Park District of Oak Park
Where: Chicago, IL
Dedication Date: June 22, 2019
Donation Type: Rooftop solar, water cisterns, tea composting and working beehives
Size: 24.5 kW
Claim to Fame: Sun Club’s first beehive project
In 2016 and 2017, the Park District of Oak Park received the Illinois Association of Park District’s Best of the Best Award for Green Practices. A grant from Sun Club toward projects at the Oak Park Conservatory will keep the green practices coming.
Four sustainability projects were funded by the $100,000 grant, including a 24.5 kW solar field. Installed on the roof of the Conservatory, this renewable energy system provides $3,500 in energy savings annually and requires little maintenance. The system offsets 36,500 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year, which is the equivalent of planting 190 full-sized trees.
The second project is the addition of five water-collecting cisterns. Installed near the Desert Display House, the cisterns can repurpose up to 4,500 gallons of rain to water plants in the Conservatory and throughout the park system.
A tea composting system will provide better plant nutrition. Feeding a plant with a natural fertilizer in place of synthetic fertilizers helps fortify a plant’s immune system to fight diseases and pests. It also reduces costs and saves water.
Three working honeybee hives will make up one colony of bees working together to make honeycombs. Bees perform a task that is vital to the survival of agriculture: pollination. One-third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees, and the goal of these observable beehives is to educate the public and build awareness about the importance of these pollinators.