Peck Farm Park

PeckFarmPark01Before “sustainable” was an everyday phrase, the Kestrel Design Group helped create a sustainable heritage park called Peck Farm Park. This park is still functioning today for active recreation, interpretation, and is a great example of landscape restoration that gets better with age.

Geneva, Illinois, for Geneva Park District

Peck Farm Park, a 160-acre Illinois Heritage Park, is a showcase of biorestoration techniques, a cross-section of all-northern Illinois plant communities, while accommodating active recreation. Peck Farm Park provides education, recreation and enjoyable grounds, in addition to promoting the quality and health of our environment and water.

This park is a blueprint for park development in the 21st century. Concepts of sustainability, biorestoration, uniqueness of place, bioengineering and ultimately “living lighter on the land” are introduced and explained. The visitor has the opportunity to be immersed in the landscape that sustains us all and allows them to stand on an authentic piece of America. This demonstration of “Conservation Development” shows how to protect the environment in a developing situation in the fastest growing county (Kane) in the state of Illinois. Techniques shown include: biorestoration swales (natural vegetated swales), stormwater wetlands, enhanced wetlands, wastewater wetland, rare and endangered plant community restoration, and a wide selection of Best Management Practices.

This project had a lengthy Citizens Advisory Committee process from the surrounding stakeholders to emphasize BMP’s, lakescaping, stormwater wetlands and other water quality initiatives. This process extended over several months. The Kestrel Design Group facilitated this process and inspired massive volunteer efforts.

A wonderful feature of this project is the geographic location of Geneva Middle School, which shares a boundary with Peck Farm Park. Students are monitoring the water quality of the stormwater coming from the Middle School and passing through newly created stormwater wetlands and finally into Peck Lake. Future projects will include the planting of native prairie plants, followed by monitoring of the plant and wildlife populations that will move into and establish homes within newly created habitat at Peck Farm Park. Peck Farm Park provides a unique opportunity for young scouts to make a meaningful contribution to Geneva’s open space. Currently wildlife homes and other conservation projects are being built by the local scout troop. Trail bridges and a vast array of wildlife nesting boxes were built and donated by Eagle Scout candidates working to complete projects. Scouts have also planted vegaterraces, submerged aquatics, mesic and wet prairie and have inoculated the created wetlands with amphibians from the DNR.

Conceived as giant water filters, each wetland removes sediment and pollution from stormwater runoff, passing on successively cleaner water into the next wetland, until the flow reaches Peck Lake. By improving the health of the sub-watershed through the use of BMP’s, the lake can be stabilized and revitalized. Geneva Park District’s Peck Farm Park is rich in both cultural and natural history. Innovative biorestoration and habitat creation techniques have been used to create a cross section of all major northern Illinois plant communities at this Illinois Heritage Park. Visitors to Peck Farm Park experience a surprisingly varied site where history, recreation and the environment come together to form a piece of “Heritage Illinois”. For more information about the park today, see its website at

2001 Native Landscaping Award – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Chicago Wilderness Conservation
1999 Analysis and Planning Merit Award – American Society of Landscape Architects, Illinois Chapter
1999 Design Merit Award – American Society of Landscape Architects, Illinois Chapter
1999 Outstanding Facility Award – Illinois Department of Natural Resources
1998 Best New Facility Award – Illinois Park & Recreation Association

+ Sustainable Landscape Design
+ Park Master Planning
+ Wildlife Habitat Restoration
+ Integrated Stormwater Management

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Minneapolis Chain of Lakes & Minnehaha Creek

Chain01 (1)Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the Minneapolis Parks & Rec Board

The Minneapolis Park System is focused around the Chain of Lakes, a series of glacial ice block lakes that drain into the Mississippi River by way of Minnehaha Creek. While this jewel of Minneapolis has been preserved from development and draws more than 5.5 million visitors per year, urban runoff from the surrounding 8,000+ acres of urban watersheds and intensive recreational use had taken their toll. To address these challenges, the Minnehaha Creek watershed district and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board spearheaded a watershed-wide stewardship vision, which included the Kestrel Design Group as lead Landscape Architect.

Efforts were aimed at improving water quality; increasing wildlife habitat quality, and drawing out the region’s unique regional character. Kestrel provided services ranging from historical research, natural resource inventory using GPS/GIS Minnesota Land Cover Classification (MLCCS), ecological design or storm water wetlands, sustainable and ecological stormwater management, erosion control, lakescaping, stream restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, and oordination of neighborhood involvement.Chain01 (2)

Water quality improvement projects aimed at reducing erosion, sedimentation, and excess nutrients in surface water bodies and increasing awareness of water quality stewardship issues on public and residential land. For example, the Cedar Meadows Stormwater Wetlands Project included creation and restoration of several wetlands, resulting in increased water clarity from 3.5 feet to 15 feet visibility in Cedar Lake.

Further downstream, grit chambers and a created micropool have greatly reduced the sedimentation plume into Lake Harriet. Comprehensive water quality improvement efforts at Lake Nokomis Park are improving water quality through a combination of rough fish removal, grit chambers, three stormwater wetlands, modification of the lake’s outlet structure into Minnehaha Creek, and lakeshore stabilization. Clarity readings doubled from 2002 to 2003. Erosion and instability were addressed with soil bioengineering, streambank gradient stabilization, and floodplain reconnection at Minnehaha Creek.

