The Green Hyde Park Calendar and Resources Page, with guide to issues

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference's new Environmental Sustainability Committee and the Parks Committee and this website, Join HPKCC and support our work.

Link to University of Chicago 2011 Earth Day programs. All earth day-
Poisonous Houseplants (in pdf, from On the Safe Side -Timika Hoffman Zoller)
1537 News' climate change and environmental links and snippets-

See several green/sustainability websites links at the bottom.
To all our Calendars, Directories.
Hyde Park Garden Fair- visit or for more in our page.
Shortcut to Experimental Station garden and farmer's market news.
Visit the 61st St. Community Garden page for latest and evaluations of its unique role and notice it will have to move.
See details on City Env. Resources drop off and buy day June 21 and about trainbearers.
To Beach pollution and swimming bans
To HPKCC Sustainable Environment Action Task Force or EST. See there important information from and links to Civic Knowledge Partnering for Sustainable Chicago and to the Focus the Nation movement. To our committee's Sustainable Environment Documents w. links to articles. Next meeting May 3o, 6 pm, Treasure Island lower level, 1526 E. 55th.
To Parks Home. To Birding in Jackson Park. To Park Issues. To Neighborhood. To Walkable Communities and Bike/Running.
Visit our gardening pages! Also, Hyde Park Garden Fair and their site. LILAC
(Landscape Initiative Lake Park Ave.- an HPKCC Committee involved with Metra embankment and Lake Park Ave. See also about the Lake Park Corridor- the graphics first page illustrates some conservation solutions). Jackson Park home. Nichols Park Advisory Council home. Burnham (47th) Nature Sanctuary and Prairie Path
-which has much naturalist/natural area managing material, Washington Park environmental news, Washington Park Arboretum.
2005 Drought and Tree Care. See reports of the 53rd TIF Streetscape Committee in TIF Council Meetings. To Jackson Park habitat and bird history and future.
61st Street Community Garden

Here: (Shortcut to Green Links) (To calendar incl Openlands garden prog.) (Washington Park ecological events late summer-fall 2010)

Special on Regents Park Mayor's award. UC, UC Hospitals join Clean Air Counts program but UC still gets D+ in organization's survey--UC greens say that's unfair. See on Civic Knowledge Project Sustainability Partnership the Environmental Sustainability Committee page.

Dogs are prohibited in Natural Areas, which includes all of Wooded Island (including the Japanese Garden) and the Bobolink Meadow even on a leash. There is a minimum fine of $300. It's ordinance VII.B10a.

Of course everyone thinks their dog is an exception but a study in Biological Letters by Peter B. Banks and Jessica V. Bryant, showed that walking large or small dogs on leash made a huge difference. "Regardless of the type of area, dog walking led to a 35 percent reduction in the number of bird species and a 41 percent reduction in overall bird numbers, compared with the control. (People walking alone caused some disturbance, but less than half that caused by people with dogs.)" the dogs are predators to the birds even if yours is not so much.

Migratory birds are at grave risk of extinction, these are natural areas to give them somewhere to be on one of the great migration routes, they need all the help they can get, so please choose to walk your dogs on the 600+ other acres of the park.

Accepting Christmas trees for recycling from New Years through 3rd week in January: Jackson Park at 63rd and Cornell and about 5o ther places in Chicago. You can pick up a bag of mulch from your tree.

There will be an informational presentation by ComEd on the new smart meters this Thursday, December 11, 7:00 PM at the NIchols Park field house. Please let anyone you know who may be interested. Light refreshments will be served.

Lower cost energy solar installations offered.

The city of Chicago has teamed up with San Francisco-based Vote Solar and Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center to speed up rooftop solar installations in Chicago through 2014 summer at 25% under market rate. Funding comes from a World Wildlife Fund grant and is contracted with the two nfp's listed above. A committee led by Vote Solar selected Juhl Renewable Energy Systems, Microgrid Solar, Ailey Solar and Kapital Electric to do the installations under financing to homeowners through Admirals Bank. Cost to the homeowner varies according to installation size but should be $3.49 per watt. REGISTER at


Rebates for Compost Bins, Native Plants, Trees, and Rain Barrels
The Chicago Sustainable Backyards Program is offering residents up to 50% back on local purchases of trees (up to $100 rebate), native plants (up to $60 rebate), compost bins (up to $50 rebate) and rain barrels (up to $40 rebate).
The website for information is, the email to ask questions is

Boxes are just one of many things that can be re-purposed and the recipient comes & gets it from you, saving hassle. I also recommend -- you'd be surprised what people want. Not everything necessarily must be in A-1 condition, either. Check it out:

The parks pages in this website (see the parks home for full links of home/gateway pages for local parks) explore ecological and environmental issues and places to visit; many pages have picture galleries. Navigate to the gateways for Bessie Coleman, Burnham, Jackson, Harold Washington, Kenwood, Midway, Nichols, Promontory Point, South Shore, Spruce, and Washington. Other Parks page explores many community green opportunities and places including public and private gardens and oases. See also Park Issues.


Environment and humans study group forming.

We are a group of people with an interest in philosophy, politics, and the problems raised by the transformation of the relations between humans and their environment. We’ve decided to begin a reading and discussion group in order to examine fundamental questions in the philosophy of nature, theory of environment, and environmental politics. The group is motivated by the idea that we are facing an ecological crisis— which has become a pervasive theme of critical social theory, an urgent concern of practical politics, and a cornerstone of the basic self-description of our historical moment.

We will begin by reading Steven Vogel's book Against Nature: The Concept of Nature in Critical Theory. This book is a general introduction and summary of the concepts of environment and nature in critical theory—no background required. Through the reading and discussion, we aim to gain a precise and detailed grasp of the conceptual architecture bequeathed by the tradition of critical theory for addressing the theory and politics of the environment.

With this foundation in place, we will move on to examine other approaches and perspectives on the philosophy and politics of the environment, including, but not limited to, Bill McKibben, Timothy Morton, André Gorz, Deborah Cook, and Niklas Luhmann.

First meeting: Sunday, June 14, 2015, 1:00 PM
Hyde Park Free Theater, 1448 E 57th Street, Chicago, IL

Readings, Week 1:
Steven Vogel, Against Nature
Introduction + Ch1: The Problem of Nature in Lukács, pp 1-31

[a copy of the whole book is recommended; email to get a pdf of the chapters.]

Picnicking in the park? Follow some simple rules: when grilling in a park. Did you know dumping hot coals on tree trunk bases kills or damages the tree? Don't forget to clean up your area by placing garbage in the green bins and recyclable materials in the blue bins. And follow common sense on polluting in the waters.

Alerts and alarums

Openlands trees available for public spaces in spring 2016

Openlands, an organization that protects the natural and open spaces of Illinois, is accepting applications for its 2016 TreePlanters Grant.

The grant will be used to plant trees in neighborhoods throughout various communities, and residents in Chicago have from now until Jan. 11 to apply for a chance for their community to take part in the grant.

Applicants are required to identify locations in their neighborhood for 10-30 trees to be planted on public land.
Go to

Energy Assessments available- To schedule one (for either single-family or multi-family buildings), call 855-849-8928.

Blue cart rollout- frequently asked questions (from Ald. Burns Newletter April 26 2013)


When will my community receive the Blue Cart Recycling service?
All residents who live in single family homes, 2-flat, 3-flat or 4-flat buildings, will receive the residential Blue Cart Recycling service by the end of 2013. The citywide roll out will take place in phases, and residents will receive a postcard in the mail informing them about when the service will come to their area.

Will I be notified when the service begins?
Yes, you will receive a postcard in the mail informing you that the service is coming to your community and when cart distribution and the service will begin.

Why is my cart being delivered to the front of my house?
Carts are delivered to the front of the houses so that the City can assign the cart to the address on the house.

I don’t want to recycle. Can I use this cart as a garbage cart?
No. If you do not want to recycle, please provide your address and we will remove your cart.

Who will be collecting my recyclables?

Depending on your location, recyclables will be collected by the Department of Streets and Sanitation, Waste Management or Sims Metal Management Municipal Recycling. Regardless of hauler, all residents will receive bi-weekly recycling collection.

Will you collect on the same day as my garbage?
If you have curbside service (ie you bring your cart to the front of the house) your Blue Cart will be collected on the same day as your garbage. If you have alley service, the days may not be the same, so please leave your cart in the alley for the entire week to ensure collection.

How frequently do you collect my recycling?
All recycling is collected every other week.

What types of materials can I put in my Blue Cart?

When your cart arrives at your home, you will receive a brochure describing what materials, including paper, plastics, glass and metals can be placed in the cart. In addition, there is a permanent decal on top of the blue cart with similar information.

Do I have to put the recyclables in a special bag before putting them in the cart?
No, recyclables can be put in the cart bagged or loose. Any type of bag may be used.

Do I have to wash all containers before I put them in the cart?
No, you do not need to rinse containers before placing them in the cart.

Can I put yard waste in my Blue Cart?
No. All yard waste should be collected separately, placed in a tightly sealed bag and set out next to your recycling cart. Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, and branches.

I want to become a Recycling Block Captain. Where can I sign up?
Residents can call 312.744.5702 to request information on the Block Captain Program

Is Chicago backing off its commitment to the Chicago Climate Plan? Mayor Emanuel's 2012budget eliminates the office and cuts the funds. In the White House, he opposed strong action on climate change.

Chicago has been added to the EPA's heavily leaded (non-attainment) areas due in part to plants in Pilsen- Kramer Foundry, next Fisk coal-fueled power generating plant.

Here are a couple of directories of places and things to Recycle. (note- Blackstone Library takes used small batteries, but not tape recorder tapes.

Here is a link to an extended version of the Recycle Directory
All categories are open without clicking

Ken Dunn's website for your recycling questions. Also go to U-Tube "cityfarm".

NARA and EPA Launch Documerica-Inspired Student Multimedia Contest
“Document Your Environment” Contest Runs Through January 6, 2012

The National Archives in collaboration with the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) announced the launch of a student multimedia contest,
“Document Your Environment”. Drawing inspiration from a collection of
environmental photos from the 1970s, this contest invites students in
three age divisions of 13-15, 16-18, and 18+ students (to include
college and graduate students) to create any type of graphic art, a
short video, or a poem using a Documerica photo as a prompt. The grand
prize for this contest will be $500, courtesy of the Foundation for the
National Archives. The contest is hosted on, the federal
government's online challenge platform. Entries will be accepted from
November 1, 2011 to January 6, 2012. View contest details online at:

Finalists and the grand prize winner will be announced in February 2012.
Finalists may be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the National
Archives and a traveling exhibit with the EPA.

“Document Your Environment” contest categories are:
Graphic Art: This category covers any type of graphic art, including
scans of paintings, photos, cartoons, photo mash-ups, etc. All
entries must be sent as .jpgs, and high resolution (300 dpi) copies
must be available.
Video: This category can include documentary-like videos and more
artistic approaches to the contest. All entries must be less than
two minutes in length. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and
entered into the contest with a link to the video.
Poetry: Any form of poetry is accepted in this category, but there
is a 300 word limit to each entry. Poems must be submitted in either
a PDF or Word doc format.

Contest judges include: Graphic Art category, former Documerica
photographer and graphic artist Michael Philip Manheim; video category,
Cokie Roberts, author and news analyst for National Public Radio and ABC
News; and Poetry category, Sandra Alcosser, the first Poet Laureate of
Montana and professor of poetry at San Diego State University. Of the
nine finalists, one grand prize winner will be chosen by the Archivist
of the United States, David S. Ferriero.

In the 1970s, the EPA commissioned freelance photographers to capture
images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday
life in the seventies. This project, called Documerica can now be found
at the National Archives, which has digitized more than 15,000 images.
Today, the EPA has continued the spirit of Documerica with their recent
photo project, State of the Environment. EPA put out a global call for
photos that document our environment today. The EPA photo project kicked
off on Earth Day 2011 and will continue accepting submissions until
Earth day 2012. The winning photos may also be featured, along with the
National Archives "Document Your Environment" winners, in an upcoming
exhibit at the National Archives and a traveling exhibit with the EPA.

Documerica Photos on National Archives Flickr photostream:

Documerica photos online in National Archives Online Public Access

Environmental Protection Agency's State of the Environment Project:


Watch where and how you park your bike. People who lock their bikes to saplings or trees are killing those trees. The cambium, or living tissue layer of a tree, lies just beneath the bark. If the bark is bruised or damaged by contact with bike frame, or U lock, or chain this leaves an opening into which a very prevalent fungal disease can enter. This can kill the tree and all to often does.

Chicago Arts + Environment Xchange. The Xchange is a free online forum, coordinated by the Global Alliance of Artists, where artists and environmental groups in the Chicago region can find project partners, post opportunities, share resources, and collaborate on projects to improve the environment.

Interested? Check out the Xchange online at and register to attend the official Launch on August 25th at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Thanks so much, Catherine Game
Global Alliance of Artists
Chicago, IL USA

Some views....

Cass Sunstein, departing leader at the UC Law School and now in the Obama administration, tells UC Earth Week that while much has been accomplished, if we don't do much more.... For example, estimates of how much climate change will affect the economy don't take account of the devastating effect coming to animals. The U.S. is a main and disproportionate causer of climate change and has to help the countries that will be devastated. He says progress has slacked off since the Montreal Protocol that helped with Ozone (perhaps because the costs of doing it were lower than health costs if we hadn't) first under Clinton, who signed but would not submit the Kyoto Agreement, then under Bush II. He said the three presidential candidates were in substantial agreement on what to do, including capping emissions.

The present generation acting for the next generation: join Chicago Public Library's Read Green Live Green Adult Reading Program. A summer-long exploration of the environment through a unique combination of great books, readings, tours, performances, and workshops and events. 312 747-0411,


Acting to green the planet

Beyond Carbon and other Footprints: Lifecycle Assessment-- and you can do it from Internet based tweeters and phones even when you go to the store:

June 26 2007 5th Ward meeting focused on how to improve, increase participation in the blue cart recycling program. It appears there are more recyclables than traditional "garbage"- residents are seeking to increases the pickups to one a week instead of bi-monthly. (A article in the Herald in June? 2007 implied that the city does not want to have the program be very successful, fearing increased cost.) 5th Ward sanitation Superintendent Gloria Pittman, on the other hand, told the ward meeting that more could participate and there should be block captains who, inter alia could put up reminders about dates and times of pickup. The alderman also announced a pilot for permanent street cleaning signs.

Report from a major 18-year study show that the health effects of ozone and smog, long and short term, are much greater than previously thought. Currently announced EPA standards are being criticized as too lenient. Chicago will be unable, maybe ever, to meet current or tighter standards, but stronger standards might lead to more progress in smaller urban areas such as Rockford.

The EPA is tightening auto and truck fuel efficiency requirements for 2011 while continuing to evaluate what to require in following years under the 2007 Clean Air Act. The decision to issue revised standards now is an attempt to stabilize auto industry expectations.

An intergenerational contest from the federal EPA.

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 1:23 PM
Subject: FYI / 4th Annual Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder

4th Annual Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder Contest

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce the 4th
annual Rachel Carson intergenerational "Sense of Wonder" contest.
Entries for the contest should be developed by persons from younger and
older generations. Teams can work create poetry, take photographs, write
essays, and or dance. These creations should celebrate the legacy and
love of nature that Rachel Carson so eloquently embodied. The contest is
sponsored by the US EPA, the Dance Exchange, the Rachel Carson Council,
Inc., and Generations United.

Teams can select the medium for their work as it captures their
interactions with and reflections on the wonders of nature. Mixed media
entries are welcome as well, such as a photo accompanied with a poem or
an essay. Video entries can be of persons dancing or capture movements
and visible changes in nature from dawn to dusk. A panel of expert
judges will select finalists. The winners in each category of
photography, essay, poetry, and dance will then be determined by the
public, who will have an opportunity to cast votes online for their
favorite submissions.

Carson wrote that she would endow every child with "a sense of wonder so
indestructible that it would last throughout life." However, "if a child
is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship
of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy,
excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." The contest seeks to
spur and instill that same sense of wonder among all generations.
Should you need some inspiration from Rachel Carson, check out this web
page about her and her works that captured nature so eloquently.

Entries are due June 16, 2010. For more information about the contest
please see

There's the macro, and the micro... For one consideration on the former, is an article on the question of sustainability in demolishing vs recycling buildings. See:

Recycle that XMas Tree- is one that does it and picks up, also at certain park fieldhouses such as Jackson.

Reducing your water footprint may be as important as reducing your carbon footprint. Reduce or skip the flush, change to permeable and green surfaces incl. the newer grass seeds, use rain gardens and the new barrels with screens (avail. for $40 from Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District ).

If large numbers started refusing the plastic bags at the stores, see how soon the stores would change! And it's happening--all the grocery stores at least (not yet Walgreens) are happy to sell you their cloth bags.

World Cafe ( is coming to Chicago neighborhoods under auspices of the Chicago Conservation Corps. HPKCC Sustainability Committee is considering sponsoring a Cafe in the area, whereat people commit to doing things (like those below) that gain points in a "low carbon diet."

Audubon is starting a new Conservation Leadership collaboration and seeking proposals and partners:

Micro: Acting whatever way you can: 15 ways to help green the planet

Sustainable Back Yard

Dear Urban Growers,

The Chicago Department of Environment is pleased to announce the 2011
Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program. This summer, to promote the many
ways Chicago residents can create more environmentally-friendly
landscapes in their yards, the City is offering rebates to residents
for up to 50% off their next local purchase of:

TREES (up to $100 back) (including fruit trees!)
NATIVE PLANTS (up to $60 back)
COMPOST BIN (up to $50 back)
RAIN BARREL (up to $40 back)

The City will also be hosting a series of Sustainable Backyard
Workshops. Our next workshop is:
Tuesday, July 26
Chicago Center for Green Technology
445 N. Sacramento Blvd.

See a list of related events at the bottom of this email. Residents
are not required to participate in a Sustainable Backyard Workshop to
receive a rebate form, but are encouraged to attend a workshop to
learn more about how to install, plant, and maintain these green

To download rebate forms, please visit

Rules and Restrictions (See rebate forms for more details)
- Limit one of each rebate (rain barrel, compost bin, tree, and
native plant) per installation address, per year. Residents are
encouraged to purchase more than one tree and native plant, however
you should submit all of your 2011 native plant and tree receipts at
- Products must be purchased between September 1, 2010, and December
31, 2011.
- Original receipt (clearly indicating purchase) and completed Rebate
Form must be post-marked by December 31, 2011. The City of Chicago
reserves the right to deny rebate applications with unclear receipts.
- The rebates are available to City of Chicago residents only, and are
not available to schools, churches, organizations or businesses.
Greencorps Chicago offers assistance and resources to community,
school, and church gardens across the city. Please visit,
for more information.

