COD Receives ComEd, Openlands Grant to Help Combat Climate Change

By: Angela Mennecke

Russell R. Kirt Prairie

College of DuPage has received a grant from ComEd and Openlands as part of the annual ComEd Green Region Program to support and improve natural areas in northern Illinois.

The one-time grant of $10,000 will fund COD’s environmental project, “Pollinator Habitats to Address Climate Change,” which will convert 15,000 square feet of turfgrass on the College’s Glen Ellyn campus into two perennial pollinator habitats: one on a southern-facing hillside next to the Berg Instructional Center and the second along a pond shoreline on the western edge of campus.

Led by COD Outdoor Lab/Prairie Manager Remic Ensweiler, the habitats will serve as a sustainable and nature-based solution to climate change while offering educational opportunities for campus visitors. The habitats will include more than 30 climate-resilient native plant species and support local wildlife, restore valuable native prairie habitats, and improve water quality and stormwater drainage mitigation.

“In addition to the 40 acres of natural space on campus, these new habitats will help COD continue to be a leader in sustainability, conservation and ecological preservation,” said Ensweiler.

Planning efforts will be driven by student and community members who help Ensweiler manage the natural spaces on campus, including the Russell R. Kirt Prairie, the Ecological Study Area and the B.J. Hoddinott Wildlife Sanctuary.

Students and faculty from various academic disciplines, including Biology and Horticulture, will have the opportunity to volunteer on the project, study the area or simply enjoy the areas as part of campus.

"I hope this initiative will have a positive and meaningful impact on community members to take action, plant their own gardens and advocate for expanded community climate resiliency," said Ensweiler.


In its 10 years of operation, the Green Region Grant program has awarded more than $1.9 million to communities and organizations in northern Illinois.

“ComEd has a long history of supporting organizations and communities in improving climate resiliency and protecting pollinators and green spaces in Illinois,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Partnering with Openlands for the last 10 years has helped fuel community-driven sustainability projects that enhance parks, protect vulnerable habitats and improve quality of life throughout our region. We are proud to be surrounded by communities and partners who are committed to cultivating a greener future for Illinois.”