Environment & Weather
Educational Workshops to Take Place on New Floating Classroom PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Friday, 27 July 2012 08:11
Davenport, IA / July 25, 2012 – It’s not always easy to bring the lesson into the classroom, especially if it involves the health of our Country’s rivers. That is why Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) has found a way to bring the classroom to the river with their new barge. This new 150-foot long barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom, which can host up to 60 attendees at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for an 8 person Living Lands & Waters crew. The new barge will be in Davenport for an educator workshop Monday, August 6th and Tuesday, August 7th.

The educator workshops will bring teachers and instructors on board for day long programs on a number of different topics ranging from History to Biology to the Navigation of our waterways, which they can then bring back to their classroom. This is also a chance for teachers to learn about the opportunity of student workshops, which will be conducted in various locations throughout the school year. Living Lands & Waters has been conducting educational workshops since 2003, but this experience could only be attended by teachers and instructors.  “We developed these workshops to give teachers a hands on look at our river environment with lessons they could take back to their students.  The instructors who attended were so engaged, but all said this would have much more of an impact if their students could be on the barge for something like this,” says Tammy Becker, coordinator of the LL&W’s Educational Workshops.  Over the years, LL&W held 92 teacher workshops for more than 1,700 teachers and educators. There were over a 100 different presenters in these presentations and over 60 different topics covered.

“This is a big collaborative effort that will affect so many students nationally.  A first hand look at our rivers will have an impact on these kids for years to come,” says Chad Pregracke, LL&W founder.   LL&W plans to begin focusing on High School Juniors and Seniors. “We plan to work with teachers to customize workshops to dove-tail with the curriculum they are currently concentrating on, be it ecology, history or economics,” said LL&W founder Chad Pregracke.

“This is really taking the education of our rivers to a whole new level and it could not have been done without the help of the many businesses who believe in what we’re doing,” expressed Pregracke.  The floating classroom was made possible by the generous support of five of LL&W’s long-term partners: ADM, AEP River Operations, Ingram Barge Company, Caterpillar and Cargill as well as a number of Unions who gave so many hours of labor to help complete this project.

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown to an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a-River-Mile programs and the Million Trees Project.  Recently, LL&W founder Chad Pregracke was honored by the Points of Light Foundation.  This distinguished honor, established by former U.S. President George H. W. Bush was awarded during a televised ceremony from the Lincoln Center which featured all of the living former presidents.   Chad ads this honor to many others he’s received in recognition of his achievements since founding LL&W.  They include a Jefferson Award, and awards from the American Institute for Public Service; Heroes of Conservation Nomination and Field & Stream Magazine.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Protections PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Nafia Khan   
Friday, 27 July 2012 08:09

New laws ensure efficient recycling, waste management and plumbing practices; protect ecosystems

RIVERWOODS – July 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed three new laws strengthening environmental protections in Illinois. The new laws protect ecosystems while also taking steps to ensure the state has sound recycling, waste management and plumbing practices. Today’s action is the governor’s latest to safeguard the environment.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our natural resources for future generations,” Governor Quinn said. “These laws will make sure that we are using the best recycling and waste management practices to preserve natural resources, while also preventing invasive species from invading our ecosystems.”

Sponsored by Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), House Bill 4986 establishes the Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling to review recycling and solid waste management planning in Illinois. Task Force appointees will have two years to analyze recycling and waste management policies, initiatives and funding in Illinois. They will then report their findings and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly. This law will ensure Illinois’ waste management and recycling practices are efficient and identify ways to maximize productive use of waste materials.

HB 4986 also establishes recycling and composting standards that each county waste management plan must meet. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will be authorized to provide grants to counties and large municipalities in order to help them reach these standards. The law is effective Jan. 1.

Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 4496 updates the plumbing standards code with new green technologies and plumbing practices in Illinois. Sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), the bill requires the Plumbing Advisory Council to submit recommendations for updated standards to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) by Jan. 1. IDPH will then review these recommendations and submit amendments to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules by May 31, 2013. This bill was an initiative of the Lake County Forest Preserve and will ensure Illinois’ plumbing standards better protect public health, more efficiently utilize natural resources and are consistent with leading technologies and methods.