Funding for rebates comes from the US Environmental Protection
Agency’s Pollution Prevention Program and a USDA Forest Service Great
Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.

Thank you for participating in the Sustainable Backyard Program, and
please spread the word to your garden clubs, friends, and neighbors!

Happy Summer,
Lyndon Valicenti and Dan Swick
Like the "Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program" on facebook

Other Sustainable Landscape Related Workshops hosted by the Chicago
Center for Green Technology (445 N. Sacramento Blvd.)

Saturday, June 25, 1:00-3:00pm, Permaculture 1: Fundamentals and
Principles. Learn from Jody Luna of Midwest Permaculture the
fundamentals and application of permaculture practices in our daily
lives. Part II will be on Saturday, July 16, 1:00-3:00pm.

Tuesday, July 5, 6:00-8:00pm, Chicago Green Homes Program. Learn from
Tim Heppner and the Green Homes Program Team about an integrated
design approach for residents to incorporate sustainable practices in
and around your home.

Tuesday, July 19, 6:00-8:00pm, Landscape tour of the Chicago Center
for Green Technology with Greencorps Horticulturalist Martie Brennan.

Saturday, July 23, 10:00am-Noon, Planting Design 101. Learn from Bram
Barth of WRD Environmental the basics of landscape design and work
with him to draft your own plans for your garden.

You can start with green parenting (get some tips at and for kids and adults with the Chicago Public Library's summer reading program,

Based on Redeye, April 19 2007, by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Advice sources:,,,

  1. Change light bulbs with compact fluorescent. At aldermanic offices. 75% less energy; savings greatly exceed cost. [See caution on disposal below.]
  2. Pay bills online
  3. Drive responsibly. Steady pace, under 60 mph, right tire inflation, fill tank during cool of day.
  4. Eliminate junk mail (only 22% is even recycled). go to "do not mail" list; stops credit card and insurance offers, free.
  5. Unplug electronics- cell phone chargers, TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves and others with transformers that do nothing when the power is off and don't need something always going from power or battery. (This site doses not recommend that for computers or telephones except during storms or power outages.)
  6. Greening baby. Example gDiapers- just flush insert down the toilet.
  7. Ditch the car--or even drop 10 miles of driving a week--that's 500 pounds of CO2. Or cu the trips under 2 miles (the majority) wherever possible. Try a hybrid or a car with at least 30 mpg. And there is carsharing (I-GO or Zipcar here). (An Inconvenient Truth website).
  8. Maintain and tighten up your home. Insulation (home, piping, utilities), filtration, caulking and weatherstripping.
  9. Rethink the laundry. Using cold or warm water really makes a difference, so does doing full loads. Skip the dryer when possible. And there are dry cleaners that are greener and safer- five Greener Cleaners in Chicago area-
  10. Recycle, even though you know it's done less than effectively--The Resource Center and similar are very good. The 5th Ward now has the green cart alternatives for housing of under 4 units. there are 15 citywide center for drop off, esp. for hazardous and electronic. There are places that take electronics including Chicago Theological Seminary (for reuse) and the facility at 1150 N. Branch Street. Walgreens or libraries will take batteries (contain mercury!).
  11. Plant trees. Absorb CO2. Help keep trees alive, mulched- especially in our parks and parkways. Shade trees help,too.
  12. Pay for your carbon emissions. Fund renewable energy projects. Calculate at Carbon credits are used to fund wind farms, etc. Or buy green tags.
  13. Get a water bottle. You'd be surprised how much resources, carbon and costs are saved.
  14. Shop locally or from/at home. Start with farmers' markets (the City puts out a list, two are in Harper Court and South Shore Bank lot at 71st/Jeffrey. There is Community Supported Agriculture--subscribe for the produce of a nearby farm brought to a central location for pick up: Growing Power.
  15. Paper or plastic. If your instinct was 50 one 50 other, you're right or at least close! (Although Delta Institute says paper is the lesser evil.) Take cloth bags to the store- (Chicago based).
    [Others point out that if you do use plastic, reuse the items as many times as possible, then leave them in the store's recycling bins-do that also with plastic bottles, another item being targeted for elimination as energy intensive. Some uses for recycled plastic bags are outdoor fencing and decking, pipe, new bags. Many stores including the Co-op give a few pennies discount for not taking plastic, other stores actually charge you for a plastic bag now. The stores are also good places to leave dry cleaning and newspaper bags also. Others note that plastic bags do require 40 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags and 91 percent less energy pound for pound to recycle.]
    [AOL has an article showing how use of the microwave can save on energy and waste.

The University will take all plastics #1-7 in single-stream recycling. It will not take cork, but Whole Foods does.

Recommendations for green living, from the HPKCC Environmental Sustainable Task Force:






Compost your leaves and other yard waste, or bag it and place it next to the carts. More info incl. on how to get a handy bin with brochure:

How to green your home (see MSI green home coming, below)

Based on materials by Growing Home Partners, Inc. at a Hyde Park Historical Society lecture May 2007

Four goals/principles for new or remodeled home construction:

-Energy conservation

-Resource conservation

-Healthier and more environmentally-friendly

-Lower life cycle costs with better quality

Green is:

-A holistic, complete building approach starting with an energy efficient envelope and finishing with green materials and appliances

-The result is better built, more durable homes that cost less to operate and maintain, as also are more comfortable and healthy

The Power of Efficiency

-Home value increases by about $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills-- Green > Value

-If every U.S. household replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulb, it would be the equivalent of removing one million cars from the road. [Caution: these and all fluorescent lamps contain mercury and must be disposed of properly at a knowledgeable and truly green collection place. Batteries must also be collected for recycling.]

-If just 1 in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, the benefit to our air quality would be the same as planting 1.7 million acres of trees.

From the outside in:

  1. Site Considerations
  2. Walls, Windows and Insulation
  3. Roofing
  4. Mechanicals - HVAC & Hot Water
  5. Fixtures - Water and Lighting
  6. Finishes
  7. Financing

Site Considerations

The Main issues are: -Passive Solar Access, -Orientation of Windows, -Landscaping



Keys to Effective Wall Insulation (visit Illinois Association of Energy Raters at

  1. Airtight construction. -Air leaks sealed during construction and prior to insulation
  2. Moisture control -exterior rain drainage system, -vapor barrier on appropriate side of wall
  3. Complete insulation coverage -no gaps or compressed insulation,
    -advanced framing to maximize insulation and reduce thermal bridging


Functions of a Roof

  1. Keep out rain and snow
  2. Protect from fire
  3. Curbside appeal
  4. Provide temperature abatement
  5. Source of water for landscaping

Roofing Options: Asphalt 15 yr or 50 yr Recycled, clay tile, lead-free metal roofing (copper, steel or aluminum), slate, cedar shake, recycled synthetic shingle, building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPOV), rubber flat roof with high reflectivity coating, green roof.

Mechanicals- HVAC

The average home spends at minimum $1,500 annually on energy bills
Heating and cooling accounts for as much as 50% of home's energy use
Small changes can make big differences.

Three keys to guaranteeing better efficiency are
-Getting the right contractor
-Sealing ducts and insulating
-Getting the right equipment

Options: Look for Energy Star and High Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) 93% or better
-Furnaces (gas, electric or fuel oil)
-Air Source Heat Pump
-Geothermal Heat Pump (coming: using streets for shared use- smaller structures. Not yet for radiators)
-Radiant (Hydronic or Infrared)

Electronic thermostats- Programmable and accurate; can save $100 a year with proper use

Mechanicals- Hot Water

Look at the appliance's energyguide "This model uses ---KWH a year", "estimated yearly operating cost is---". What uses most hot water? Clothes washing, followed by showering and bathing.

Residential uses- Service Water (faucets, showers..), Heating (Hydronic)
Options- Conventional tank, solar thermal, on-demand
Quick Fixes: Insulate the tank, turn down the temperature

Fixtures- Lighting (can account for 10-25% of energy use)

  1. Low-e glazing on windows
  2. Seasonal window shading including overhangs, deciduous trees, reflective treatments
  3. Tubular skylights
  4. ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures
  5. CFLs and full spectrum fluorescent lamps
  6. Dimmer switches
  7. Motion sensors


Indoor Air Quality:
-EPA reports that the air inside our homes can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Recommended: take the clean air assessment offered by the American Lung Association.
-Americans spend 90% of their time indoors!


Options to consider
-Recycled Glass Tile (one-half the energy of ceramic tile, 100% recycled)
-Glass Tile Countertops such as IceStone (high recycled content, typ. use concrete base)
-Recycled Paper such as PaperStone, shetkaSTONE (Up to 100% recycled paper and plastic resin, stain- resistant, heat-resistant, no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can be scratched)
-Butcher Block /SmartWood (uses wood accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
-Concrete (Portland cement is resource intensive but using fly ash helps negate). Visit Concrete Age.
-Natural stones like granite, esp. if nearby

Flooring (lots of options coming out)

-Bamboo (renewable, matures 4-7 years, not always harvested sustainably, formaldehydes sometimes)
- Cork (renewable, biodegradable 9 years, cushions, acoustically insulates)
-Linoleum (all natural like linseed oil, durable to 40 years
-Natural Carpet (wool, coir, jute backing, can be recycled)
-Salvaged wood (old growth woods better)
-Polished concrete (if using passive solar or radiant heat)


Conventional particleboard with glued wood veneer is not good-formaldehydes VOCs, deteriorate fast
Better: Greenway Cabinetry, Breathe Easy Cabinets, Environmental Language.


-Low VOC, low residue paints. Visit, others
-Natural clay plasters (clays, recycled aggregates, natural pigments- lots of different colors and textures! American Clay the best known brand
-Milk paints


Avoid: Leather, over stuffed, built with MDF or other particle board, silk
Use: stainless steel, FSc or Polywood built, reclaimed lumber, ready-to-assemble, natural (non VOC) finishes. Pacifica and Verde are two green firms.

Financing- Mortgage: What makes an Energy Efficient Mortgage? Visit

Rebates- State of Illinois Solar Energy Rebate Program (


A neat thing neighbors in Hyde Park are doing- neighbors are banding together in equivalent of block clubs to take advantage of the new programs that give you points for the recyclable waste in your blue carts (single dwellings so far and in local pilot). The points can be convertible to coupons for stores et al-- or be donated to schools-- Ray School has done quite well from the program (schools have to apply). Visit, for schools part add /greenschoolsprogram.

What do the current plastic recycling symbols mean?

Be aware that not only is the whole bottled water thing not green (and if not used properly unhealthy), some of the bottles have toxins and carcinogens that are only just starting to be removed from manufactures.

Attention LIHEAP eligible: Learn from the CEDA-Reach Project : Residential Energy Assistance Challenge. Note: this program is not an affordability nor directly an energy program and certainly not a "retrofitter." But it can save seniors money.

Lower your energy bills, Learn about banking and budgeting, Conserve energy. 208 S. LaSalle, Suite 2010, 60604.

Reach gives financial education on budgeting, individual or group. Weatherization kits. Monthly case management. Strategies to lower energy bills. Fare and gas cards. Reward stipend towards utilities.

If a LIHEAP client res. of Cook, income up to 150% of poverty, in a disconnect cycle.

Remember - living greener and healthier is about more than energy efficiency or recycling alone, but about blending them with health. Part of this is checking for and reducing radon gas. You can order online, go to a home improvement center or call National Safety Council at 800 557-2366. Venting features can be installed during construction-- Contact National Radon Information Line at 800 SOS-RADOn or go to the EPA at

Green Gardening and organic-regional farming, cooking, and CSA sharetaking/sustainable eating taking hold

Your Safe Kitchen-- sustainable cooking. See also

Opened late 2008 is "Open Produce" at 16-- E. 55th St. It seeks to go beyond the usual organic and regional models and business models.

The following is based on an article by Yenni Lee in Chicago Weekly October 23, 2008

Even the most green and savvy regional farmers often do not do well in urban farmers' markets. They often do better at what are called community-supported agriculture boxes (CSAs) not only at markets such as 61st Farmers in Hyde Park but through direct or two-stage distribution. These have produce and dairy products, etc. committed to shareholders who have already bought shares for a season worth of produce with the farm, one example being Genesis Growers in St. Anne, Illinois. Others producers having such a symbiotic model include Angelic Organics in Woodlawn, Videnovich Farms in Bridgman MI (owned by Hyde Parker Vera Videnovich), and Grass is Greener. The model started in Japan c 1980. The suppliers bring their boxes weekly to designated drop offs. Angelic Organic's local drop off is 57th St. Meeting of Friends, 5715 S. Woodlawn While Genesis Grower's is at a home, where it is then broken down and shared. Many of the participants use the seasonality of availability of different foods to teach their children about life and sustainable living. A participating Hyde Parker who is also a planner notes that she can afford to do it, including paying a premium for organic-- but what matters is building up the scale so that more can short circuit "industrial farming" which hides a lot of costs including social and health. Still, most growers charge an upfront $500 and more for the share--and going up as food producing and fuel costs skyrocket.

Another model makes weekly delivery of fresh, local organic produce: people who go out to the farms to buy and assemble boxes they then sell or break up. A prime regional example is Irv and shelly Cernauskas's Fresh Picks. The box share costs $18 and can be customized (fully customized go at $35 and up) but need not be weekly. They also include explanations why something is not available, for example.

Experts who note the soaring trend not that markets have trouble valuing all that goes into farming and distribution/interactions linking people, even at a remove, and places.

See the Grocery Scene page in this site, and getting food suggestions in Helpline. An increasing number of the producers and businesses have websites. See also the Community Gardens section below and 61st Farmers' Market.

The Birnie's are among Hyde Parkers learning the joys of turning the back yard into an organic microfarm. Urban farms are starting to be a big thing in many parts of the South Side including Englewood.

Tips for sustainable Gardening: Use-Conserve-Avoid

Brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Environmental Sustainability Task Force.





Book citations courtesy of Anna Viertel, Coordinator of School Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden

Permaculture Websites: (posts events and seminars)

Courtesy of Bill Morrisette



Biking is green:

Bikes are green! (but don't in the process make others black and blue or covered with red!)

From the League of American Bicyclists website: Bikes:


Greening and browning the US and the world.

First comes how decisions are made and in whose behalf....

Please check out report for the UN by MIT Urban Studies & Planning Dept.

Enabling Environmental Justice: Assessment of Participatory Tools
Background Report Prepared for: Environmental Department, United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Prepared by: Manjula Amerasinghe, Leanne Farrell, SheeShee Jin, Nah-yoon Shin, Kristen Stelljes
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Here's the Executive Summary:

A growing body of literature points to the importance of public participation in enabling
procedural justice in public decision making. Procedural justice, in turn, is a prerequisite
for distributive justice, which in environmental decision-making contexts, is the
underlying tenet of environmental justice.
Without the meaningful inclusion of those who
will be impacted
by the outcomes of environmental decision-making, fair distribution of
environmental benefits and harms is unlikely to result.
This report sets out to test the extent to which various participatory tools have the
potential to enable procedural justice in the environmental arena. The report synthesizes
the findings of 59 case studies applying seven different participatory tools to
environmental decision-making contexts in developed and developing countries. Tools
analyzed are: notice and comment, public hearings, focus groups, participatory
workshops, citizen advisory committees, citizen juries and referenda.
Findings show that different participatory techniques can, indeed, play an important role
in improving decision making and enabling procedural justice, a fundamental component
of environmental justice. Of the tools analyzed, participatory workshops have the greatest
potential to be inclusive, interactive and empowering to participants. Yet, even for this
tool and others that demonstrate high potential along these dimensions, several key
capacity requirements must be first fulfilled. Participatory tools in general were found to
be time consuming, financial and human resource intensive, and requiring of specialized
skills and knowledge from their sponsors. Furthermore, the adequate inclusion of
marginalized groups – a fundamental component of procedural justice – requires special
attention on the part of governments to make sure participatory processes serve to level
the playing field among stakeholders rather than perpetuating imbalances in access to power.

In fall 2008 EPA dropped the maximum spot emission of lead from c 1.5 to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter and planned lead monitors by any factory emitting a half-ton or more lead per year. But the White House raised the threshold to a ton or more, which exempts many of the worst polluters including in Illinois. (which currently has 13 monitors, 3 in Chicago and 5 in the suburbs-- the state EPA may set up its own.) To learn closest and downwind emitters, visit

April 17 2009, EPA put out for comment a ruling that greenhouse gases emissions including from cars are a danger to public health. This is a follow up to a Supreme Court ruling 2 years previously that such gases are regulatable and must be regulated under the Clean Air Act if found to be a danger to public health. The Fed. govt. also announced an $8 billion initiative for high speed rail.

A recent US gov't. assessment said that even if all carbon additions stopped now, it would take until 3000 to come back down to pre takeoff levels.

In his first week, President Obama took major steps on emissions and green initiatives, including direction to take a new look at allowing states like California to enact standards stronger than federal. This is still being studied by EPA.

There is a growing brown cloud over much of Asia, Africa and the Amazon.

The University of Chicago played a major role in documentation of increasing ocean acidity, the role of carbon dioxide growth in that, and effects of increasing acidity on both marine life and the ability of the oceans to absorb more carbon dioxide (negative). December 3 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Wooton et al "Dynamical Patterns and Ecological Impacts of Declining Ocean pH in High-Resolution Multi-Year Data set."

Recycling is in danger everywhere in the country due to plunging scrap and commodity prices.

Why trees matter: visit

Greening the region (NE Illinois and beyond)

CMAP (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) is adopting and supporting many short and long term transit, green and mobility projects in the 7-county area. It is also planning for the needs of 2040, including development of "regional indicators." To find out more, visit their special site,

The Feds in December 2008, while noting progress, listed every county in the Metro area among those not in compliance on air quality and having five years to shape up.

Illinois EPA has announced new regulations to reduce pollution in NE Illinois waters, including those released by the Metropolitan Reclamation District, which must start disinfecting, likely with UV.

Transit efficiency and living near transit can also be green, along with walkability and biking. and the Feds are now pushing with $8 billion high speed rail corridors.

Centers for Neighborhood Technology unveils webtool to transit-efficient mortgages, transit-sustainable neighborhoods and more. Includes comments by the HPKCC Transit Task Force chair, James Withrow.

Hyde Park Herald, April23, 2008. By Kate Hawley

Longtime Hyde Park resident Charlotte Des Jardins hasn't driven a car in three decades--which she estimates has saved her $150,000. "You can literally go anywhere on public transportation," she said. She takes it to work downtown, to farflung parts of the city and even out to the suburbs, where she recently visited a friend in the hospital.

That's an example of how public transportation can cut down on the cost of living, according to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based nonprofit that focuses on sustainable urban development.

In early April, the center unveiled an online tool that looks at the affordability of hosing based on access to public transit. The two-year project was supported in part by the Brookings Institution. Through interactive maps, the site reveals that living in the suburbs isn't necessarily a better bargain. While home prices tend to be cheaper the father you go from th city's core, those savings are often offset by the higher costs associated with car ownership and commuting, according to the center's data.

to create the web site, the center used information from the 2000 Census in 52 metropolitan areas, including Chicago. Color-coded maps give a visual breakdown of demographics such as median household income, average monthly rent, housing affordability, vehicle ownership and access to public transportation.

The center is considering ways it can update the data, especially to reflect the recent rise in gas prices, according to Nichole Gotthelf, a spokesperson. A zoom function allows users to spotlight Hyde Park. according to the map, the neighborhood has a high degree of public transit "connectivity," meaning that everyone who lives in the neighborhood is within walking distance of at least two public transportation stops. Large swaths of the neighborhood are near 9 or more stops.

But Hyde Park's public transportation could be better, argues James withrow, a neighborhood resident since 2001 and the author of the blog Hyde Park Urbanist. "There are a lot of different choices here, which is wonderful," he said, but the CTA and Metra trains don't connect well." Withrow is a supporter of the Gray Line, and idea floated by Mike Payne, a transit buff with no Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) affiliation who's nonetheless gotten some attention in the press for his proposal to convert Metra tracks running south and southeast from downtown into a CTA-run service. This, Withrow argues, would make Hyde Park more inviting as a shopping destination for those who live outside the knighthood.

For those who live in the neighborhood, bus and train options are plentiful, Des Jardins said. She has no complaints about the CTA, only about the very occasional rider who doesn't allow a senior citizen like herself a spot in one of the priority seats. "I don't know why people complain about public transportation," she said. "It's really not bad when you consider that there's very little available in most places."

Metropolitan Planning Council explicates the need for land use planning and redirection and how stop-and-start congestion driving hurts our energy efficiency, environment, and economy. Puts out in summer 2008 Reconnecting Communities and "Moving at the Speed of Congestion."

August 2008
As the first week of Olympic competition comes to a close, rain is clearing the skies over Beijing – but not before a flurry of attention to air pollution from media across the globe. In his blog, Steve Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, in New York City, said, “It is clear that the organizers of this year's Summer Olympic Games understood that the success of Beijing's Games was closely connected to the quality of the local environment. Cities around the world are learning that in addition to great restaurants, exciting night life, and inspiring cultural opportunities, both residents and visitors expect cities to provide the air needed to breath.”

In Chicago, of course, we are asking how our air quality will help or hurt our bid for the 2016 Games. Two of our competitors rank better than Chicago, and activity is already underway to reduce the region’s carbon emissions.

Where We Stand
MPC supports a wide range of efforts and ideas to slow damage to the environment. However, most “green” initiatives, especially those related to driving, overlook the fact that how much people drive – and idle in traffic – is a huge detriment to air quality.

According to MPC’s Moving at the Speed of Congestion report, released on Aug. 5, “Overall, the environmental cost of congestion is estimated at approximately $33 million a year. Automobiles produce pollution whenever operating, but emit noxious fumes at a higher rate when traffic slows and driving patterns include increased cycles of acceleration and braking.” In other words, land use patterns that limit travel options and force people to drive – even if they’re all in fuel-efficient hybrids – have huge time, money, and environmental costs.

MPC believes any plan to reduce the impact of climate change in the Chicago region is incomplete without measures to reduce the number of miles people need to put on their cars each day … promoting walkable, mixed used communities and alternative modes of transportation are just as much an environmental issue as producing alternative sources of fuel.

To learn more about Chicagoland's traffic dilemma, read Moving at the Speed of Congestion.

Project Progress Report
Moving at the Speed of Congestion
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, MPC released its latest report, Moving at the Speed of Congestion. This report quantifies the cost of traffic gridlock to the Chicago region: $7.3 billion a year – nearly twice previous estimates – in lost time, fuel, and environmental damages. The majority of this is attributed to lost time, which costs the region more than 20 times the price of wasted fuel. For every hour a driver sits in rush-hour traffic in the Chicago region, he or she loses $14.76. That adds up to $1,579 a year – enough to fill up the average car's gas tank 25 times!

As metropolitan Chicago continues to grow in population and attract new industry, it is imperative that act now to alleviate congestion. The report showed that congestion is a dynamic regional problem – and that must be solved regionally to avoid just shifting traffic from highways to arterials. “Excess congestion has infected the entire region’s transportation network,” said MarySue Barrett, MPC President, “and everyone from Kane to Cook should support and invest in solutions.." Now that we understand the problem, let’s work together to find a solution.

MPC did our part to focus media attention on transportation solutions in Chicagoland. Visit our newsroom for current coverage of Moving at the Speed of Congestion >>

Listen to an audio recording of the Moving at the Speed of Congestion >>

No need to drop the thoughts because we didn't get it. Greening the Olympics? Starting with Sydney, a Olympics Impacts Study long range requirement for standards and reporting for sites has included Environmental Sustainability.

HPKCC and the Coalition for Equitable Community Development and others incl. SOUL are concentrating on affordable housing and transportation impacts/mitigation and the Gold Line proposed Metra upgrade, but HPKCC is also eyeing parks and other impacts.

Metropolitan Planning Council has issued "Rules for the Games" for the 2016 Olympics bid.

Priority #1: improve transportation options in metropolitan Chicago. (based on already developed plans)

Priority #2: Coordinate pre-Games development with the revitalization of Chicago's Mid-South and West side communities currently underway. (community input, redevelopment to reverse disinvestment)

Priority #3: Maximize benefits for Chicago's low and moderate-income residents. (expanding earning power for neighborhoods and attracting, retaining young professionals and middle-class families)

Priority #4: Grow Chicago's reputation as a green city. (sustainable revolution: green neighborhoods with ped-bike friendly streets, compact mixed use development, accessible open space and transportation, mix of housing types)

More orgs. like SOUL, Little Village, Hyde Park Coal. for Equitable Comm. Dev. are connecting the dots to the Olympics, whether through benefits agreements or otherwise-- transit upgrades with clean air (shutting down dirty coal by 2010; Gray Line Lite; 20% affordables.

One is Little Village Environmental Justice coalition. They hold rallies at the coal-fired plants etc.: will it be a green Olympics or a Coal Olympics, and what about transit?

LVEJO and partner organizations host Coalympic Games to highlight environmental concerns with the Olympic Bid!

CHICAGO-The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) will be hosting the Coalympics at Chicago’s own Dvorak Park at 1119 W. Cullerton St. on Saturday, the 27th of September at 10:00am. Across the street from the Fisk Coal Power Smoke Stack to educate attendees on the subject of air quality, public transit and the mayors Climate Action Plan in Chicago and the effect it will have on the city’s chance to successfully bid for the Olympics in 2016. As of August 19th of 2008, Chicago was notified that it failed to meet the new standards set forth by the USEPA CLEAN AIR to regulate soot.

LVEJO will call on the Mayor and other officials to expand CTA service, close 2 coal-fired power plants on Chicago’s Southwest Side, and create a Renewable Energy Jobs Program by 2010, 6 years in advance of the 2016 Olympics. The environmental justice organization will present information on the impact these plants will have on Chicago residents, Olympians and spectators.

According to Samuel Villasenor, “more than sixty percent of the proposed venues for the Olympics in Chicago would be within a ten-mile radius of at least one of these two coal power plants”.

“Just as athletes wore air masks in Beijing concerns of there health will be raised if the power plants are not shut down.” The June IOC report questioned "how people would get from rail lines to the large concentration of sports venues planned for the lakefront, saying they were 'not in close proximity.'" Chicago did not explain how it would increase either bus or train service for the Olympics. LVEJO is calling for CTA to order new “clean air buses.” on existing and new routes such as the proposed 31st Street route. The new route will provide access to jobs and the Olympic Village site in what is currently a “transit desert”.

Greening the City?

Chicago Climate Action Plan (strategy) has still not been rolled out. But you can learn about it and interact through this wiki:

Many are disturbed by the decision to just tear down the Michael Reese campus including all but one historic building for the Olympics then housing. This is a lot of resources and energy being thrown away- and into landfills.

Among the ways the city is gradually moving toward green are the blue carts, green roofs, increasing its hybrid car fleet, and a bike drop-off and rental program like that in Paris France (These would be at the Kiosks JC Decaux now has ). But the real test is new buildings, new homes and retrofitting, as well as true recycling. And the city has announced it will drop blue bag in favor of blue bins.
Fifth Ward Superintendent Gloria Pittman says 60% are recycling
And now a plan is evolving to extend city pickup and recycling to larger buildings.

Proper ways to use the green and blue carts, dispose of leaves and yard waste, according to City of Chicago

Leaves' favorite spot is next to your carts.
Put yard waste in paper (preferred) or plastic bags
You can also compost yard waste- see at
Yard waste is picked up each week through the end of November.
Yard waste goes next to your blue and black carts.

Blue cart questions? Visit, 312 744-5702
At that website find pickup schedules and click for your questions.
New more blue, more/less black carts? Call 311.

Do recycle: Plastic containers 1-5 and 7. Asesptic packaging (juice, milk). Newspapers. Cardboard (flatten boxes). Tin and steel cans. Aluminum cans and foil.

Do not recycle: Loose plastic bags. batteries*. hazardous chemical containers*. compact fluorescent bulbs. yard waste.
*There are now centers around town for these and similar.

Yet the city expects to reduce waste pickup and tree trimming through lay offs due to the city budget crisis.


Museum of Science and Industry building real, demonstration green and sustainable house, with how to live green: Smart Home: Green + Wired- open again, refurbished and with as wind turbine in late March 2009.

Hyde Park Herald, January 23, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips

About a century ago the place that we now call the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) was one of may structures built for the Columbian Exposition. The fair is where Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse first introduced the public to electric power by providing alternating current to illuminate the Exposition. Now that the world is focusing on becoming greener, the museum property will once again be a place where visitors are introduced to an enhanced way of life. MSI will build a functioning, three-story modular and sustainable "green" home on the east side of the museum to showcase how people can make eco-friendly living a part of their lives and to highlight unique home technologies for the 21st century. The home - which is designed by Oakland, Calif. -based company Michelle Kaufmann Designs - will be the basis for the museum's Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit, which will be open from May 8 through January 4, 2009.

"Michelle Kaufmann Designs is a leader in modular homes," said Anne Rachford, director of temporary exhibits and events at MSI. "We saw a sliding glass design of her work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and we felt fortunate because we realized that we had the space to build an actual home based on the design."

The new interior architecture will demonstrate the use of natural light, open spaces, energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and energy-efficient building components to maximize a healthy living environment.

Visitors will see how storm water runoff can be collected for landscape irrigation; how toilets can be equipped to use waste water from the shower and bath; how spray-in foam insulation can create a completely sealed building, resulting in better air quality, a quieter home and greater efficiency; how recycled bottles and residue generated in the combustion of coal - called fly ash - can create bathroom countertops and other household structures.

Wired magazine will participate in the exhibit by connecting the museum with people who can bring "smart" technology into the green home, which will demonstrate how a home can be equipped to save resources while residents are away as well as keep a home and its occupants protected. The "smart" technologies demonstration will include a full-home automation system that allows homeowners to control heat, winter coverings, lighting, security sensors, cameras and a touch screen that will track electricity and water consumption in the home on a real-time basis.

The way in which the modular home will be built is also eco-friendly and time and cost effective. Construction will take place on an assembly line at the All American Homes' modular construction facility in Decatur, Ind. Building the home at the plant allows homes to be built 60 percent faster than on-site construction; will reduce the amount of lumber waste that is often created on site and the drywall scrap that is usually sent to a landfill will be sent to farmer to prepare soil for planting.

This exhibit will require an additional timed-entry ticket, which will be $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children ages 3-11. Advanced tickets are on sale at

Herald, May 14, 2008. By Crystal Fencke. (This exhibit was also featured in national newspapers.)

On May 9 the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, opened to the public the timely exhibit "Smart Home: Green + Wired," an eco-friendly and stylish house and garden. Smart Home is the most recent of the cutting-edge displays the museum has added to celebrate its 75th anniversary on Chicago's lakefront.

Open until January 2009, this sustainable home offers consumers myriad suggestions of what they can do in their own homes to leave less of a carbon footprint and help save money in the process-- all in a fashion-forward package.

Naturally shaped as a modified prairie-style home, the three-story house is made entirely of recycled and biodegradable materials, including bamboo floors and tiles made of recycled glass. with lots of window space and skylights, natural light is abundant. And to save on air conditioning costs during summer months, the architect, Michelle Kaufmann, originally from Iowa, culled ideas from her Midwestern roots. She devised barn-like louvered doors, similar to window blinds, to slide open, floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize cross-ventilation while blocking direct sunlight.

Kaufmann, of Michelle Kaufmann designs (KDK) in California's Marin County, "believes that sustainable, well-designed buildings should be accessible to more people," according to museum materials. The goal of the firm is to make it easier for people to build green and live a more sustainable lifestyle, she said. She and her husband live in a a green home she designed.

Indoor features of the Smart Home range from a sofa purchased from a resale shop (which is sleek--not shabby-chic0, a chalk-board painting to enable future paintings on the same canvas and a pop-art chandelier conversation piece, made of recycled light bulbs. Surrounding the home, the garden offers a landscape with conservation, utility and beauty in mind. The hardscape, or paved area, is made of permeable bricks that cut down on water runoff to the lake and create a natural water source for soil underneath. They also speak to safety for a Chicago winter , as they tend not to accumulate ice. The beautiful pot gardens showcase plants to harvest from the garden to the kitchen three seasons of the year, including edible flowers to toss in a salad or for garnishing. The three different mulching systems show how to make the most of kitchen and garden waste, for creating a nutrient-dense garden.

Technology enhances the Green Home with hints of the brave new world to come. ComEd offers practical applications for consumers to save energy and dollars. ComEd demonstrates its "Residential Real-Time Pricing" which allows customer to manage their usage. The Smart Home features two "smart meters" with LCD display. the computerized meters show times and days when usage is generally low, so for instance, customer can program their washing machines to run at 3 a.m. Customers pay an initial fee for the meters which potentially save hundreds of dollars throughout the year. About 4,000 customers are already using the service.


61st Farmers Market open on Saturdays, helps relieve food desert. See also section on community gardening and on green farms-living taking hold. OPENS MAY 12 WITH A GREEN FAIR.

61st St. Farmers Market reopened larger than before!

Open May-October, it brings fresh produce to the neighborhood, in different ways and with all options for payment including LINK. Connie Spreen is director of sponsoring Experimental Station and Aaron Schorsch recruits farmer and produce. They seek producers of midwestern organic and sustainable commodities- including meat, produce , cheese, baked goods, flowers and soaps. Woodlawn is one of 23 Chicago food deserts identified in a Mari Gallagher Research and LaSalle Bank study. Food is in short supply and balanced toward the unhealthy in the deserts (incl. prices disproportionately high for nutritious foods- as everywhere but espec. in the deserts leading to consumption of mainly fast foods). The Market also offers cooing and nutrition classes 9-2 on Saturdays.

Also: Hyde Park on Thursdays 5200 block of Harper (Harper Court), Bronzeville Sundays 4400 block of Cottage Grove, South Shore City Farmers 71st Jeffery lot Wednesdays, South Chicago Sats. and Suns.

Gardening classes for kids are to be held along with cooking classes in a unique program by Common Threads with St. Paul and Redeemer Church and Kenwood Community Park. Also this summer gardening for kids and adults at Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Don't forget the 4 week gardening lecture series January-February by Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee, Augustana Church, Wednesdays, 7:30 pm.


Illinois is trying hard to reduce or conserve salt use.

Will Illinois pass a Clean Car Act in 2009?

In November the State Senate Rules Committee finally reported out the Lead Bill, passed in the House. The Senate is expected to vote Nov. 19, 2008.

The Clean Car Program is the fastest way to reduce global warming pollution from the automobiles, which are responsible for about one-quarter of the global warming pollution emitted in Illinois says Environment Illinois. In addition, it will save consumers money at the gas pump – more than $1 billion statewide – and it will make our air cleaner and safer to breathe.

How can you help?

1. Call your State Representative. If you’re not sure who your state rep is, either call us at 312-291-0696 x 306 and we can help you look it up, or look it up at this website.
2. Ask to speak with your State Representative. Tell them to support H.B. 3424, the Illinois Clean Cars Act. Tell them it will reduce air pollution, reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money at the gas pump.
3. Let us know what they say

For more facts about the Illinois Clean Cars Act, go to


Tracy Wax
Environmental Associate
Environment Illinois
407 S. Dearborn St., Suite 701
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 291-0696 x 306
cell: (617) 968-6217

Gains reported by Environment Illinois for 2007

It was just one year ago that we celebrated a major victory, when the
state of Illinois finalized a rule requiring 21 power plants across
Illinois to cut their toxic mercury emissions by 90 percent. With that
move, Illinois went from being one of the nation's biggest sources of this
dangerous pollutant, to having among the nation's toughest mercury
clean-up standards. Altogether, 6300 pounds of mercury per year will be
eliminated. After three long years of campaigning to persuade the state to
act, Environment Illinois staff and members were gratified to see a
result that has become a model for many other states.

In February, Governor Blagojevich set a target for reducing the
pollution that causes global warming in Illinois to 1990 levels by 2020
(roughly 18 percent) and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. These targets
are the same goals that Environment Illinois has been advocating for
years, on both the state and federal level. We were honored to be
appointed to the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group, a 40-member body
charged with finding cost-effective policies to meet the emission reduction
target. The work of the advisory group culminated in September, when
the group voted to recommend 24 policies which, taken together, will put
Illinois on track to do its part to prevent dangerous global warming.

