Davenport Event is Part of Nationwide Week of Action to Call for Fair, Ambitious and Binding International Deal

Davenport, IA - Local activists representing 1Sky Iowa today gathered outside the office of Senator Grassley to urge him to support clean energy legislation and to ask President Obama to fight for a fair, ambitious, and binding international treaty on climate change when he attends the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on Dec. 9.

"President Obama can use his international prestige to be the driving force behind true progress on climate change," said Matt Denner, of 1Sky Iowa. "The rest of the world will follow if America leads and President Obama campaigned - and won - on a platform of domestic and international leadership to fight climate change. It is vital that Senator Grassley join him in these efforts."

The rally, which included the delivery of postcards to Senator Grassley from around the state, was one of over 30 1Sky events nationwide and one of four taking place across the state this week.  Many of the events highlighted art work made by activists in the 1Sky network who participated in over 200 "art gatherings" during November where participants created murals and other works of art that expressed the urgency of the climate crisis. The artwork was designed to push the Obama administration to take a strong stance in Copenhagen, where representatives of most world nations will gather starting on Dec. 7 to discuss an international treaty to stop the greenhouse gas pollution that causes global warming. A culminating event is scheduled to take place in front of the White House in Washington D.C. on Dec. 4 that will incorporate works of art from all over the country.

The Copenhagen conference is expected to run from December 7 to December 19. 1Sky and other groups dedicated to fighting climate change are calling for a fair, ambitious and binding treaty and warning that failure to generate an effective, working agreement soon could have disastrous consequences for the planet, which is already suffering from the effects of climate change.

Specifically 1Sky is calling on the Obama administration to:

- Push for stronger action on short term targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts than the 17 percent currently offered by the United States since 17 percent is simply not enough to stave off the worst effects of global warming

- Acknowledge a degree of U.S. responsibility for climate change by making financial investments in the transition

- Use the Copenhagen trip to pressure the U.S. Senate to build the political will to pass a strong bill in the Senate this spring.

"Unfortunately the planet cannot wait," said 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell. "We need to see serious progress in Copenhagen and from the United States Senate over the next few months. The economic benefits to acting are very clear and the result of no action is also, unfortunately, very clear."

List of planned events in the Midwest:

Des Moines, Iowa; 12/1/2009 - Climate artwork will be on display at a climate rally in front of the Neal Smith Federal Building.

Ames, Iowa; 12/3/2009 - Climate artwork will be on display at a climate rally on the Iowa State University campus.

Indianapolis, Indiana; 12/2/2009 - Climate artwork will be on display at a climate rally stressing the importance of a strong international climate agreement.

Lansing, Michigan; 12/3/2009 - The event will draw upon Michigan State University students to pin messages to a climate banner being taken to Copenhagen the next day.

Minneapolis, Minnesota; 12/1/2009 - 1Sky and Sierra Club co-host a rally where passersby and attendees can sign a banner reading 'All Hands on Deck for Climate Action', which will be delivered to Senator Klobuchar before he goes to Copenhagen.

Kansas City, Missouri; 12/2/2009 - 1Sky and Green Drinks KC will co-host a climate rally and press conference including speakers from Eco-Talk Radio and the Kansas City Star.

St. Louis, Missouri; 12/4/2009 and 12/5/2009 - 1Sky and allies will host two climate art parties at local coffeehouses including action stations with phone calls and LTE-writing, speakers, and live music.

Fargo, North Dakota; 12/1/2009 - This event features an e-conference hosted by NDSU Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering calling on the world's farmers to convert their agricultural residues to biochar.

Omaha, Nebraska; 12/2/2009 - 1Sky will host a press conference outside of Dale Clark Library to discuss the implications on a global climate treaty on Nebraska.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 12/2/2009 - Attendees will gather at a press conference featuring local leaders talking about the importance of a strong climate agreement in Copenhagen.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 12/2/2009, 12/6/2009, 12/12/2009 - 1Sky will host events including a pancake breakfast to talk about Copenhagen, a 'Bon Voyage' press conference, and a climate crisis rally.

