Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Washington Park

Robinson, Illinois, United States

Certified Gold through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
Marathon Trail, Cabin, & Bridge
Forest
Classroom Visits
Formal Learning
Bats
Bats
Invasive Species Eradication
Invasive Species

About the Program
Marathon Petroleum Corporation's Washington Park program is based at a city park near the company's Robinson, Illinois, refinery. The park is in a residential neighborhood, and includes open and wooded areas along a stream. The MPC team has coordinated with the city to add interpretive signage, a bridge, and a log cabin for educational purposes.

Practices and Impacts

  • The forest is maintained by planting native tree species and wildflower seeds, leaving snags that are not hazards and adding brush piles, mechanical removal of invasive species and selective herbicide application to aid in managing invasives.
  • A walking path was installed with plant ID markers and educational signs that offer information about plant and animal species identification, life cycles, the importance of trees, and other nature-based topics while observing and being among local wildlife.
  • Forest monitoring includes forest-dependent wildlife, Invasive species, Plant abundance and/or diversity, canopy cover (tree density), tree planting success, and pollinator abundance and diversity. 
  • The original plant species inventory documented 72 species of plants on site. Presently recorded is 104 species of plants. Management practices increase the abundance and diversity of native plant species at the site. 
  • The original animal species inventory list documented 19 species of animals of various types (birds, insects, mammals, and reptiles). The current species inventory list 52 animal species. Most of the new observations are birds, insects, and mammals but a couple of amphibians, fish, and new reptiles have also been reported.
  • Students use the site for hands-on learning experiences and focused on plants, animals, and their natural habitat. Trail design and educational signs along the trail provide students with a hands-on experience of the environment.
  • Nature walks are led by teachers at Washington Elementary frequently. Nature walks are followed by writing prompts about their observations and experience along with classroom activities about various topics such as life cycles, animal habitats, and the environment. Students use the binoculars and clipboards donated by Marathon to make observations and take notes in the field. Kindergarten Earth Day event takes place every April and is comprised of nature walks and education stations with topics focused on the natural environment and conservation. Special events such as solar eclipse watching or working with various plans out of the Bee Smart Kits.
  • Bat monitoring efforts have resulted in the positive identification of eight bat species: big brown bat, silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, Gray bat, little brown bat, evening bat, and tri-colored bat. Management practices beneficial to bats include limiting disturbance and leaving snags and brush piles in place. Two bat boxes are placed at the site to provide additional nesting structures. The pond and stream on site provide water sources while the site generally provides adequate food sources due to the abundance of plant resources.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHC INDEX IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY