ParkTalk Podcast

S25 Episode 01 Everyday Inventions for Better Parks

John Teper, one of the park operations managers for the Naperville Park District, shares some of the innovations that staff has developed to solve everyday problems. These include a dust shield for a baseball field groomer, a paint mixing station, floating islands of native plants in ponds and more.

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Quote from the episode:

“One thing that we've recently done with the opening of Wolf's Crossing Community Park…there are a lot of trees out there that need to be watered. Making sure that all those trees get watered in for the first couple of years is very important to the future of the park. So one of our staff members approached me and said he was reading about a drip irrigation system. What we had been doing is watering from the back of a truck or with a gator bag. The drip irrigation system is a skinny plastic pipe that you could run for hundreds of feet and then you can have these other little pipes coming off of it going to each tree. And then all you have to do is turn on a switch and it slowly waters the tree throughout the day. So we are able to water 70 trees with the flip of a switch, which would take half a day to do by hand.” – John Teper

Wolf's Crossing Community Park multi-purpose hill. The park is home to 250+ young trees.

Pond at South Maintenance Facility where staff is piloting the floating plant islands.

Park staff member Ben, former staff member Trevor, and John Teper with the ballfield groomer with dust shield.

Dust shield in action