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S3 Episode 04: Organic Gardening and Healthy Soil

Organic gardener Kelly Foster explains what organic gardening is, how it helps nurture healthy soil, and how you can take a step toward more of an organic approach to your home garden.

This episode is part of Series 3: Celebrating Earth Day. For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series and to submit ideas and questions, visit

Quotes from the podcast episode:

"An interesting fact is that in just a teaspoon of living, healthy soil, there are over a billion organisms, from microscopic bacteria and algae to mites, worms, beetles, ants, fungi, and plant roots. Soil is really a community of organisms where there's a cycle of life just like above ground."

"I think it's important to define what I mean by natural. I mean as close to the way that nature grows things as possible. This means keeping organic material and roots in your soil. Organic gardening is the least disruptive to nature's communities as possible. It encourages and keeps the communities of soil organisms intact."

"I would like to encourage people to be as natural as they can. I think that any step you take towards being more natural is a positive step."

Kelly Foster has a Bachelor’s degree from Benedictine University with a major in business economics and a minor in computer science. In addition to working in the field of computer science as his career, he enjoys gardening in his spare time at home and at the Green Earth Institute. He teaches the Naperville Park District’s organic gardening workshop, which is offered each spring.

For more information:

University of Illinois Extension links with gardening information, classes, Master Gardener Help Line and more:

For DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties:

For Will, Grundy and Kankakee Counties:

List of Soil Testing Labs:

The Green Earth Institute at McDonald Farm in Naperville – a local organic farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture):

The Conservation Foundation - Conservation At Home information:









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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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