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Environmental and Forestry Commission


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Regular meetings of the Environmental & Forestry Commission (EFC) take place on the second Wednesday of every month. All meetings are held at Village Hall and start at 7:00 p.m.


To facilitate environmental and forestry stewardship, resource conservation and sustainability  on a personal, local and regional level, to raise public awareness of environmental issues and best practices, and to bring about changes in public policy, where appropriate, through a collaborative, measurable, science-based process.

Click here to view the EFC's Strategic Plan.


Below is a list of the current members of the EFC, including their position, contact information, and terms:

Chuck Dowding Chair 847-446-0302 05/19/2021
Liz Kunkle At-Large 847-501-0302 10/03/2020
Barry Sylvester At-Large 773-793-9206 05/19/2018
Rosann Park-Jones At Large 847-446-2123 04/17/2020
David Varca At Large 847-386-6414 10/06/2018
Chris Foley At Large 847-784-8661 10/20/2021
Mike Nielsen At Large 773-620-2870 10/20/2018
Clark O'Bryan Student Representative    
Anne Wedner Council Representative 847-845-6416  
Matt Havlik Staff Liaison 847-716-3550

Tips To Go Green


December 6, 2018 SolSmart Press Release

Greenest Region Compact 2

The Greenest Region Compact 2 (GRC2) promotes sustainability in communities around the Chicago region with an emphasis on building strong and vibrant communities. To date, more than 70 communities have signed the Compact, which addresses ten areas, including climate, economic development, energy, land, leadership, mobility, municipal operations, sustainable communities, water, and waste & recycling. The GRC guides municipalities towards sustainable goals and actions and encourages communities to work together to create a sustainable region.

In Winnetka, the GRC2 was adopted by municipal resolution R-23-2018 on April 3, 2018.

GRC2 Presentation - April 16, 2019

GRC2 Framework Document

Stormwater Best Management Practices Guide for Residents: - This guide was developed by the Winnetka Environmental and Forestry Commission as a resource for homeowners to help educate and give practical examples of ways to help make properties stormwater-friendly. 

Apply for a Green Award

The Village of Winnetka’s Environmental and Forestry Commission invites residents to participate in the third-annual Green Awards Program. The purpose of the program is to recognize properties and households within Winnetka that demonstrate exceptional commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. The Commission encourages residents to nominate their house or property for any project that has been completed within the past five years. The award categories include: Climate, Economic Development, Energy, Land, Leadership, Mobility, Municipal Operations, Sustainable Communities, Water/Stormwater and Innovation/Other.

If you believe your recent project has helped make Winnetka a more environmentally-friendly or sustainable community, the Commission asks that you consider applying. Applications are available through the Public Works Department at 1390 Willow Road, or by clicking here. The application deadline is February 28, 2020. Category winners will be announced on Earth Day (April 22, 2020). If you have any questions about the program, contact Matt Havlik at 847-716-3550 or

Green Award Application

2019 Green Award Recipients

2018 Green Award Recipients

2017 Green Award Recipients

NEW: Maps of recycling dumpster locations in Winnetka's commercial districts are now available by clicking here. Recycling dumpsters are available for all businesses to use and businesses are encouraged to use recycling dumpsters that are most convenient to them.

Activities of the Environmental and Forestry Commission are influenced through its:

Mission and Explanatory Commentary
Operational Principles and Data Based Study
Context within which the Commission Operates


Encouragement and facilitation involve education and changes in life style through ordinance and/or pricing of services, as well as expenditure of Village funds to provide the high performance infrastructure that facilitate stewardship and conservation. Sustainability requires utilizing the minimum number of resources to protect the environment, while maximizing the benefit for the producer and community, without compromising future generations. Accomplishing this mission requires integrated activity with the Village staff, other Winnetka boards, and governing bodies that serve the greater Winnetka area and region.


Principles that guide the Commission’s work are divided into two groups: areas of focus and activities. Areas of focus include:

  • Reduce energy consumption and increase use of renewable and/or low carbon energy sources
  • Preserve and enhance the forest canopy and publicly accessible open and green space (land)
  • Encourage and facilitate construction of high performance (green) buildings, infrastructure, and neighborhoods
  • Reduce water and air pollution, water consumption, and solid waste
  • Increase recycling of household, yard & leaf, and construction waste 

Principles that guide activities that span all four of the focus areas are:

  • Educate and engage the public to increase awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship and resource and energy conservation
  • Study and recommend Winnetka-centric changes in policy and expenditures through a measurable, data based process involving public input
  • Collaborate with Winnetka and regional governmental bodies and environmental and conservation organizations

Process for Data Based Study

Projects to induce a greener life style should be ranked according to their potential to produce the greatest change for Winnetka with the least effort. While focusing on this ratio of “Benefit-Cost” can lead to an over emphasis of small change with very small efforts, project choice should not ignore necessary large but difficult changes.

Any comparison is dependent upon same step: identification of a critical aspect of that desired, which can be measured. Measures may be multiple and complicated. Environmental issues are challenging because many involve complex, long-term economic transfers and complex chemical interaction. Thus they require detailed study that includes economics, chemistry, physics & biology, as well as public behavior.

A simple form of determining benefit to cost ratio of changing or greening Winnetka life style can be summarized with a series of five questions:

  • Change: What is the resource or activity to change?
  • Benefit: What is the measurable benefit?
  • Method: Are there mechanisms that can be adopted or expenditures made by the Village to alter the activity or resource?
  • Cost: What is the identifiable cost?
  • Response: What is the public response to the proposed mechanism or expenditure?

Context within which the Commission Operates

The Village Council has given the Winnetka Environmental and Forestry Commission a broad mandate to assist the Village in disseminating information about environmental and forestry matters and to make recommendations concerning policies the Village might adopt. The Commission will continue its historical functions in forestry and is adding environmental issues in an advisory role to the Village Council. The specific charges are contained in the enabling ordinance establishing the Commission.

The Village of Winnetka is a small municipality and many solutions to environmental issues may well be better handled at the national, regional, state or other levels of government. Accordingly, the Commission focuses its resources on local solutions which can have an impact and to take advantage of expertise available from many sources and the synergies which can be achieved through partnering with other organizations and municipalities.

Each of the major areas of activity identified in the principles will be approached from three perspectives:

  • Public education and participation
  • Enhancement of Village’s own operations and municipal incentive or regulation
  • Collaboration with other governmental bodies and environmental organizations

Review of the preferences of the members of the Commission and the answers to Winnetka Caucus surveys dictates that the Commission focus the majority of it effort toward education of Winnetka residents. By doing so, over a sustained period it is hoped that the culture of our community can become more environmentally attuned and it will become easy and popular to engage in environmentally friendly practices.  Recommendations will be made to the Village only after a thorough, data based study.

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