For details, check our Bulletin Board post, below.


For details, check our Bulletin Board post, below.



Sustainability & Green Initiatives

Sustainability Plan banner image

The Wilmette Park District
Guide to Green Sustainability Plan


The Wilmette Park District adopted their inaugural Sustainability Plan in April 2024. The Plan outlines 72 objectives, intentionally organized into five categories: Land Stewardship, Energy and Emissions, District Operations, Education Initiatives, and Waste Management.

  • Click here to view The Wilmette Park District Guide to Green Sustainability Plan
  • View the April 2024 Sustainability Plan presentation to the Board of Park Commissioners here.
  • View the Plan development project web page here

Explore Our Green Initiatives

Dive into our initiatives below for information of interest and to learn how the Wilmette Park District strives to blend environmentally-friendly practices with the joys of outdoor recreation. From conservation projects to energy-efficiency upgrades, we invite you to join us on this exciting journey toward a greener, healthier, and more vibrant Wilmette!

Land Stewardship

Our aim at the Wilmette Park District is to not only increase and enhance our natural areas but also to preserve the beneficial existing trees and shrubs that grace our community. 

Across all 17 parks within the District, you’ll find a rich array of diverse plants and wildlife. These elements play a crucial role in maintaining and supporting the varied ecosystems present throughout Wilmette. As stewards of these natural resources, we are committed to fostering a deeper connection between our community and the environment, inviting patrons to explore, learn, and appreciate the beauty and significance of our local ecosystems.

Learn all about Wilmette Park District’s distinct native landscapes below:

Keay Nature Center


Keay Nature Center, located at the corner of Skokie Boulevard and Hibbard Road, is a nature park featuring a winding path, water feature, and myriad native plants.

When visiting Keay, you will be met with a plethora of flora and fauna, including various native habitat gardens. Gardens within Keay Nature Center include rain gardens for greater water absorption and filtration, and native woodland, wetland and prairie gardens which include plants such as xxxx . A variety of animals can be found throughout the park. Consider checking out the pond located at the southwest end of the park to see fish, geese, ducks and more!

If you find yourself in Keay Nature Center in the spring, you can see native ephemerals such as Prairie Trillium, White Trillium Mayapples, Trout Lillies, and Virginia Bluebells. Come summertime, you will find Black-Eyed Susans, Joe-Pye weed, Goldenrods, Purple Coneflowers, Nodding Onions, Culvert’s Root, and various Milkweed and Aster species. Additionally, the tree collection at Keay features native trees such as Northern Catalpa, Red Oak, Sugar Maple, White Pine, Hackberry, and Redbud.


Gillson Bird Habitat


In 2015, the Park District secured a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Ouilmette Foundation to establish a bird habitat in Gillson Park. In 2016, with the support of the community, over 250 volunteers and a landscape designer, they successfully planted 20,000 plants in Gillson Park, creating a welcoming haven for migrating birds.

Wilmette’s beautiful lakefront plays a crucial role for migrating birds. Over 325 bird species make round-trip flights annually utilizing the Mississippi Flyway, which comprises the Great Lakes region, to reach their breeding grounds up north. These birds travel at night, and as the sun rises, they need a spot to rest and refuel. If they find themselves over the water, finding land becomes a necessity.

Once they land, the birds require a suitable habitat with the right shelter and food. The ideal habitat provides variety in terms of height and ground litter– something that migrating bird habitats naturally offer. For sustenance, they rely on caterpillars and bugs, which thrive in areas with native plants. These caterpillars are quite selective about their diet, and only consume plant material native to the area.

To learn more about the birds traveling through our region, visit Audubon’s Bird Migration Explorer.

Centennial Prairie Garden


The Wilmette Park District developed a Native Illinois Prairie garden within the detention area located at the north end of Centennial Park. 

Seed plantings began in the fall of 2010. Now established, the garden attracts numerous birds, butterflies and other wildlife.


To learn more about Centennial Prairie Garden, go here

Mallinckrodt Gardens


The Mallinckrodt gardens were initially established in the fall of 2007, when the Park District acquired the property. The garden was revitalized in 2015, when the soil was amended and supplemental plantings were added. There are a wide variety of plants at Mallinckrodt, including native species such as Black-Eyed Susans, Joe-Pye weed, Goldenrods, Purple Coneflowers, and various Milkweed species.

Community Gardens

The Wilmette Park District offers community garden plots in two locations:

Centennial Park, adjacent to the Centennial Recreation Complex near the intersection of Old Glenview and Hibbard Roads. There are 69 plots at Centennial Park.

West Park, located at 3555 Lake Avenue. There are 85 plots at West Park.

To learn more about Wilmette Park District’s garden plots, go here

Wilmette Golf Club


The Wilmette Golf Club employs a variety of environmentally-sustainable landscaping practices. Natural areas on the course include:
– Three acres of low/no-mow area
– A one-acre bioswale
– Six acres of water habitat

Our Golf Club attempts to conserve water whenever possible. The course utilizes two 800-foot wells and a reservoir for irrigation and maintenance water. Additionally, the driving range (5 acres) is not watered in the summer to save water for more crucial areas.

Memorial Trees


For information about our Memorial Tree program, please call 847/256-9638.

Energy and Emissions


LED Lighting
The Wilmette Park District continues to transition its lighting to LEDs for both indoor and outdoor lighting installations. The transition of interior lighting to LEDs is 72.66% complete has been funded with the help of ComEd rebates that have covered an estimated 50% of the process. LED lighting uses at least 75% less energy and lasts 25x longer than traditional incandescent lighting, therefore saving District money and reducing the energy demand from our facilities.

Electric Equipment
The District began the transition to electric equipment in 2022 and has continued to replace end-of-use gas-powered equipment with electric alternatives. Current electric equipment includes a van, hand-held tools, mowers, backpack blowers, chainsaws, pole saws, line trimmers, and 70 electric customer golf carts at the Wilmette Golf Club. Electric-powered equipment is environmentally conscious due to the reduction in associated emissions, and parkgoers benefit from their quieter operation.

EV Charging
The Wilmette Park District has three charging stations available for public use. Charging at these stations is free, and consecutive use is limited to three hours. Please note that only electric vehicles may park in designated EV charging station spaces, and unauthorized use by non-EVs is prohibited by Illinois Vehicle Code (ILCS 625 ILCS 5/11-1308). The District’s EV charging station locations are:

  • West Park, 513 Lake Ave., Wilmette
  • The Community Recreation Center, 3000 Glenview Rd.
  • Wilmette Golf Club, 3900 Fairway Dr.
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