The law is effective immediately.

The governor also signed House Bill 3892 and House Bill 3888, both sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. Suzi Schmidt (R-Lake Villa). HB 3892 allows the Lake County Forest Preserve District to sell a structure on forest preserve land without selling the land itself. The bill also allows the forest preserve to sell surplus property without advertisement if three-fifths of the members of the forest preserve board believe the sale is in the district’s best interest. The law is effective immediately.

HB 3888 requires that any vehicle, seaplane or watercraft in navigable Illinois waters must have all aquatic plants or animals removed from its exterior before being transported away from the body of water. This law will protect aquatic ecosystems in Illinois from invasive species. These species threaten the ecological stability of the habitats they invade, causing severe and permanent damage. Similar laws are currently in place in other Midwest states. The law is effective Jan.1.

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Schilling Requests Secretarial Disaster Declaration from Ag. Secretary Vilsack PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 15:00
Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today joined members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and Governor Pat Quinn in requesting a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  This declaration will help Illinois’ agriculture communities currently being impacted by the drought.

“Agriculture has been a bright spot in our economy over the last several years, especially here in the 17th District, which ranks 14th out of 435 Congressional Districts when it comes to the value of sales of corn and soybeans,” Schilling said.  “Some of Illinois’ counties have received disaster declarations, but it’s time that all eligible counties receive the designation.  Farmers and producers here and across the state of Illinois are finding themselves in a difficult spot with this devastating drought, and just can’t wait any longer.”

Schilling was also joined last week by Congressmen Aaron Schock (IL-18) and Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) in sending a bipartisan letter to House leadership urging them to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, to a vote before August.  The Farm Bill passed the House Agriculture Committee, on which Schilling serves, by a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11 on July 12, 2012.  

PDF of the letter can be found by clicking here.

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To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
drought- watering guide PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Michelle Campbell   
Monday, 23 July 2012 13:29
We are concerned about the health and wellbeing of plants as we drive around town so we put out this article for the public. Hopefully we can help save area trees and shrubs together.-Michelle Campbell, Horticulturist (563) 271-0381
THE GREEN THUMBERS GUIDE TO WATERING July 2012
During this period of drought, it is imperative that plants receive the proper amounts of water to survive. We have outlined below the proper watering techniques to follow.
NEW PLANTINGS: Including any new shrubs and perennials that were planted this year. Water three times per week (large leafed plants such as Hydrangea may need more, up to every other day if leaves are drooping). Certain perennials may need more frequent watering as well, depending on the amount of sun they are getting. When you water, using a water wand with a rain water head is going to give the best results. Do not use a pistol nozzle or just an open hose. This is very important. If you don’t have one, you will want to purchase one, they run from $15.00 to $30.00, Dramm offer the best quality. Recommended Water times: Shrubs- for each approx. 45 seconds X2. Perennials-for each approx. 20 seconds X2. Which means, to water a grouping of plants and then go back and water them a second time for the same length of time.
ANNUAL FLOWERS in containers: Water daily. Be sure to water enough so that water drains from the bottom of the container. Fertilize containers Bi-weekly with a good quality fertilizer.
ANNUAL FLOWERS in the ground: Water twice per week with a water wand, typically soaking each plant for 5 to 10 seconds in addition to soaking entire area. Again, water each plant and then go back and water each again for the same length of time.
NEWLY PLANTED TREES: Turn your water wand down to half pressure, so the water bubbles out instead of a flowing. Set the wand near the base of the tree and let it soak for approx. 10 to 15 minutes. If it was a large balled and burlap tree when planted, set the water wand on one side of the tree for 10 minutes and then move the wand to the other side of the tree for the same amount of time. I would recommend watering once per week.
ESTABLISHED PLANTS: There are a couple of ways to water established plants. You could purchase a soaker hose and wind it around your plants. Hook up your garden hose to the end of it and let the water run for approx. 2 – 3 hours. The other method would be to water using your water wand, turning the water on to half pressure so that the water bubbles out, set the wand near the base of the plant and let it set there for 10 to 30 minutes per plant, depending on the size. I would recommend water established plants once every two weeks.
ESTABLISHED TREES: Using your water wand, turn the pressure down to half, set the wand a couple feet from the base of the tree and let it soak for 30 minutes. Then move it to other side of the trunk and let it soak for another 30 minutes. Another option would be to set a sprinkler up to run underneath the tree and let it run until approx. 1” of water is applied (set a rain gauge in the area to measure the water). NOTE: it will take several hours to accumulate 1” of water. I would recommend watering trees once every three weeks.
LAWNS: Water your lawn using a sprinkler and a rain gauge to measure water. Ideally water each area of your lawn until you have measured 1” of water in your rain gauge (set a rain gauge in the area to measure the water).
NOTE: it will take several hours to accumulate 1” of water. I would recommend watering once a week.
VEGETABLE GARDENS: Water thoroughly once per week by either using a soaker hose in the garden or using a sprinkler and a rain gauge to measure the water. Apply until approx. ½” of water is measure in the rain gauge. You may also individually water using your water wand the same as “Newly Planted”.
THE GREEN THUMBERS (563) 323-4984