1Sky is a collaborative national campaign for strong federal action to tackle global climate change and invest in building the clean energy economy of the future. As one of the largest national campaigns in the country, 1Sky combines the force of 500 allied organizations, 178,000 committed climate advocates, 2,700 volunteer Climate Precinct Captains covering more than 390 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 52 including 41 organizers in 30 states working to mobilize constituent support.

For more information on 1Sky contact Alex Posorske at (301) 270-4550 x 230 or Alex@1sky.org

Washington, D.C (October 6, 2009) -- In today's world, consumers are looking to save money and become more responsible for themselves and the environment.  Simple steps to reduce energy consumption can equate to savings in the bank as well as savings of precious natural resources.  To provide consumers the tools needed to make decisions with economic and environmental benefits,

ZiptoGreen has created a consumer friendly website that aggregates a multitude of information on energy efficiency and the environment.

As a comprehensive, user-friendly website addressing energy efficiency, www.ziptogreen.com, is currently a featured website of the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy of the U.S Department of Energy. Consumers will quickly find that ZiptoGreen is a one-stop online resource that makes it easy to reduce residential energy consumption and connects to an array of energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental resources.

During the national launch in Washington D.C., ZiptoGreen founder Julia Glenn Carter and Emerald Planet President Dr Samuel Hancock called on individuals, businesses and governments across the country to commit to reducing energy consumption.

"The nation is at a crossroads of a looming energy and environmental crisis. If every person takes simple steps now to become more energy efficient, we, as a collective whole, will slow the rate at which our natural resources are depleted in order to feed the growing energy market," said Carter.  "Many of the actions set forth on the ZiptoGreen website can be easily implemented by most homeowners and do not involve a change in lifestyle or large investment.  With ZiptoGreen, saving money and our resources go hand-in-hand."

ZiptoGreen helps consumers realize their intentions to become more energy efficient by making it easy to create and implement a customized action plan.  A robust content management system gives all stakeholders; businesses, government, utilities, green groups and consumers; the opportunity to connect either nationally or locally via ZIP codes. The website engages the public by presenting information in an unbiased format and offers links to additional resources for users who want to delve into areas of interest.

The ZiptoGreen website's five key areas; an Energy Reduction Plan, ZipSource, Zip-Ed, How To and Why; allow consumers to navigate the website quickly to find specific information or spend time exploring its content.

The interactive Energy Reduction Plan feature enables users to create a personalized reduction plan according to their zip code, climate zone and pertinent housing and energy information. This personalized plan tracks a user's progress and easily links to savings on products and services.  Users can even schedule to have email reminders sent directly to their inbox.

Other resources on the site connect users to tips, tutorials, educational materials, original articles jobs and more.

Access to www.ziptogreen.com and all resources, including the energy reduction plan, is free of charge. Communities can provide links to sustainability resources at no charge. Users may become Premium Members for $4.99 annually to receive ZiptoGreen's best discount rewards.

ZiptoGreen abides by the safe harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data and will never share or sell personal information of users without prior written permission.

Founding Charter Members of ZiptoGreen include the City of Decatur, GA; Green Energy Council, IEO Energy, Pinnacle Customer Builders, Ocham Information Services, Price & Partners, GeoLogic Energy Services, Real Energy Writers and Kodac Harrison, Jane Howe, Dr. David W. Messer, Carol McCullough, Jody Usher, Ph.D., Dinakar Manchikalapudi, John Howe, Jan Goodloe, Cathy Keeler, Robert McCarthy, Jocelyn Davis and Bill Selman.

About ZiptoGreen

ZiptoGreen, www.ziptogreen.com, is dedicated to making home energy reduction easy for consumers.  Its user-friendly format allows consumers to quickly create an energy reduction plan, connect to energy efficiency and renewable energy providers, save money, and learn more about the impact of energy consumption. Its robust content management system enables businesses, government, utilities and green groups to connect with consumers on both a national and local level using ZIP codes. ZiptoGreen is a privately-held corporation based in Decatur, Georgia. For additional information visit www.ziptogreen.com.


