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Lords Park Zoo in Elgin, Illinois

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1 Lords Park Zoo in Elgin, Illinois
Presented by: Friends of Lords Park Zoo Lords Park Zoo in Elgin, Illinois Preserving our past and preparing for the future

2 The Gift of Lords Park Park, Museum and Zoo were part of several gifts to the citizens of Elgin by George and Mary Lord Zoo Founded in 1895 with two donated black bears, peacocks and aviary Bison Herd has been there since 1905 Past home to Lions (Lord Spark!), Monkeys, Bears, Hawks, Snakes - In 1968 animals limited to Bison, Elk, Deer Recent summer Farm Animals include: pigs, cows, goats, sheep, donkey, llama and chickens The zoo has operated 100% free since it opened – as part agreement with city for care of donated exhibits (including living animals – the first deceased Bison is mounted in the Elgin Public Museum, with pelts and other items from our past)

3 Vintage Images

4 Lords Park Attractions
Lords Park Zoo (1897) Lords Park Pavilion (1898) Elgin Public Museum (1907) 108-acres Oak and Hickory Savannah Willow Creek & Rolling Hillsides Beautiful North and South Lagoons Walking and Running Paths Playgrounds and Shelter Rentals Public Pool, Baseball, Tennis and Basketball

5 New Exhibits in 2012 Elgin Public Museum Lords Park Zoo
Lords Park Zoo: Bringing the Past to the Present Through archival photos and text created by Amanda Wolf for her Museum Studies Certificate at Northern Illinois University, you can appreciate of the grandeur of Lords Park and understand why it was, and still is, a jewel in the Elgin community. The exhibit takes a look back to the glory days of Elgin’s Zoo in Lords Park. The zoo was quite extensive and included animals such as a lion, black bears, monkeys, birds of prey, wolves and even a snake pit. Lords Park Zoo New Bison Pen Enclosure and additional Bison donation from Brookfield Zoo Fourth-year, Largest Community Garden site in Elgin within the Farm Zoo area Programing and Education from the Elgin Public Museum and Elgin Community Garden Network

6 Projects and Plans Friends of Lords Park Zoo (FoLPZ) started with a Simple question on a sign: George Lord’s original idea was to have a place of peace and tranquility for Elgin’s citizens as an escape from urban life…How would YOU like to see the Lords Park Zoo  included in the Elgin Parks and Sustainability Plans to bring this DREAM into 2009 and the future? Previous 2000 parks master plan cites a 1996 funding proposal for Lords Park improvements – with step 3 including re-grading of zoo areas, replacement of fencing, expansion of exhibits, additional parking and increased use of native plantings for water protection = 800k Over past 14 years basic additions and maintenance have been done to structures and driveways within the zoo area The operating costs for the zoo come from the Public Works line items and not from Parks Department – a decision made in mid-1990’s to cut labor costs before casino revenue supplemented capital expenses Costs to feed and care for animals for 2008 were less then $8,000 – this includes 3 Bison, 4 Elk, 4 Deer and 10 farm animals

7 Tom Armstrong – the man with the plan….
2010 Zoo Proposal draft

8 Phase 1: Bison Pen (2010/2011) Upgrade Pen Fencing to 8ft height, new chain-link fabric and use existing poles where needed – Replace North and West perimeter Extend Southern perimeter 10,000 sqft into deer pen area for Bison containment and safety concerns Build small shelter for Deer Pen with volunteer labor and materials Obtain 319 and Green Infrastructure grants to fix water retention system and Willow Creek stream – adjusting spacing in Deer/Elk pens

9 Current State 385 LF of 6ft high perimeter fence is rusting and structurally poor for Bison Current shelter is too small in size Interior wooden fencing is a hazard for current aging Bison females A containment area needs to be added to ease veterinary care/quarantine Aging 6ft perimeter fence Inadequate interior wooden perimeter fence 6ft & 8ft pen fencing Inadequate 3-sided shelter

10 Proposed Pen Improvements

11 Future State Bison Pen Fencing uniform 8ft height with 42,000 sqft living area Interior Cabling system minimum 5ft from chain-link fencing Conversion of Shelter within new reclaimed deer pen area

12 Completed Bison Pen 2012 Over 200 volunteer hours for Bison Pen demolition and finishing with native plantings and zoo clean-up Support from the community and Elgin United Civic Association for phase 2, future educational signage and help with Elk, Deer, Bison care Additional volunteer hours to update the Farm Zoo exhibits and create a Harvest to feed the hungry in Elgin from the zoo gardens

