Northwest suburban open space, pollinator projects get funding boost

  • Deer Park is receiving a grant from ComEd's Green Region Program to enhance the Betty McLaughlin Memorial Butterfly Garden in Vehe Park.

    Deer Park is receiving a grant from ComEd's Green Region Program to enhance the Betty McLaughlin Memorial Butterfly Garden in Vehe Park. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

Daily Herald report
Updated 8/20/2020 5:56 PM

Several Northwest suburbs are among 26 public agencies in northern Illinois to receive ComEd grants of up to $10,000 to help support habitats and other open-space projects.

Many of the projects receiving the Green Region Program grants focus on enhancing pollinator habitats and protecting species such as butterflies and bees. That includes the grant awarded to Deer Park to help enhance the Butterfly Garden at Vehe Farm Park.


Since it began in 2013, the Green Region Program has awarded more than $1.5 million to fund nearly 200 open-space projects and help restore about 1,000 acres in the region. Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation, administers the grants.

Other grant recipients this year include:

• Pollinator Park at Hillcrest Lake in Prospect Heights. The project will replace a 3-acre site surrounding Hillcrest Lake with a native pollinator park by creating riparian buffers, rich in biodiversity, that incorporate a trail network and interpretive signage. Currently, the site suffers from localized flooding and shoreline erosion, which leaves the area with little ecological and recreational value.

• Native Restoration of Tower Lakes Nature Preserve in Tower Lakes. The project will help restore the 17-acre Tower Lakes Nature Preserve, which includes oak groves, prairie and wetlands, by eliminating invasive trees and brush and seeding native plants to encourage pollinators and create education opportunities for residents.

• Bartlett Creek Restoration Project in Bartlett. The project will help remove invasive weeds along the Bartlett Creek and replant the area with pollinators to promote pollinating species and creek stabilization.

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• Whippoorwill Park Pollinator Gardens in Mettawa. The project will enhance Whippoorwill Park, one of the most visited and easily accessible Mettawa parks, with pollinator gardens.

• Northbrook Park District Prescribed Burn & Community Outreach Program. The project involves completing prescribed burns of native landscaping to improve the vitality of the native landscapes and wildlife. It will also help develop educational programming and materials on native landscape care and connect with the park district's existing


• Village Hall Rain Garden and Bee Habitat in Port Barrington. The project will create a rain garden, vegetative swale and butterfly/bee habitats to educate the public about the importance of conservation with aesthetic benefits.

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