Green Flashes

The Schaumburg Park District is going green! Here are a few of the many ways Schaumburg Park District is improving and leading the community on a green path:

Electric Fleet: Schaumburg Golf Club employs an all-electric fleet of golf carts, which helps to improve local air quality as well as significantly reduce fuel use and cost at the 27-hole course.  

Educating YoungMinds: Spring Valley Nature Center’s environmental education programs for schools hosted over 10,000 school children in 2011, the largest number of students ever to participate in these programs. Students attending school field trip programs are able to supplement lessons learned in school by engaging in outdoor activities that teach about prairies, woodlands and wetlands along with the creatures that call these areas home. Many students visit from District 54 schools.  

Electronic Communications: Most of Schaumburg Park District’s newsletters, including Spring Valley’s Natural Enquirer, are now sent out electronically rather than being printed and mailed. Not only does this reduce costs, but electronic communications save paper and fuel used to transport printed materials.

Rain, Rain, Stay!: Spring Valley continues to offer rain barrels for sale to homeowners. This novel recycling of an old idea allows capture of up to 55 gallons of rainwater from downspouts, storing it for future use in watering plants and gardens. A screened cover prevents mosquitoes and debris from getting into the barrel. Barrels come fully-assembled and ready to use. The reconditioned plastic barrels are blue and cost is $55 per barrel.

Lights Off!: Schaumburg Park District offices feature wall-mounted passive infrared technology to automatically turn lights off when rooms are vacated and adjust to make sure lights stay on when rooms are occupied. It adjusts sensitivity and time delay automatically and immediately in response to occupant behavior, eliminating the need to learn behavior patterns over time. It can cut lighting energy usage by 30% during peak hours, and 90% of lighting energy after 6PM.

Save Batteries!: Spring Valley Nature Center serves as a drop-off site for household batteries. These common items are often difficult to recycle but should not be thrown in the trash. All types of small rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, hearing aid/watch/clock batteries) are sent to a company in Michigan that recycles the batteries. All batteries must have the ends taped (an EPA requirement when mailed).

Green Roofing: The Nature Center roof garden was redone in fall 2009 and reduces the urban heat island effect. The rooftop insulates and shades the building, and the plants and green roof transpire, thereby cooling the atmosphere around it. The roof garden provides improved stormwater management, increased air and water purification, super sound insulation, energy efficiency, extended roof life and aesthetic value.

A Green Green: Schaumburg Golf Club has begun implementing many maintenance practices and projects to protect and enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitat the course provides by working with the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Projects include introduction of native and “no-mow” areas, construction of songbird nest boxes and improving the quality of the lakes and streams.

Public Recycling: SPD has 103 park sites. Each park has recycling containers as well as information to provide patrons with education on recycling.

Sustainable Kitchen: The Spring Valley Nature Center has a sustainable kitchen built by IKEA. IKEA incorporates a variety of environmentally sustainable practices into the manufacture of many of their products including wood components, adhesives, packaging and low VOC. The kitchen boasts an Energy Start certified dishwasher, too!

Audubon Certified Golf Course: The Schaumburg Golf Club Golf Course is a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.” SGC is the 49th course in Illinois and the 772nd in the world to receive the honor. This green course include no-mow areas, wild flowers, bird houses and offers bird watching tours.

Green Roof Grant: The Spring Valley Nature Center recently received a green roof grant from the State Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (APRA). The grant was used to replace and upgrade the Nature Center to an energy efficient green roof with provides 180% more insulation than the previous roof.

Native Plant Growth: Spring Valley Nature Center annually collects nearly 50 pounds of native plant seeds consisting of over 100 different species with assistance by volunteers and school kids. The seeds are used to replant new areas the following year.

Kids Recycle through Art: KASPER utilizes recyclable goods like paper towel rolls, plastic water bottles, newspaper, milk cartons, baby food jars, egg cartons and wire hangars when constructing arts and crafts projects.