Environment & Weather
Brucemore’s Autumn Landscape Hike PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Tara Richards   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:41

Brucemore's bucolic landscape—with its rolling yards, soaring trees, timber-lined pond, and stunning gardens—is more than a beautiful setting, it also exhibits over 120 years of history. Embrace the harvest season by joining Brucemore’s gardeners on Saturday, October 20 at 10:30 a.m. for the Autumn Landscape Hike. Witness the subtle and spectacular dressings of the 26-acre autumnal landscape highlighted by the dusky plum and rusty barn red colors of the season.   Discover current landscape issues, the role of public use, and the seasonal chores required to preserve the historic grounds. See how planting choices with sensitivity to native species and seasonal display affect the overarching impact of a landscape design. Seek advice from Brucemore gardeners and ask questions on topics ranging from particular plantings to landscape design.

Admission is $10.00 per person and $7.00 per Brucemore member. Space is limited. Purchase tickets online at www.brucemore.org, by calling (319) 362-7375, or by visiting the Brucemore Store and Visitor Center.

Experience Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture, located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a nineteenth-century mansion filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families.  Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community.  For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit www.brucemore.org.


National Governors Association Selects Illinois for Industrial Energy Efficiency Grant PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:29

Quinn: CHP cuts manufacturing costs, air pollution

CHICAGO – September 13, 2012. Illinois is one of four states chosen by the National Governors Association (NGA) for a prestigious “Best Practices Policy Academy” grant to boost industrial productivity through use of energy efficiency and Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

The bipartisan NGA said Illinois earned the award due to its, “…approach to advancing industrial energy efficiency by engaging a wide range of stakeholders across the state to develop solutions linked to the state’s energy efficiency goals.”

“Industry is part of Illinois’ heritage, from the stockyards and blast furnaces of our parents’ generation to the high tech corridors of today,” Governor Quinn said. “Manufacturers can trim energy costs and sharpen their competitive edge by using CHP and other homegrown measures.”

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is an efficient and clean approach to on-site power generation. Under conventional CHP, fuel is burned in a “prime mover” such as a gas turbine, with the waste heat “recycled” to provide heating, cooling and/or dehumidification. Under “Waste Energy Recovery” (WER), the fuel is burned in a furnace or boiler to provide heat to an industrial process, with excess heat “recycled” to generate electricity on-site.

Following a national trend, energy expenditures by Illinois’ 14,700 manufacturers have increased by 25 percent since 2000.

The NGA grant will address ways to enhance Illinois industry through energy efficiency and CHP in nine manufacturing sectors: primary metals, petroleum and coal products, chemical, food, nonmetallic mineral products, paper, fabricated metal products, machinery, and plastic and rubber products.

There are currently 139 CHP units in Illinois - accounting for 1,367 MW of electricity generation - powering factories, farms, schools, hospitals, museums, wastewater treatment plants and more. Large CHP facilities include the Archer Daniels Midland plants in Decatur and Peoria, University of Illinois campuses in both Champaign and Chicago, Eastern Illinois University and U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works. Others include the Brookfield Zoo, M&M Mars Candy Company, Great Lakes Naval Training Center and three veterans’ facilities.

Among the newer Illinois CHP installations is a 3 MW CHP system at the Illinois River Energy Ethanol Plant in Rochelle which was installed with the help of Federal stimulus funds and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The DCEO also provided assistance to build CHP plants at a Stephenson County dairy farm, and at wastewater treatment plants in Danville, Decatur, Downers Grove and Fox Lake.

Illinois is a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency, with efforts like the Green Governments Coordinating Council, ‘Illinois Energy Now Trade Ally Program’ and other energy-saving initiatives. In addition to the $12,000 grant, NGA will provide specialized assistance and work closely with the “Illinois team” to develop an action plan by April 2013 for use in other states. The Illinois team – still in formation – will include the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois DCEO’s State Energy Office, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention, Office of the Governor and representatives of the State’s manufacturing and power utilities sectors.

The bipartisan National Governors Association has been the voice of the nation’s Governors since 1908. The NGA’s Center for Best Practices is the research and development arm of NGA that directly serves the nation’s governors. Through the Center, governors may learn what does (and doesn’t) work, obtain tailored assistance in designing new policy programs and receive timely information about cutting-edge programs in other states.


Des Moines, Iowa, Selected for Green Design Assistance PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kris Lancaster   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:59

(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 12, 2012) - EPA has selected Des Moines, Iowa, to receive technical assistance for green infrastructure design under its Greening America’s Capitals program. The benefits for Iowa’s capital city will include wider sidewalks, narrower traffic lanes, better lighting, improved bus stop shelters, permeable pavement, and rain gardens that can minimize stormwater runoff.

“This project will help revitalize an area of Des Moines that has been a focus of local investment, spurring economic and social benefits in Iowa’s capital city,” said Karl Brooks, regional administrator.  “We hope to inspire government and community leaders to expand this work elsewhere in Iowa.”

The focus of the project is a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of Sixth Avenue. The Sixth Avenue Corridor serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown, and is an official Main Street Iowa Urban Neighborhood District and has direct access to the Des Moines River. The city plans to use the Sixth Avenue project to guide designs for other planned streetscape improvements throughout the community.