Des Moines, Iowa - The Climate Protection Action Fund's Repower Iowa today issued the following statement on the Senate introducing the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act:

"By passing comprehensive clean energy and climate policies we'll put America back in control of our economic and security future, make our nation more energy independent and create millions of new jobs by harnessing clean energy sources that are made in Iowa and that work for Iowa," said Douglas Niemela, Repower Iowa State Director. "Our dependence on foreign oil hurts our economy, aids our enemies, and puts our national security at risk. The
big oil companies, their lobbyists, and their front groups spend millions to protect their record profits and maintain the status quo, but Iowa knows it's time for change. This is an incredible opportunity to declare America's energy independence, put our economy back on track and leave a healthier planet for future generations."

A Zogby International poll released in August showed that a majority of American voters ? 71 percent ? strongly support House-passed clean energy and climate legislation, citing the job growth that would result from enacting new clean energy policies. According to the Center for American Progress, transitioning to a clean energy economy will create more than 18,000 jobs in Iowa. And a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that comprehensive clean energy and climate policies can save Iowa households $800 a year by 2030. Iowa's wind energy resources could produce more than
three times the state's current electricity production and enough to power 15 million U.S. homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.


Chicago, Ill. - On Saturday, October 3, the Deere & Company World Headquarters will be one of nine historic sites honored by Landmarks Illinois as part of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. This 15th-annual event honors individuals, organizations and projects throughout the state that represent excellence in historic preservation.

Situated on 1,400 acres of land and spanning a man-made ravine, the Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and is an icon of the Modern movement.  Completed in 1964, the original seven-story office complex is the first architectural design to use Cor-Ten steel as a primary building material.

The surrounding landscape, designed by Hideo Sasaki & Associates, includes artwork by abstract sculptor Henry Moore. The sleek, contemporary campus quickly became a model for office complexes during the latter half of the 20th century. In 1978, the company expanded, adding a 200,000-square-foot addition by Saarinen's successor firm, Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo & Associates.

The complex has won numerous design awards and is included on the American Institute of Architect's list of 150 Great Places in Illinois. For 45 years, Deere & Company has maintained this groundbreaking headquarters building through continuous care and meticulous attention to detail throughout its evolution.

"We were extremely pleased with the quality of award submissions received this year," said Jim Peters, president & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "The nine winners are truly representative of the most successful, innovative and inspiring preservation work in Illinois."

Since 1994, Landmarks Illinois has been assisted by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to honor those whose works demonstrate a commitment to excellence in historic preservation and inspire others to take action to preserve, protect and promote historic resources throughout Illinois.

The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and a portion of the Trading Room from Louis Sullivan's Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this important part of Chicago's built environment led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971. In addition, winners receive a $500 cash award.

The awards ceremony will be held October 3, from 4:30?7:30 p.m. at The Chicago Club and is open to the public. Tickets are available at $40 for members and $50 for non-members. To make a reservation, contact Landmarks Illinois at 312-922-1742 no later than September 30th.

Landmarks Illinois would like to thank the members of this year's awards jury for generously donating their time and expertise: Clark Christensen, AIA Historic Resources Committee; Marty Harper, Landmarks Illinois Board of Trustees; Christina Morris, National Trust for Historic Preservation - Midwest Regional Office; Anthony Rubano, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; and Jennifer Fritz-Williams, City of Elgin - Planning and Neighborhood Services.

For more information about the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards, visit www.Landmarks.org.

The other eight award winners are:

Sears, Roebuck and Co. Power House  Chicago

Project of the Year

Located in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, this industrial power house was completed in 1905 as one of four main buildings designed by the architectural firm of Nimmons & Fellows for the Sears, Roebuck and Company world headquarters. This structure generated steam, electricity and compressed air, providing power to the entire 55-acre complex. Following the company's relocation to the Sears Tower in 1973, the power house declined in use, and was fully decommissioned in 2004. Developer Charles H. Shaw and the Homan Arthington Foundation partnered with the Henry Ford Learning Institute to create an adaptive use plan that converted the former power house into a state-of-the-art educational facility. As part of the rehabilitation, original machinery was documented and portions were preserved for incorporation into the classrooms and common areas. The school opened its doors to students this fall, offering a math and science-based curriculum that prepares students for the future while paying homage to Chicago's early technological success.