This spring, Environment Illinois was one of the lead organizations
working to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy in the state. We
scored a victory when the General Assembly unanimously passed a strong
renewable energy standard which will increase the amount of power we get
from clean renewable energy to 10 percent by 2015 and 25 percent by
2025. The same legislation sets the first ever utility energy efficiency
standards, which requires our utilities to use energy efficiency
programs to lower demand throughout the state. This program will save about a
billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, approximately the
amount that 100,000 people would use in a year. Our General Assembly
recognized that renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions not only
reduce pollution but they help improve our economy, creating jobs and
saving consumers money on their energy bills.

This year we scored two victories to protect the immense but vulnerable
Lake Michigan waters and wildlife. First, we worked with the Illinois
Environmental Council to pass a regional compact to restrict water
withdrawals from the Great Lakes to levels that can be naturally
replenished. Illinois's passage of the Compact helps clear the way for its
implementation, but to become law, it must pass the state Legislatures of all
eight Great Lakes states, as well as the U.S. Congress.

In July, it was reported that BP had secured a permit from the state of
Indiana and the U.S. EPA to dramatically increase its dumping of
ammonia and solid pollutants into Lake Michigan from its Whiting, Indiana
refinery. That day, Environment Illinois supporters jumped into action,
and within 3 weeks, nearly 80,000 people had signed our online petition
to BP asking them to commit to no increase in pollution. Environment
Illinois's Max Muller was featured on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer
urging the company to install the necessary pollution controls to ensure
continued progress toward elimination of dumping into Lake Michigan. By
the end of August, under pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin, Reps. Rahm
Emanuel and Mark Kirk, Mayor Daley and thousands of others, BP relented and
pledged to avoid any pollution increase at the facility. Now we and our
allies are working to make sure they live up to this pledge, and to
prevent future BP fiascos.

This session, Environment Illinois and our allies called on legislators
to fully fund the state's two on-going land acquisitions programs, the
Open Space Land Acquisition and Development fund (OSLAD) and the
Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF), which help communities build parks
and playgrounds and provide habitat for the state's most vulnerable
endangered species. Although these programs have a dedicated funding source
in the Real Estate Transfer Tax, Illinois consistently diverts those
funds-typically allocating less than half of earmarked revenue toward
open space acquisition. Environment Illinois teamed up with a coalition of
over 30 other public interest organizations and successfully pushed
for full funding of OSLAD and NAAF.

As you can see, it has been a very busy year for Environment Illinois.
We are looking forward to an equally successful year in 2008 with the
start of the new legislative session in Springfield. Priorities include
passing legislation to cut global warming pollution from automobiles
and power plants, developing policies that will go further to preserve
our threatened open spaces and family farms, and phasing out toxic
chemicals that threaten children's health. Top

Greening the schools

Healthy Schools Campaign is pleased to be working with the Chicago Public Schools to engage interested stakeholders in implementing the district’s new Environmental Action Plan. CPS is hosting a Stakeholder Briefing on October 7, 2008 to launch an Environmental Action Plan Taskforce. I thought that you might be interested in learning about CPS’s Environmental Action Plan and participating in the plan’s implementation.

Click here to view the invitation from Arne Duncan to this meeting. Please feel free to share the invitation with colleagues who might also be interested.

Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director, Healthy Schools Campaign
175 N. Franklin, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60606


Ray School is slated for fix-up, remediation in 2009. Dangerous tiles have been repaired, the walls (shedding lead-based paint chips) are to be scraped again then repainted this spring. Furniture has been replaced. Still on tap is stained ceiling tiles.

Greening the U of C? Why has it lagged, though now awakening with new commitments

December 2012 a group at the university sought divestment from extracters of fossil fuels. They attempted a sit in in the Ad building.

In January 2012 reports from past years were still showing the UC the worst total polluter (esp. for greenhouse gases) of any institution or company in Chicago- or any Ivy League college . Partly this from size and numbers, collection of older buildings, amount of research and construction, including the Medical Center and student/faculty commutes and travels, and the midwest climate. The University developed a plan and account book published in early 2012- see it in There is already a policy in place mandating LEED certification for all new buildings over $5million, and a total of 20 buildings under retrofit.

In spring 2009, UC received a $2.5 million Crown Family grant (over 5 years) and a $78,000 Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant for an energy consumption reduction progam. Purpose is to maximize both environmental and economic return on investment, and integrate sustainability into planning and operations. They hope for savings from energy upgrades (admitted to be almost nonexistent at the UC), and use the savings for furthered actions. Part of the Crown grant is for baseline studies of greenhouse gas emissions and total energy use. The ICECG grant is for energy-efficient lighting in the athletics facilities.

In February 2010, the renovated Searle Lab was named one of the most energy-efficient labs in the country by the US Green Building group (admin. of LEEDS). A report soon to be issued by the University asserts the UC greenhouse gas emissions are close to those of Harvard and Yale, lower if the Medical Center is included. The bike share program is expanding, and she says she is working with community groups to expand it into the neighborhood. A close look is being taken at how to remake the old buildings so as to be both more efficient and green and provide better people experiences.

U of C, Hospitals join the clean air and other initiatives, is slowly improving both "ratings" and actual sustainability features (esp. in new buildings) while Green Initiative held another competition on bulbs (wisdom debated). But UC has increased lighting on campus for security, getting criticism on green/energy and light pollution incl. from astronomy club.

The University has cut back on the 10% of dormitory electricity from wind power contracts. Chicago School economists assert that buying alternative fuels just lowers fossil fuel prices so that more esp. in the 3rd world will use up anyway.

Searle Chemistry will become the first U of C building to earn LEEDS certification.

The University's Sustainability Council has now hired a green czar, Eric Heineman, and expert on sustainable practices, technology and education. Created in 2004, the council has students, faculty, and administrators. The Council annually issues a Sustainability Report. The Council's site is Co-chair Zoe VanGelder's goals include not only a carbon plan but setting up an urban farm.

And the University in fall 2008 hired Ilsa Flanagan as its first Sustainability Director. Her goals (after defining "sustainability") are to include maximization of institutionalized sustained results and moving sustainability into the mainstream curriculum. Large goals are needed as well as benchmarks adn messages and materials to communicate what is and is to be done. Full speed on LEEDS buildings is one objective. Reducing carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency, conservation, green and sustainable renovations, and transportation are among considerations. A challenge joining the practical and academic sides of her role is developing and showing the economic and business case for sustainability. Targets include greenhouse emissions, energy efficiency, conservation, transportation options, recycling. Baselines and year-goals. Behavioral changes based on business models. Renewable energy use, integrative design including life-cycle costing of materials and design. How energy is actually consumed in campus buildings and which retrofitting and streamlining is best. Ramping up effective recycling. Comprehensive alternative transport including bike share, bike lanes, bike racks in high-traffic areas, and real-time carpooling.

Here is what she says, according to a UC news release:

News Office Homepage

Advance sustainability planning helps make a greener campus, September 21, 2009

Daylighting works in practice as an environmentally sustainable feature of new buildings that are designed to bring in extra daylight, eliminating the need for overhead lights. But, to borrow from the slogan of a T-shirt once sold on campus, “How does it work in theory?”

“It would be easy to just adapt the green building guidelines of another university, we include the same features in each building and that’s that,” said Ilsa Flanagan, who became the University’s first sustainability director last November.

But the University prefers to foster a sustainability initiative that reflects its own particular culture of systematic research. That entails asking a few questions before deciding how to incorporate sustainability into new buildings and the renovation of existing ones. “What’s the experience we want people to have in this building? What’s the mission of the building’s occupants?” Flanagan asks.

The William Eckhardt Research Center, which is currently in planning, will have high-performance research laboratories, offices and conference spaces. “Those all have very different needs,” Flanagan said. And daylighting, it turns out, is incompatible with some scientific experiments.

This and other needs emerged from sustainability design charrettes that Facilities Services organized for the Eckhardt Research Center, the Chicago Theological Seminary, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, and the Lab Schools renovation.

Traditional design charrettes address the big-picture components of a building’s construction site, what the building will look like and how it will function. Meanwhile, the sustainability charrettes each devoted an entire day to planning potential new green features for the buildings.

An outside consultant facilitated the charrettes, helping the design team—Facilities Services and a committee of people who will work, teach or study in the buildings—think about what sustainability features they ought to incorporate. The research-focused William Eckhardt Center, for example, could include technology developed by scientists who will work in the building.

Alternatively, the Logan Arts Center will be home to a diverse mix of creative and performing arts. Charrette participants considered how they could connect their work to a sustainable building. Several mentioned that it was important for the building to conserve materials it uses for art projects, and some artists already are recycling materials to be reused in other works.

Obtaining LEED certification is part of the objective, said Flanagan, referring to certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. But more comprehensively, the goal is to determine how the University can integrate sustainability features into a building in a way that’s meaningful for the people who will study, teach or work in them.

The U.S. Green Building Council sponsors LEED certifications as independent verification that a building meets the highest green-building standards and performance measures. The University already has received LEED Gold Certification for commercial interiors for the renovated 6045 S. Kenwood Ave. building. The recently completed Searle Chemistry Laboratory building renovation likely will achieve LEED Silver certification.

“We now have a number of buildings in the LEED-certification pipeline,” Flanagan said, including the Laboratory Schools renovation and the new Logan Arts Center. Existing buildings also are undergoing scrutiny as part of the University’s inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re conducting our first inventory this summer,” Flanagan said, with the assistance of two students and several faculty advisers. Following an intensive period of defining the inventory’s scope, data collection began in July and could be complete by early fall.

The University, like many others, is using a computer program called Clean Air-Cool Planet to calculate its carbon emissions. Once the University has documented its emissions, the Sustainability Office will develop and implement a mitigation reduction strategy as part of a campus-wide sustainability plan.

It may take a year to develop that strategy, but the University isn’t waiting to green its campus. A free bike share program is launching this month in collaboration with Blackstone Bicycle Works. A program of the Experimental Station, a nonprofit community organization at 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Blackstone Bicycle Works is refurbishing 20 bicycles for the campus program.

The bike share pilot program will maintain four stations with 20 bikes on campus at the School of Social Service Administration, the Joseph Regenstein Library, the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and 6045 S. Kenwood Ave. The bicycles will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Borrowers need to fill out a waiver and have a valid University ID to participate in the bike share program.

By Steve Koppes

The mandate to the architect firm for the Lab Schools puts Green-Sustainable in the top tier. And another LEEDS (maybe Gold!) building opens on campus January 2090- the old Bell Telephone at 6045 S. Kenwood for the internet NSIT servers--- it has an indoor bike storage and shower rooms!

In addition, the University has sent out a call for research proposals for the Chicago Energy Initiative, announced March 21, 2008. The Stigler Center in the GSB will be the program's home. Focus is the economic, environmental and geopolitical impacts of energy use. Robert Topel called "the development and distribution of abundant energy" the most important social problem of our time. Energy is essential to the maintenance of living standards in developed countries and to the spread of prosperity worldwide, Topel said.. Aspects include scarcity of resources, balancing environmental concerns with economic issues, and relationship of energy to national and international security.

The University's growing focus is on recycling, purchasing, waste reduction, water consumption reduction, and reducing the carbon footprint in transportation, energy efficiency and alternative sources. Steve Wiesenthal, VP for Facilities, says there has to be a director and an organizational apparatus to develop, build support for and oversee goals. The University currently lacks the research, numbers and measures. The energy dept. is trying to calculate the footprint.

Student Government has supported Earth Hour, which called on all to refrain from using electric lights worldwide March 29 from 8-9 pm. The week of April 21-25 is full of Earth Week programs.

Breckinridge House won the contest to reduce electric consumption (largely through lights) during February, but overall usage was higher than last year.

The Maroon (Feb. 08) reports on the competition between dorms, but says that's temporary and needs institutional investment for there to be serious impact, noting other institutions' investments in green technology and monitoring to realize savings. "College campuses are increasingly at the forefront of environmental awareness, yet the U of C has been an exception to this trend. It is unacceptable that the University has lacked a sustainability coordinator, a person charged with ensuring that new campus buildings have sustainability features. This position is especially important now as the University embarks on several major construction projects. An investment in energy monitors is a bright idea that could help the University take an environmental stand."

And bicycling keeps going up.


The University of Chicago and U of C Hospitals are both among several that have joined the area wide Clean Air Counts Coalition.

Despite several initiatives and surveys undertaken both by the organizations and the student coalition Chicago Sustainability Council, which includes the Green Campus Initiative, such as its light bulb replacement program (contest) in dorms (to low watt florescent), the Cambridge MA based Sustainability Endowments Institute gave the University only a D+ for 2005. Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth and Williams got A-, 22 got Bs, 54 Cs, and UC was among the 20 given Ds. The local Sustainability Council and the university are drafting a U of C Sustainability Index so they can see what needs to be done and monitor progress.

One of the university's first moves as it joined the Clean Air coalition was to start purchasing wind power and to start more recycling such as for batteries and printer cartridges.Top

The Geophysical Sciences Department has classes that actually visit the region-sustainable farms like Genesis Growers and gather the real number on growing and transporting regional food.

UC makes better grade from Sustainable Endowments Institute in 2008 and sustainability initiatives win award, joins compact.

As noted below, UC will not make a high grade because of a fundamental divergence between the institution and the agenda/measures of the surveys, namely that the University will flunk on what it does with its endowment and on open engagement and disclosure.

Chicago Maroon, October 7, 2008. By Al Gaspari

The University received a C+ from the Sustainable Endowments Institute last month, an improvement over the D+ and C- that its sustainability efforts received in the previous two years. Only 15 schools scored an A- or better, while 17 schools flunked with a D- or worse. O the 300 schools reviewed, the University of Chicago ranked 150th.

The Institute, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization, calculates sustainability rankings based on school climate change and energy polices, dining and recycling programs, green buildings, transportation, endowment transparency, investment priorities, and shareholder engagement. It bases its report on public information and surveys submitted by the schools.

Fourth-year Zoe VanGelder, co-chair of the University's Sustainability Council, said the University has progressed more than the grade suggests. "If you look at how the grade is broken down, there is continually a part of the grade that we get an F on: the endowment transparency and shareholder engagement," she said. With those grades as low as they are, the best the University has the potential to score is a B-, she said.

Despite the University's' grades, the Institute selected the University as one of it five "Champions of Sustainability in Communities," a category that recognizes universities that reach "beyond their campus boundaries to partner with their local communities in advancing collective sustainable goals," according to the Institute's website.

VanGelder welcomed new commitments from the University, such as the creation of a full-time director of sustainability position as well as membership in the Illinois Sustainable University Compact, an agreement the University undertook last year. As a condition of it membership in the Compact, the University pledged to accomplish several tasks by the end of 2009, including the promotion of more sustainable transportation options, the reduction of carbon emissions on campus along with consideration for joining a greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading system, the purchase of non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible, and the reduction of pesticide use through the establishment of integrated pest management practices at all facilities on campus, according to the agreement.

But the University did not publicize its decision to sign the Compact. The document was signed by Nim Chinniah, vice president for administration and chief financial officer. "[W]e joined the program because we enthusiastically support its goals," Chinniah wrote in an e-mail interview, referring to the University's decision to sign onto the Compact. "Had we made a big announcement, one might question our motives," he said. Chinniah added that University architect Steve Wiesenthal will play a key role in achieving its pledges and that recruitment of a director of sustainability is in the final stages.

In addition to those efforts, the University is building two projects that it hopes to have certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. It currently has one such building. According to VanGelder, the student-initiated Sustainability Council can only go so far. "In terms of energy efficiency, it is a top-down matter," she said, noting that only higher-level administrators can ultimately implement larger initiatives. "Sustainability is larger than the council."

The council began as a student-run organization five years ago and has since partnered with the University administration. Event across campus, including the will Steger Kick-Off Event on October 14, which will bring the polar explorer to campus to discuss climate change, as well as the Battle of the Bulbs and Earth week later on in the year, will focus on raising awareness about sustainable practices. "We're focused on keeping the campus community informed," VanGelder said.


Greening Hyde Park and surrounding (see other sections for more)

Regents Park again wins Mayor Daley's Landscape Award

Hyde Park Herald, December 1, 2004. by Mike Stevens

Regents park's rooftop garden continued its winning tradition earlier this fall grabbing a fifth landscaping award since 1998 from Mayor Richard M. Daley's Landscape Awards Program. The second place award, announced Nov. 6, marks the latest in a string of awards handed out to the Clinton Companies, which owns and manages Regents Park, 5020 S. Lake Shore drive.

For 11 years, Regent Park gardener German Garcia has pruned unruly junipers, helped plant up to 5,000 flowers annually and hauled heavy hoses for four hours at a stretch to reach trees outside of the irrigation system. "I feel proud," said Garcia. "If people notice it's nice because it's hard work."

Regents Park's twin 36-story towers brackets the one-and-a-quarter acre garden, which is packed with some 30,000 plants, meandering walkways, a waterfall and a pond. Built on a concrete roof of the garage, the garden sits three stories above street level making weight distribution essential when Phil Shipley designed the garden in 1982. Tree plantings correspond with support columns, lightweight lava rocks are used liberally and the pond only looks deep-it averages a one-foot depth. Even the boulders are light. Movie set-makers fashioned nearly 200 faux boulders from fiberglass.

Before the garden, the concrete slab hosted the occasional tennis match and orphaned barbecue pits. Now some residents from neighboring buildings have admitted to Regents Park officials that they picked their apartments for their view of the garden, Regents Park's director of Resident Relations Kimberly Kilibarda said. "If you're like me and you don't have a green thumb, it's nice to look out there and see a beautiful garden," Kilibarda said.

The recent recognition only adds to a long list of awards including eight CAMME awards for genera excellence from the Chicagoland Apartments Association... Top

Hyde Park Earth Week 2009 focused more on efficiency.

Civic Knowledge Sustainable Partnerships is just one initiative based at the U of C. Here is one example of what they were doing-- in partnership with community events like 4th on 53rd Parade and Blackstone Bicycle Works at Experimental Station (61st Blackstone--two others described elsewhere in this page):
For updates on Civic Knowledge community garden initiatives, visit

Bart Schultz ( writes, July 5, 2008:

Dear Sustainability Partners--The annual Hyde Park-Kenwood 4th of July parade gave the CKP a chance to make a special statement about our commitment to educational/environmental bicycling--we biked the parade carrying the new CKP banner (see the attached photo)! The CKP now has a thirty bike fleet, and is looking forward to working with lots of local youth groups--and our friends at Blackstone Bicycle Works, Working Bikes, and Tati--to promote the environmental and educational philosophy of bicycling. Please contact me if you are interested in getting involved with this project, perhaps by leading a local bike club for middleschoolers. Best, Bart

Bart Schultz
Director of the Civic Knowledge Project
Senior Lecturer in the Humanities
and Special Programs Coordinator at the Graham School of General Studies
University of Chicago Pics at pixfromDivisioncameraww4thjuly2008003.zxip

Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference's Environmental Sustainability Task Force is gearing up to form partnerships and take actions in support of shared goals. Find out what we are doing-- in and linked from the EST page, or visit

Markets are also helping us getting greener-- 61st, Harper, Bronzeville at 45th and Cottage. So are new produce stores and cafes about to open-- Zaleski and Horvath MarketCafe and a new produce market in the 1600 block of E. 55th will feature regional products and foods.

