Environment & Weather
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

 

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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.

 
Eastern Avenue Branch Library Celebrates Receiving the LEED Silver Designation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by LaWanda Roudebush   
Monday, 24 October 2011 15:12

Join the celebration at the Eastern Avenue Branch Library on Tuesday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. as the library celebrates receiving the LEED Silver designation by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

 

Bruce Hamous from the Eastern Iowa Branch of the Iowa Chapter of the United States Green Building Council will present the award to the library.  Representatives involved with designing and constructing the beautiful, environmentally friendly library will be present, as well as the mayor and members of the city council.

 

For more information on the library’s celebration, contact LaWanda Roudebush at 563.326.7832.

 
Eastern Avenue Branch Library Celebrates Receiving the LEED Silver Designation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by LaWanda Roudebush   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:28

Event Date: October 18, 2011

Join the celebration at the Eastern Avenue Branch Library on Tuesday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. as the library celebrates receiving the LEED Silver designation by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Bruce Hamous from the Eastern Iowa Branch of the Iowa Chapter of the United States Green Building Council will present the award to the library.  Representatives involved with designing and constructing the beautiful, environmentally friendly library will be present, as well as the mayor and members of the city council.

For more information on the library’s celebration, contact LaWanda Roudebush at 563.326.7832.

***

 
New USDA TV Feature October 11, 2011: Finding The Best Fall Colors PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 14:07

Finding The Best Fall Colors

The USDA Forest Service can help you find the best Fall colors

A new TV feature is available on the USDA FTP site

Filename: Fall Color feature

Download instructions:

The host: ftp://ocbmtcmedia.download.akamai.com

User name: usdanews

Password:  Newscontent1

The new file is in QuickTime Movie (H.264 ), MPEG 4, MPEG2 and HDV.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twNOResyOWU&feature=channel_video_title

video podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/usda-down-to-earth-video-podcast/id461819504?uo=4

RSS feed: http://downtoearth.usda.libsynpro.com/rss

Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have problems or suggestions.

Also, use this free ftp client if you have problems.

http://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type+client

FEATURE – FINDING THE BEST FALL COLORS

INTRO: Leaf viewing season is upon us and the U-S-D-A’s Forest Service has information on the best colors. The U-S-D-A’s Bob Ellison has more. (1:25)

 

FALL IS HERE AND PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THE CHANGING LEAVES. BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE AND WHEN TO SEE THE BEST FALL COLORS? THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S FOREST SERVICE CAN HELP WITH ITS FALL COLORS WEB PAGE AND HOTLINE.

 

Tom Tidwell, Chief, USDA Forest Service: So you don’t have to spend any time trying to wonder if this is the right weekend to get out. Call our hotline. We do have a website that you can go to that you can get the best up to date information. We keep it up to date and we’re going to tell you when the Fall colors are peaking in the area where you want to visit.

 

MANY FACTORS INFLUENCE FALL COLORS SO THE FOREST SERVICE RELIES HEAVILY ON EYEWITNESS REPORTS.

 

Tidwell: And each year depending on how the weather develops in the Fall that helps dictate the color changes. So not only do have the science but we also have folks out there observing when these colors are changing so we can give you the best up to date information that’s available.

 

AND WHILE FALL COLORS CAN BE ENJOYED IN MANY PLACES, TIDWELL SAYS SOME OF THE BEST VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES ARE IN THE NATIONAL FORESTS.

 

Tidwell: Where you have the variety of both the hardwoods and also of our conifers. So you get that combination of the brilliant, magnificent Fall colors also with that solid green color from our conifer trees.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO F-S DOT FED DOT U-S FORWARD SLASH FALL COLORS OR CALL ONE EIGHT HUNDRED THREE FIVE FOUR FOUR FIVE NINE FIVE. FOR THE U-S DEPARMENT OF AGRICULTURE, I’M BOB ELLISON.

 
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