ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Park District last month named the exhibit hall at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in recognition of Park Commissioner Gloria Klimek’s 24 years as an elected official, according to a park district news release.
Klimek said in a written statement that she always hoped the park district could develop a nature center. Hickory Knolls, 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, was built during her tenure.
“Hickory Knolls is [a] beautiful, open and welcoming facility inviting everyone to explore fascinating exhibits among more than 100 acres of prairie, woodland and wetlands,” she said in the release. “The exhibit hall is a great place to observe nature first hand through its floor-to-ceiling windows. I personally enjoy identifying the myriad bird species that visit the feeders and the pond.”
A retirement reception was held in Klimek’s honor April 23.
“It is with great honor that this space be dedicated to recognize her years of service,” park board President Karrsten Goettel said in the release.
According to the release, Klimek has been an active environmentalist and enthusiastic community volunteer. She advocated for the removal of invasive non-native plant materials in St. Charles’ remaining natural areas, the establishment of an arboretum at Mount St. Mary Park and the development of the native plant demonstration garden in Pottawatomie Park.
More than two decades ago, Klimek was most interested in the acquisition of park land and the preservation of natural areas for the community’s future, according to the release. During her tenure, the park district acquired and developed more than 900 acres, including the James O. Breen Community Park, River Bend Community Park, East Side Sports Complex and Delnor Woods Park.
Klimek said in the release that she will mostly miss her fellow commissioners, park staff and volunteers during retirement.