A team of designers and landscape architects that specialize in green infrastructure approaches will produce schematic designs and illustrations during a three-day design workshop that will take place in Des Moines later this year or early next year.  Additionally, this project could be the testing ground for city actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support sustainable growth and green building.

# # #

For more information: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm

Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds urge Iowans to prepare during Family Preparedness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:59

(DES MOINES) – On the 11-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds are reminding Iowans of the importance of being prepared for emergencies and disasters.


“The anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is an opportunity to encourage Iowans to take steps now to prepare themselves, their families and their communities for any emergency,” said Branstad.


Governor Branstad has proclaimed September as Family Preparedness Month in Iowa. Preparedness Month was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to educate the public on how to prepare for emergencies.


The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD), Safeguard Iowa Partnership (SIP) and Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA) are partnering to encourage Iowans to take a Pledge to Prepare by taking just one simple step to be more prepared for emergencies. The pledge can be found at www.beready.iowa.gov, www.safeguardiowa.org or www.iowaema.com.


“We hope that taking the Pledge to Prepare will encourage Iowans to think about what they will need to do if they are in an emergency situation,” said Reynolds.


In addition to the evident benefits of being better prepared, those who take the pledge may be eligible to win prizes by entering the Pledge to Prepare contest. Individuals, families and groups are invited to record and submit a video showing how they are taking the pledge. Videos must be submitted by Sept. 20. HSEMD, SIP and IEMA will choose the top five videos and ask the public to select their favorite in an online vote Sept. 24-28.


Iowans who don’t submit a video may still enter their Pledge to Prepare in a random drawing. Pledges may be submitted online or via FAX through Sept. 30. Winners for the contest and drawing will be announced Oct. 1. Target has joined HSEMD, SIP and IEMA in this effort and will provide gift cards and a NOAA weather radio as prizes for the contest and drawing. SIP is also providing emergency preparedness kits to contest and drawing winners.


For more information on Family Preparedness Month and the Pledge to Prepare contest and drawing, visit www.beready.iowa.gov, www.safeguardiowa.org or www.iowaema.com.



Foresty Field Day Tour PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Julie Jacobs   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:25
Rock Falls, IL - Jerry and Marge Misek were selected as 2011 Illinois’ Tree Farmers of the Year. A tour of their Jo Daviess County Tree Farm, Acorn Acres, is being sponsored by the Illinois Tree Farm Program and the Northwest Illinois Forestry Association on Saturday, September 29th.

The tour is open to the public and will start with registration from 9:00 to 9:45 am. There will be a $5.00 registration fee to cover lunch and snacks.

Following registration, small groups will start a walking tour of moderate difficulty through the forest. There will be 8 ten minute stops on the half mile tour. At each stop, speakers will discuss their topic and answer brief questions. Topics covered are: regeneration from the 1998 wind storm damage; tree diseases; pond establishment; commercial thinning of Black Walnut; Bush Honeysuckle eradication; Shiitake mushroom production; selecting crop trees in a pre-commercial Black Walnut thinning; and Black Walnut sale.

Lunch will follow the forestry tour with short presentations, door prizes, and a Woodmizer sawmill demonstration. The afternoon quarter mile walking tour will include 6 stops. The stops will include: CRP warm season grass establishment; CRP shrub plantings; dry dam; grass waterways, diversion and rock checks; wildlife food plot, firebreaks, and alternative warm season grasses; and a shallow water pond.

The event will take place rain or shine, so please dress accordingly. The morning walking tour will last 2 hours and the afternoon tour will last 1 ½ hours. Attendees should have the ability to walk over the trails. Come to the tour and enjoy a walk in a hardwood forest adorned with fall colors, meet some great people, and maybe pick up a useful idea or two.

102 East Route 30, Suite 3 • Rock Falls, IL 61071 • Phone: 815-625-3854 • Fax: 815-625-4072 • www.blackhawkhills.com

The Acorn Acres Tree Farm is located 6 miles southeast of Elizabeth, IL. To reach the tour site from the north, take Route 20 to Derinda Road (2 miles east of Elizabeth), turn south and travel 3 ½ miles to Skene Road. Turn left on Skene Road and travel ½ mile to the farm lane. The address is 3093 East Skene Road.

From the south, take Route 78 north of Mt. Carroll for 2 miles and turn left on Elizabeth Road. Travel approximately 6 miles and at the stop sign, turn right on Zion Road. Continue on Zion Road and it will turn into Massbach Road as you enter Jo Daviess County. Stay on Massbach Road (do not take a left at the “to Elizabeth” sign) and drive through Massbach. About 1 ½ mile north of Massbach, turn left on Skene Road and travel 2 miles to the farm lane. (Travelers from the south may also just follow the blue Massbach Ridge Winery signs and go 1 ½ mile north of the Winery to Skene Road.) Directional signs will be posted at Skene Road and on Route 20 at Derinda Road.

Contact Jerry or Marge Misek by email @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 815-598-3215 with questions or for more information.


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