Heimbach Residence Blue Island


Designed by Bertrand Goldberg in 1939, this small-scale building is an early example of the architect's work. Commissioned by Dr. Aaron Heimbach, the house featured both residential living space and an office for the owner's medical practice. After Dr. Heimbach's death in 1980, subsequent owners made numerous changes to Goldberg's design. The current owners purchased the home in 1997 and, in 2004, they embarked on a four-year, multi-phase restoration effort. Work included tuckpointing and masonry replacement, reconstruction of the second floor terrace, reglazing of over 90 windows, and a full upgrade of the house's heating and electrical systems which required tearing out and repouring the concrete slab throughout the entire first floor. The awards jury praised the owners, saying "the extent of the work and the visibility of this house make it a model for Blue Island preservation." The Heimbach house is one of only six surviving residential designs by Goldberg, and is now protected by local landmark status.

Garrison School Lofts and Town Homes  Rockford


This 1887 brick Italianate, located in the Signal Hill neighborhood, is the oldest surviving schoolhouse in Rockford. Designed by local architect George Bradley, the main building, an 1892 addition and a 1920 gymnasium (Peterson & Johnson, architects) sat vacant for 12 years before the Morrissey Family purchased the complex for redevelopment in 2001.  Conscious of the property's historic importance to the community, the owners pursued and were granted listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The school and gymnasium were carefully rehabilitated and retain many of their historic architectural details, which were incorporated into new residential units. The revitalization of these two buildings, plus 18 new townhomes on the adjacent lot, has been a catalyst for broader community revitalization efforts.

Overton Hygienic Building  Chicago


Located within Chicago's Black Metropolis - Bronzeville Historic District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1922 building was designed by architect Z. Erol Smith and built using funds raised by the local African-American community. This four-story, 31,000 square-foot office building originally housed Anthony Overton's cosmetic company and some of the first commercial real estate in the city marketed and leased exclusively to the black community. By the 1980s, the building had been abandoned, and it sat vacant and deteriorating for the next 20 years. In 2006, the Davis Group LLC began an extensive restoration of the building which included replacement of 300 terra cotta pieces and the replication of 117 wooden-sash windows. At street level, 1,300 square feet of storefront space that had been previously boarded up was rehabilitated, creating a more inviting atmosphere along the State Street corridor. The awards jury noted that "the rehabilitation of the Overton Hygienic Building, an anchor within the community, is paving the way for further revitalization within the neighborhood."

Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley  Geneva


A gift from Norway during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, this Viking ship replica sailed across the Atlantic and served as a major attraction during the fair. For many years, the ship was in dry dock in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo but it was eventually relocated to its current site in Good Templar Park during the mid-1990s. After more than a century of exposure to the elements and numerous relocations, the ship was in need of a more permanent preservation solution. In the winter of 2006-07, the Viking ship was named to both the Fox Valley and statewide lists of endangered historic resources. Soon afterwards, the ship was selected as one of 25 candidates to compete in the Chicagoland Partners in Preservation Grant challenge. Co-sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the online voting process lasted four weeks and prompted a creative "Get out the Vote" campaign by this local grassroots organization. Finishing in 2nd place, the Viking Ship stabilization effort was awarded 100% of the requested funds, which have been used to rebuild the structural support system, repair cracks in the wood, and provide a secure shelter and viewing platform for the vessel. The jury remarked that "without the work of the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, the fate of this rare and invaluable historic resource would still be in jeopardy."

