Joliet Refinery

Channahon, Illinois, United States

Certified Gold through 2024

Project Name
Project Type
Bluff Road Grasslands - Prairie Area
Bluff Road Lake, Wetlands, and Connecting Streams
Wetlands & Water Bodies
Avian - Songbird Boxes
Youth Awareness & Community Engagement - Mini Events
Awareness & Community Engagement
Avian - Ducks
Citizen Scientist - Girl Scout Monitoring & Management of Duck Boxes
Awareness & Community Engagement
About the Program
The ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company Joliet Refinery is one of the newest U.S. refineries, built in 1972 to receive and process Canadian crude oil delivered by pipeline. The refinery is in Channahon, Illinois, near the Des Plaines River, and is about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. The site is home to a program that focuses on native species conservation and community engagement. Objectives include educating participants (schoolchildren and ExxonMobil staff) on the importance of pollinators, native species habitat and trees. Other conservation objectives are to provide additional nesting structures for native birds and to continue monitoring these structures. The program aligns with the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan and the nearby Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Practices and Impacts
  • The grassland habitat consists of four acres of grassland plants, both native and nonnative. The objective of the project is to expand this grassland area and promote the native species. The project uses herbicide application and prescribed burning to work towards this goal. 
  • The bluff road lake project focuses on improving the lake habitat for the wildlife and native species. Monitoring includes fish surveys and management includes reducing pollutant run-off as well as spot treating invasive species. 
  • The songbird boxes create and provide nesting habitat for native songbird species. The project is monitored and managed, and several habitat needs are addressed. 
  • The team conducted a walk-through survey through the site and looked for guano at the two bat boxes. The project plans include further developing the prairie in hopes that it provides more food service as bat presence has not yet been observed.
  • Five wooden boxes and six PVC-style duck nesting boxes were available during the 2021 season. Monitoring by Girl Scouts found seven of the boxes are successful with wood ducks.
  • Conservation education objectives include educating participants in on-site habitats and how they can contribute to improvement of the land for wildlife. The target audience for the Pod Project was ExxonMobil employees' families. Participants learned about nesting wood ducks, collected prairie seeds and constructed small mammal habitats.
  • The Girl Scout Junior Citizen Scientist Journey requires Girl Scouts to explore how scientists conduct research, practice making scientific observations and participate in a citizen science project. As part of this project, Girl Scout Junior Troop 75450 learned about ducks nesting in tree cavities, habitat fragmentation and how duck boxes support the species by providing a nesting location. Girl Scouts participated in the box monitoring, collecting data and constructing two new duck boxes.