Open Produce goes beyond green and organic

Chicago Maroon, October 7, 2008. By Ella Christoph

College grads open new produce store

From Javascript to java beans, from Cauchy's theorems to Kashi cereal, a pair of U. of C. graduates have left behind their math books and taken on the world of groceries.

Andrew Cone (A.B. '06) and Steven Lucy (A.B. 06) recently launched their new grocery store, Open Produce, on East 55th Street [near] South Cornell Avenue, where they're supplying Hyde Parkers with fresh fruit, vegetables, and ideas.

Just a few months ago, it was hard to guess that for Cone and Lucy, the future held groceries. Cone, who has a degree in mathematics and computer science, worked as a computer programmer and at a hedge fund before leaving his desk job. Lucy received a degree in mathematics and history of science and worked as a free lance we designer and information technology consultant in San Francisco before returning to Hyde Park. Dissatisfied with their jobs in computers and finance, the two decided they wanted to create something, meet people, and see their work in concrete end-product.

But competition is stiff in Hyde Park, and grocery options in the neighborhood have expanded in recent months. Hyde Park Produce founded a new location on East 53d Street and South Kimbark Avenue, and Treasure Island opened a new store in place of the Hyde Park Co-op. The grocery business stands only to get touchier with the specialty grocery store Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe slated to open soon on East 47th Street.

But Cone and Lucy remain confident that they can carve a niche for Open Produce amid Hyde Park's burgeoning grocery scene by offering a unique shopping experience for their patrons. As customers choose between price and sustainability, location and organic offerings, Open Produce's proprietors hope to offer an answer: fairly priced, healthy, organic offerings for all Hyde Park residents. Even with a growing number of grocery offerings in Hyde Park, most shoppers prioritize shopping at a convenient location within a quarter of a mile of their homes, Cone said. He hopes to attract Shoreland and Broadview residents on their way to and from campus as well as use his unique mission to appeal to buyers.

"People need to be made aware of the origins and nature of what they're buying at the time of purchase," Cone said. "When the effects of people's actions are transparent, this is what I believe empowers people to act morally and to act correctly." They hope to create a more transparent operation than conventional grocery stores. That is, they will display wholesale prices as well as the price at which they sell goods and where the item comes from. Open Produce displays both wholesale and retail prices. The wholesale price of a jar of guava jelly, $1.98, is listed above its retail price of $3.00. The store also offers unusual treats: coffee made by hippies" and "chocolate made by Catholics." Cone and Lucy also regularly post photographs of their trips to wholesale markets on the Open Produce blog.

Open Produce also sells its produce by the item, as opposed to the conventional method of selling produce by the pound. Cone pointed out that few people know how much a banana weighs. Open Produce's organic, free trade bananas cost 35 cents each, or about 83 cents a pound--a price tag that promises stiff competition for Treasure Island's $1.19-a-pound organic bananas or even its 70-cents-a-pound conventional bananas.

Bananas are one of a number of foods that Open Produce supplies specifically to appeal to college students. Many of the store's fresh foods and packaged items are easy to eat on the go or without a kitchen and exotic candies are displayed near the register are designed to attract curious students. Cone and Lucy hope to use their familiarity with the lifestyle of U of C students to reel in customers.

A vegan who is dedicated to animal rights and environmental concerns, Cone said that he is not interested in the upscale, gourmet products sold at many organic and locally grown produce stores an boutiques. "They're not trying to change the world. They're trying to change the way rich people eat," Cone said.


Chicago's greenest person?
Tempo went hunting for the Chicagoan who has the lowest carbon footprint. We found him: [Hyde Parker] Ken Dunn, who rides his bike year-round, eats homegrown vegetables and otherwise leads a sustainable lifestyle.
By Nara Schoenberg

Chicago Tribune reporter

September 23, 2008

How green is Ken Dunn?

Greener than the social worker who last year commuted 16 miles a day by bike in the dead of winter.

Greener than the woman whose rooftop solar panels generate so much electricity she donates the excess to Commonwealth Edison.

Greener than the Chicago apartment-dweller who composts his own urine and excrement.

Dunn, 65, of Hyde Park, is so green that he beat out 11 other finalists, identified with the help of local sustainability groups, to be named the greenest person in Chicago by the Tribune.

And in an age when Hollywood celebrities are flaunting their hybrid cars and brandishing their reusable shopping bags, Dunn, who grew up on a Kansas farm, whittled down his carbon footprint the old-fashioned way: by riding a beat-up old bike, air-drying his clothes, eating the vegetables he grows in his backyard and heating his home with a wood-burning furnace.

"Much of our country had a very frugal attitude in the late '40s, when I was first aware of household practices, and I've been trying to stay true to that," Dunn says.

"And I think that's important for everybody when they think of a sustainable lifestyle: Think of it as a return to the more community-oriented, richer life of prior ages."

Dunn produces only 3,800 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, as compared with the 44,000 pounds produced by the average American. He was one of two dozen contestants we found with the aid of organizations including the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Chicago Recycling Coalition and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Contestants were judged on the basis of personal, not workplace, greenhouse gas emissions.

The difference between Dunn's annual emissions and the average is the equivalent of chopping down 600 square feet of Amazon rain forest or driving a Honda Accord 60,300 miles on the highway, according to figures provided by Zeke Hausfather, chief energy scientist at Climate Culture, an Internet start-up company that did contest calculations for the Tribune.

Stated another way, Dunn is already living at roughly the level of carbon emissions that scientists at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say the average human must achieve by 2100 if we are to avoid dangerous effects of global warming.

"It would definitely make a huge difference if we all became Ken," says Hausfather, whose company focuses on detailed carbon footprints.

Carbon footprint isn't a complete measure of a person's "greenness," Hausfather cautions, and he adds that his calculations rely, in part, on estimates of contestants' shopping-related emissions. (Every product you buy is associated with the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming, but there was no practical way for Hausfather to catalog every single purchase made by every contestant.)

Dunn, the founder and director of the Resource Center, a Chicago non-profit focused on recycling, reuse and urban farming, is the son of Mennonite farmers from tiny Partridge, Kansas.

After college and a stint in the Peace Corps, Dunn arrived at the University of Chicago's graduate program in philosophy, hoping to explore sustainability-related questions. He got his master's degree but not his doctorate, opting instead to pursue concrete solutions to environmental and social problems in his work at the Resource Center.

On a recent weekday morning, a fitted sheet—hung to dry from the living room door—greeted visitors to Dunn's upstairs apartment in a Hyde Park two-flat. The porch has been overtaken, almost entirely, by the clothes-drying operation. The backyard garden, bursting with tomatoes and basil and adorned with morning glories, bespeaks hours of hard labor, as does the wood already piling up in the backyard storage area in preparation for winter, when the furnace gets a new log every eight hours.

But Dunn, tanned and very lean, isn't complaining.

Asked about feeding that furnace, he shrugs. Just part of the daily routine, he says.

He'd rather focus on the apple he produces from his refrigerator: small, by modern standards, and marred by the occasional bruise or worm hole, but fragrant, flecked with red and gold, and remarkably crisp and full of flavor..

He likens the flavor of that apple, grown in his backyard, to the thrill of learning how to ride his bike in the harshest winter weather.

Joy in life
"There's just a joy in it, and life is nothing if there's not joy in it," he says.

For the most part, the top contestants frequently rode bikes instead of driving, kept the heat down in the winter, grew some of their own food, went without air-conditioning and airplane travel, and spent little on clothes and entertainment. Dunn pulled ahead of the others in part because he uses a wood-burning furnace, which produces local air pollution but lowers carbon emissions significantly. He also had an advantage in that he eats expired and discarded food he acquires from stores and restaurants in his work as a recycler and composter.

Dunn beat out second-place finisher Sayre Vickers, 32, in part because of his living arrangements. Dunn, who is divorced with three grown children, didn't live with his current partner and their two young children during the period covered by the contest. But he shared his home heating bill—and split the associated carbon emissions—with three people who live beneath him. Vickers lives solo. Vickers, of Garfield Park, grows tomatoes, basil, wild spinach, kale and peppers in front of the sunny windows of his apartment and makes his own furniture from discarded wood. With no running water, he hauls his 3 gallons a day from the bathroom one floor below.

The toilet is a bucket, with a 30-gallon garbage can nearby for storing human waste layered with sawdust. Vickers has a friend in the suburbs who allows him to park the cans when they fill up. The contents decompose, forming compost.

In keeping with the claims of the Humanure movement, which promotes composting as an alternative to waste-generating flush toilets, the smell is undetectable from even a foot away.

Hausfather, the climate scientist, calculated that by composting his human waste, Vickers reduced his carbon emissions by about 1,700 pounds. His total carbon emissions are 7,000 pounds.

But like most of the other finalists, Vickers doesn't cite carbon emissions as his primary focus. His lifestyle is influenced by a love of the outdoors developed during his childhood on Lake Ontario, outside Rochester, N.Y., and the waste and pollution he saw when he moved to Chicago to study developmental biology at the University of Chicago.

Connected to nature
"In the city, I feel a lack of connection with nature, and I think a lot of the things I do that could be termed green are about reclaiming that connection with nature," he says.

Dunn sounds a similar theme.

"Be open to the real forces that are around, instead of the images and the hype, and those would be nature," he says, in the course of arguing that part of the thrill of year-round biking is learning to outsmart the elements.

"It's such a lessening of the human being to go through winter hating winter and go through summer hating summer."

The contenders
2. SAYRE VICKERS, 32, Garfield Park. "In the city, I feel a lack of connection with nature, and I think a lot of the things

I do that could be termed green are about reclaiming that connection with nature." Carbon footprint: 7,000 pounds (versus 44,000 for the average American).

3. BRITT WILLEY, 28, North Lawndale, social worker and community organizer. "My mom is a very environmentally conscious person. She's been a gardener a long time, and she grew up poor, and that's just how you lived."

Carbon footprint: 8,400 pounds.

4. ANNA STANGE, 46, Blue Island, folk singer. "To me, being green means having the least impact. It means not poisoning the environment for other people and living in a way that's sustainable." Carbon footprint: 11,500 pounds.

5. SARAH KAPLAN, 29, second-year student at Chicago-Kent College of Law. "I just find waste to be kind of repulsive." Carbon footprint: 16,600 pounds.

Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune

Water conservation. See also the Drought and water crisis/Tree care page.

Open Lands, MPO, CNT and others in January 2006 issued a report and started an ongoing action, conservancy and education project aimed at sustainable water resources throughout Northeast Illinois--parts of which will have otherwise run out of water before 2020! 11 counties have now joined forces under aegis of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)- see

Here are some ways to participate and conserve water--and money, from Open Lands, modified.



Josh Telser asks people to ask their aldermen and the city to fill in missing trees on parkways near their homes.



Appeals for volunteers. See ini the Calendar below. Jackson.

Burnham Nature Sanctuary 1st Saturdays 9 am. Meet in the lot north of 47th between Metra and Lake Shore Drive. George Davis, Monthly Workdays (9:30-noon)-1st Saturdays (except winter and conflict with holidays July, Sept.- then 2nd Sat. Provided: tools, gloves, refreshments. Please dress for the weather! contact Kathleen Taylor at 773 924-2738. Starts Marach 7 2016.
Special Earth Day April 23, 9-noon.

Jackson - . 2nd Saturdays Bobolink Meadow 9-12 pm (but check with Norm at meet at north end of the meadow. Registry/information at Bobolink Meadow Volunteer Website

Jackson Park Wooded Island 4th Saturdays (meet at Darrow Bridge or as designated) 10-1

Jackson Park- 4th Saturdays and more spring-late fall. June 28 10-1 Wooded Island.
July 28, Saturday. "We should meet at the south end because we have a busload of volunteers and the bus will be using the south parking lot. They are foreign college students, all women from Nashville, Lewis University. We’re going to refurbish the mulch around the fenced volunteer Oaks, put more mulch on the mulch path and possibly remove some invasives. I’ll also need some help in pruning some trees. I hope and pray that the weather will cooperate. Look forward to seeing you." Jerry Levy (NOTE RE: WEATHER- LOOKS GOD BUT MIGHT RATHER BE WARM BY NOON; bring water, wear hat. gmo)

Boblink- Oct 31 and Nov. 14- meet 9 am at south end of meadow.

- La Rabida Hospital at the trails east of road, mulching et al. contact 773 844-2225,

Amanda's Garden, 56th-Kenwood. May 21, 9-12. Capentry/woodworking skills needed.

Nichols: See schedule in Nichols. Sundays 3-5

Washington Park Conservancy, 3rd Saturdays 9-noon, , 9-noon at field house, 5531 S. K ing Gloves provided. No groups without contacting Madiem, Also contact 773-203-3418/

Workday in Washington Park 3rd Saturdays. Meet at the fountain of time May 22 10-1.

Review their GreenSpace Journal for the entire schedule.

There are also workdays at the Dyett Garden.

Nature Area Habitat Restoration Work Days, every third Saturday, 9 am to Noon (March to October) at Fountain of Time
3rd Saturday mornings through October, 9 am-12 pm. Washington Park Natural Area Restoration Day-- Seed Collection in lagoon area. Meet at the Fountain of Time, west of Cottage and Midway Plaisance. Madiem Kawa, 773 302-3418.

Butterfly, dragonfly, and bat monitors are needed.

Hello, this is Madiem Kawa, Washington Park's Nature Area Steward and founder of the new organization the Washington Park Conservancy, our mission to preserve and enhance Washington Park's Green Space and to promote education and cultural activities for the public that will be sustained for generations.

Professors Stephen Pruett-Jones, UC and Prof. Christopher Appelt of St. Xavier are seeking people to report and describe monk parakeet nests in a tracking and out-movement study project. One aim is to see if there are ways to have fewer adverse effects such as with power structures.,, 773 702-3115.

A wide range of skills are needed at the Hyde Park Garden Fair for setup te Thursday before and teh 2 days of the Fair (3rd Fridays and Saturday of May),

Burnham Nature Sanctuary at 47th holds workdays 1st Saturday mornings starting spring 2009. (2nd Sat. in July and Sept.) 9:20, lot north of 47th between Metra and the Drive.

Nichols Park volunteers. various Sundays 3-5 pr 4-6 pm. ...Daniel Brown, steward- Meadow at 54th, Starting May 15 3-5.
Clean up, weed removal and grass and wildflower weeding. We provide tools.

Washington Park Natural Area Workdays. 1st of 2016 May 22, Sunday, 10-1

Midway Plaisance. May 22, Sunday, 10-1- meet by the train tracks/south panels.



"The Brickyard Community Garden" 6117 S. Woodlawn- Contact Dorothy Pytel at or 773-288-7984 for more information on this workdays op. The University of Chicago Community Affairs has given much help.

Another project: Woodlawn Cooperative Gardenwalk, 6211 S. St. Lawrence. Jewell Dickson, 773 684-6384,

It's Flower Power hanging baskets time again for 2008 for 53rd and 55th- funds are sought. Check out in Hanging Baskets.
Please make check payable to Flower Power @ SECC and mail to 1511 East 53rd Street, 60615. 773-324-6926

Vegetable and other community gardens are coming back. Such gardens are being promoted by social and green agencies as a move toward community and intergenerational ties building and toward self-sufficiency and sustainability. Open Lands Project has a major program promoting this as urban sustainability;Chicago Botanic Garden has worked with students to develop a garden at Canter Middle School .Growing Home and Garfield Park Conservancy have helped gardens in Jackson Park including at LaRabida Children's Hospital. Kenwood Community Park has a growing garden including vegetables, part of the Common Threads and Black Star Project. Hyde Park Career Academy has a major vegetable and flower garden with its environmental study center at 63rd and Stony. Participants include, seniors, KidStart participants in a novel collaboration with the CPS. Jackson Park has a great vegetable garden in 2005 ne of Hayes and Cornell. And there's the Brickyard--see in box above. Another approach to sustainable gardening is to teach kids hands on from planting to health-sustaining cooking and nutrition and themselves becoming sharers, environmentally responsible and sustainable, and expanders of the program.

Openlands Community Vegetable Garden Training & Support Program. (for groups). Growing food together has many benefits. Community vegetable gardens help people eat better, the food is more affordable, and members are able to exercise, get to know their neighbors, and help improve the environment. HomeGrown Chicago is designed to support the local food movement in Chicago by helping groups of residents start or expand a garden together with friends and neighbors to grow food, and to insure that the garden and the garden organization will last!

The HomeGrown Chicago Food Garden Network program starts with 4 basic Workshops which include “hands-on” activities and homework.

For updates on Civic Knowledge community garden initiatives, visit

Dear Sustainability Partners--The CKP is pleased to be collaborating with the Brickyard Garden, Architreasures, and the Christ's Way MB Church on the Woodlawn Youth Solutions program. Please check out their blog at Best, Bart

Bart Schultz
Director of the Civic Knowledge Project
Senior Lecturer in the Humanities
and Special Programs Coordinator at the Graham School of General Studies
University of Chicago

The UC Geophysical Sciences Department has classes that actually visit the region-sustainable farms like Genesis Growers and gather the real number on growing and transporting regional food.

Experimental Station. 61st Blackstone is the big garden and one of the first--and one of the few to keep to its original "community" ideal--it how has a waiting list. Common as well as rental individual plots, teaching, community parties and resources. Contact Jack Spicer or the Experimental Station. Visit 61st St. Community Garden for new news and new locations.

Saturdays, 9 am-2 pm. 61st St. Farmers Market Outside Experimental Station, 61st between Dorchester and Blackstone. Inside in early winter. Reopens mid May.

61st Garden is now dispersed among 3, the closest to HP being 62nd and Dorchester. Visit 61st Garden for details.

Brickyard, connected with ChristWay Chapel at 64th and Woodlawn? is another with a community garden and involved in Sust-partners, Partnership for a Sustainable Chicago
Harper Court Thursdays 7-2, Bronzeville 44th/Cottage Sundays 8-1.


