The 60-acre McDonald Farm in Naperville is the place The Conservation Foundation calls home. The Farm's water conservation and renewable energy project clearly demonstrates the enviromentally responsible ideals we stand for to all of our visitors. We are working hard to make McDonald Farm a showcase of conservation in action that will stir others to act as well.
Our 1850s barn and granary were in dire need of new roofs. We viewed it as an opportunity to solve a problem, do the right thing for the environment and provide a helpful example of what others can do as well. Instead of simply installing traditional asphalt roofing material, we completed a renewable energy and water conservation demonstration project. The project shows our visitors real options that people can use at their homes and places of business to be good stewards of the environment.
In an effort to make McDonald Farm a concrete example of conservation principles put to use, we have installed two rainwater harvesting systems-including one of the largest in the Chicagoland area, set up numerous rain barrels, redesigned and planted several native gardens, and restored 8 acres of wetland. We have also replaced the barn and granary roofs with high recycled content metal roofing and installed solar panels on the main barn roof. A small 60-foot wind turbine has also been installed and is spinning away. This project has four interconnected components: Rainwater Harvesting, Renewable Solar and Wind Energy, Roofing Material and Education. Click on each component title for details.
Renewable Solar and Wind Energy
After installation was completed, we hosted a Small Scale Renewable Energy and Water Conservation Open House and Workshop event to showcase the project and hear more about these technologies from experts in the field. Click on the titles below to see presentations from this informative day:
- McDonald Farm Renewable Energy and Water Conservation Project Presentation
- Small Scale Wind Energy Presentation
- Rainwater Harvesting Presentation
The ultimate outcome for this project is to encourage people to consider these, and the many other environmentally friendly practices demonstrated at the McDonald Farm, as realistic ideas they can implement at their homes or places of business. These are easy and affordable "green" living ideas that will, if more people do them, make a measurable difference in protecting and improving our local environment.
McDonald Farm is much more than home base for our regional conservation efforts. It is an educational tool we use to teach the community about our mission to preserve and restore open space and natural lands, protect rivers and watersheds, and promote sustainable development. On-the-ground examples of native landscaping, rainwater harvesting, permeable pavers, water and butterfly gardens, rain gardens and rain barrels are all in place to show the thousands of people who visit us each year how to live in concert with nature. The Conservation Foundation uses these examples to promote and educate the public on how they can conserve water, improve water quality and bring nature closer to them at their home or place of business. Special events, programs, classes, camps and the Green Earth Institute's organic farming operation, which leases the farmland from The Conservation Foundation, bring families and schoolchildren to the farm each year.
How You Can Help
We encourage you to visit the farm and learn more about who we are and what we are doing. Come see your donation in action as we strive to be an example of how to build better, more sustainable energy options and work to conserve water, our most precious resource.
We'd like to thank the following funders and partners in this unique project:
Aquascape Designs, Inc.
DuPage Community Foundation
DuPage County Stormwater
Green Earth Institute
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
Monarch Renewable Energy
State of Illinois DECEO
Testing Services Corporation
Wight & Company