- Contributed by Jeff Long
Clean parks are a source of community pride. The Fox Valley Park District takes that duty one step further with parks that are clean and green.
We’re talking not just about the lush greenery of trees, plants and grass at each park – but of green practices. Your parks are the perfect example, epitomizing the shared commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
The Park District is continuing its practice to take what’s good and make it better, with an expanded recycling program that is already under way at the District’s busiest parks.
For the third year a row, the District is partnering with the Association for Individual Development (AID), whose mission is to empower individuals with disabilities, mental illness and special needs to achieve independence and community inclusion.
As this collaboration between the Park District and AID continues to grow, so do the benefits for all involved.
Those blue recycling receptacles you see at most parks keep items like plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard out of local landfills. Rather than take up space while taking hundreds of year to decompose, these items are instead collected and recycled to be reused.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. More recyclables means AID can supply more jobs for individuals who are needed to sort items in appropriate containers.
As well, increased recycling reduces the costs for waste removal, thus saving valuable dollars the Park District can invest elsewhere.
“Recycling is the right thing to do – for so many reasons,” said Joe Hernandez, park grounds manager. “We want to be aggressive in our efforts while making it easy for everybody to get involved so that it becomes second nature.”
Making recycling available at as many sites as possible is a step in the right direction. This year, the Park District is greatly expanding its recycling program to include all of its community centers (Prisco, Eola and Vaughan) and many of its largest, most popular rental shelters such as Cool Acres, Jericho Lake and Waubonsie Lake, among many others.
Special events and seasonal parks will get special attention. Expect to see big recycling efforts at Blackberry Farm, Red Oak Nature Center, Stuart Sports Complex, both water parks (Splash Country and Phillips Park) and at events such as the Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race.
“Our partnership with Fox Valley has helped open the doors to working with other agencies and promote recycling in our communities,” said Mayer Smith,
Business Services Representative for AID who oversees the program. “We’re thrilled to join forces with the Park District and make our towns a little greener.”
The only effort required on behalf of park users is to make sure items like chicken bones and dirty diapers go in the trash can, not the recycle bin. The dedicated workers who separate plastic, aluminum, tin and cardboard would like to thank you in advance for that favor!
Just remember … it costs nothing to recycle, but it sure does reap great rewards that pay real nice dividends in the long run.
Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at