CKP Plants New Edible Garden at 5710
Cecilia Donnelley on Jun 16 2009 on CKP Sustainability website

The CKP is hard at work planning and creating a new edible plant garden at 5710 S. Woodlawn, the University’s Multicultural Center. In partnership with the students at 5710, CKP has dedicated the garden to Timuel Black, one of Hyde Park’s major leaders in the struggle for racial equality.

Along these lines, CKP Director Bart Schultz plans to base the garden along the lines of Timuel Black’s book Bridges of Memory, three volumes of oral histories from Chicago’s South Side. Dr. Black came to visit the garden last week, and emphasized that it should carry a positive theme of hope and optimism. He told us that the bridges of memory should also carry a message of ascent, and that the garden as a whole should tell a story, preferably one that encourages talking to the elders. He encourages everyone to speak to their older relatives and friends in order to gain a true history of their lives. Dr. Black pointed out that while these stories might not be factual, they are undoubtedly true.

The garden has multiple purposes: to promote edible landscaping as beautiful, to honor Timuel Black’s work and legacy, and to give modern students and visitors a sense of Bronzeville in its heyday, when it was three or four times as densely populated as the rest of Chicago. This dense population gave it unique culture and community feeling, which CKP intends to reflect in the garden’s design. Since the garden has these multiple layers, it will take a while to complete. Most of the ground planting and design is now in place, but many sculptural elements lie ahead, which will help the garden to tell a story in accordance with Dr. Black’s wishes.

The students at 5710 look forward to a fall harvest, which they plan to donate to a local soup kitchen. Along those lines, the garden now contains late-ripening varieties of blueberries and tomatoes along with fall crops like kale and sweet potatoes. Planting edible plants gives city residents the opportunity to eat fresh food and, for the children, a chance to see where their food comes from, something not all of them know.

We hope you will stop by 5710 S. Woodlawn to see the garden in progress. Check back for an announcement of the grand opening!

Jackson Park's large community garden at the southwest corner of the of the golf course near Marquette, is expected to have a major expansion of activity in 2009 and become an environmental and sustainability teaching center thanks to the city Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Growing Power. Likely to be added are sheds for year round activity.

Contact also Center for Neighborhood Technology, Common Grounds/Threads???, Metropolitan Planning Council, Open Lands Project, and The Resource Center. Most are directly linked at bottom of this page.

GreenCorps' community garden vegetable distribution day is comes again in fall. Don't miss the Hyde Park Garden Fair Mum and Bulb Sale September 20 Sat. in HP Shopping Ctr.


How greening and cleaning enhance neighborhoods

Seeing Green: Study Finds Greening is a Good Investment
Strategy for a Green City, Summer 2005

Advocates of urban greening often promote the intangible benefits that open space provides, such as improving the quality of city life and fostering a sense of community pride. While these benefits are difficult to quantify, a ground-breaking study from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania now offers solid evidence that investment in greening yields significant economic returns, specifically, dramatic increases in real estate values.

Funded by the William Penn Foundation, The Determinants of Neighborhood Transformation in Philadelphia: Identification and Analysis-The New Kensington Pilot Study, was developed and produced by Susan Wachter, professor of real estate, finance, and city and regional planning at the Wharton School. It looked at the economic impact of "place-based investment strategies," particularly the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's seven-year greening effort in the New Kensington area of North Philadelphia.

"We were always convinced that greening has a tremendously positive impact on communities," says J. Blaine Bonham, Jr., executive vice president of PHS. "The success of our Philadelphia Green program has demonstrated this. Now, the Wharton findings begin to quantify the positive return on the investment in greening."

From 1995 through 2002, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Green program worked in partnership with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) to address the blight caused by more than 1,100 parcels of abandoned land in the neighborhood and to come up with a vacant-land management plan for the community. The goal was to improve the area's appearance and help stem population loss, attract new residents, and encourage reinvestment. The partners created a comprehensive greening program, funded largely by the city's Office of Housing and Community Development, with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the William Penn Foundation. The strategy included "stabilizing" vacant lots (clearing debris and installing fencing and trees), creating community gardens, planting trees, renovating parks, and transferring vacant lots to adjacent homeowners for private use. The results of the PHS-NKCDC partnership include 480 newly planted trees, 145 settled side yards, 217 stabilized lots, and 15 community gardens.

Wachter's team utilized new technology and economic models to measure the impact of greening as accurately as possible, adjusting for other factors that affect real estate values, such as varying characteristics of individual homes and proximity to public transportation and schools. Sales information and other real estate data came from Philadelphia's Board of Revision of Taxes, while NKCDC and PHS provided information on greening projects in the area.
The study incorporates sales records on thousands of homes and more than 50 variables. To analyze the relationship between greening investments and house values, the Wharton School's Geographic Information Systems laboratory created a special database that included the location and timing of greening projects.

The study found significant increases in the value of individual homes near cleaned lots, streets trees, and parks (see sidebar). It also found a considerable increase in the total value of property in the community. According to Wachter, tree plantings alone account for a total increase of about $4 million, while lot improvements increased the total value by $12 million.

Key Findings of the Wharton School Study
Cleaning and greening of vacant lots can increase adjacent property values by as much as 30%.
Planting a tree within 50 feet of a house can increase its value by about 9%.
Location of a house within 1/4 mile from a park increased values by 10%.
Neighborhood blocks with higher concentrations of unmanaged vacant lots displayed lower house prices, about 18%.


And it's good for the gardener too: closeness to nature and our literal roots, sense of accomplishment, sense of hope, fellowship, move outward to other positive changes.- Wangari Maathai.


Kudos, scoldings, projects et al.

Beach closures in 2005 were close behind the levels of 2004. As of mid-July, there have been 29 swim bans including one on July 13 that closed all the South Side beaches. In 2004 there was a total of of 128, two fewer than the previous year. Storms are obviously not the present culprit, although a lake level 7 inches under last July's (resulting in less lake motion and in shallower waters) and a warm early-mid summer may have contributed. Experts increasingly cite gulls as a vector--nesting pairs have grown from 300,000 in 1970 to 800,000 today. Wire has been strung above the most popular roosting sites and signs posted on beaches discouraging litter.
In 2006 the city and park district decided to use different colored flags to advise of e-coli levels, and only ban swimming if it's over 1000 cfu, but there will be covered garbage cans and they do use machines that sieve and ultraviolet the sand. Park groups are investigating the matter and will not just let it pass as a done deal until fully satisfied this is safe and not cosmetic, and that the public is being fully apprised on site exactly why the yellow flag is flying that day. Visit Beach and Swim pollution home.

Frances Vandervoort is heading up a project to map out and document the topography, natural geography and geology, and hydrology and especially the trees and streams of Hyde Park and Kenwood. The Hyde Park Historical Society and Hyde Park Garden Fair are collaborating on the project to identify and document the Great Trees of Hyde Park and Kenwood. Coming is a publication and next year an exhibit at Hyde Park Historical Society. Ask us for contacts.

Rudolph Gartner scolded Hyde Parkers in 2004 in the Herald for their "uncaring trash disposal habits."

Hyde Parker Carolyn Ulrich, editor of Chicagoland Gardening, has one of 10 gardens in Chicagoland that was showcased and featured in a July 24 2005 walking tour.

Keeping the Lake clean. Dina Weinstein in a Herald commentary August 31 what she learned about lake pollution and swimming bans. She first suggests checking ahead of coming: or 312 742-4920. As of late August, there had been 40 closures locally, attributed by the District to high temperatures, heavy rainfall (at the few times it has come), low lake levels, animals abetted by human litter, and people-especially babies and kids in the water.

Some recommendations are changing tables for infants at beach houses/comfort stations, adequate toilet and hand washing facilities, posting signs against drinking lake water or defecating in the lake, or ill and not-yet-toilet trained children not be in the lake. Also, discouragement of littering (feeding birds that poop) and encouragement to pick up after dogs.

In addition, kids have to play in litter from glass to and plastic bags to contaminated. Weinstein urged people to get involved with Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt a Beach and Cleanup programs, next planned Sept. 17. Contact the Alliance website (at bottom).

More information on swimming bans/beach closures.

Illinois EPA has announced new regulations to reduce pollution in NE Illinois waters, including those released by the Metropolitan Reclamation District, which must start disinfecting, likely with UV.

And keeping the lake free of devastating Asian carp--the effort is foundering over lack/bickering over funding. Query the Illinois Department of Natural Resources/Water Resources.

The city's blue-bag system has been dropped for blue cart, was largely discredited in the media. Here is what Ken Dunn's Resource Center does instead: It intercepts garbage, including from U of C dining halls and many Hyde Park and citywide restaurants, brings them to the Center at 70th and Dorchester (1325 E. 70th) where it reuses, recycles or composts 99 percent of all waste. Dunn is as much an artist as environmentalist. (Visit Beyond Green at Smart Museum.) Now the city has a new pilot program with blue carts and guaranteed separation, that seems to work in the neighborhoods selected (Beverly, 5th Ward, and three others)--big increase in participation although still under half. Green and planning groups praise it, but say it should be rolled out faster. See

Old computers for Schools. Although the city now has several collection points for old computers and other electric devices, an alternative that refurbishes these for schools is Computers for Schools, 3350 N. Kedzie, Dock 2. 773 583-7575. Chicago Theological Seminary also has a program.

Environment Illinois has a outline for creating 30,000 manufacturing jobs and 19,000 in the wind sector.

What to do with geese droppings in our parks and open spaces has been a vexing and controversial question. (See Jackson Park's Geese page on the issues and proposed solutions.) To learn about one of several solutions, contact

From runoff to renewal: How low-impact development can reduce storm water runoff and protect water quality. From Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat.

Where is storm water a problem? In undeveloped vegetated areas the water percolates and recharges. But where the ground is covered with buildings and parking lots it just runs off gathering all kinds of contaminants and overwhelming infrastructure, and here eventually the rivers and Lake.
What can be done? Make the built environment behave like the natural one by including on-site natural features like vegetated roofs, permeable paving, rain gardens, rain barrels, and soil amendments, preserving/replacing natural vegetation, clustering development, designing buildings and road to minimize impervious surface cover.

Designing regulations that turn storm water into a resource: standard: no net runoff, flexible means, reduce unnecessary setbacks, wide streets, traditional storm water infrastructure incl. gutters, having separate storm water utilities.

Can't be done? New Jersey and other states have mandated it be done. And document, report, file for investigation, push for funding.


Natural Areas in Chicago Parks contact

312 735-8188? Natural Areas Manager Ms. Pranga. PD will hire also a natural areas volunteer coordinator (a newly created position) for the projects to be done.

Friends of the Forest Preserves has internship positions open for those over 18. If interested, contact Veronica Kyle before applying at 312-733-4640.

Watch for Nature Oasis South Side Programs and Events Schedule

Sponsored by Com Ed. Register/ ask for regr. form and receive details on meeting times and places, maps and directions at 312 742-5039. All are free. Note, only Stroller Strut can be registered for by phone.

Note: There will always be disagreements over policies toward natural areas, such as how vigorously to eradicate invasive's, how thick or thin is too much. Most experts and experienced observers call for a healthy mix with emphasis on biodiversity, mostly natives, medium-speed growing, and plants of all levels from ground to canopy. Being able to feed and shelter birds and other wildlife is highly important. The Chicago Park District, which runs several "natural areas" including in Burnham, Jackson, Nichols, and Washington in this area, pledges to make sure that what is planted is healthy and is sustained and maintained. A new position of volunteer coordinator has been created. The district says that without volunteers and limited use of fast-decay herbicides, natural areas and sanctuaries could not be maintained.

Randi Doeker, a former Hyde Parker, past president of Chicago Ornithological Society, writes in the January 17 2007 Herald that birds deserve a four star environment. She says pets land wild animals are not compatible in the natural areas. (Others say it's OK if on leash--but the park district says not in natural areas.) She calls for using all the input and expert and scientific advice available in support of expansion of biodiversity in the city. She calls for a habitat for birds similar to the plant life their ancestors found. This requires "taking out the discount bird-motel and replacing it with a four-star environment. "There are many great birding spots" in the parks" within easy reach of Hyde Park.


Calendar By date, ongoing, and more ongoing news, resources available

August 5, Saturday, 9:30 am. Burnham Nature Sanctuary Workday- meet in lot north of 47th & Cornell.

August 6, Sunday, 11:15 am. David Holquist of the Citizens Climate Lobyy on "Getting Legislators to See teh Light." Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn.

Watch for updates. Wooded Island will have tours certain Saturdays. (Island is now open )
JPAC, with the requests and support of numerous community members, birders, and Japanese Garden visitors asked for weekend tour and open hours. 2nd Sats 10-2 self guided tours. 4th Saturdays 10-1 tours, open til about 2. South Gate only. The park district is working to have an up to two hour supervised tour on the 2nd as well as the 4th Saturday of each month, his, and the exact time should be settled by January 8 and will be put up in as soon as possible. Because this is a construction area, access and visitation must be under park district supervision, with voucher sign in and out. Your patience is appreciated. Inquiry and questions can be addressed to or Jerry Levy at
[Information updated January 5, 2016. GMO]

Burnham Nature Sanctuary Quarterly walks (Equinox or Solstice)- Next: 3rd Sunday in September, 9:30 am). Meet in the lot north side of 47th St. beteen Metra and the Drive. 773 268-4856. Monthly workdays (in season) 1st Sats. except when holiday on following Monday.
Kathleen Taylor,773 924-2738.

July 30, Sunday, 9 am to 1 pm Burnham Nature Sanctuary Long Walk. Meet int eh lot north of 47th and Cornell.

Saturday mornings you will find plenty of birders including Audubon experts in Jackson Park from west of the Music Court (southeast MSI) across the Music Court Bridge and through Bobolink woods and meadow and beyond. Wear your binoculars and camera and ask for pointers. will have lists of frequently-seen birds. WOODED ISLAND IS NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Wooded Island workday moved to July 29.

August 4, Friday, 6-8 pm. BOTANIZING from a BOAT with lagoon restoration project manager Lauren Umek. (Reg. with Night Out in the Parks—can arrange to bring your own canoe.) Meet at east side of Darrow Bridge.

With the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3), you'll learn from community and environmental leaders about urban environmental challenges and opportunities for change. Take what you've learned and make something happen, and take action to lead an environmental service project in your community with C3 support and resources. For more information or to reserve a seat at one of the orientations, call 312-743-9283 or visit



Environment Illinois on problems, setting agenda, Currie interview

Environment Illinois has two bills in the legislature seeking to reduce mercury and other toxins in the environment, HB 934 and SB1241. It worked hard to get the state (Dec. 12 2006) to adopt a rule significantly reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired plants--90% by 2009. These 21 plants are responsible for 71% of Illinois's mercury pollution. Public pressure made the difference, EI said. It says that next on the docket are clean car standards protecting water quality in the great lakes, reducing carbon and other emissions that promote global warming.

To reduce our contribution to global warming, EI says Illinois should:

It also says the idea of turning coal in to liquefied fuel would be a step in the wrong direction. Where does our CO2 come from? Electricity 38%, Transportation 28%, Industrial 23%, Residential 11% [But much is from farm animals...]

In a recent interview with EI, Rep. Currie generally supported these and more environmental policies.

EI's idea for a New Energy Future

It notes that there are environment and energy responsible funds such as Green Century.

The EPA is studying how to make products less toxic as with decBDE flame retardant and will soon issue a report.

Environment Illinois's e-clearinghouse; discussion on compact fluorescent's.

Thanks to all who visited our new Energy Efficiency Headquarters website at

One of the great features of this site is our compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) headquarters section, located at

Did you know that if Illinois residents replaced their most highly used incandescent bulbs with CFLs, our total household lighting energy consumption could be cut in half?

CFL bulbs also last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. And through the energy efficiency programs that Environment Illinois fought hard to pass in 2007, millions of CFL bulbs will be offered at a significant price discount this fall.

Still, many Illinois residents have serious questions about CFLs -- how to recycle CFLs, how to clean up a broken CFL, and questions about mercury content in CFLs.

Environment Illinois set up our CFL Headquarters to deal with these very questions. Visit our CFL Headquarters at for answers on those issues and more.

So visit our CFL Headquarters today, and learn how to save money, save energy, and help save the environment!


Max Muller
Environment Illinois Program Director

P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.

UC Civic Knowledge - Sustain Partners supports much, has short courses for non profits, and is starting a series of environmental and sustainability courses with the Graham School. Here is a description of part of these, as known in July 2008:

Dear Sustainability Partners--I would like to mention that I have been working on developing a new Environmental Studies program at the Graham School of General Studies, which is the University's adult continuing education program. We are hoping that in due course this will become a certificate program that will help people develop greater expertise in the environmentalist areas of deepest concern to them. Please do check out the website at: Just scroll down until you see the various course titles on the right hand side. We have some great folks involved in this program: Ted Steck, Justin Borevitz, Pamela Martin, Naomi Davis, Martha Boyd, and many others. Please do contact me if you would like to know more about this program. Best, Bart

Bart Schultz
Director of the Civic Knowledge Project
Senior Lecturer in the Humanities
and Special Programs Coordinator at the Graham School of General Studies
University of Chicago

Sust-partners mailing list


On the new swim ban policy. See updated page in Jackson Park.

The local beaches did not experience any closures or swim bans in 2008. This could be a fluke due, for example to water, or due to a number of proactive measures such as "Wild Goose Chase" (which uses dogs), or to the raised e-coli bar for closings.

Note that the park district, Ill Dept. Nat Res, and EPA will do a full study of the 63rd beach watershed and all outflow sources. And now begun: predictive modeling swimcast.

Lake bottoms that were deserts are now (2008) shown to have vast gardens of algae and mussels, full of strains of e-coli and botulism spores. Huge mats of the algae regularly wash up on the shores. Are these killing migratory birds, starving fish, contributing to beach closures? The various mussel species (esp. zebra and quagga) now filter the lake so fast the sun penetrates far deeper. And there are the gobies. The changes are accelerating and may be faster than the ecology can adapt to it. Then stir in warming and reduced winter ice. Decreasing nutrients, rising temperatures and more mussels.


Group Sues EPA Over Beach Pollution
Releases List of Dirtiest and Cleanest Beaches

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 4 2006) - An environmental group has sued federal regulators, charging that they failed to protect beaches and the Great Lakes from pollution and that negligence by the Bush administration exposed swimmers and surfers to potential illnesses.

The lawsuit, filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council in U.S. District Court on Thursday, charged that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to protect the public against the "substantial adverse health effects" from contact with contaminated beach water.

