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Sustainability Policy


The Rockford Park District is committed to providing well-maintained facilities and assets that are clean and attractive, in good repair, preserved, and positioned for long-term use and sustainability.

The purpose of this policy is to embrace the principles and practices of sustainability to insure that RPD assets will remain and be preserved for future generations.

The Rockford Park District, since its inception in 1909, has been a leader in providing parks and recreation opportunities and facilities. The District has 177 parks & facilities, 4,896 acres of land, 82 playgrounds maintained by RPD staff, 1,500 acres of natural areas, 216 improved athletic fields, and 18 canoe and boat access points. The Park District is the steward of these public assets.


Establish and implement a sustainability program for all Rockford Park District assets.

Read the Full Policy >

IPRA/IAPD Environmental Report Card

The Rockford Park District scored 93 points on the 2012 IPRA/IAPD Enviromental Report Card, making our agency an environmental leader in the field.

Read the Full Report Card >

Sustainability Projects and Articles

Sustainability Awards and Certifications

  • Aldeen, Sandy Hollow and Sinnissippi golf courses have received Certification from the The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf, an award winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf.
  • 2014 Engineering Excellence Award – Special Achievement for the Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project from American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL)
  • 2013 Leadership by Example award winner at Winnebago County Energy Expo (Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens)
  • Excellence in Landscape Silver Award in the Commercial Construction category for the Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project at Sinnissippi Riverfront winner from Illinois Landscape Contractors Association
  • The Outstanding Corporate Friend of the Environment Award presented by Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful
  • Winnebago County Green Business Award – RPD, Large Organization (twice)
  • IAPD/IPRA Best of the Best Award, Best Green Practices, Nicholas Conservatory, first runner up
  • "Community Sustainability Award" from Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens)
  • Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) for Loves Park Playground
  • IAPD/IPRA Outstanding Facility & Parks Award, Birds of Prey Exhibit
  • NRPA Green School Certification. Three graduates from 2013 inaugural class- Tim Bragg, Dan Erwin, Nathan Hill. Jackie Minnihan completed first year of two-year program
  • Garrett Jones- Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate
  • IAPD Best of the Best Award, Best Green Practices, Rockford Park District

Sustainability Team

The Rockford Park District has built an internal team of employees to support the organization's belief in being a champion to the cause of environmentally sound practices.

Spray Pads

The Rockford Park District operates spray pads as a way of helping area residents beat the heat. These spray pads are available between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Based upon the location, some guidelines may be required to activate the spray pad.

Automatic Spray Pads: New!! We now offer automatic spray pads that can be activated by the push of a button, regardless of temperature from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. These locations are as follows:

  • Beattie Playground (1251 Rural Street, Rockford, IL)
  • Blackhawk Park (101 15th Avenue, Rockford, IL)
  • Bloom School Playground (2901 Pelham Road, Rockford, IL)
  • Brown Park (2010 North Main Street, Rockford, IL)
  • Churchill Park (2002 7th Avenue, Rockford, IL)
  • Harmon Park (1924 East Gate Parkway, Rockford, IL)
  • Highland Park (3011 Rural St., Rockford, IL)
  • Keye-Mallquist Park (1702 11th Street, Rockford, IL)
  • Liberty Park (1555 Morgan Street, Rockford, IL)
  • Mandeville Park (650 Montague Road, Rockford, IL)
  • Sabrooke Playground (2900 Kishwaukee St., Rockford, IL)
  • S. Henrietta Park (527 S. Henrietta Street, Rockford, IL)

Spray Pads Upon Temperature: We also offer spray pads that can be activated based upon the heat index. Below is a list of these locations and guidelines for these spray pads.

  • Dahlquist Park (3251 Oak Grove Avenue, Rockford, IL)
  • Washington Park (3617 Delaware Street, Rockford, IL)

When the heat index is at least 85 degrees you can call into Customer Service to request that the spray pad is turned on between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

When the heat index is at least 95 degrees the Rockford Park District will automatically activate the spray pads from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

When the heat index is over 100 degrees, the Rockford Park District will activate the spray pads from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information about a specific spray pad, please call Customer Service at 815.987.8800.


