    • Low flow faucets & toilets
    • Native plant landscaping
    • Sky light in lobby "free" light for natural lighting
    • Indoor Plants (golden pothos & peace lily are best air cleaners)
    • Foam Soap (reduces soap usage by 75%)
    • Bike racks for employees and residents

    Lincoln Center

    In 2005, the Lincoln Center light fixtures were replaced with more energy efficient fixtures. District facilities recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, cartridges, toners, and obsolete equipment. The Lincoln Center also has the following green features:

    • Motion sensors on lights in mostly empty rooms (some offices)
    • Energy efficient windows installed in 1990's with double pane
    • Native plant landscaping
    • Effective recycling program in place (plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel, glass)
    • Foam Soap (reduces soap usage by 75%)
    • Bike racks for employees

    Downers Grove Golf Club

    The Golf Course features the following green practices:

    • Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary: Maintaining a high degree of environmental quality with: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management
    • 20 solar panels on the roof of the driving range shelter help to offset energy costs for the infrared heaters and ceiling fans
    • Motion sensors on lights in mostly empty rooms (bathrooms and offices)
    • Energy efficient windows installed
    • Windows & doors adequately sealed
    • Low flow faucets & toilets with automatic sensors
    • Native plant landscape - Yearly burns
    • Electrical driers in bathroom replace all paper toweling
    • Effective recycling program in place (plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel, glass)
    • Bins on all course tee boxes for cans and bottles to be recycled
    • Sustainable golf course management = low pesticides & fertilizers/native plants

    Downers Grove Museum

    The Museum is a green facility in many ways:

    • Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs or LED lights for lamps and can lighting
    • Lighting Upgrades - OH bulbs at carriage house
    • Native plant landscaping
    • Rain barrel/rain garden - rain barrel at carriage house
    • Bike rack for employees and visitors
    • Natural, unbleached, recycled content paper towels, tissue & napkins
    • Effective recycling program in place (plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel, glass)
    • Composting program in place - Coffee grounds

    Administration Building

    • The District reduces the use of paper by double-siding documents and using electronic communications when possible.
    • The seasonal Recreation & Parks Guide and Park Avenues newsletter is printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly inks.
    • The District requests green alternates on bids for playground equipment, construction projects and vehicles and turf equipment.
  • trees & urban canopy

    Urban Forest Management Plan

    In 2019, the Downers Grove Park District received a US Forest Service Grant to develop an Urban Forest Management Plan. The grant is managed by the Morton Arboretum, which provided $5,000 toward the development of the plan, which the District matched with an additional $5,000.

    Downers Grove Park District currently cares for and manages 5,169 trees spreading over 600 acres of open space. The long-term Urban Forest Management Plan will help the District:

    • Prepare for, and perpetuate the future of the Urban Forest by ensuring continuity in tree care, guide our future tree planting efforts
    • Improve the resiliency of the tree population by increasing diversity
    • Plan for the reduction of invasive species, such as buckthorn and honeysuckle in the parks


    Level I Arboretum by Arbnet Accreditation Program

    Downers Grove Park District has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. Downers Grove Park District is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world's arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants. The District's diverse urban canopy of 5,169 trees features 92 species including a large number of Maple and Oak species in addition to Baldcypress, Serviceberry, Hackberry, Kentucky Coffeetree, Douglas Fir and Alder trees.

    Tree Inventory

    A Comprehensive Tree Inventory of Downers Grove Park District was completed in three phases during the Fall of 2014, Spring of 2015, and Fall of 2015. This inventory resulted in the collection of data for 5,699 trees in 40 park properties.

    Click here for a graphic detailing the results!

    Arbor Day Celebration

    The Downers Grove Park District celebrates Arbor Day every April. Each year a tree planting demonstration from the park district's forester is held for local school children. In 2022, the District will provide free seedlings to the community while supplies last!


    Oaktober Oak Awareness Month

    Each year, the District participates in Oaktoberfest Oak Awareness Month. Oak saplings are distributed to visitors during the District's annual Harvest Fest celebration.

    Christmas Tree Recycling Program

    The Downers Grove Park District hosts two drop-off sites for residents who would like to recycle their Christmas trees between December 26 and January 13 each year. Trees are turned into wood chips which will be used as mulch within parks and landscaping projects. Locations are:

    • Whitlock Park, located at 40th Street and Fairview Avenue, in the parking lot off of Fairview.
    • McCollum Park, located at 6801 S. Main Street, in the north parking lot off of 67th Street.
  • Take it in, Take it out

    The Downers Grove Park District proudly supports the Leave No Trace (LNT) concept in our parks, open space and natural areas. The LNT program was started in the 70s and 80s by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Trash and litter are human impacts that can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area. Show good stewardship by taking out what you take in."Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints."