ParkTalk Podcast

S26 Episode 04: Volunteer Stewardship

Volunteer and retired teacher David Cleveland shares stories from decades of environmental projects with children and adults and his nature experiences while running locally and internationally.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series, click here.

Quotes from the episode:

“Make environmental projects fun (for the kids). Make it worthwhile, that they can see a purpose. We would collect aluminum cans and then say that we'll buy rain forest acres or we're going to help protect a coral reef, or share the care of an animal at Brookfield Zoo. We'd have a little contest where we'd vote on which animal we wanted to share the care for at Brookfield Zoo.  So then they had a little motivation for collecting aluminum cans.” – David Cleveland

David has run marathons around the world, and is planning to run one in South Africa this summer and in Antarctica in February 2023, after which he will have run a marathon on all 7 continents.

“Running has a lot of benefits. You can go places and see things you wouldn't otherwise get to see. Most people stay at the top of the Grand Canyon, but there's so much beauty going down, every 10 minutes it changes… I enjoy being able to run in nature, instead of being on the streets. Naperville has so many great parks and trails. You don't have to worry about traffic. There are parks everywhere (where you can) run.” - David Cleveland

About our guest:

David Cleveland is a Naperville resident and retired third grade teacher. He began leading an Elmwood School environmental club and a running club years ago and has continued being involved as a volunteer. He was among the local volunteers named as a “Difference Maker” in a 2018 publication by the Chicago Tribune/Naperville Sun. He is a long-time volunteer with the Naperville Park District.

Get involved in conserving our environment

Learn about volunteer opportunities at Naperville Park District.

Volunteers removed buckthorn and honeysuckle in Sindt Woods at the Riverwalk (west)

Volunteers planted pollinator plants at Commissioners Park in 2021

Learn more about Naperville Park District's green initiatives.

Visit Knoch Knolls Nature Center and learn about Naperville Park District's nature programs and Toadstools and Pollywogs Nature Preschool

Where to run in the Naperville, IL area:

Find trails via our interactive map.

The DuPage River Trail at Weigand Riverfront Park in Naperville

These trails are cleared of snow by Naperville Park District

View maps of regional trails in DuPage County or in Will County.