Pacesetter Gardens Riverdale


At the time of its construction in 1960, Pacesetter Gardens signified a new era of suburban homebuilding. These attached row houses, designed by architect and developer Harry M. Quinn, received national media attention upon their completion and helped spark a new trend in home design. Pacesetter provided housing opportunities to families who were unable to afford a single-family home by offering a rent-to-own option. As early as the 1970s, however, the units fell victim to neglect at the hands of absentee landlords, eventually leading to the deterioration of both the buildings and the community as a whole. With the help of elected officials, federal, state and local grants were obtained for a neighborhood revitalization effort that preserved the affordable housing element and added commercial components to the plan. This contemporary model for community planning has proven more successful than its 1960s predecessors. In 2007, Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation broke ground and one year later the first residents were able to move in to the restored units. ADA accessible lifts and green technology were added to bring the townhomes into the 21st century. Hallmarks of the 1960 design that were carefully preserved include colorful aluminum siding, replicated metal window shutters, plus original doors and hardware.

Pullman House Tour & Façade Assistance Program Chicago


The Historic Pullman House Tour has been a collaborative effort between the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Pullman Civic Organization for over 35 years. The annual day-long event showcases the Pullman Historic District, focusing on several homes that have been restored to reflect their historic past and emphasize the significant features of these workers' residents. The proceeds from the Historic Pullman House Tour are used to fund a façade grant program managed by the Pullman Civic Organization's Beman Committee. These matching grants, capped at $1,000 each, are awarded to private homeowners undertaking façade improvement projects on their Pullman homes. Projects have included masonry restoration, reproduction and/or restoration of historic doors, windows, and details, slate roofing, and repainting with historically appropriate colors. Since the creation of the grant program in 2004, over two dozen properties have benefitted from this incentive program.

Father George Lane  Chicago

President's Award

Father George Lane, the President and Publisher of Loyola Press and a founding member of the Holy Family Preservation Society, has been one of the most dedicated advocates for church architecture and preservation in Chicago. His 1981 publication, Chicago Churches and Synagogues, is an informative survey of Chicago area religious buildings that has become a primary resource for architects and preservationists seeking reliable and scholarly material on the subject. In 1990, it was Lane who led the effort to stave off demolition of the historic 1857 Holy Family Church and helped raise over $1 million in restoration funds before a looming December 31st deadline. His appreciation for these lovingly crafted structures - which often serve as quiet refuges among the urban din - and his dogged support for their care and maintenance over the decades has made Father Lane one of the best possible advocates for their continued preservation.



Trees are hardy plants, and their roots fight back against man-made limits around them. In the urban and suburban landscape, tree roots often are forced to grow between buildings or under driveways and walkways. As roots grow, they will break walls, pipes and patios, causing damage to properties.

Plan before you plant
"Before you plant a new tree in your yard, you need to understand how a tree could damage your property and take appropriate measures to prevent that damage," advises Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association.

Woody tree roots thicken as they grow, gradually pushing shallow roots toward the surface. Since soil near the surface is best suited for root growth, most tree roots are just below the surface - putting them in conflict with man-made obstacles. Where the soil is covered by a solid driveway or patio, upward growing roots don't experience the normal signals (increased light and air) that they are reaching the surface. As a result, they often grow against the underside of pavement.

"Most damage is found six feet or less from the tree," notes Andersen, "since roots become smaller and less damaging the further they are from the trunk. Keep this in mind before you plant. That small sapling could become a large shade tree with roots spreading 30 or 40 feet outward from the trunk."

Fixing the problem
Some homeowners, masons and landscapers deal with intrusive roots by grinding down or removing them. This can be expensive and is very harmful to the tree. Wounding a tree's roots creates points of entry for pathogens, leaving a tree vulnerable to disease. Cutting major roots also reduces a tree's ability to take up nutrients and water, leaving it more susceptible to drought. Finally, reducing a tree's structural support from the roots increases the danger the tree will topple onto your house in high winds.

Keep these cautions in mind when dealing with a problem tree:

  • The farther you cut from the trunk, the less threat to the tree's health, and the less danger of creating a hazard.
  • Try not to cut roots greater than 2 inches in diameter.
  • Roots recover better from being severed when you: cut them cleanly with a saw instead of breaking them with a backhoe; mulch and water well after pruning; and fertilize in early fall or spring.
Deciding what to plant
TCIA advises selecting trees for your landscape that will cause less damage, that match species with site conditions and - most importantly - that you do not plant large shade trees within 12 feet of hardscapes (sidewalks, driveways). Since the health of trees in your yard is put at risk whenever root systems are cut back or damaged, anything that can be done to reduce the damage caused by tree roots will also benefit your trees.

