GreenFields of Geneva, an innovative new retirement community, recently received Conservation@Work certification from The Conservation Foundation. The 3.5 acres of native prairie planted around the campus, complete with walking trails for residents, are what earned them this recognition.
GreenFields Executive Director Jim Holbrook said the decision to incorporate Earth-friendly landscaping was for the benefit and enjoyment of the residents, many of whom spend time walking through the prairie, such as Judie Knott.
“Judie gave me some pictures from her third floor apartment, a shot from up above the prairie,” Holbrook said. “It’s just unbelievable how beautiful it is right now.”
Steve Lane, Natural Resources Manager from Graf Natural Resource Management of St. Charles, which manages the site, said the campus has about an acre each of upland prairie and emergent wetland, and another 1.5 acres of mesic prairie.
“The prairie draws a lot of wildlife like cranes, ducks, herons,” Lane said.
The Conservation Foundation’s Kane County Program Director Dan Lobbes also presented Holbrook with a bur oak tree. And if Judie Knott has anything to say about it, the tree will be planted on the west side of the campus so she can enjoy it from her apartment.
GreenFields, located on the west side of Geneva, joins other organizations including the Kane County Government Center, Naper Settlement, village of Oswego, Fermi National Laboratory, and Keson Industries of Aurora, to name a few, in embracing the concept of replacing turf grass with hardy Midwestern native plants.
The Conservation@Work concept has been eagerly embraced by workplaces because it saves on upkeep costs, reduces the amount of mowing and chemicals used in the landscape, helps control stormwater, and creates a beautiful haven for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.
Written by Sandy Kaczmarski, Communications Assistant