13 Brookfield Zoo Partnership
Tour and knowledge sharing in 2011 to create final Bison Pen plan and RFB Donation of two young female Bison from the Brookfield Zoo pending inspection of new Bison Pen in May 2012 (Dedication at Native American Day) Dedication plaque within each zoo Bison exhibits to promote partnership with Elgin Continued support and knowledge transfer for future improvements to our 115-year old municipal zoo and its living exhibits and educational programs

14 Phase 2: Farm Zoo (2012/2013) Design contest for sustainable plan for basic pen improvements and incorporations of green technologies into Farm Zoo exhibits Addition of Orchard and permanent relocation of community garden area for program needs Installation of EAHS donated 1922 Windmill Reconfiguration of Animal Pens, including adjustment to wooden fence heights Expansion of Farm Zoo northeast with addition of small barn and larger grazing pen for new animal exhibit (Equine Therapy Program)

15 Teaching Sustainability
Permaculture with Community Gardening and Community Orchards allows us to rapidly train individuals in a core set of sustainable living principles, those individuals can design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient home environments in Elgin, ones that reduce society’s reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution with the food chain.

16 Could we design a Solar Barn?
Exhibit Improvements NEW: Sustainable living education center for residents on growing own food, caring for animals, pursue active living, conserving water and composting – get zoo ‘off’ the grid? Could we design a Solar Barn? Leap of Faith – Equine Therapy “Healing children and families through meaningful connections with animals, the environment, and the community.” Reclaim original N.E. corner of zoo for new service entryway and expansion of farm zoo exhibits – new perimeter fencing will aid in sectioning off the public works maintenance building from ‘park wanders’ Windmill built in 1922 by the Elgin Wind, Power and Pump Co. Currently stored at back of EAHS, the windmill pumped water into an elevated wooden tank and in 2011/2012 water all animal pens and garden related water needs

17 Phase 3: Facilities (2013/2015) Replace perimeter fencing in Deer / Elk pens Reconfiguration of pens and addition of walking paths to be considered Seek additional green technologies to take the zoo ‘off the grid’ Adjustment to Parking and Access if not addressed in other Lords Park projects Continue to seek partnerships for summer staffing and funding of exhibits by local corporations to ease city expenditures for programs and basic usage

18 A Viable Future Replace 6ft perimeter fencing on remaining perimeter of zoo area Improvements to Public Works barn, storage fencing and adjacent walkways to East side of zoo (simple as new paint?) Finish water and land conservation improvements to Willow Creek – East-side Water Retention System and inlet to southern lagoons Improvements to Parking, restroom facilities and access for public and city staff inside and out of zoo

19 Re-cap of FoLPZ Goals Completed: Raise funds to replace Bison Pen and support feed/care of animals in 2009 and beyond In-Process: Create a Sustainability Education center at the Farm Zoo for residents Expand the Community Garden program to feed Elgin’s Shelters and Pantries Create a Zoo Plan Proposal for betterment of the facility and programs over 5-years Move historical items to property for use: Mason Silo converted to viewing tower (at Grove/Ann St) Water Pump Windmill put back into use (at EAHS)

20 Partnerships Educational partnership with Elgin Public Museum and Elgin Community Garden Network to offer programing within the zoo State of Illinois: Grants available to partner with Elgin for basic land conservation and water quality improvements that could cover basic capital improvements to the property Local Businesses and Colleges can assist with the design and installation for sustainable elements, including conversion of Windmill for usage in zoo Promoting use of the Pavilion, Shelters, Facilities and Programs within the park to promote Elgin’s Heritage

21 FoLPZ Partnering with Public
Associate Member of Elgin Community Network Non-Profit Status in Illinois and Grants now avail. Endorsement of ARCHES, Elgin Public Museum, ECCO and Elgin Area Historical Society Kick-starter $1,000 Activate Elgin Mini-Grant for 2010 Raised over $20,000 in donations from the public Partnership with Bison Rally organizers for annual event Members of American Community Garden Association and knowledge partnership with Phillips Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo – Great Wilderness Exhibit Written support of Rep. Keith Farnham, Sen. Mike Noland, Congressman Bill Foster, Senator Dick Durbin

22 Next Steps / Call to Action
We believe Lords Park Zoo is one piece of a larger puzzle to preserve the history and integrity of historic Lords Park – this draft plan from 2011 is a first step in adopting a sub-master plan Let our organization assist in gathering the correct input for zoo related decisions, connecting to outside agencies and organizations with experience for Animal Care, Permaculture, Grant funding, Corporate sponsors, etc. Many of the suggestions already brought forward for Lords Park holistically already support these ideas brought forth via the public input sessions for the zoo and overall park and its facilities Together we can save the integrity of Lords Park and its “gems”, promote use by the public and create a viable and sustainable future for Lords Park Zoo

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