In areas within 5 to 7 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas within 7 to 10 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 50 feet. Reserve trees that mature higher than 50 feet for areas with at least 12 feet of clearance. This allows adequate space for the roots. Also, before you plant check for overhead utility lines and leave adequate space for that tree to mature.

Find a professional
A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees to plant. Contact the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a 71-year-old public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2,000 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation's only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the "Locate Your Local TCIA Member Companies" program. You can use this service by calling 1-800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP code search at www.treecaretips.org.

Policy Forum Begins at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 13 at Lewis and Clark Community College

Godfrey, Ill. - The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center's (NGRREC) Annual Conference will culminate on the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College as conference attendees present recommendations related to sustainable practices in the Mississippi River Basin to key elected officials and decision makers. The Policy Forum will begin at 10 a.m. in the Commons, on the College's Godfrey campus.

NGRREC's conference entitled "Visions of a Sustainable Mississippi River" will take place Aug. 10-13 in Collinsville and on the College's campus. The conference has attracted more than 200 diverse participants with interest in the nation's largest river. Participants include stakeholders in the recreational, navigation, and agricultural sections, as well as researchers and natural resource professionals.

"Through conference presentations, panel discussions and workshops, our conference attendees will formulate new and useful insights and recommendations on four issues critical to the sustainable management of the Mississippi River and the human communities that depend on it," Dr. John Chick, NGRREC affiliate and organizer of the conference, said.

The four issues to be presented at the conference include Ecosystem Services and the Economic Value of the Mississippi River; Floodplain Connectivity, Flood Control and Hydrologic Regime; Ethanol Production and the Mississippi River; and Clean Water and the Mississippi River - Uses and Threats.

Policy makers in attendance at the Aug. 13 Policy Forum will include Congressman Jerry Costello (Illinois), Congressman John Duncan (Tennessee), Brigadier General Michael Walsh and members of the presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission, Tinka Hyde, Water Division Director , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5,  William A. Spratlin, Water, Wetlands, and Pesticides Division Director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director, Marc Miller, and Colonel Thomas O'Hara. Other invited guests include Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, members of Congress' Mississippi River Caucus, representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other key policy makers and legislators dealing with environmental and river-related issues.

The conference is hosted by NGRREC and The Nature Conservancy. This year's keynote address will be given by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the legendary Jacque-Yves Cousteau and founder of Blue Legacy International. Cousteau will present "This Blue Planet" beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12 in the Hatheway Theater on the College's campus. The event is free and is open to the public.

For more information on the conference contact Chick at 618-466-9690.


Rock Island County Master Gardeners, Dallas and Roxie DeShane, will host garden tours for the Home Grown Challenge through University of Illinois Extension, on Tuesday, August 11 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.  Their gardens are located at 3316 N. 1600th Avenue, Orion, IL (if you are coming from the QC Airport - go 5 miles east on Route 6, turn right at the green Orion sign on CR 12 blacktop - go 5 more miles to 1600 Avenue North.  Take a left and go 1.3 miles and their driveway is on the left).

At Whispering Winds Ranch Arbors and Gardens, there are a variety of gardens available to see, from informal country gardens to full size vegetable gardens, berry bushes, a grape arbor, rhubarb patch, small apple orchard, and other fruit and nut trees.  There are also four 40 foot gourd arbors with 102 hills, gourds growing in a container, over an antique wagon, on the ground and up a tree.   The DeShane's grow produce with no pesticides which they sell at the East Moline Skateland Farmers Market.  They also sell gourds in the fall beginning at the "Gourd"geous Day in the Country a day long free festival.  You will see various ornamental gardens and raised beds featuring plants and flowers.  They range from native flowers to roses, variety of shrubs and a number of hostas and heuchera.  Some of the gardens are shade and others are in full sun.  Down by the stocked 1.5 acre "Ponderin' Pond" is a grass garden with coneflowers and among the grasses is a bench to just sit, read a book or just ponder.

