Skokie Park District Green Initiatives

Current sustainability initiatives implemented at the Skokie Park District:

Staff Environmental Action Team

Formed more than 30 years ago, this park district staff team meets regularly and has initiated many of the energy saving and recycling projects below, in facilities and in parks.

Click here for the Skokie Park District environmental policy.


  • Three community gardens have been planted at Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Park, the Skokie Heritage Museum and the Park Services Center. Park patrons are welcome to pick produce for their own use and the park services staff picks any remaining ripe produce weekly for donation to the Niles Township food pantry.
  • Food composting stations have been added, through cooperation with the Village of Skokie, to Central Park, Hamlin Park, Devonshire Park, Oakton Park and at the Weber Leisure Center.
  • LED Lighting conversions have been completed at: all 10 of the Skokie Park District’s parking lots; all interior and exterior fixtures at Laramie Park sports courts; the Terminal Park softball/baseball field; all exterior fixtures at Skokie Sports Park including mini golf, the batting cages and the driving range and its structure; the sports lighting for Oakton Park and the eight tennis courts at the Skokie Park Tennis Center. The sports field lighting at Laramie and Terminal Parks is complete. 
  • All park shelters throughout the District have been converted to LED.
  • District-wide there 5.17 acres of native/pollinator friendly planting areas, not including the 13 acres at Emily Oaks Nature Center. In 2020 the District received a grant for $20,000 from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to convert 2 acres of turf(1 acre at Hamlin Park and 1 acre at Skokie Sports Park) to pollinator friendly plants.
  • During the fall leaves are mulched using special kits attached to the mower decks (no disposal).
  • In 2020 the district developed an Integrated Pest Management Plan.

District Facilities

  • LED lighting conversions are 100 percent complete at Tot Learning Center, Park Services Center, Skatium Ice Arena, Skokie Sports Park, Skokie Heritage Museum, Skokie Water Playground, Devonshire Aquatic Center and Dammrich Rowing Center. The remaining facilities, the Weber Leisure Center, the Oakton Community Center, the Devonshire Cultural Center and the Emily Oaks Nature Center are over 90% completed.
  • Solar panels have been installed at the Emily Oaks Nature Center. A grant was received for the panels from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation for $23,955.
  • Solar panels have been installed at the Devonshire Cultural Center.
  • Sun tubes installed in interior office space are saving power
  • Mixed use recycling containers are being expanded to all facility entrances and high-use parks throughout the district.
  • Printer and toner cartridge recycling/reuse
  • Staff ‘Reduce-the-Use’ Facility Energy Contest
  • Use of greener (alternative) cleaners
  • Low flow showers, high-efficiency hand dryers and automated paper dispensers
  • Junk mail reduction
  • Double-sided copying and paper reuse
  • Copy paper purchasing (recycled content)
  • Fluorescent light bulb recycling (Fluorocycle)
  • Golf ball reuse at Skokie Sports Park
  • Cardboard recycling
  • Summer camp recycling contests and Recycling Ranger program
  • Motion sensor lights
  • Camp recyclables pick-up

Special Events Sustainability

Recycling at large community special events such as the Skokie Festival of Cultures, Skokie Fireworks Festival and Skokie’s Backlot Bash. In 2019, Collective Resource, Inc. successfully separated two-thirds of a ton of food waste at the Backlot Bash, which went off for compost (diverting it from a landfill). 

Districtwide Marketing

  • Reduction in marketing materials: posters, fliers
  • Four seasonal program guides reduced from 96-pages to 24-pages.
  • Skatium publication now direct-marketed to age range households only
  • Newsletters sent via email

Park Services

  • Propane powered mowing equipment now burns cleaner and has reduced gasoline usage.
  • Any materials that can be recycled during playground renovations or construction projects are. This includes: Sand play surfacing has been donated to local water departments for use in repairing water line breaks.Concrete footings from play equipment and amenity replacements are brought to concrete plants where they are ground up and reused. Bricks from the various paver areas that are being replaced are ground up and reused. After the completion of fencing and backstop removals, fencing materials are brought to metal recycling vendors.
  • The district has a vehicle and equipment "no idle" policy.
  • Skokie Park District "Green Fleet" biodiesel use
  • Salt procedures have been established to make use of brine for pre-treatment and calibrate/reduce the amount of salt used during snow events. This in turn reduces the amount of chlorides getting into waterways.
  • A metal recycling bin is located at the Park Services Center.
  • Oil filter crusher and recycling

Skokie’s Spring Greening

The park district and its community agency partners present Skokie's annual super recycling of household items. Skokie's Spring Greening website.

Earth Day Celebration

Emily Oaks Nature Center annually celebrates the earth by commemorating Earth Day. Visitors commune with nature through themed games, activities, music, food and a native plant sale.