Wildlife habitat has been enhanced by creating and restoring wetlands, establishing diverse, native wetland buffers, and installing wildlife habitat enhancement structures.


+ Stormwater Best Management Practices

+ Wetland Delineation, Mitigation, & Restoration

+ Shoreline Restoration

+ Wildlife Habitat Enhancement

+ Integrated Native Landscape Design & Maintenance Plan

+ Sustainable Master Planning


2001 Land Use and Community Development Award, Minnesota Environmental Initiative




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Target Center Green Roof

Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED)


Photo Credit 2009, Bergerson Photography

When Minneapolis’ Target Center Arena needed a new roof, The Kestrel Design Group provided its green roof expertise to create a quantitative and qualitative cost benefit analysis that enabled the City of Minneapolis to decide with confidence that replacing the conventional roof on the Target Center with a green roof was the most cost effective decision over the lifespan of the Target Center building. Subsequently, The Kestrel Design Group also provided design services for the green roof. At 113,000 s.f., the Target Center Arena green roof – the fifth largest extensive green roof and the first green roof installed on an arena in North America – mitigates the urban heat island effect, greens views from above, provides wildlife habitat and improves urban air quality on a scale that is not feasible at grade in an urban area like downtown Minneapolis.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom

It also mitigates stormwater runoff from a significant amount of impervious surface in a downtown location where space does not permit use of other Low Impact Development Techniques for stormwater management at grade. Such positive impacts on local water bodies are valuable in a City that prides itself on its legendary waterbodies: The City of Lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom


+ Life Cycle Cost Benefit Analysis

+ Green Roof Design and Construction Documents

+ Construction Observation


Architect of Record: Leo A Daly

Green Roof Design: The Kestrel Design Group

Roofing Consultant: Inspec

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Silver Lake Shoreline Restoration

Rochester, Minnesota, for the City of Rochester


Image by Sarah Sutherland

Silver Lake is located on the edge of downtown Rochester and was overwhelmed with poor water quality from heavy use, urban stormwater runoff , and waste from a large goose population remaining on the lake year-round due to open water conditions.


Image by Sarah Sutherland

The Kestrel Design Group used native plant communities as a model for the restoration of shoreline areas around Silver Lake. Aquatic and terrestrial vegetation was re-established in the floating, emergent, wet prairie/sedge meadow, and mesic upland prairie plant community zones along the shoreline. Groves of bush on bush, black chokeberry, highbush cranberry, and dogwood with native grasses and rushes were planted along pedestrian trails for aesthetic and habitat improvements.

Wetlands were created around the lake’s perimeter to filter and clean stormwater runoff before it enters the lake. Project goals included; decreasing erosion, improving water quality, increasing habitat for desirable species, decreasing nuisance wildlife numbers, and creating colorful and dynamic aesthetics to enhance a regional identity.

Image by Sarah Sutherland



+ Wildlife Habitat Enhancement

+ Natural Areas Restoration

Project Engineer: Wenck Associates

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Minneapolis Central Library Green Roof

Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the City of Minneapolis


Image by Rick Grabovsky from AMBE, 2006

The conceptual design for the Minneapolis Central Library’s green roof weaves together local cultural and natural patterns. The concept emphasizes the influence of the Mississippi River on Minneapolis’ street grid and the library building design, as the river bend on which the street grids and library building are based is reflected in the green roof pattern of waves. The Mississippi River is emulated by waves created across plant palettes of varying, undulating heights, with 20-30 species in each palette. Wave patterns change seasonally as different waves are more apparent at different times of the year when prominent species are in bloom. Additionally, a seasonal wave movement is also superimposed on 3D wave patterns by a purple/pink burst of color that moves from west to east from spring to fall in accordance with the flow of the Mississippi River.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom

The planting design also complements the frit patterns and geometry of the library windows. The metaphorical connection of the green roof design to the Mississippi River highlights the positive impact of the green roof as it mitigates the effect of storm water runoff from the roof on the Mississippi River. Further minimizing negative effects of roof runoff on downstream water bodies, the Central Library Green Roof is equipped with a cutting edge irrigation system that utilizes a 7,500 gallon capacity cistern system to collect, store, and distribute rainwater for use by the plants.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom


2007 Merit Award – Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA)


+ Green Roof Design

+ Stormwater Management

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Luther College Sustainable Master Plan

Luther04Decorah, Iowa, for Luther College

The Kestrel Design Group, Inc. worked with Luther College to create a sustainable Master Plan which reflects the College’s rich cultural and natural history. Luther College is nestled in a scenic river valley on the outskirts of Decorah, a small town of 8,500 in the bluff country of northeastern Iowa. Since the founding of the College in 1861, Luther College has seen much growth and change. In 1909, Jens Jensen, a formative landscape architect in the prairie school of design, was brought to Luther College to restore the oak savanna and meadow, typical of the Upper Iowa River Valley. The Kestrel Design Group created a plan to extend the philosophy of Jens Jensen on all campus lands and trails, restoring native plant communities and enhancing campus connections to the land.


Project Goals

• Improve Signage and Circulation

• Create Space for Campus Life

• Reorganize and Prioritize Parking

• Establish a Sustainable and Aesthetic Landscape

• Honor the Historic Campus

• Organize Campus for Present and Future Use



+ Sustainable Master Planning

+ Trails, Parks & Open Space Planning

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