 
Living Lands & Waters to Hold Annual Barge Party Featuring New Teamwork Barge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:30

Davenport, IA / July 16, 2012 – Local residents will have a chance to tour Living Lands & Waters’ new Teamwork Barge Thursday, August 9th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m at the Lake Davenport Sailing Club at Oneida Avenue and River Drive.  The 150-foot long barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom, which can host up to 60 students at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for an 8 person Living Lands & Waters crew.  The LL&W crew will be providing tours of the new classroom during the annual Barge Party, a celebration and appreciation event for volunteers and supporters of the environmental group.  Chad Pregracke and his Living Lands & Waters’ staff and crew will be on hand to celebrate fifteen years of river cleanups, environmental education workshops, the MillionTrees project and engaging communities in river stewardship. 

The menu for this year’s Barge Party will feature a fish fry & shrimp boil and Root Beer floats featuring River Rat Root Beer and Whitey’s Ice cream.  The Barge Party will also feature live music by Alan Sweet and Justin Morrissey and a silent art auction, featuring the works of nearly a dozen regional artists who donated river-inspired pieces, including salvaged material sculptures, mixed media painting, folk art, driftwood pieces, quilts and glass art.  Chad Pregracke will update guests on the progress they’ve made this year. “We couldn’t keep these barges running, making the river a cleaner place, without the support of Quad-Citians who volunteer and support Living Lands & Waters. It all makes a difference and we are so grateful,” said Chad Pregracke, Founder & President of Living Lands & Waters. Tickets for the event are $35 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the office at (309) 496-9848 or going to their website www.livinglandsandwaters.org. Spots are limited, so please make your reservation soon to guarantee a seat.

Teachers interested in exploring a workshop for their students should contact Tammy Becker at LL&W:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . “We have had over 1,600 teachers in our Educational Workshops dating back to 2003.  The new barge will create an opportunity for thousands of students to experience the river first hand” said Pregracke.   Also on display at the barge party will be LL&W’s new one-thousand horse power tow boat which is needed to push the new floating classroom.  The floating classroom was made possible by the generous support of five of LL&W’s long-term partners:  Cargill, ADM, Caterpillar, AEP River Operations and Ingram Barge Company, as well as hundreds of area union carpenters and skilled tradesmen.

The Living Lands & Waters Barge Party is held in appreciation of volunteers, supporters and fans of LL&W’s efforts, as a celebration of the power of committed staff, volunteers and sponsors working together to meet an important need.

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown into an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a- River-Mile programs and the MillionTrees Project.

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