In 2000, Congress passed a law requiring the EPA to update its beach-water health standards by 2005. The agency missed the deadline and current standards are two decades old, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed on the same day the group issued a report that found beach closings due to hazardous bacterial contamination in Los Angeles County jumped 50 percent in 2005. Across the nation, beaches were closed or posted with health advisories 20,000 times last year, the report said.

EPA spokesman Dale Kemery did not address the lawsuit, but said in a statement "the state of the nation's beach health remains high, even as the number of beaches monitored increased by 11 percent in 2005."

The agency "has made significant progress in carrying out its responsibilities under the" 2000 law, he said.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the agency to complete the water-quality studies and publish revised safety rules.

The pollution comes from a wide mix of sources, including animal waste, factories, septic tanks, sewage, pesticides and oil and metals deposited on city streets.


City's response in 2006: Can't fix it, so change rules?

The city has changed the protocol on swimming bans at beaches. You will have to watch for flags changing from green to yellow to red! As we understand it, there will now be closures only if the indicator bacteria goes above 1,000 colony-forming units per milliliter, not the current 235 and that the closures will now occur upon one day rather than two of exceedance of standard.

The change occurred with no or little notice to or discussion with environmental watchdog groups (except one), or park watchdog groups including advisory councils. Notice in media was weak--and the NBC coverage of beach closings focused on the pollution reality in certain states and general infrequency of testing, lack of application of fast-testing, and slowness of notice and closures since the test water has to be incubated. Except for attacking causes, Chicago is way ahead of the game on most of these, but still has a high number and percentage of closure days, 63rd generally leading the pack.

The 235 standard was developed and implemented as mandatory for beach advisories (notification must be prompt) by EPA at least as early as 1986 (according to EPA website--citations below). Presumably it had been shown that at 235 the statistical or epidemiological possibility of say 1 in 1,000 getting sick becomes real--seldom from E. coli but from the other pathogens that accompany E. coli. The 2001 Whitman report on 63rd Beach E. coli (which see) cites and applies 235 as the enforceable limit. The Centers for Disease Control website indicates CDC is still more comfortable with 235 rather than 1,000. What is OK for normal persons may not be safe for the very young, the elderly, or immuno-compromised.

We understand from EPA that 235 is still their standard, but those qualifying for grants or wishing to have the imprimatur of compliance are not required to use it--just so they timely give an advisory or close the beach. EPA in discussions with the Park District asked for better measures to inform the public what the yellow and read flags mean. Illinois adopted 1000 from the Wisconsin Beach master's directive (which incorporated several reforms Wisconsin had not been doing.) Although the state (Dept. Public Health) and not the federal EPA are responsible for beaches, neither has authority to direct jurisdictions to take any measures.

EPA and IDPH have met with the park district and told them of specific measures that would improve meaningful public notification.

Our researchers have yet to discover why the precise number 1,000 or any higher number is now acceptable, but by closing after one day of testing the city is said by EPA to be in compliance with the performance criteria for grants and will now be eligible for BEACH grant funds. The city tests 5 to 7 days a week, and there is a precise governmental criteria as to what the municipality must do after a water quality standard is exceeded.

We are also uncertain of time of day of testing at various beaches--a major 2001 study at 63rd Street Beach showed that conservative practice makes it essential that testing be done by mid morning--concentrations generally go down--usually dramatically--thereafter and only occasionally up (and then from extremely low to still under 235.

The city will post yellow flags (with ((impressionistically)) vague signage and public information) when cfu is above 235 and installed new covered garbage wheeled garbage cans, in addition to discouraging gull congregations downtown. (See public brochure, below).

At a City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation hearing June 2006, questioning on this matter is reported as having been met with complacency and remark that advocacy groups "approved" the change. Only one group was notified and invited to appear.

As of the end of June 2006, 63rd Street beach had already been closed twice at the new 1,000 cfu trigger--with no easily-available information as to how often the yellow flag was put up (showing the beach would have been closed at over 235 cfu--people are supposed to go there every day to keep count???). (EPA and IDPH is keeping such documentation.) One closure after the big June 21 storm may have been widespread and involved a possible lock opening, but we don't know. On the day of this writing, July 9, all the city beaches were closed--and there hadn't been a heavy rain in 5 days.

Documentary sources in the EPA website. find Reports and References, find 1986 Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria including about 3 pages from the back Table 4, Criteria for Indicator for Bacteriological Densities.

Also under Reports and References in the above site scroll 1/3 of way down and find National Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria for Grants: go to Chapter 5, Section 5.3.3 "when to notify." Chapter 4 Section 4.2.1 Monitoring Design- Section A discusses when to sample, Section B what to do after a standard is exceeded.


Hot Tips for Safe Summer Fun at the Beach (Orange handout at beaches and fieldhouses. Chicago Park District)

Contacts:, 312 742-PLAY, Beach Hotline 312 74BEACH

The Chicago Park District brings you a splash of pointer to help make the most of your time at the beach.

Keep Beaches Clean

While the Chicago Park District works to ensure the beaches maintain a high level of sanitary standards, you can help. This is how:

Swim Ban See page in Jackson Park.

Be aware of the current water quality conditions at your local beach with the flag notification system.

Flag notification system

Green- Swimming is permitted. Water is calm and quality is safe based on current monitoring for E. coli bacteria.

Yellow- Advisory is in effect. Caution is advised. Water and weather conditions becoming unpredictable. Restrictions may be implemented. Increased risk of illness may be present based on current monitoring for E. coli bacteria.

Red- Swim ban is in effect due to severe weather and/or water conditions, which may e hazardous. Serious risk of illness may be present based on current monitoring of E. coli bacteria.

Water Conditions FAQ

What causes marginal water conditions?

Generally, there are four factors that contribute to unacceptable levels of E. coli, naturally occurring bacteria: high temperatures, heavy rainfall, low lake levels[,] and gull waste. Gull waste is believed to be the main cause of marginal beach water conditions. that is why we discourage feeding birds on the beach.

What do the colored flags mean?

The colored notification flags are indicators for current water conditions (see "FLAG CODE" on reverse side).

How can I learn about the current water conditions before heading to the beach?

Call the Chicago Park District Beach Hotline to learn more about current water conditions at 312-74BEACH or on-line at

What can I do to help keep the beaches clean?

Public support is vital to maintaining cleaner, safer beaches. Dispose of all trash and do not feed the birds. Cleaner beaches result in fewer swim bans.

Beach hours

All beaches are open until 9:30 p.m. South Shore beach- open until 8:00 p.m. The beach season runs through [Labor Day].


Illinois PIRG is asking that legislators be contacted to support the governor's programs requiring a start by power companies to using solar and wind power. Illinois Action is asking citizens to support stronger emissions standards. Much of PIRG's work is now spun off to Environment Illinois (see below)

Keeping the lake free of devastating Asian carp--the effort is reported to be foundering over lack/bickering over funding. But in Jan. the state says it will start testing the weir in spring for summer operation. The U.S. has appropriated no money! Query the Illinois Department of Natural Resources/Water Resources and your congressmen, legislators.

The Clean Water Act Amendment of 2006, designed to ensure use of a stricter standard for protecting waters than that the Administration has used since 2003, passed the House in May.

The Chicago Wilderness (CW) consortium recently released "The State of Our Chicago Wilderness: A Report Card on the Health of the Region's Ecosystems." The report card assesses the state of our natural communities and makes recommendations about improvements. While most of the grades
are low -- mainly Cs and Ds -- they would be even lower were it not for the good work of local groups to restore and maintain our natural communities. From CNT.

Illinois has failed to appropriate for two years funds to take advantage of federal funding the would cut pollution by promoting transit and other ways to cut car pollution. Maybe the New CMAP board will help.

Worried about the Greenhouse?

One change you can make relates to your transportation choices. Use
CNT's TravelMatters calculator to find out the impact your current choices
have on greenhouse gas emissions, then think about what you can do to
make better choices.

Measure your greenhouse gas emissions:

Find a theater where An Inconvenient Truth is showing:

One organization combating on the greenhouse and other emissions is Environment Illinois, which has taken over much of the work of PIRG in this area. Go to their website to join their listserve. Platform: Cut Illinois global warming pollution by 10 percent in next 10 years, 80 percent over next 50 years.

Supports reduction of mercury and other pollutants from power plants, soot pollution generally.



Did you know the city is starting to put up a 21st century wind generator invented at UIC on buildings, starting with the Daley Center?


There are two new alliances in town:
One is The Lake Michigan Watershed Ecosystem Partnership. Contact Radhika Shah at Alliance for the Great Lakes. Jackson Park Advisory Council has joined their temporary board, which will quickly identify projects and apply for state grants. More information:


1. Protect the coastal zone and inland watershed of Lake Michigan,
2. Improve water quality by reducing soil erosion and non-point source pollution,
3. Protect, restore and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitat,
4. Manage storm water and the floodplain,
5. Enhance lake front recreational opportunities, and
6. Demonstrate the feasibility of interstate and public/private partnerships including working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Coastal Management Program and other state agencies.

Clean Air Counts is the other. It's under the Center for Neighborhood Technology's umbrella and was developed by the Regional Dialogue on Clean Air and Redevelopment. Joining forces are CNT, Chicago Dept. of Environment, Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, US EPA, Illinois EPA, LEED Council, Waste Management and Research Center, CTA, McDonald's, Motorola, Northwestern Mem. Hospital, and Openlands. Among the newest joiners are The University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Hospitals and (considering) Nichols Park Advisory Council. CAC provides a free program to inform businesses and households how they can help improve air quality. "Our goal is to reduce ozone pollution smog in Chicago[land]," which is having trouble achieving "conformity" to federal standards. [CNT's Chicagoland Air Quality Commission is also working on the matter, in cooperation with Chicago Area Transportation Study and other initiatives.] CAC wants to reduce energy-costing and smog-forming emissions and create a more natural landscape at the same time. The later interests Nichols Park Advisory Council, for its wildflower meadow.

The Hospitals see CAC alliance as fitting their need to recycle, use paints and cleaning products with less smog-causing and health-eye-respiratory-cancer hazardous organic volatiles (which also cuts down on how much must be shut down and how long). And the University's new transportation/parking manager, Brian Shaw, is reving up carpooling and (they hope) van pooling.

Meanwhile, the University has contracted, as part of its commitment, to purchase wind power for dorms from Crescent Ridge wind farm in nw Illinois and will be installing more energy-efficient lamps.

Green advocates hope the step signals the start of a conversation about ways the University can cut emissions (especially those contributing to ozone depletion) in a cost-effective manner, contributing to CAC's goal of cutting emissions in Chicago by 5 tons a day while improving the air of the campus and neighbors. Key to this is VOC's )volatile organic compounds such as in cleaning products and paints. Also, more efficient transportation plans, energy-efficient lighting and office equipment, native landscaping. These all were in a CAC document of expectations sent to the University in August 2005, according to the Chicago Maroon, quoting Abby Zanarini, U of C vp of Facilities Services [recently resigned] and Director of Client Services Management. The University will send CAC regular progress reports. CAC agrees that "cost-effective" is both necessary and surprisingly-often available. And, there are city resources available also, according to the Campus Green Initiative/Sustainability Council.


Meanwhile, Jackson Park Advisory Council has voted to join a conservancy-in-the-making for Lake Michigan, actually the Lake Michigan Watershed Ecosystem Partnership spearheaded by the Alliance for the Great Lakes (f. Lake Michigan Federation). The purpose is to seek and direct large and small grants including from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources toward study and little projects that cumulatively can turn the corner for the Great Lakes. Only Lake Michigan of northeast Illinois' major waters does not have a conservancy. See in Jackson Park Minutes report of what EPA and IDPH spokespersons told JPAC about lake and beach pollution problems.

Re: requesting funding

To: Lake Michigan Watershed Stakeholders
From: Radhika Shah, LMWEP Coordinator
Subject: Conservation 2000 Grant Pre-Proposals

Date: December 22, 2005

Each year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) offers funding through its Conservation 2000 Grant Program (C2000). Potential applicants are encouraged to visit IDNR’sC2000 website at: for further information and guidance.

As a special service to stakeholders in the Lake Michigan watershed, the Lake Michigan Watershed

Ecosystem Partnership (LMWEP) will offer assistance to applicants through a proposal screening and review process. Applicants are invited to electronically submit draft proposals to the Partnership in advance of the IDNR deadline. The Partnership will convene a panel of experts to review the proposals and will provide applicants with feedback and guidance on ways to improve the quality of their project applications.

To participate in the advance review process, email an electronic version of your proposal to by 5 p.m. CST on January 27, 2006. LMWEP’s review panel will evaluate the submitted pre proposals and convene on February 6, 2006 to further review and discuss the merits of each proposal. Applicants will receive a timetable listing the order in which each of the proposals will be discussed, and are strongly encouraged to join the meeting during their time slot. Applicants should be prepared to provide a brief 5-minute proposal summary presentation to the review panel.

The LMWEP review panel will only accept proposals that are submitted electronically. However, the IDNR will accept paper versions of final proposals. Please note that paper versions must be submitted to the IDNR by January 31, 2006. Electronic submittals to the IDNR are not due until February 28, 2006. The LMWEP will not be able to review your proposal in advance of the deadline if you choose to submit a paper version.

In addition to addressing the goals articulated in the C2000 program guidance, proposals for projects in the Lake Michigan watershed should address one or more of the following proposed LMWEP goals and objectives:

1. Protect the coastal zone and inland watershed of Lake Michigan,

2. Improve water quality by reducing soil erosion and non-point source pollution,

3. Protect, restore and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitat,

4. Manage stormwater and the floodplain,

5. Enhance lakefront recreational opportunities,* and

6. Demonstrate the feasibility of interstate and public/private partnerships including working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Coastal Management Program and other local, state and federal agencies.

Full project proposal instructions, forms and online application can be viewed at You may contact Nancy Williamson, IDNR C2000 Ecosystem Administrator, at 847-608-3100 ext. 2051 or for

further information. Questions can also be directed to Radhika Shah, LMWEP Coordinator, at 312-939-0838 ext. 6 or

The Lake Michigan Watershed Ecosystem Partnership encourages you to take advantage of this funding opportunity!

* Proposals that solely or primarily address recreation enhancement are unlikely to be funded under this RFP. See the

Illinois C2000 guidance for more details on priority project types.

Noted Author Jerry Dennis is First Guest Speaker on the LMWEP Town Hall:

Jerry Dennis, author of the award-winning book, The Living Great Lakes,
will be the first "guest speaker" on the Great Lakes Town Hall, a new
interactive web site launched today by the Biodiversity Project. Modeled
on historic town halls where residents once gathered to hear speakers
offer diverse views and solutions on the issues of the communities, our
Web-based "town hall" will help Canadian and U.S. residents and
grassroots groups showcase their achievements, broadcast their views,
connect with each other, and reach the decision-makers whom they seek to
educate on Great Lakes matters.

Each week we invite grassroots activists, artists, officials,
physicians, parents, young people and others to offer insightful
commentary on their Great Lakes experiences and views. Of course, we
also invite you to comment on their thoughts.

Guest speakers contribute content on a Great Lakes topic of their choice
for five days. While there are basic rules of conduct, guest speakers
are unedited and diverse views are welcome. If you are interested in
serving as a guest speaker, please contact us.

Don't miss Jerry Dennis' contributions this week on the Great Lakes Town

This is an exciting new experiment for us, we hope you'll meet us in the
town hall, share your thoughts and experiences, and let us know what you

For the Lakes,

Jeffrey Potter, Biodiversity Project
voice: (608) 250-9876 x12

Biodiversity Project/Great Lakes Forever * 214 N. Henry St. #201 *
Madison * WI * 53703

Click here to visit Jerry's Town Hall pages:

Jackson Park concern with Harbor plan- see JPAC Newsletter December 2005.

For more recent contacts since the watershed program has formally separated into its own 501, see below in green links.
Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund
P.O Box 2479
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 348.8200
fax 231.347.5928

There have been changes to Great Lakes Treaty. GLAHNF. And already the pressure is on to water it down to the point where any exception including sale of large volumes would be accepted and non contestable.

Background appeal from GLANF

Our Great Lakes Need Your Help NOW – Please Act!

The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network & Fund urges you to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators. Tell them to restore and protect the Great Lakes by: (1) fully implementing and funding the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration’s Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes and (2) contact the President to tell him to keep the promise he made to restore this national treasure.


Last year, the Bush Administration issued an Executive Order to bring federal agencies, the Great Lakes states, Tribes, cities, and others together to design a restoration and protection strategy for the Great Lakes. On July 7, 2005, this group released a draft plan. The final plan is due December 12.

The draft action plan includes strong recommendations that will help restore the Great Lakes by cleaning up toxic pollution, ending sewage dumping into the lakes, and restoring wetlands and other vital wildlife habitat. This plan is a good first step and, if fully funded, will create a cleaner, safer, and healthier Great Lakes environment for generations to come.

Now is not the time to back away from all the work that has gone into creating this blueprint for restoring the Great Lakes. News reports suggest that federal agencies could be softening their commitment to this process. We need a strong plan to help build momentum for an increased investment in our region’s waterways. We need a strong plan so we can leave the Great Lakes in better shape than the way we found them. It’s not right to pass our problems to our children and grandchildren.

About Great Lakes policies, Environment Illinois supports the Great Lakes Basin Water Resources compact, including consistent standards, expanded data, and control on withdrawals and wasteful uses. Each of the states and provinces have to pass this for it to go into effect. What are the threats?


The City of Chicago has substantially changed its recycling program, substituting a set of blue wheeled carts for only blue bags. It started as a curbside pilot in several wards including the 5th, as approved in the 2007 budget. Meanwhile, there are a whole set of recycling stations open throughout the city. That at Goose Island will now accept most hazardous, including batteries and computers, on a continuing basis.

Ald. Hairston told the Herald, "I lobbied for it last year. Hyde Park was the perfect community to participate in this program. We have people that are conscious at all levels. I think this is something we should be doing as a community." It works by placing bottles, cans, paper and plastics into the bag, then placing this into 96-gallon containers . These in turn are picked up every two weeks. Participation picked up by 80%! although that is probably far under 50% of all residences.

From a city pamphlet:

Recycling: It still starts with you. Now you have more options: The City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, in partnership with the Chicago Park District, is offering 15 Drop-Off Centers throughout Chicago.
At the drop-Off Centers, place all of your recyclables in one bin- no presorting needed! Drop boxes are convenient, clean, an accept all typical household recyclables.
glass jars and bottles, aluminum cans foil and pie tins, tin or steel cans, serial boxes, paper towel rolls etc., corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, junk mail, magazines and catalogs, telephone books, paper bags, office paper and file folders, newspaper and inserts--but no garbage or yard waste.

