Green Initiatives

The Glen Ellyn Park District has made great strides in becoming an eco-friendly leader within the greater Glen Ellyn community. Our mission is to protect and enhance the environment and natural resources of our community through responsible planning, programming, and resource allocation, while inspiring the public through the District’s example.

  • First Outdoor Sports Complex in Illinois to Receive DarkSky Approval

    Ackerman Park’s softball fields, part of the Glen Ellyn Park District, achieved DarkSky approval in September 2023, making them the first outdoor sports complex in Illinois to receive this certification.

    The DarkSky Outdoor Sports Lighting Program is a certification process designed to help communities reduce light pollution while maintaining adequate lighting for outdoor sports activities. The award is reserved for outdoor lighting solutions that have been proven to substantially reduce light pollution relative to non-certified facilities of similar functions.

    To earn DarkSky approval, the softball fields underwent a comprehensive design review and onsite inspection process, focusing on the types of lighting fixtures, projection angles, controls, and the overall impact of the lighting on the surrounding environment. The fields are equipped with LED fixtures designed to direct light down onto the playing area, thereby reducing glare and light pollution.

  • Illinois’ First Playground with Equipment Made of Recycled Ocean Waste

    In May 2023, the Glen Ellyn Park District opened a new eco-friendly playground at Sunset Park–the first of its kind in Illinois–made from post-consumer recycled materials such as ocean waste, used textiles, and plastic bags. The playground uses sustainably-conscious equipment purchased from playground manufacturer KOMPAN, whose GreenLine products are developed by repurposing post-consumer waste, giving new life to materials, and reducing carbon emissions.

    Located at 483 Fairview Avenue, the playground includes play towers with slides and varied climbing features, a large spinning ring, swings, and geometric-shaped climbing blocks. It also features a gathering hammock and somersault bars. It is designed to appeal primarily to children ages 2 through 12. A small shelter with picnic tables was added near the playground to supply shade.

  • Supporting Healthy Air!

    School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education, or SCARCE, was awarded a Community Needs Grant from 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. The Glen Ellyn 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, please visit

  • Ditch Disposable: Encouraging Use of Refillable Water Bottles

    On average, only 10% of disposable water bottles are recycled. The other 90% winds up in a landfill or littering the environment. The Glen Ellyn Park District encourages all our athletic participants to do their part in reducing the unnecessary amount of waste in landfills by using refillable bottles. Signs are also posted around our facilities and parks encouraging other patrons as well.

  • Volcano Mulching Education

    The Glen Ellyn Park District periodically shares information on volcano mulching with our patrons to help educate the public on the negative effects of this common practice.

    Mulching can be beneficial for tree health as it helps retain moisture and improve soil conditions. However, incorrect mulching practices can harm trees, even causing their death. One common mistake is called “volcano mulching,” where excessive mulch is piled around the base of trees, creating a volcano-like shape against the trunk. Mulch should not come into direct contact with the tree trunk. Doing so can result in improper root growth, decay, and infestation. By following a few simple practices, we can promote the health of local trees:

    • Spread mulch away from the tree base, exposing the trunk/root flare.
    • Use a recommended mulching depth of 2 to 4 inches.
    • Extend mulch in a 4- to 5-foot diameter away from the tree.
    • Check mulch levels annually; trees may not need mulching every year.
    • Ensure mulch is not piled against the tree bark by landscapers.

  • Natural Area Restoration Efforts

    The Glen Ellyn Park District has designated natural areas within our park system and works to restore these areas so they will grow and flourish for the enjoyment of future generations.

  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

    The Lake Ellyn Boathouse achieved Gold-level LEED certification by incorporating several sustainable concepts into the design and restoration of the building. One such feature is the pergola on the southeast terrace, boasting a canopy of twenty solar panels generating up to 14% of the building’s electricity needs. Native plants surround the Boathouse, requiring less maintenance and irrigation, and providing vital habitat for pollinators.

  • Prescribed Burns

    Over the millennia, natural fires caused by lightning strikes were a common occurrence on the landscape. Fire also played a role in land management practices used by indigenous people and early settlers. Today, we use controlled burns, called prescribed burns, as a management tool to help restore our natural areas and mimic some of the ecological benefits of those historical fires.

  • Electric/Tesla Vehicle Charging Stations

    Electric vehicle charging stations were installed at Sunset Pool in 2018 and are free to use for Glen Ellyn Park District patrons for up to two hours. While the spots are designated for electric vehicles whenever possible, all vehicles are welcome to park there. Please note, charging stations at Sunset Pool are only available during the facility’s operating season (Memorial Day-Labor Day).