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ComEd and Openlands Award Grants to Support 25 Environmental Projects in Northern Illinois

​More than $200,000 in grant funding will support community conservation and preservation projects

CHICAGO (July 24, 2017) – ComEd and Openlands will award grants from the ComEd Green Region Program to 25 recipients, ranging from municipalities to forest preserve districts, throughout northern Illinois. The grantees will each receive up to $10,000 for open space projects that focus on conservation, preservation, and improvements to local parks and recreation resources. 

This marks the fifth year that ComEd is partnering with Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation, for the ComEd Green Region Program. This year's grant cycle featured a special focus on projects that help pollinators like butterflies and bees.

"This year's Green Region grantees are working diligently to ensure that open spaces in northern Illinois are enhanced, protected, and preserved," said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs at ComEd. "The grants will help each of these communities advance its own unique green initiative, from transforming unused turf grass into pollinator gardens to building brand new outdoor classrooms. ComEd is proud to partner with Openlands to support a sustainable future for our communities and our customers."

The Green Region partnership is one of the many ways ComEd and Openlands give back to support environmental projects in the region. Openlands, a Chicago-based non-profit focused on land conservation, is administering the Green Region Program. Earlier this year, municipalities throughout northern Illinois submitted their grant applications, and an advisory committee composed of county government officials and members of the region's non-profit land conservation community reviewed the applications.

"Openlands believes that open space—from trails and preserves to public gardens and tree-lined streets—is critical for the quality of life of our region," said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. "Thanks to ComEd's support, we are able to help communities throughout northern Illinois create and enhance open space where their citizens live, work, and play." ​

Additional information on the ComEd Green Region Program can be found at www.openlands.org/greenregion.

The 25 Green Region grant recipients for 2017 are:

Oak Lawn Community Garden Expansion (Oak Lawn Park District):  This project will establish pollinator habitat at the Oak Lawn Community Garden to enhance the experience of garden visitors and support pollination for nearby community garden plots.

Improving Palmisano Park for Pollinators and People (Chicago Park District Natural Areas Program):  This project will improve Chicago's Palmisano Park, with volunteers installing over 6,400 native plants to provide nectar and host plants for pollinators while contractors repair trails to increase site access.

Green Bay Trail Habitat Restoration Project (Village of Glencoe):  This project will support the ongoing implementation of the stewardship plan for areas along the Green Bay Trail in Glencoe, including removal of invasive and aggressive species and replanting native trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, and sedges.

Niles Pollinator Garden (Village of Niles):  This project will transform an unused area of turf grass into a wildlife refuge and pollinator garden, supporting native pollinator species, offering educational signage, and creating an environmental sanctuary for community residents.

Restoring Sedge Meadow (Village of South Barrington):  This project will involve planting native sedges and wildflowers in areas of a former reed canary grass-dominated field, adjacent to a public pedestrian walking path, as part of a larger effort to eradicate invasive species in this area and reestablish native habitat.

Proksa Park Butterfly Garden (Village of Berwyn):  This project will reestablish pollinator habitat in the urban setting of Proksa Park and provide educational signage about pollinators.

DeKalb Nature Trail Restoration (DeKalb Park District):  This project involves developing and implementing a beautification plan for land adjacent to the DeKalb Nature Trail, including removing invasive species, installing native plantings, providing educational signage, and creating a habitat for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Communal Pollinator Garden at Belmont Train Station (Village of Downers Grove):  This project will create a pollinator garden on Village-owned property adjacent to the Belmont Avenue train station, promoting long-term, community-based conservation initiatives with native plants and educational signage in this high visibility location.

Pollinator Habitat Restoration at Night Heron Marsh Forest Preserve (Forest Preserve District of DuPage County):  In conjunction with the regional Fox Valley Monarch Corridor Project partnership to build a 975-acre pollinator habitat corridor, this project will restore 25 acres of wetland and prairie as part of a potential 76-acre pollinator habitat area.

Village of Glen Ellyn Pollinator Meadow Mix Pilot Program (Village of Glen Ellyn):  This project will improve storm water management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support sustainability for native plants and pollinators by replacing turf grass with pollinator meadow mix in various locations throughout the community.