Goose Management

Goose Managment ProgramIn order to expand the program, in February 2012, the Rockford Park District began looking for volunteers and dogs to be a part of the Goose Management Program. Dozens of dogs and volunteers are out all year long wearing specially made life vests helping to keep geese away from parks, recreational paths, and facilities. These volunteers and their friendly dogs herd geese mostly from March through November.

Program History

The Rockford Park District’s Goose Management Volunteer Program began in 2001 with a goal of bringing the community together to help control the population of Canada Geese. At that time, the Rockford Park District purchased two specially trained Border Collies, Jett and Flash to herd or move geese without harming them. Flash officially retired in October 2012, and we thank him for being a part of the program!

Why Dogs?

The Humane Society of the United States approves the use of Border Collies to relocate urban Canada Geese. Approval to use a dog to herd geese is also required by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Dogs and their handlers work year-round to herd or move geese.

What does “addling” Eggs mean?

During March–May, Rockford Park District staff are busy working on population stabilization. To do this, permits from the Department of Natural Resources are obtained for egg depredation, which allows permit holders to implement a process called "addling." The Rockford Park District has 53 sites where egg depredation takes place. First, goose nests are located and flagged in the community. Eggs are then "oiled" and returned back to the nest. The female goose returns to incubate the eggs, and when none hatch, the nest is abandoned. Egg depredation keeps geese from having a successful nesting season. This is one of the humane ways of controlling the Canada Geese population and is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.


In order to help with the health and wellness of our geese population, please resist feeding the geese. Feeding geese also encourages geese to remain in areas like recreational paths, sidewalks, parks, and facilities.


Volunteers Needed

Our volunteer program is always in need of new faces. If interested, call 815.987.8847.

Canada Goose Facts

The Canada Goose was thought to be nearly extinct in the 1950s. The population in the U.S. was probably around 50,000 birds. A very successful re-population effort was launched at that time, and now an estimated 1.5 million birds live on the Mississippi flyway alone.

Natural Predators: In rural areas, predators may include fox, raccoon, owls, snapping turtles, and coyote.

Nesting habits: Canada geese begin to nest at approximately three years of age, laying their nests in areas they feel they can defend. In the Rock River Valley, this is often on ponds, lakes, and on islands in rivers. The average number of eggs in a nest is five. The nesting season runs from approximately March to May.

Molting: Fly feathers are lost during a "molting" period, typically in June. During this period, Canada geese are unable to fly.


Canine Corners Dog Parks

Canine Corners logo

Canine Corners Dog Parks are great places to let your dog off the leash to run, play, and socialize.

These parks are open year-round from dawn to dusk, and they are fenced so dogs are safely contained off-leash, with brush and paths for a great field experience.

An annual pass (in the form of a visible dog tag), or one day pass is required for all dogs using the park. Click the link below for complete rules and registration information.

Rules and Registration Information >



Full Season Tag

Additional Dog
Resident $40 $20
Non-Resident $50 $25

One Day Pooch Pass

  • $5/dog
  • Day passes can be purchased at either Rockford Park District Customer Service office during regular business hours or online by clicking the "Buy Tickets" icon below.
  • Proof of current rabies vaccination is required. Owners will also be required to sign a rules, waiver and release contract.

Buy Tickets Button


Canine Corners 13

Elliot Park | 888 S Lyford Rd | Rockford, IL 61108 | Directions

Located just off of Lyford Rd (accessible from the Maintenance Shop entrance). It has two fenced 2-acre areas with parking nearby. Shelter is provided in the south area; water is available in the north area.

Olson Park | 7901 Harlem Rd. | Loves Park, IL 61111 | Directions

Located just off the southeast corner of Rock Cut State Park on Harlem Rd. It is a 6.5-acre, wooded/open field area. Park includes a shelter and dog rinsing station.

Searls Park | 4950 Safford Rd. | Rockford, IL 61101 | Directions

The Searls location is one of the largest fenced in public dog parks in Illinois. This 24-acre site, located opposite the baseball diamonds, features three fenced areas, two of which are wooded with trails. Parking is located in front of the park, and water is available at the shelter.

Canine Corners FBReport an Issue

To report a problem at any of our dog parks, please call 815.489.1003, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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For the Rockford Park District to be the best urban park and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.


To 'help people enjoy life' by providing a quality park and recreation system.

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