Open Your Eyes to Nature and Watch Us Grow!
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is undertaking a natural landscaping project on the grounds of the IDNR headquarters in Springfield, Illinois.
NEW! Installing the Bio-islands
What is natural landscaping?
Natural landscaping is the incorporation of primarily native plant species into the landscape design while helping to retain natural landscape features.
The mission of the IDNR Landscaping Committee is to design and implement sustainable natural landscaping on the grounds of the IDNR headquarters in Springfield in support of the IDNR's mission “to manage, conserve and protect Illinois' natural, recreational and cultural resources, further the public's understanding and appreciation of those resources, and promote the education, science and public safety of Illinois' natural resources for present and future generations.”
Goal 1. Economic Benefits : The IDNR natural landscaping project should demonstrate significant cost savings for the IDNR headquarters once all of its components are in place and will incorporate as many of the following objectives as feasible.
a. Maintenance costs will be reduced by decreasing mowing, watering, fertilizing, trimming and use of pesticides.
b. The project will provide an example that can be used to stimulate an important component of the Illinois Green Industry.
c. The actual cost benefits of establishing the habitats in relation to environmental benefits will be measured.
Goal 2. Environmental Benefits: The IDNR natural landscaping project should demonstrate environmental benefits that affect air, water, land, wildlife, people, plants and other organisms. The plan for the IDNR headquarters will incorporate as many of the following objectives as feasible.
a. Soil quality will be improved, and soil erosion will be reduced.
b. Stormwater runoff and its impacts will be reduced.
c. Water quality will be enhanced.
d. Air and noise pollution will be decreased.
e. Wildlife habitat will be restored or enhanced.
f. Carbon sequestration will be increased.
g. The natural landscaping will provide shade and windbreaks.
h. Native plants will help control populations of undesirable or overabundant species on the IDNR grounds.
i. The project will lead to improved sustainability.
Goal 3. Education/Recreation Benefits: The IDNR natural landscaping project should provide opportunities to perform outreach and education for the general public about Illinois ' natural resources, their stewardship and the benefits of natural landscaping. The plan for the IDNR headquarters will incorporate as many of the following objectives as feasible.
a. The project will provide an economically and environmentally sustainable natural landscaping model that can be emulated by citizens, private organizations, businesses and government agencies.
b. The landscaping will provide an opportunity to perform outreach and education for the general public about Illinois' natural resources, their stewardship and the value of natural landscaping.
c. Representations of Illinois' primary habitats will be developed.
d. The importance of habitat to wildlife will be promoted.
e. The landscaping will provide an “outdoor” experience in a non-threatening urbanized setting.
f. Volunteer opportunities will be provided for the general public, youth groups and students/teachers allowing them to see that their actions can make a difference in the world.
g. The natural landscaping will provide an opportunity to teach people techniques and skills to raise native plants in other locations and circumstances.
h. The historic, human dimensions and social linkages between people, flora and fauna will be stressed.
i. The landscaping will provide places where people can connect with nature.
A charrette was held on July 29-30, 2009, at the IDNR headquarters at One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois. Members of the Illinois Green Industry Association as well as representatives from the Morton Arboretum, Illinois Audubon, Illinois Native Plant Society and the Grand Prairie Friends worked with the IDNR Landscaping Committee to develop four natural landscaping plans for possible incorporation on the grounds of the IDNR headquarters.
The four landscaping plans developed from the charrette were available for review and comment at the 2009 Illinois State Fair, in the IDNR headquarters and on the IDNR Web site. Comments were accepted through September 30, 2009.
Progress will be reported on this Web page.
NEW! Natural Landscaping Trail Podcasts
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Prairie Progress and Blooming Now