people huddling for clean up outside

Volunteers make Brookfield, IL beautiful and sustainable!

Visitors to Brookfield, IL are often amazed at what a beautiful place the Village is, but what they may not know is how involved the residents are with keeping it beautiful and sustainable.  So involved, in fact, that they created two special commissions to keep their village clean, green, and gorgeous.  Let me tell you what these two volunteer commissions do to make Brookfield such a great place to live!

Beautification Commission

This volunteer-appointed commission states that it “aspires to enhance the scenic environment” of Brookfield, IL.  It does this through encouraging residents to get involved and be responsible for the cleanliness and therefore the beauty of the Village.  They do this in a myriad of ways, but they sponsor two big events that get the whole town rolling up their sleeves and pitching in:

Project N.I.C.E.

N.I.C.E. stands for Neighbors Involved in a Clean Environment.  It been going strong for about 25 years and draws over 300 people!  Each year towards the end of April, the Beautification Commission takes as many volunteers as it can find and arms them with gloves, trash bags, and shovels.  Then they take to the streets to eradicate as much litter as possible.  In addition to cleaning up, they also make the village pretty by planting trees and flowers and caring for the vegetation already growing. And if you miss the date, don’t worry!  If you get a group together, the commission will host another day of cleaning and beautifying for you.  Contact them here for more information on this year’s Project N.I.C.E.

young woman sitting in front of a mural

Public Art

Last summer, the Beautification Commission initiated a public art project.  They put out a call for artists to install temporary art at Ehlert Park.  They encouraged individuals and teams to submit applications to paint a “pleasing” mural in September that would be on display for one to two years.  The winner was Jessica Tamburello (a Brookfield resident).  She called her mural “Angels in the Outfield.”  It features two different sized wings, and she used vibrant colors, making it, well, not just “pleasing,” but beautiful.  I hope to see the commission expand this program this year!

Conservation Commission

Also concerned with getting residents involved, the Conservation Commission’s mission often overlaps with that of the Beautification Commission.  The major difference is that while the Beautification Commission helps to keep the village clean to to “raise environmental awareness,” the Conservation Commission”works to preserve, protect, and restore the natural resources” of Brookfield.

meadow full of oak trees

Oak Savannas

One of the big responsibilities the Conservation Commission has is to manage the Oak Savannas.  If you are a resident, you know how important this is.  For those of you not in the know, oak savannas are a plant community.  They share a root system and provide a protective overstory for other trees and plants.  We are lucky enough to have them in Illinois, and residents of Brookfield are even luckier to have a protected open space in Kiwanis Park full of them!  And with only seven volunteers on the Commission, they need help to preserve and restore the Oak Savannas.  They encourage residents to help keep the trees healthy by volunteering their time to learn about and care for the trees.  Anybody interested?  They post their scheduled work days here.

Meet the Creek

Salt Creek, that is!  The Conservation Commission is also responsible for protecting this important water resource, so they coordinate a fun day of education, cleaning up, and paddling canoes on Salt Creek called “Meet the Creek” each year in September.  Keep an eye on the Village calendar for this year’s date and be ready to pick up, learn, and have fun on the creek.  Meet at the picnic pavilion in Kiwanis Park, and bring the kids.  Last year they got to play with live reptiles before they went paddling.  Oh, and did I mention the event is free?

Beautiful and sustainable Brookfield, IL

Now you know–Brookfield is  beautiful and sustainable because the residents want it to be, and they work at it.  Both the Beautification Commission and the Conservation Commission have the same goal–to involve residents in their communities so they can all live someplace beautiful that will stay beautiful for generations to come!




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