Cultural and Natural Resources

Cathy Breitenbach, Director

Forest_FlowersThe Department of Cultural and Natural Resources (DCNR) is responsible for maintaining and managing the district’s over 8,100 acres of land, including 2 world-class conservatories, 25 acres of floral gardens citywide, 1,000 turf-based athletic fields, more than 500 soft-surfaced playgrounds, an urban forest of 250,000 trees, 31 public beaches, more than 500 acres classified as nature areas, and 25 lagoons and natural water features. DCNR administers and manages the district’s contracts for trash removal and recycling, enhanced landscape maintenance for 20 miles of landscaped medians, elevated care and maintenance for the Museum Campus and Grant Park, as well as the district’s holiday lighting and holiday tree recycling programs.

Through enhanced landscape management, staff training and constant high quality maintenance, the department is quickly becoming the benchmark by which many municipal organizations measure the quality of their landscape and gardening.

As a first place Gold Award winner in 2003's Nations In Bloom, an international landscape beautification competition, the department has proven itself as a competitor among the finest in the world. The department has also won numerous awards including the 2002 and 2003 Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness for South Shore Nature Sanctuary and the Jackson Park lagoon rehabilitation; the 2001 Landscape Contribution Award - Associated Landscape Contractors of America; and the Professional Grounds Management Society's 2001 Grand Award.

The Culture, Arts and Nature (CAN) Division of the department is responsible for citywide cultural programming, nature programming and special events.  Learn more about the CAN division.