Our Green Mission
The Park District is committed to helping you be green! Our mission is twofold:
- To provide important information and resources regarding sustainability to make participation in a greener lifestyle simple
- To continue to be good stewards of the environment
We strive to use our resources wisely and become more sustainable in our day to day operations; we invite you to join us! If you are interested in learning about some ways you might be able to make your events, parties and meetings a little greener, please check out our Sustainable Event Suggestions.
Recycle First/Trash Last
Recycling is Easy! Here is a guide to what’s recyclable in our town–and it’s a lot! All kinds of plastics, glass, paper cups and cartons qualify. As long as a container is clean it’s likely you can recycle it. Watch for new side by side recycling and trash containers in all our facilities.
Since our founding in 1909, the Park District of Highland Park has been a steward of the environment.
First Park District Environmental Policy in Illinois
In 1992, we were the first district in Illinois to adopt an Environmental Policy. We initiated a recycling program for facilities and parks, developed an integrated pest management program aimed at reducing use of pesticides and herbicides on playing fields and lawns, later banned smoking in District buildings and vehicles before that practice became state law, and continued to protect our natural areas through local leadership.
In 2007, this committee was formed to update the Environmental Policy and revitalize our environmental practices. The committee set four goals that guide our efforts today:
- Protect the Environment
- Reduce Waste
- Use Resources Wisely
- Share What We Know
Over the past few years, we have completed several major sustainability initiatives. Funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy audits were performed at Centennial Ice Arena, Deer Creek Racquet Club, West Ridge Center and the Recreation Center of Highland Park. And, a variety of energy saving measures were put in place:
- High capacity pumps and chillers were replaced at Hidden Creek and Centennial
- Energy efficient lighting installed at Deer Creek
- HVAC systems upgraded at West Ridge Center
We recently installed energy saving occupancy sensors in all facilities through another grant program.
Leave No Child Inside
To help reverse the growing disconnection between children and nature, the Park District of Highland Park, along with Chicago Wilderness and more than 200 organizations, are working together to promote “Leave No Child Inside.” The movement was inspired by author Richard Louv, who in his groundbreaking 2006 book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, cited kids’ lack of direct experience with nature is largely to blame for alarming increases in obesity, attention deficit disorder and poor social skills. With Leave No Child Inside , our goal is to promote children’s health through outdoor play and exploration, and foster caring for nature and the environment in today’s children and future generations.
Heller Nature Center staff spearheads the park district Leave No Child Inside efforts to get kids to spend more time in the great outdoors. The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights is a list of ten activities that every child should have a right to do and the park district works to make it possible that every child has access to outdoor activities. Almost every Heller program fulfills one or more of the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. For more information on “Leave No Child Inside” & great outdoor activity ideas for families & children, go to: