Environment & Weather
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Robinson Vorac   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:43

DAVENPORT, IA—Waste Commission of Scott County is hosting a free, guided tour of the Scott Area Recycling Center and Electronic Demanufacturing Facility from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15 in celebration of America Recycles Day. The tour is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about local recycling programs. However, space is limited and an RSVP is required by November 14. To RSVP, call Paula Webinger at (563) 468-4218.

The Scott Area Recycling Center is located at 5640 Carey Avenue in Davenport. This facility receives, sorts, bales and markets material from the curbside recycling programs in the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, from the five drop-off recycling centers located throughout Scott County and from some businesses and outlying communities in Scott County. Tour attendees will learn about acceptable and unacceptable material, watch how material is sorted and marketed and see examples of products that are made from recycled material.

The Electronic Demanufacturing Facility is located at 1048 East 59th Street in Davenport, which is on the same campus as the Scott Area Recycling Center. This facility receives electronic waste (e-waste) such as computers, televisions, monitors, printers, copiers, VCRs and DVD players. Electronics received at this facility are demanufactured and, to ensure data security, are not refurbished or reused. Demanufacturing, or disassembling, involves manually breaking down equipment into marketable components, which are then sent for recycling. Hazardous material, such as lead and mercury, from e-waste is removed and properly managed. Both facilities are handicapped accessible.

This free tour is in celebration of America Recycles Day. Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. Learn more at www.americarecyclesday.org.

Waste Commission of Scott County is an inter-governmental agency whose mission is to provide environmentally sound and economically feasible solid waste management for Scott County. For more information about the Commission, please call (563) 381-1300 or visit www.wastecom.com.

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Mississippi River Push Boat Project Receives $494,978 Diesel Emissions Reductions Grant PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by David Bryan   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 09:07

(Kansas City, Kan., Nov. 1, 2011) – Anyone along the Mississippi River will see the steady-moving push boats moving along America’s inland waterways, carrying commodities from as far north as St. Paul, Minn. to ports as far south as New Orleans, La.  Push boats run 24 hours a day, seven days a week moving goods to markets at inland ports along the river.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $494,978 grant to Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SEMO RPC) to replace engines on a push boat operated by SCF Marine.  The boat’s old engines are from 1953 and 1960, decades before emission standards went into effect.  The new engines will meet EPA Tier II standards, resulting in reduced health impacts for port workers and communities along the Mississippi River.  The EPA grant is part of a $1 million project.

The Tier 2 vehicle and gasoline sulfur program is part of a series of major initiatives that reduce emissions from passenger vehicles, highway trucks and buses, and nonroad diesel equipment. The result will be reduced emissions, cleaner air, and improved human health.

SEMO RPC is also working with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to reduce emissions on trash haulers and switch locomotives in southeast Missouri.

EPA has awarded $50 million for clean diesel projects as part of its ongoing campaign to reduce harmful emissions in the air and better protect people's health. These efforts will replace, retrofit or repower more than 8,000 older school buses, trucks, locomotives, vessels, and other diesel powered machines. Reducing emissions from existing diesels provides cost-effective public health and environmental benefits while supporting green jobs at manufacturers, dealerships and businesses across the country.

Diesel engines emit 7.3 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 333,000 tons of soot annually. Diesel pollution is linked to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and millions of lost work days. While EPA's standards significantly reduce emissions from newly manufactured engines, clean diesel projects funded through these grants will work to address the more than 11 million older diesel engines that continue to emit higher levels of harmful pollution.


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Iowa Natural Resource Educators Attend National Conference in St. Paul Davenport, Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Ron Summers   
Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:08

Environmental educators, naturalists and park interpreters from across the country gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota, November 8–12 for the National Association of Interpretation Workshop. 

Greg Wolf with Davenport Parks and Recreation was one of 56 members of the Iowa Association of Naturalists who received scholarships to attend the workshop in St. Paul.

Presenters and attendees shared new ideas, talents, and examples of actions to enhance existing programs and develop new methods to engage families, schools, and other groups in natural resource education and recreation. 

Concurrent session topics ranged from how to utilize “apps” to promote recreation opportunities by iPhone users to nature-based activities for pre-schoolers. “I was able to attend a number of sessions during the workshop,” noted Mr Wolf. “Thanks to a REAP Conservation Education Program/Iowa Association of Naturalists Scholarship, I was able to benefit from experiences and ideas of the presenters and other workshop attendees from across the U.S. and Canada.

These sessions will help me improve the outdoor education and recreation opportunities we provide for area residents and visitors.”

Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) provides funding to public and private partners for natural and cultural resource projects, including water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, parks, trails, historic preservation, and more. The Iowa Association of Naturalists promotes education about natural and cultural environments.

For more information about the environmental education opportunities in Davenport, contact Greg Wolf at 563-326-PARKS. For more information about the REAP program, contact Tammie Krausman, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Lt. Governor Simon awards green industry leaders PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 09:41

Local foods key to growing economy

CHAMPAIGN – October 27, 2011. At an award ceremony celebrating 25 of the greenest public, private and non-profit organizations and businesses in Illinois, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said good environmental practices strengthen the state's economy.

“These awards recognize leaders in sustainability, and they also recognize smart economic policy for businesses and governments," Simon said at the 25th Annual Governor’s Sustainability Awards Ceremony hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois.

Among those recognized was Uncommon Ground in Chicago, which runs two restaurants serving locally grown food from its 2,500 square foot rooftop farm. The group received a Continuous Improvement Award, given to organizations that have won awards at previous Sustainability Award Ceremonies.

Simon noted that Uncommon Ground helps keep local food dollars in the state. Simon, who chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council has targeted building opportunity in Illinois by promoting local foods.  Illinoisans spend roughly $46 billion annually on food, but only $2 billion of that amount on food grown in Illinois.

The awards have been presented since 1987 by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois. Awards are given to organizations for their efforts in implementing green practices such as technology and energy conservation.

“The efforts of these businesses and organizations demonstrate that it is possible to meet social and economic needs while minimizing impacts on the environment,” ISTC Director Manohar Kulkarni said. “Present and future generations will appreciate their foresight.”

A Sustainability Award, which recognizes first-time winners, was given to the University of Illinois Retro-commissioning Group, which is comprised of engineers, field technicians and tradesmen. The group has spent $6 million making 27 campus buildings more energy efficient. The team’s efforts have resulted in an average energy savings per building of 26 percent and a total $9.7 million reduction in utility costs since 2007.

Four community colleges - John A. Logan College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Rock Valley College and Southwestern Illinois College – all received sustainability awards for implementing energy efficiencies on campus.

“More efficient energy use in community colleges means more opportunity for students to get the education they need to be ready for the workforce,” Simon said.

The winners are:

·         ActOnEnergy Business Program, Peoria

·         Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne

·         Cabot Corporation, Tuscola

·         City of Evanston, Evanston

·         City of Naperville, Naperville

·         DuPage County, Wheaton

·         Earth Friendly Products, Addison

·         Elmhurst Park District, Elmhurst

·         Gabriel Environmental Services, Chicago

·         GE Healthcare IT, Barrington

·         Harris Corporation, Quincy

·         J.L. Clark, Rockford

·         John A. Logan College, Carterville

·         Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey

·         Lincoln Park Zoological Society, Chicago

·         NOW Foods, Inc., Bloomingdale

·         PortionPac Chemical Corporation, Chicago

·         Rock Valley College, Rockford

·         Solberg MFG., Itasca

·         Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville

·         The Sherwin-Williams Company, Effingham

·         Uncommon Ground, Chicago

·         University of Illinois at Chicago, c/o Office of Sustainability, Chicago

·         University of Illinois Retro-commissioning Group, Champaign

·         Village of Hoffman Estates, Hoffman Estates



Scott County Family Y Earns National Certification as Nature Explore Classroom PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Arbor Day Foundation   
Monday, 31 October 2011 14:14

Nebraska City, Neb. (October 26, 2011) – Scott County Family Y-Palmer Learning Center outdoor classroom earned the national designation of a certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.

The national certification places Scott County Family Y in a select circle. The first Nature Explore Classroom is located in the Tree Adventure attraction at Arbor Day Farm, the Arbor Day Foundation’s interactive conservation venue in Nebraska City, Neb.  Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. Developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature, certified Nature Explore Classrooms are designed to help fill the void by educating young children using research-based principles for integrating nature into their daily learning.

These classrooms, which are being developed across the country, offer interactive elements – including musical instruments made of natural materials, climbing structures, wooden blocks, small waterways, garden areas, and natural materials for building and creating art – that give children important and inspiring nature experiences. While connecting children with nature, such unstructured play and activities are shown to enhance concentration, develop creativity and problem-solving, relieve stress, and improve skills in many areas.

The Scott County Family Y-Palmer Learning Center is located at 724 Harrison Street in Davenport, IA. Outdoor classrooms that are designed according to principles described in the Dimensions Foundation’s Learning With Nature Idea Book are eligible to become certified Nature Explore Classrooms. In a certified Nature Explore Classroom, children can create visual masterpieces in a nature art area, build with natural materials, climb on natural structures, and practice their balance, agility, and creativity in areas designed for music and movement.

“Scott County Family Y has taken an important leadership role in a profoundly needed initiative to connect young children with nature, setting a wonderful example for education centers across the country,” said Susie Wirth, Nature Explore outreach director for the Arbor Day Foundation. “Everyone at Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation appreciates the commitment that Scott County Family Y has made to the Nature Explore program and to providing nature education opportunities for young children.”

About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit education organization of more than 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.

About Dimensions Educational Research Foundation: Dimensions Educational Research Foundation was formed in 1998 to study how science, math and literacy learning can be enhanced by the addition of more visual-spatial activities into classrooms and homes. For a number of years, the Foundation has conducted and collected research on how children best develop visual-spatial skills and how teachers and families can optimally support this development. Dimensions Educational Research Foundation’s goal is to create and deliver unique educational programming to 1) Help people better understand and appreciate the natural world by developing visual-spatial skills; and 2) Improve science, math and literacy learning through visual-spatial skills.

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