Jeff Swano is a naturalist, outdoorsman and avid organic gardener. He graduated in 1984 from the University of Iowa earning a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in Environmental Studies and Economics. In 1998, Jeff formed digrightin landscaping as a response to a high demand for his design and gardening talents. In particular, he has a deep understanding of natural earth processes and has studied and assessed local soils, geology and hydrology. (LinkedIn Profile)
Jeff has been instrumental in advancing the protection and better use of our local natural resources. In 1998, he helped form the Salt Creek Watershed Network and served as its Executive Director until 2004. He has also organized countless volunteers to conduct a variety of litter cleanups and woodland restorations.
Jeff served on the Village of Brookfield’s Conservation Commission beginning in 1995, and was its Chairman from 1998 to 2004. His leadership and vision helped Brookfield to develop an award-winning 10-acre oak savanna restoration project, an annual Meet the Creek awareness and education celebration, and the Village’s annual Fall Fest.
He also worked with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) to develop key recommendations for the wise use of the Chicago area’s local water resources, published in their “Strategic Plan for Water Resource Management“. He also authored the Economic Benefits section of NIPC’s “Conservation Design Resource Manual–Language and Guidelines for Updating Local Ordinances”.
He has written extensively on a variety of environmental technical issues, including salting and de-icing, co-developed the Illegal Dumping Economic Assessment (IDEA) model for US EPA, spoke throughout the area on the need to protect and enhance our natural resources, and was a featured presenter at the Wolf Road Prairie speaking on the economic impacts of environmental degradation.
As a result of many of these many efforts, in 2003, Jeff received the Paul Butler Memorial Award from the Naperville-based Conservation Foundation. In 2009, the Brookfield Oak Savanna received a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the US EPA and Chicago Wilderness. He was recently featured in The Riverside/Brookfield Landmark for all his green efforts.
Jeff currently serves as a Associate Director on the Save the Prairie Society (at the Wolf Road Prairie) Board of Directors, is a frequent speaker on Eco-friendly Landscaping Techniques for gardening clubs and libraries, and is a guest lecturer for the Horticulture program at College of DuPage.
In 2011, Jeff joined the “Sustainability Committee” for the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association. In 2015 he was appointed Chairman. This committee will bring about change in the way all landscapers think about the environmental impacts of their work. As a result of his efforts leading sustainable landscaping techniques within the industry, the Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association invited Jeff to provide his insights at a conference of landscaping professionals.
A case study of the Dig Right In methodology for organic lawn care has been profiled in the book “The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care” by Sandy Baker and in an interview with Angie’s List.
Jeff Swano, President of Dig Right In