Park District gets big grant for nature center
Sun STaff December 13, 2012 7:28PM
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:47AM
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded the Naperville Park District a $255,693 grant for work on the Knoch Knolls Nature Center.
The grant, awarded through the foundation’s High Performance Green Building Program, will support the Park District’s work to include a photovoltaic energy system and energy-efficient heating and cooling at the facility.
“The foundation congratulates the district on its goal of designing a LEED Platinum building, the highest mark of sustainability. Nature centers, and Knoch Knolls specifically, speak to all aspects of the foundation’s mission: preservation of natural areas; energy efficient buildings; and advancement of renewable energy,” said Bob Romo, the foundation’s senior program officer.
The Knoch Knolls Nature Center is in the design phase, with construction to begin in the summer of 2013 and continuing through summer of 2014. The project will bring the district’s first staffed nature center to Knoch Knolls, a 224-acre park featuring the East and West Branches of the DuPage River, acres of woodland, prairie, and wetlands, and a network of trails including Segment 4 of the DuPage River Trail.
“One of our goals for the future nature center at Knoch Knolls is that the community will be able to see practical examples of green technology at work,” said Park District Director of Planning Eric Shutes. “We are grateful to the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for their support which enables us to include state-of-the art systems such as solar panels and a highly efficient HVAC in the design of the nature center.”
The nature center will offer educational exhibits, an outdoor learning area, and two indoor classrooms for environmental programs. Exhibits planned for the building will focus on the theme of water, as the center will overlook a pond and the West Branch of the DuPage River.