The Midwest Institute of Park Executives recently named the Skokie Park District's Genevieve Nano as one of three Outstanding Park Employee Award winners in Greater Chicagoland. From that group, Nano was then chosen as the winner of the 2020 Ralph Voris Community and Professional Service Award, honoring the best of the best among park and grounds professionals.
"Genevieve has been instrumental in writing grants to secure funding to further our native planting initiatives," said district landscape supervisor Steve Ames. "She has designed, procured and planted one acre of native pollinator habitat and has prepared another acre of land to be planted this coming spring."
Among Nano's many responsibilities as a park specialist are:
- Planting and maintaining ornamental and native areas
- Tree planting and maintenance, including inputing field data of added and removed trees,
- Weed management in both ornamental and native areas
- Native area design, maintenance and seed collection, processing and planting
- Grant writing for native area initiatives
Nano has also served as a stewardship aide for Cook County Forest Preserve controlled burns; started up and organized an eco-restoration volunteer group to help develop, establish, maintain and propagate native landscapes; and visits local schools to promote Arbor Day and the importance of trees.
Nano is a past recipient of the Landscape, Ecological and Anthropogenic Processes Fellowship, received a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and won an Exceptional Service Award from the Skokie Park District.
"Genevieve demonstrates professionalism on a daily basis and also makes coming to work more enjoyable for her fellow co-workers," said Ames. "She is an amazing employee and even better person, and no one is more deserving of this award."
The Midwest Institute of Park Executives promotes networking amongst park and grounds professionals in the region through monthly meetings and educational events.