Richmond Community Gardens and Apiary Outdoor Classroom (Village of Westmont):  This project will support building an outdoor classroom at the Richmond Education Gardens and Apiary, promoting educational programs about natural gardening, landscaping, the environment, and pollinator habitat.

Poynor Park Pollinator Habitat Improvement (Campton Township Open Space):  This project will convert approximately 12 acres of turf grass in Poyner Park, a well-used open space site, into native pollinator habitat with educational signage - expanding an established 65-acre prairie/wetland restoration and creating a buffer area around a pond.

Henneberry Forest Preserve Tree Mitigation and Prairie Shrubland Restoration Project (Kendall County Forest Preserve District):  This project will restore 45 acres of oak savanna and prairie shrubland habitat at Henneberry Forest Preserve, expanding pollinator and conservative grassland bird species habitat as part of the regional Fox Valley Monarch Corridor Project.

Village of Green Oaks Dennis Dorsey Conservation Area – Northern Flatwoods, Oak/Hickory Woodland, and Vernal Pond Restoration (Village of Green Oaks):  This project will continue invasive species management activities, led by volunteer stewards, in a 5-year effort to restore globally-imperiled northern flatwoods and vernal pond habitat, oak/hickory woodland, and high-quality wetlands at the Dennis Dorsey Conservation Area.

Pollinator Habitat and Edible Landscaping Along the Robert McClory Bike Trail (City of Highland Park):  This project will introduce pollinator habitat and urban food gleaning opportunities along the popular Robert McClory Bike Trail by removing invasive species and planting native plants, fruit trees, woody shrubs, and berry bushes.

Fremont Township Conservation Campus (Fremont Township):  This project will create and promote a comprehensive "Conservation Campus" at a government center that was not originally designed for an open space focus - including habitat restoration, permaculture gardens, innovative storm water management, and pollinator-friendly plantings along with walking paths and educational components.

Farrington Connect the Corridor Project (Village of Buffalo Grove):  This project will restore 0.5 acres of streambanks and buffer areas, 0.25 acres of wet bottom basin, 2 acres of dry bottom basin, and 1 acre of degraded woodland along Farrington Ditch, creating a continuous corridor between local parks and public lands that supports native habitat, wildlife, and people.

Phase 1 Graves Park Improvements (Village of Seneca Park Board):  This project will support Phase 1 development of Graves Park, a new 16-acre park adjacent to the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal and Trail and Seneca's downtown business district, through native landscaping, arboretum plantings, a walking trail, and interpretive signage.

Hundred Oaks for a Hundred Years (McHenry County Conservation District):  This project will support McHenry County Conservation District's "Hundred Oaks for a Hundred Years" event at Pioneer Fen in October 2017, when students from Johnsburg Schools will plant trees to restore a 40-acre woodland and learn about conservation in the County.

Eco-Cultural Connection:  Woodstock, Mexico, & Mariposa Monarca (City of Woodstock):  This project will establish boardwalk access and enhance pollinator habitat through native plantings at Westwood Conservation Area, create an educational "Mariposa Meander" pollinator garden to introduce community members to pollinator plants and conservation actions, and engage community members from Mexico with bilingual signage and educational activities.

Pollinator Enhancement at the McHenry County Administration Building (McHenry County):  This project will involve removing existing ornamental plantings at the County's Administration Building and installing native plant species to provide pollinator habitat, complete xeriscaping and raingarden demonstration projects, and provide educational opportunities.

Spella Park Pollinator Project (Village of Algonquin):  This project will promote the health of pollinators by restoring 9.5 acres of turf grass, accessible by a local pedestrian trail, to create pollinator habitat that supports on-site educational programming through the Algonquin Library.

The Butterfly Ranch at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (Governors State University):  This project will transform 11+ acres of successional field into a canvas for butterfly propagation while it provides students, nearby residents, and park visitors with opportunities for bird watching, biking, hiking, and education through didactic signage.

Symerton Park (Village of Symerton):  This project will acquire 1.5 acres of land for a children's park and open space area, post signage, and implement the site preparation and groundcover planting needed to install playground equipment.

A Cleaner Levings Lake (Rockford Park District):  This project will install 20 Biohaven Floating Islands within Levings Lake to improve water quality by acting as a floating wetland, cleaning the lake water from excessive nutrients, and providing fish habitat.

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About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation's oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, visit www.openlands.org.

About ComEd

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.9 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.  

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