Sustainable Living » Create a Green Ecosystem

Create a Green Ecosystem

Grow a Natural Lawn

Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family Initiative

Consider taking the pledge, and joining the many River Forest residents who have made the commitment to a sustainable and resilient lawn. In doing so, you will contribute to a healthier environment for your family, pets, insect pollinators and the Des Plaines River. You will also receive our "Keep ON the Grass" lawn sign to show your commitment.

Below are links you will find helpful toward transforming your lawn to a Healthy Lawn! 

Also, click here to download A GUIDE TO GROWING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY LAWNS & GARDENS from Midwest Grows Green.

Plant a Native Garden

When Planting, Think Native!

Consider planting native plants versus species not usually found in this area.  Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native plant species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insect damage and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

To learn more, click here.

Get Certified as a Wildlife Habitat

Creating and preserving habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators strengthens our ecosystem and creates a healthier community for all. The Sustainability Commission hopes you will consider devoting a part of your yard to supporting habitat for butterflies, bees, and a host of pollinator insects and local wildlife.

A few simple steps allow you to create and certify your yard as a certified wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. The NWF program provides a collective goal: when enough homes, schools, and other common areas certify their gardens, the entire Village will attain designation as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

To certify your wildlife habitat, click here.

Leave the Leaves

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) suggests you skip raking, at least some of it. Leaving leaves in flower beds helps wildlife during the winter. Many insect and animal species rely on leaf layers. Leaves also form natural mulch, provide plants with a protective blanket in winter, conserve water year-round, and enrich the soil as the plant material decomposes. The NWF also recommends mulching leaves with a lawn mower and leaving the clippings on the lawn. Click here to learn more.

Take Care of River Forest Trees

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District -  Restore the Canopy

Restore the Canopy provides four types of native trees (black oak, pin oak, red oak, and white oak) for free to Cook County residents, community groups, and schools. The tree population has been decimated by emerald ash borer infestations and extreme weather. Not only do trees provide a beautiful green canopy for communities, they are a powerful and effective form of green infrastructure. Please note that the availability of each sapling may vary depending on supply.

Click here to downloand the brochure.

Click here for more information. 

Tree Trails

Get outside with your family to complete the River Forest Tree Trails: On Your Block activity sheet. Learn about the distinct features of the species of trees that you see every day on the parkway between your sidewalk and the curb. 

Completing the activity is easy and fun!

  • Print the activity sheet, which can be found here: River Forest Tree Trails: On Your Block. 
  • Answer the fun fill-in-the-blank questions about the different species of trees that live on the parkway right outside your front door. Visit the Village parkway tree map to answer the fun fill-in-the-blank questions. 

Forestry Division

The Village's Forestry Division maintains over 8,000 trees (and over 90 species) in Village rights-of-way or the area commonly known as "the parkway." The parkway is the area between the curb and the public sidewalk or lot line. The Division inspects, monitors, trims, removes, plants, and inoculates parkway trees throughout the Village. Click here to learn more.