The Park District of Franklin Park was recently awarded an Earth Day in the Parks Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). IDNR’s Division of Education established its Earth Day in the Parks program in 2007. The program promotes stewardship of natural resources by involving Illinois school children in activities such as planting native trees and wildflowers.
The Park District plans to use the grant money to establish a Pollinator Garden at Discovery Park, 3336 Edgington Street, located next to School District 84’s North Elementary School. The Park District’s Discovery Day Camp utilizes North School in the summer which provides gardening opportunities for campers ranging from ages 5-11.
Campers will start the process by cleaning, pulling weeds and raking a 375 square foot area near the front of the park. Park District staff will then teach and direct campers how to dig holes, place plants and learn about types of pollinators. The garden will be maintained by campers until August and then North School students will maintain it until winter. Last summer, campers helped plant milkweed at several parks throughout the Park District.
The Park District has a close relationship with District 84 and has cooperated together on many projects. This garden is an opportunity to educate children and the community on the importance of pollinators. The Park District is currently working on expanding its pollinator efforts. Last spring, five rooftop honeybee hives were installed on the Centre of North Park’s roof.