The DeShane's purchased their property 13 years ago when they started renovating their log home and planting their gardens.  About five years ago, they became interested in gourds by purchasing one apple gourd and so began the gourd arbors and gardens.  They started the QC Area Gourd Patch and host a gourd festival in the fall.  They try to plant for pollinators as they value their presence and they feed many variety of birds and have seen some rather rare birds.   Their gardens attract lots of wildlife, from twin fawns drinking down at the pond, to twin foxes who love ice skating on their frozen pond.  The DeShane's enjoy sharing a bit of the country with people (and wildlife) and have hosted a number of events at their home.  Each year they continue to add more to their gardens so each year when someone comes, they have new things to see.

The public is invited to attend the tour.  Please register in advance at (309) 756-9978 Ext 10 or online at www.extension.uiuc.edu/rockisland and follow the Home Grown Challenge Garden Tour link.

If you have ever escaped from blazing hot sun in a shady spot under a tree, you know how these natural air conditioners can make you feel more comfortable. A mature shade tree can block up to 90 percent of solar radiation, which could translate to a significant reduction in your home cooling cost. A Pennsylvania study found that air conditioning needs could be reduced by up to 75 percent by shading a house with trees!

Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of as few as three shade trees will save an average household $100-$250 in energy costs each year - and that study was done before energy costs soared!

Reduce energy use
With the increased costs of using fossil fuels for heating and cooling our buildings, it only makes good sense to take advantage of the following principles.

"Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of a building," advises Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. "Those are the sides where the sun's rays are most intense. Since deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, they offer shade during summer but permit the winter sun to provide warmth," adds Andersen. "Where there isn't room for trees, shrubs and vines can provide similar benefits."

Deciduous trees with high, spreading crowns can be planted to the south of your home to provide maximum summertime roof shading. Trees with crowns lower to the ground are more appropriate to the west, where shade is needed from lower afternoon sun angles. Trees should not be planted on the southern sides of homes in cold climates because the branches of these trees will block some winter sun.

"Although a slow-growing tree may require many years of growth before it shades your roof, it will generally live longer than a fast-growing tree," notes Andersen. Also, because slow-growing trees often have deeper roots and stronger branches, they are less prone to fail during windstorms or heavy snowstorms. Slow-growing trees can also be more drought resistant than fast-growing trees.

Trees, shrubs and groundcover plants can also shade the ground and pavement around the home. This reduces heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches your home's walls and windows. Use a large bush or row of shrubs to shade a patio or driveway. Plant a hedge to shade a sidewalk. Build a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio area.

Shrubs planted close to the house will fill in rapidly and begin shading walls and windows within a few years. However, avoid allowing dense foliage to grow immediately next to a home where wetness or continual humidity is a problem. Well-landscaped homes in wet areas allow winds to flow around the home, keeping the home and its surrounding soil reasonably dry.

Enhance property values
Beyond energy savings and beauty, homeowners who take care of their trees and keep manicured yards find the value of their properties increase. A research study at Clemson University lists maintaining beautiful landscaping as a cost-efficient way to increase the value of a home. In a comparison of house prices to house characteristics, location and landscape quality, the study showed houses that obtained an "excellent" landscaping rating from a local landscaping professional could expect to sell at a price 6 to 7 percent higher than equivalent houses with a "good" landscaping rating. Improving landscaping from "average" to "good" resulted in a home premium about 5 percent.

What to do
For a green household landscape audit, contact the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a 71-year-old public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2,000 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation's only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the "Locate Your Local TCIA Member Companies" program. You can use this service by calling 1-800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP code search at www.treecaretips.org.

Environmental Finance Bill Jump-starts Jobs, Construction Projects

CHICAGO - July 29, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn signed a financing bill that provides a state-backed guarantee supporting construction of renewable energy and clean coal projects that will create jobs across Illinois.

"Illinois leads the way at protecting our environment while developing new green jobs for the 21st Century," said Governor Quinn. "This legislation boosts investment in clean energy and sustainable practices that reduce our carbon footprint while generating greater employment opportunities."

SB 1906 clarifies the Illinois Finance Authority's ("IFA") existing bonding authority for renewable energy and clean coal projects. Under this law, the State and IFA will work in partnership to make available up to $3 billion in guaranteed energy project financing for qualified renewable energy and clean coal efforts. In addition, the law also increases the state and IFA's loan guarantee from $75 million to $225 million for agricultural businesses. It also provides guarantees to back qualified renewable energy projects such as wind, biodiesel or biomass initiatives that are related to agriculture.

This law also positions Illinois to compete for federal stimulus loan guarantees designated for the new green projects.

"This legislation will help Illinois companies take a leading role in the green energy industry," said Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria), sponsor of the legislation. "It will create new jobs and move our state's economy in a promising direction."

"This is another great example of why Illinois will continue to be a national leader in taking advantage of all of our natural resources in a responsible way, while expanding our economy and creating good new jobs," said Mike T. Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

"It is an important day for clean, renewable energy throughout Illinois, which will protect our environment and power our economy," said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago.

At the bill signing ceremony, Governor Quinn was joined by Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; William A. Brandt Jr., chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority; Dr. Roger Herrin, chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority Energy Committee; Rep. Deborah L. Graham (D-Oak Park); Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines).

The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) is a self-financed, state authority principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds, making loans, and investing capital for businesses, non-profit corporations, agriculture and local government units statewide. For more information: www.il-fa.com.


In June 2008, Arnold's Body Shop in Davenport became the first collision repair business in Iowa ? and one of the first in the Midwest ? to switch from solvent-based base coatings to water-borne base coatings. On Wednesday, July 29, 2009, Governor Chet Culver will honor the business for the results of its efforts with the 2008 Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Award at a ceremony in the State Capitol in Des Moines.

Arnold's is being recognized in the Air Quality category because the switch has cut its volatile organic compound (VOC) content by 54 percent and reduced its hazardous air pollutant (HAP) levels by 91 percent. These pollutants contribute to the formation of harmful ground-level ozone.

"Taking an environmentally friendly approach to business is one way our family of 23 employees can pay back our customer's families and the community for 40 years of support," said John Arnold, CEO. "Plus, our commitment to preserving air quality and reducing waste is our social responsibility to the next generation."

Arnold said that the business invested approximately $60,000 in water-based paint and air handling systems so it could exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards beyond 2011, when more stringent air quality laws go into effect. The changes at Arnold's Body Shop have not only reduced emissions, but also save energy by reducing the heat-drying process necessary for petroleum-based paint.

"In this industry, it's important to take responsibility for the waste we produce, so Arnold's does everything possible to reduce waste. It's the most socially responsible route," Arnold said.

As education chair of the Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA), Arnold is taking action to help other collision repair shops understand the laws that affect the industry and the environment. He has committed to helping educate body shop owners statewide through a series of seminars sponsored by the ICRA, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center. The seminars begin this fall.

"For the sake of Iowa's citizens ? and the planet ? we are going to do what we can to get auto body shops in compliance with the new standards by 2011," Arnold said.

The goal of the Environmental Excellence Awards is to recognize Iowa organizations, businesses and individuals who have excelled in providing leadership, innovation and  education in the protection of the state's water, land and air. At the ceremony on July 29 in the State Capitol, Des Moines, Governor Chet Culver will present awards in the areas of water quality, air quality, energy efficiency, habitat restoration/development, waste management, environmental education and disaster recovery.

Arnold's Body Shop has served Davenport, Iowa, and the greater Quad Cities community with comprehensive collision repair since 1969. It became Iowa's first body shop to adopt environmentally friendly water-borne refinishing system in 2008. It is a member of the Automotive Service Association and the Better Business Bureau. See www.arnoldsbodyshop.com for details.