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Naperville Park District Receives Best Green Practices Award from Illinois Association of Park Districts

Naperville Park District was recognized by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) with the 2018 Best Green Practices Award, presented at IAPD’s annual awards gala in Wheeling on Friday, October 12.

The Best Green Practices Award recognizes the District’s accomplishments in the areas of recycling, environmental education and advocacy, purchasing, green building, energy conservation, water conservation, stormwater management, and protection of wildlife and habitat.

In addition to its consistent progress in each of these areas, the District was recognized for several new initiatives in 2017 and 2018.  For example, in response to concerns about Roundup from a resident group, NonToxic Naperville, the District began an organic park maintenance initiative, using organically based products to maintain playgrounds and 8 designated parks.  New recycling projects included tennis ball recycling, led by high school tennis athletes, and a pilot pumpkin smash, composting Halloween jack-o-lanterns directly into the soil at the District’s Ron Ory Community Garden Plots. The District also partnered with 12 other community organizations to lead Earth Week Naperville, involving 900+ volunteers in cleanup projects and special events.

Nature Center Manager Angelique Harshman and Park Operations Manager Carl Gorra accepted the award for the Naperville Park District. Harshman plans nature programs for all ages at Knoch Knolls Nature Center, the District’s center for environmental education. Gorra manages the District’s Central Parks Division and continually looks for and tests new, eco-friendly products and methods for maintaining both natural areas and the turf playing fields that host hundreds of athletic games and practices.

The 2017 Sustainability Report provides additional information about the Naperville Park District’s environmental initiatives and can be viewed and downloaded at


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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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