Environment & Weather
Simon applauds Wetland Warriors for boardwalk project PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 08:58

CYPRESS – May 11, 2012. A champion for safe, clean and accessible rivers, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon gave the keynote address today at a dedication ceremony for the Section 8 Boardwalk at the Cache River State Natural Area. The boardwalk was closed following damage from a 2008 flood.

A group of junior high school students, known as the Wetland Warriors, at Creal Springs School used $15,000 of the $20,000 they received last year from the Disney Planet Challenge, a nationwide science competition, to help rebuild the boardwalk. Additional funding for the project came from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Friends of the Cache River Wetlands and the Southern Illinois Audubon Society.

“I applaud the Creal Springs School students’ commitment to protection and restoration of the Cache River Wetlands and to the many others who assisted in this collaborative project,” said Simon. “This boardwalk makes it possible for Illinois citizens young and old to enjoy some of our state’s wonderful natural resources.”

Simon issued a proclamation last year that declared July 12 to be Creal Springs School Day. Simon presented the proclamation to the Wetland Warriors at a meeting of the Mississippi River Coordinating Council, which she chairs. The council was established in 2010 and promotes the environmental and economic health of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The boardwalk is located in the Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve which is a floodplain forest that features large bald cypress and provides a safe haven for a variety of birds, frogs and swamp fish. The boardwalk, located at the junction of IL Rt. 37 and the Cache River, extends from a parking area into the forested swamp.

The Creal Springs students won the Disney Planet Challenge for their projects in the Cache River Basin including transplanting vegetation, performing trail maintenance, determining water quality through sample collection, assembling educational materials for teachers and creating a website about their research.

Since winning the science competition the students have received the 2011 Illinois Audubon Society’s Youth Conservationist Award and their teacher, Fran Wachter, was awarded a 2011 Exxon Mobil Outstanding Illinois Teachers of Science award by the Illinois Science Teachers Association. The students are using the remaining money from the Disney Planet Challenge to build a wildlife viewing blind and purchase radio transmitters for species research.

Simon was joined at the dedication by IDNR Director Marc Miller, Friends of the Cache River Watershed board member Charlie Proctor, and members of the Wetland Warriors. The ceremony was hosted by Friends of the Cache River Watershed.


Black Hawk College is Going Green With Locally Grown Green Roof PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jake Glimco   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:09

New Sustainable Technologies Building Receiving Locally Grown Green Roof


Moline, IL / April 30 2012 – The environmental movement is here to stay and Black Hawk College is jumping onboard the green band wagon with their new Sustainable Technologies Building, which will feature a  LiveRoof® green roof system grown by Roof Top Sedums. The new building is located at the Moline campus and is set to house the Materials Science Technology degree and three related certificates starting this fall. But it’s not enough for Black Hawk to just offer this degree. Complete with wind turbines, geothermal heating and cooling, solar arrays, and a green roof, to be installed Tuesday, May 15th, the new building is a shining example of what students will learn to produce.

As part of the construction, Diamond Level LiveRoof® Certified installer, T&K Roofing, will be installing the 810 sq ft LiveRoof® Hybrid Green Roof System atop the Sustainable Technologies Building’s flat roof May 15th. The LiveRoof® System was grown by Roof Top Sedums of Davenport, Iowa and is the third of its kind to be installed in the Quad City Area.  The vegetation will quickly transform the roof into a lush carpet of beautiful and hardy ground cover plants that will showcase mixes of reds and yellows arranged in a unique design.  The drought-tolerant vegetation can conserve up to 90 percent of storm water annually, protect and extend the life of roofing, and offer habitat for nesting birds.

Black Hawk College’s LiveRoof® Hybrid Green Roof System will feature mixed varieties of the sedum species, a ground cover accustomed to growing in the shallow, well-draining, and specially-engineered soil which is designed to endure the longevity and extremes of a rooftop environment. The LiveRoof® System features a patent-pending hybrid design combining the best features of all green roof systems. The LiveRoof® System is cost-effective to maintain compared to most systems, because the fully-established plants act as their own living mulch.

About Roof Top Sedums: Roof Top Sedums was established in 2007 and is a Regional LiveRoof® Licensed Grower servicing Iowa, Western Illinois, Eastern Nebraska, Eastern Kansas, and most of Missouri.  The business is 100% women-owned and certified nationally as a Women’s Business Enterprise as well as an Iowa Targeted Small Business.  Co-founder Roxanne Nagel explains, “Green roofs have become widely accepted as an integral part of sustainable renovations. We are excited about the future and our role to provide an exceptional product in our region.”  For more information on projects previously grown by Roof Top Sedums or information about the LiveRoof® System, visit www.rooftopsedums.com.



Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Joins Speaker List for Heartland Institute Climate Conference PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jim Lakely   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:03

Vice-Chairman of House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to Deliver Plenary Address

The Heartland Institute is pleased to announce Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will join more than 40 speakers, scores of scientists, and some 500 attendees at the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, which runs from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23 at the Hilton Chicago hotel.

Sensenbrenner is vice-chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which has jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, NASA, NOAA, and several other federal agencies. He joins a speaker line-up addressing the theme “Real Science, Real Choices” that includes:

  • Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic
  • Dr. Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 mission
  • Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 mission
  • Harold Doiron, former NASA scientist
  • Thomas Wysmuller, former NASA scientist
  • Joe Bastardi, chief forecaster, WeatherBell (formerly with Accuweather)
  • Roger Helmer, MP, Britain

See full list of speakers and a detailed description of the conference below.

What: Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7)

Theme: Real Science, Real Choices

Where: Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

When: Monday, May 21 – Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Media: Open to all media. Request press credentials here.

The Heartland Institute will host the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7) from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, immediately following the NATO Summit also taking place in Chicago. Heartland will be joined by dozens of think tank cosponsors and hundreds of scientists who understand the need for a real debate about the causes, consequences, and policy implications of climate change.

Real Science, Real Choices

This year’s conference theme is “Real Science, Real Choices.” The program features approximately 60 scientists and policy experts speaking at plenary sessions and on three tracks of concurrent panel sessions exploring what real climate science is telling us about the causes and consequences of climate change, and the real consequences of choices being made based on the current perceptions of the state of climate science.

Major developments on the science front since the last ICCC took place last summer in Washington, DC include publication of a new report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) updating its 2009 report, Climate Change Reconsidered, and a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on extreme weather events and climate change.

The past year was marked by major retreats in the U.S. and other developing nations from government subsidies and investments in solar and wind power. The widely publicized bankruptcies of companies including Solar Trust of America and Solyndra, and slow economic growth and fiscal crises afflicting many European countries, have forced policymakers around the world to reconsider the costs and consequences of basing energy choices on fear of man-made global warming.

Climategate and Fakegate

On November 22, 2011, a second batch of emails among scientists working at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit was released by an unknown whistle-blower. “Climategate II” revealed prominent scientists concealing data, discussing global warming as a political cause rather than a balanced scientific inquiry, and admitting to scientific uncertainties that they denied in their public statements.

Like an earlier release of emails on November 19, 2009, on the eve of the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Climategate II caused an uproar in the scientific community and a further drop in public belief in man-made global warming. But a series of friendly investigations of the Climategate affair, along with the timely expiration of the statute of limitations for the offense of failing to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests, spared the scientists involved from any legal penalties.

On February 20, 2012, another global warming scandal broke, this one involving criminal behavior that is likely to be much more difficult to cover up. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, confessed to using fraud to obtain confidential corporate documents from The Heartland Institute and arranging for them to be posted online. The scandal became known as Fakegate because Gleick also circulated a fake memo he claimed outlined Heartland’s “climate strategy.”

In his confession, Gleick said “a rational public debate is desperately needed.” We agree, which is why we have repeatedly invited scientists with wide-ranging views to speak at these conferences. Indeed, we even invited Peter Gleick to speak at a Heartland event, an invitation he turned down on the very day he began his fraud.

Confirmed Speakers

Dennis Avery, senior fellow, Hudson Institute
Joe Bastardi, chief forecaster, WeatherBell
Alan Carlin, U.S. EPA (retired)
Robert “Bob” Carter, James Cook University (Queensland, Australia)
Walter Cunningham, astronaut, Apollo 7
Harold Doiron, former NASA scientist
Willis Eschenbach, former consultant, U.S. Agency for International Development
William “Bill” Gray, Colorado State University (emeritus)
Kenneth Haapala, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Tom Harris, International Climate Science Coalition
Howard Hayden, professor of physics (emeritus), University of Connecticut
Roger Helmer, MP, Britain
Craig Idso, founder, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
Madhav Khandekar, Journal of Natural Hazards
Vaclav Klaus, president, Czech Republic
Donna Laframboise, feminist, author
Craig Loehle, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement
Sebastian Lüning, author, Die Kalte Sonne (The Cold Sun)
Ross McKitrick, associate professor of economics, University of Guelph
Tim Patterson, professor of geology, Carleton University
Jim Sensenbrenner, U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin
S. Fred Singer, University of Virginia (emeritus)
Willie Soon, astrophysicist
Leighton Steward, PlantsNeedCO2.org and CO2IsGreen.org
Brian Sussman, author, Climategate and Eco-Tyranny
Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat.com; chief meteorologist, KPAY-AM, Chico, CA
Thomas Wysmuller, former meteorologist, Royal Dutch Weather Bureau

ICCC History

Past conferences have taken place in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and Sydney, Australia and have attracted nearly 3,000 participants from 20 countries. The proceedings have been covered by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, and most other leading media outlets.

Past ICCCs have featured presentations by members of Congress, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, and scientists who view themselves as “skeptics” as well as “alarmists.” Atmospheric scientist Scott Denning, who believes in man-made global warming, spoke at ICCC-4 in 2010 and ICCC-6 in 2011. Hear his remarks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkL6TDIaCVw

Attendance Information

ICCC-7 is open to the public. Registration is required. More information is available at the conference Web site. For media credentials, register here or contact Tammy Nash at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 312-377-4000. For more information about The Heartland Institute, visit our Web site or contact Jim Lakely at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 312/377-4000.

Get Twitter updates of the conference by following @HeartlandInst and the hashtag #ICCC7.

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Eco Camp for kids this week! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by M. McNeil   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:41
300 area elementary school children are going to spend time in the “wilds” this week learning about our natural habitat.  ECO Camp is coordinated by the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education in conjunction with the following organizations all who were involved in creating ECO Camp 12 years ago - a true partnership:

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Soil & Water Conservation District
Department of Natural Resources - District Forestry
Department of Natural Resources - Fisheries

The first ECO Camp was Fall 2000 and we do 2 days each fall and 2 days each spring. We have had over 7,000 students attend ECO Camp over those 12 years. We have been able to provide transportation funding for schools in need so the field trip is free!

ECO Camp Basics:
Professional biologists, fisheries experts, and soil scientists are just some of the leaders who will share their expertise with students who attend ECO Camp on April 26th and 27th at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve from 9:30 am -2 pm.

Purpose: Students will gain a basic understanding of environmental ecology and skills for wise natural resource management and use in Illinois.

Over the two days, over 300 4th-6th grade students from area schools will travel to six, 30-minute sessions throughout the day.
Schools attending:

Logan School, Moline
CR Hanna, Orion

Eugene Field, RI
Riverdale, Port Byron

The stations and what they'll learn:
A.   Habitat composition  - Students learn about different ecosystems and their composition such as wetlands, lakes, streams, and soils.
B.    Management – Students learn about land and water management. Students learn the importance of maintaining stream banks and farming practices to prevent soil erosion and water pollution. The fisheries biology station teaches children about the importance of maintaining appropriate populations of fish and also the importance of keeping our waterways clean.
C.   Responsible action – Students learn about soil erosion and how they can help prevent soil erosion on a small scale. They also learn about responsible farming practices that prevent soil erosion and water pollution by actively experimenting with a simulation.
D.   Biodiversity & Communities – Students learn about many species of fish and the types of organisms that they feed on for survival. Students also learn about the many organisms that live in the soil. At the wetlands learning station, students learn about all the different types of organisms (birds, amphibians, mammals, insects, etc.) that live in the wetlands

E.    Populations – Students learn about populations of fish in Lake George and why it is important to determine what types of fish are flourishing and the general populations of fish and macroinvertebrates to gauge the health of the lake.

Governor Quinn Announces Grant to Improve Energy Efficiency at Amtrak Train Yard on Earth Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andrew Mason   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 07:30

Illinois Energy Now Program Reduces State’s Environmental Footprint, Creates Energy Savings, and Helps Amtrak Save $2 Million Per Year

CHICAGO – April 22, 2012. Today on Earth Day, Governor Pat Quinn announced that the state awarded Amtrak a $300,000 energy efficiency grant to assist the passenger rail agency with upgrading its train yard in Chicago. The grant, funded through the Illinois Energy Now (IEN) program, will significantly reduce Amtrak’s natural gas consumption and empower them to save millions of dollars annually.

“Illinois is already a leader in energy efficiency and sustainability, and investments in our public facilities will ensure we make the greatest impact,” Governor Quinn said. “Programs like Illinois Energy Now continue to strengthen our commitment to creating 21st century jobs and making Illinois the greenest state in America.”

The modern energy efficiency project has allowed Amtrak to replace an inefficient steam heat system, and eliminate thousands of feet of steam piping, un-insulated piping, leaks, and defective traps, to much more effectively control and monitor heat sources. The new system is projected to reduce natural gas consumption by more than two million therms each year. At least 30 construction jobs were created over a two-year period as a result of the project.

“We’re always looking for ways for energy conservation and environmental management to reduce our carbon footprint and make Amtrak an even more efficient mode of transportation, said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, who pointed out the Amtrak-Illinois partnership extends for more than 40 years in providing passenger rail service under contract, and Amtrak is a major employer with about 1,500 employees statewide. “We appreciate the state’s help with our Chicago facilities.”

The IEN grant, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), was crucial to Amtrak obtaining capital funding to perform energy efficiency projects around the country. This $300,000 grant helped Amtrak leverage $5.54 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. As a result, the company will see an estimated savings of $2 million per year in natural gas costs. In addition, the estimated natural gas consumption savings of 2.1 million therms per year make the Chicago rail yard system replacement the largest natural gas project funded through IEN this year.

“The energy efficiency investments we’re making today will pay dividends in the future by creating significant energy savings and keeping the cost of doing business low, which will make Illinois even more attractive to investment,” said DCEO Acting Director David Vaught. “This is a great example of how sustainability and economic development go hand in hand.”

Illinois Energy Now is an energy efficiency program administered by the State of Illinois that provides millions of dollars in rebates to public facilities that make large-scale equipment improvements to their electric and natural gas systems. More than $70 million is available annually to specifically help fund these projects. Funding comes from a utility surcharge included on customers’ utility bills that is directed toward energy efficiency projects to work make Illinois more energy efficient.

“Under Governor Quinn’s directive to expand green transportation practices, the Illinois Department of Transportation continues to increase passenger rail service in our state, reducing energy consumption and cutting down on harmful emissions,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “This investment in the Amtrak’s primary Chicago yard means train travel in Illinois will become an option that’s even more friendly to the environment.”

Ridership on state-supported Amtrak routes in Illinois has doubled in the last five years alone, reaching more than 1.7 million riders in fiscal year 2011, as more and more travelers seek an alternative to the automobile and high gas prices.

For more information on Illinois Energy Now and other sustainability programs, visit www.illinoisenergy.org.  For more information on why Illinois is the right place for any business, visit www.illinoisbiz.biz.


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