Sustainable Home

Living sustainably at home means taking large and small steps in our everyday lives to reduce our environmental impact, something we care a lot about at Five Rivers MetroParks. We strive to create a culture of conservation that inspires local residents not only to visit and care about our parks but to live their daily lives in a way that protects our environment for future generations. Park visitors can learn about protecting natural resources, creating habitats, reducing utility usage and minimizing waste using modern technology and traditional practices. MetroParks sets examples of sustainability in the way we manage and maintain our parks. Sustainable living is also the subject of many MetroParks classes.

Featured Locations

Simple Living

7860 E. Shull Rd., Dayton, OH 45424 Directions >

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The century-old techniques of farm life at Carriage Hill’s Historical Farm may seem antiquated in today’s fast-paced and technology-filled world, but at their heart are sustainable concepts that can be adapted to modern times — from weaving, quilting and sewing textiles to woodworking, soap-making, cooking and food-preservation.

Buy Local, Eat Local

600 E. Second St., Dayton, OH 45402 Directions >

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According to, most produce in the United States is picked four to seven days and is shipped an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches supermarket shelves. By buying produce locally, you help reduce the carbon footprint, preserve our environment and strengthen our community by investing your food dollar closer to home.The 2nd Street Market offers local produce and other sustainable and upcycled goods year-round. A number of local CSAs are also available — and you could always grow your own! Visit our Food: Earth to Table section to learn more about how to get started.


Composting demonstrations are available at Cox Arboretum, Wegerzyn Gardens and Possum Creek. Each facility composts on site and offers visitors a chance to see how it works. To get started with your own composting, participate in our free Compost Kitchen program, offered quarterly, in which you’ll learn about soil science, get practical tips for making compost and learn how to use compost to create a sustainable growing system.


Five Rivers MetroParks provides recycling bins at most locations and during most events. Collection bins for mixed-stream recyclables are available at parking lots and shelters. Recycling at home is easy, too; in fact, many communities in the Miami Valley have curbside pickup of recyclables. To learn more about how you can recycle at home, visit the resources section below or sign up for Master Recycler, an annual five-week service-learning program.

Repurposing and Reusing

At Five Rivers MetroParks, we look for ways to bring new life to materials that have served at least one life already. You can see this in the promotional banners we carefully store and reuse for annual events, the repurposed tires we use for the ground surface at Island MetroPark’s water play area or the recycled plastic and wood composite boards (such as those on the Hills & Dales boardwalk). You, too, can learn to repurpose at one of our workshops. Participants learn practical skills for turning would-be trash into useful items.

Energy Efficiency

Lighting makes our homes safe, cozy and welcoming. But it’s not always efficient — a whopping 25 percent of the world’s energy is used for lighting. At Five Rivers MetroParks, we are migrating to high-efficiency lightbulbs wherever possible to reduce our energy use. To see an example, visit the Barbara Cox Center for Sustainable Horticulture at Cox Arboretum, where all lighting is LED and greenhouse glass has been replaced with multilayered acrylic and tempered glass for energy efficiency. Watch our program schedule for sessions that will teach you how to reduce your energy consumption.

Reducing Water Use

Taking shorter showers helps reduce water consumption. But did you know that, on average, well-designed landscaping can conserve water, too, and can save enough energy to pay for itself in fewer than eight years? Choosing the right landscaping for your climate also lowers maintenance costs, cuts your heating and cooling bill, protects your home from cold wind and hot sun and reduces noise and air pollution. You can check out gardens that don’t require a lot of water at Wegerzyn Gardens, Possum Creek, Aullwood, Wesleyan/Adventure Central and Cox Arboretum, where the Barbara Cox Center for Sustainable Horticulture uses a rain water harvesting system, as well. Watch our program calendar for water conservation sessions that will teach you such things as how to make a rain barrel or how to landscape with native plants that protect biodiversity.

Reducing Chemical Use

Managing parks requires the use of chemicals from time to time — to control pests, help native plants grow and fight pesky invasive plants. We need to keep parks clean, too, and we use a number of janitorial products made from recycled or low-impact materials. And we always choose landscape applications that are the least harmful to the plants and wildlife we protect. In many cases, we dilute the chemicals or use mechanical methods in place of chemical treatments, as is the case with our honeysuckle management program. We hand-pull or use a machine called a Fecon to remove these invasive plants. You can see the results of some of the Fecon’s work on the Buckeye & North Country Trails at Eastwood MetroPark. Participate in one of our programs to learn how to reduce the chemicals in your cleaning and growing methods, which will help sustain our soil, air and water for future generations.

Reducing Pollution

MetroParks has many practices that use alternative energy and fuel sources, thus reducing our pollution output. Our vehicles use synthetic oils, which have a longer life than traditional motor oil, and we continue to experiment with oils that are entirely plant-based. Our tractors and mowers use an oil blend that includes bio diesel, and we use electric and hybrid vehicles throughout our maintenance operations. The trees we plant also reduce air pollution. Visit one of our reforestation sites, such as the one at Medlar Conservation Area, to see a forest planted to help protect the region’s ecosystem.

Be more sustainable with Five Rivers MetroParks

Sustainable practices are woven through the culture of Five Rivers MetroParks and are demonstrated at a number of locations. Check out programs at the following parks to learn how to adopt these practices in your own home:

Getting started

It’s easy to be green! Learn about sustainable living and environmental conservation opportunities by visiting a MetroPark, attending a program or contacting our volunteer services team to find your niche.

Programs & Events

Outdoor Farmers' Market at the 2nd Street Market

Each Saturday through October!

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Enjoy the best of in-season, locally grown vegetables, herbs and bedding plants brought to the Market straight from the field at the annual summer outdoor Farmers’ Market. Conventional and organic farmers will participate every Saturday.

Learn more about the Market.

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