Before “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.
SUSTAINABLE PARK DESIGN
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.
STUDENTS & SCOUTS
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 http://www.genevaparks.org/facilities/pfic.html
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
SERVICES WE PROVIDED
+ Sustainable Landscape Design
+ Park Master Planning
+ Wildlife Habitat Restoration
+ Integrated Stormwater Management