Natural Resources Team Roundup

Before the settlers arrived and the steel plow was invented, this area of Illinois was covered in tall grass prairie. The loss of that habitat is one of the causes of biodiversity loss, including the reduction in populations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and many plant species.

When was the last time you saw a bison roaming through Naperville? Do you remember encountering many more birds in your backyard when you were younger? 

Nature provides us with so many benefits, the technical term is “ecosystem services.” These services include management of stormwater runoff, air pollution reduction, oxygen to breathe, beauty and recreation, and holding onto carbon dioxide so that it doesn’t become climate pollution. 

To enhance these benefits and ensure that they are there for future generations, it is critical that we address the biodiversity crisis. Thanks in part to the efforts of the NEST Natural Resources team, the City of Naperville is making strides in supporting biodiversity. The 2023 budget under consideration will dedicate funding to adding native plantings in multiple locations throughout Naperville. The City Council will be holding a budget workshop on November 9 where they will be discussing sustainability budget items, including this one. Once the meeting date is closer, you can signup to make a public comment here.

The Natural Resources team has also begun discussions with Naperville Public Library staff about adding native plantings at each of their libraries. To be part of those discussions, you can volunteer with the team at

Progress is also being made in replacing highly polluting gas-powered lawn equipment. Under consideration at the November 9 workshop will be a proposal to incentivize the purchase of electric lawn equipment, after last year’s highly successful pilot program. In addition, Naperville Park District officials had the opportunity to view autonomous, electric lawn mowers that have the potential to replace gas mowers and address lawn maintenance staffing challenges. As the planet heats up, outdoor work will become more and more dangerous, so alternatives like this can help both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changing climate.