Locations: 1424 W. 39th, 1800 S. Clark, 9801 S. avenue G (Calumet Park), 7811 S. Racine, 1150 N. Branch (Electronic and household products), 445 N. Sacramento, 1817 S. Pulaski, 11515 S. Indiana, 5815 s. Kostner, 6734 S. Kedzie, 6110 W. Fullerton, 4100 N. Long, 2732 N. Yvers, 311 E. 77th (Rainbow), 641 N. Ravenswood. That at Goose Island will now accept most hazardous, including batteries and computers, on a continuing basis.

All are open 7 days 9 am-9 pm. Call 311.

Center for Neighborhood Technology has endorses the new plan as much more realistic and showing a big increase in participation- but needing to go faster.

Here is a letter on who got it started. Dear Friends:
Please consider supporting a move to get the City of Chicago to implement a city-wide recycling program. For more information see below and please pass on to others. Thanks, Renee Chester, Friends of the Parks

Please CONTACT YOUR ALDERMAN about Joe Moore's order to the City to implement city-wide residential source-separated recycling. (Order is attached for further information) Besides saying the usual about how important it is, say that you would like him/her to CO-SPONSOR the order. Joe will introduce it THIS WEDNESDAY MORNING (January 11th [2006]) at City Council and will be trolling for co-sponsors at that time. So Call Today!!! If you need to find your alderman's phone or email (or who your alderman is) check out: In fact, you could put in a call AND THEN email the attached order.

Update May 2007

Alderman Hairston says there is no doubt residents in her ward's pilot project prefer and are cooperating in the Blue Cart Program. Chicago Recycling Coalition agrees and is pushing to have the program expanded to all 50 wards, saying the city is stalling due to costs and embarrassment over failure of blue-bag.

The city and Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) have teamed up to form a Chicago Conservation Corps.

Yes, they want people who will real volunteer (and maybe paid) work, whether in gardens and parks or retrofitting houses and buildings and infrastructure for the new sustainable communities.
First recruitment meeting at 1150 N. Carpenter April 22. See more at the CNT website (link at bottom of page).

There is a new website for transit oriented development issues and stories.

It's a project of CNT, Smart Growth America, Local Initiatives Corporation (LISC), and Resources City America (?). To find out more and hook up to a May 3 webcast, visit


OpenLands Homegrown Chicago Farmers Market yearly, Saturdays, Summer into fall, 9:30-1 pm. Organic non-chemical only, by local gardeners plus crafts, cooking deem, an music. At Association House, 1116 N. Kedzie.

Not organic but providing good opportunities is the Harper Square Farmers Market early Thursday mornings into early afternoon. June 16- October 20, 7 am-2pm. Between 52nd and 53rd on Harper. 312 744-3315. Watch for it again in 2005.

Workdays: next year in several area parks. Nichols has already set up a date, November 17 with CityYear.


Places to visit and general and volunteer opportunities

Interesting natural areas to visit in the area: (All can be visited virtually in this website).

Not so natural but oases nonetheless...

Nature Oases, Nature Oasis program. This is an exciting program for development of and encouraging public stewardship enjoyment and learning in the natural areas in Chicago parks. A program of both Chicago Park District and the Chicago Wilderness coalition of museums, institutions, and organizations.

Explore the Burnham Natural Area (north of 47th Street parking lot east of the Metra). Visit the page to learn more about this effort (admittedly uneven) effort to create a bio diverse sanctuary out of neglected land and a controversial, underutilized parking lot. Local park advocate George Davis, HPKCC board and parks committee member, is volunteer site steward. He has much experience with Open Lands. See in the preceding section for work days and walks. See below on volunteer opportunities. For more information contact the park district's Department of Natural Resources.

A major and varied land-and-water lakeshore natural area from 45th to 51st is nearing conclusion of planning. See the Final Plan and views. See the process. Visit the work of the Shoreline Protection Project. Other sanctuaries have been created at 29th, 47th and more are planned.

Doug Anderson's Wooded Island Bird Walks in Jackson Park take place Wednesdays at 7 am, Saturdays at 8 am March 26-New Year's Day-. The starting point for this (but not. necessarily for other park events) remains the Clarence Darrow Bridge south of Museum of Science and Industry/Columbia Basin. Parking to east of bridge. Wednesdays at 7 am, Saturdays at 8 am. Binoculars and a field guide are helpful. Rare and even first sightings are not unknown!

Visit the Birding and Birding in Jackson Park pages. Filled with useful information and links, including Migratory Bird Treaty Guidelines, list of species reported in Jackson Park in 2003, purple martin information, links to orgs. doing census counts etc. and more. Wooded Island in Jackson Park is one of the prime viewing areas on the Lake Michigan Flyway. Parts of the Columbia Drive-Music Court lot off Lake Shore Drive at 5800 S. are closed for reconstruction through Spring, 2004.

Don't miss the South Shore Natural Area. This huge nature walk and area is located southeast of the Center clubhouse/fieldhouse and the beach, to the east. There is also a suite of highly successful purple martin houses north of the Center clubhouse.

Bee-keeping is coming of age from Hyde Park to the West Side to the North Shore. Whether its getting back to producing one's own food, making a few bucks, restoring pollinators to the natural and man-made environment. A big operation is being started in North Lawndale, largely by Hyde Parkers with Delta Institute, which improves environments in low-income neighborhoods, and North Lawndale Employment Network- teaching the whole range of the business. Did you know that urban bees produce more honey? That's because we have a fixation on flowers.... A nearby community-tended garden that includes beehives is at 69th and Dorchester.

Don't miss the Midway winter and readers garden, and on the UC campus. Botany Pond esp. (being restored to a marsh-setting concept-but not according either to what ecology-founder Coles did or as a place dedicated to native wet/emergent species. See Other Parks.


Burnham Nature Center stewardship brigade seeks volunteers for cleanup and tending days in conjunction with Chicago Wilderness, OpenLands, Chicago Park District, Chicago Cares etc. George Davis. First Saturday morning cleanups plus planting/tending days (will change for July, Sept.)

Frog Monitoring. If you are interesting in helping out with the from monitoring program sponsored jointly by Chicago Wilderness, the Chicago Park District and the Cook County Forest Preserve, please contact Nathan Schroeder (312 735-8188, Jackson and Washington are two parks in the project.

Jackson Park 2nd and 4th Saturdays (plus) Volunteer Workdays- April-October Plus special Sunday April 22.Your chance to work with the Advisory Council's Nature Committee and the CPD's Department of Natural Resources in the natural areas (especially Wooded Island) on replanting, tending, cleanout of invasive plants in an ongoing woodland, meadow and lagoon restoration management project. Participants have included Chicago Cares, U of E Environmental Center, JETS CPD youth team, OpenLands, Chicago Wilderness, several museums, alumni groups. Church etc. groups welcome. 2004 startup is on April 10. Will meet at the parking lot north of Hayes Drive (6300 S) and east of Cornell Drive. Contact leader Ross Petersen, 773 485-0505. Or contact Natural Resources at the Park District.

Nichols Park Advisory Council and the Hyde Park Garden Fair seek volunteers for the Formal Garden in Nichols Park and the Council seeks volunteers for the Meadow this spring and summer (the Meadowlarks). If you would like to join a planning/advisory board for the formal garden, under direction of Hyde Park Garden Fair leaders (and of course volunteer in some capacity yourself), contact Bam Postell at 773 288-7054. Watch here for Nichols Park Meadow and Formal Garden work days which may continue into winter. Meadow burn expected late in the year this year.

Green organizations and opportunities with them

More below.
Grants opportunities
Great Lakes- see in next section

Consider getting involved in lowing carbon footprints by taking a "low carbon diet." Visit and those working on this, such as the Chicago Conservation Corporation (C3).

The Departments of Streets and San and Environment and CPS offers prizes to kids in a CONTEST of student videotapes on what recycling means to them through music, dance etc. Deadline November 15, America Recycles Day. Must seek school permission.312 744-8905 or 774-3161,

Center in Wicker Park gives pruning and other lessons. Contact or

Center for Neighborhood Technology seeks local and a national economy that is sustainable and uses resources including land and petroleum more efficiently. It tackles complex environmental and economic issues that affect households, communities and the planet. This involves energy efficiencies, transportation investments in existing communities rather than the fringe, and compact, walkable communities that offer residents easy access to amenities and services including transit. Today trends are for family incomes to decline and family expenses to rise rapidly, especially health and fossil fuels--and rising energy demand led by India and China will accelerate the trend... CNT seeks ways to insulate families, economies and the planet from the impacts of such trends. Initiatives include I-GO car sharing, the Energy-Smart Pricing Program (with ComEd), and Community Wireless Networks--all available today. It also seeks policy changes: Combine the region's land use and transportation planning agencies, introduce the universal fare card, change funding formulas.

Chicago Wilderness- events and volunteer opportunities with this coalition of over 100 orgs. Chicagoland Environmental Network 708 485-0263 x396. In the city among those to contact: Elizabeth McCance (Chicago Wilderness/The Nature Conservancy) 312 580-2138,

Volunteer for stewardship days. Learn or be trained on a wealth of programs and walks. Explore preserves and institution, plant green, become and advocate or angel including for wetland acquisition and preservation, Read Chicago Wilderness: An Atlas of Biodiversity (a copy is in the Conference office) or Chicago Wilderness Magazine (PO Box 5054 Skokie, IL).

Friends of the Parks: Community Service and Adopt-a-Park programs: contact Director of Volunteers Eileen Sullivan, 312 857-2757 x 13. Looking, with Lake Michigan Federation, for volunteers for Earth Day, Beach Sweep, etc.

Contact GreenCorps (Chicago Dept. of Environment program) for full suite of programs. or

Greencorps Chicago promotes environmental stewardship and improves the quality of life by establishing natural spaces that are safe, healthy and sustainable through hands-on involvement with trainees and public/community partners. It also holds perennial divide and seed/plant distribution days.

Greencorps Chicago also runs other community gardening programs: Comprehensive Assistance and Basic Assistance. Comprehensive Assistance is for those groups who are willing and committed to developing a large sustainable garden project. Basic Assistance is for those groups in the preliminary stages of site development or those with maintenance needs. 773 744-8691.

Greencorps grants

Growing Power is another organization that is taking on large community gardens and turning them into training and public learning year round demonstration programs. It's tied to the above and below.

Growing Home is a citywide organization (and in other cities) dedicated to reintroducing sustainable agriculture in cities, neighborhoods, and vacant blocks, especially for the homeless and low income people. It helps with community gardens in Jackson Park and Woodlawn, for example. 1325 S. Wabash, 60605, 312 435-8601.

Hyde Park Sustainability Circle holds star parties, pageants in churches and other efforts to promote ecological awareness--including by government agencies--of such issues as light pollution, recycling and conservation of resources, pollution, and other quality of life issues--and how they relate to religious impulses and mandates and impact housing, parks, traffic/roadway issues etc. Works with Center for Neighborhood Technology. For contacts see Stargazing page.

OpenLands and its TreeKeeper division have been highly involved, even interventionist, in Hyde Park parks and other projects. Many Hyde Parkers take their intensive classes--in part to know how to be green in their yards, parkways and gardens. Openlands is at 25 E. Washington Suite 1650, 60602-1708; Development Office Kirsten Powers, 312 427-4256 x6250. Some of their programs include:

The Resource Center is highly active in Hyde Park:
222 E. 135th Street, 70727. (773) 821-1351, fax (773) 821-7462. e-mail
Ken Dun's project-become-business was one of the first comprehensive recyclers and green-practice organizations and businesses in the country; it has moved from just south of Hyde Park to 135th with a satellite at 75th and Woodlawn (?). Programs/facilities include Blackstone Bicycle Works that teaches kids bicycle repair and recovery, CHA Recycling, City Farm, Community-Municipal-Business Recycling (including the truck that plys Hyde Park), Creative Resources Warehouse (including reusing school books), Items for Sale, and Urban Composting and Community Gardening. Visit their compost station at the spring and fall Hyde Park Garden Fair sales: it's in the small lot north of the Co-op at 54th Place west of Potbelly's corner of the parking lot.

University of Chicago Environmental Center and Club, in conjunction with the University of Chicago Environmental Studies department, is in the community and can always use help and advice from long-time residents. (The department and that of Geophysics are leaders in the study of climate and effects of global warming.) 773 702-0405 fax 773 702 7718,, Reynolds Club RC00A, 5706 S. University Ave. 60637.

NEW: Curriculum and Resources Posted – Free for download!
Climate Change: Biological and Social Implications

Materials from the 2008 Summer Teacher Institute
Download a Full Curriculum Unit (printable daily lesson plans and answer keys) based on the information presented at the June 23-25, 2008 University of Chicago Summer Teacher Institute on Climate Change. You can also view and download Climate Change Readings, Resources, and Videos of the Institute Speakers' Presentations. You are encouraged to use these materials in the classroom and for further curriculum development.,
Greening Your School Workshops
Download resources presented at the September and October Greening Your School workshops. On September 26th and October 24th, 2008, more than 85 Chicago area educators and administrators attended the Greening Your School workshops organized by the University of Chicago's Program on the Global Environment and Sustainability Council . Suzanne Carlson, Environmental Program Manager in the Office of the CEO for Chicago Public Schools, and Bart Schultz, Director of the Civic Knowledge Project – Sustainability Partners Network, were just two of the presenters who addressed topics ranging from "What Defines a Model Green School" and "What the University of Chicago and CPS are Doing to be Sustainable". Participants left with a greater understanding of what it means to be a sustainable school, as well as with the tools to help promote green lifestyles more comprehensively to their students.

Friends of the Parks calendar and noteworthy news

Noteworthy News:

Friends of the Parks' mission is to preserve, protect and improve Chicago's parks and forest preserves. Since 1975, FOTP has increased private and public commitment to Chicago's parks by establishing park advisory councils, developing new parks in neighborhoods of need, renovating playgrounds, and working for expanded recreational programs for children.

Friends of the Parks cannot carry on its mission without member support. Please help us continue our work by becoming a member of Friends of the Parks today! For more information, to become a member and/or make a tax-deductible donation, visit or call 312-857-2757.

Sarah Strong
Membership Coordinator
Friends of the Parks
55 East Washington, Suite 1911
Chicago, Il 60602-2174
(312) 857-2757 x 14

Friends sponsors a tour of Calumet Park and its historic fieldhouse on April 30, 10-noon. $5.

Seeking grants?

Alliance for the Great Lakes (form. Lake Michigan Federation), Lake Michigan Ecol. Partnership

EPA Community Grants:

Robert Steele, formerly Park District Community Outreach Manager passes along this website for seeking grants for partnering in park improvement: And don't forget that many organizations offer grants for improvements in parks and open spaces (find links in Other Links): Parkways Foundation (CPD), Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago Wilderness, Friends of the Parks, City of Chicago Greencorps, Lake Michigan Federation, Openlands Project,... The Donors' Forum and other such groups are also on line.

Friends of the Parks holds occasional seminars on fundraising for parks 55 E. Washington, Suite 1900. Contact Sarah Strong, 312 857-2757 X 15.

Dear Park Advocate, Happy New Year!

Friends of the Parks is pleased to request proposals for the 2006 Seed Grant Awards. This is the fifth year we will be awarding small grants to active advisory councils and adopt-a-park groups. To facilitate your creative energy and inspiration as you come up with a project to best suit your park, talk with your fellow advisory council members and your park supervisor. This last year we had a number of exiting projects which were true collaborations between the advisory councils and the park staff. If you'd like to see our past awardees please visit

Seed Grants will be distributed at our VIP Awards Reception, on Sunday March 12th our location has yet to be determined. At this event we recognize the hard work of both park and forest preserve volunteers and park and forest preserve employees who make a difference in their community. Please take a moment to nominate someone from your community who helped improve your park.

Have a happy winter season - and we look forward to hearing about your individual nominations and your park plans in February.

Chicago Bears are seeking nominations of individuals to receive sizeable grants for community organizations served by outstanding volunteers. Contact Jessica Kies at or 847-6600 x 5308 by October 15.

Grant Opportunity
Funding Opportunities: Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants Funded 18 Projects Across the State in 2004. A variety of projects including prairie plots, butterfly gardens and outdoor learning centers will be developed by school children at 18 locations, thanks to nearly $6,500 in grants provided by the Illinois Conservation Foundation.

Applications are due annually by October 15th. Successful applicants are notified by December 1 every year and must submit a final report on their project by October 15 of the following year.

Visit for details on this grant.

City Neighborhood Recycling grants-here was what was available in 2004

This is a reminder that Mayor Daley has a new Neighborhood Recycling Grant program - 5 grants are being offered up to $50,000 each to be awarded to not-for-profit organizations operating within the City of Chicago to implement community -based outreach and education programs as well as create and/or support materials collection programs that can permanently reduce the waste currently being disposed of.

Program Goals are:
To educate residents of Chicago about the importance of waste prevention and recycling, and to motivate them to take reasonable steps to reduce the amount of garbage that they generate;
To produce up to five waste prevention and recycling programs that reduce Chicago's waste stream

For Complete Guidelines and Eligible Activities
Go to or call Chris Sauve at (312) 744-4616 to receive guidelines by email or regular mail
Your Alderman also has information on this grant program

Entries must be postmarked May 1st 2004

Chicago Botanic Garden held its 2004 Neighborhood Gardens community and school gardening assistance grants- check it out for next year. Contact Elzina Fournier, Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022 or 847 835-8352, e-mail CBG will help budget for your proposed garden improvements, provide guidance in design of planting and hardscaping, help select plants, provide a crew to work during construction and planting days. Categories are enhancements and establishments. Schools is a separate category. Enhancement awards are $500-$2500 and will be kept on account. Establishments require a secured site for a minimum of five years and a committed group of volunteers for the present project and ongoing upkeep. Applications due by January 31. Interviews will follow, with awards announced February 27. There is a required-attendance (for 2 or more) training day March 27. School projects training is March 20.

Chicago Wilderness has periodically puts out a request for proposals related to biodiversity recovery, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service.Due March 22. Contact Elizabeth McCance 312 480-2138.

Delta Institute helps low-income neighborhoods develop their microenvironments and environmentally-based business resources, such as bee-keeping with honey sales. Hyde Parkers are involved.

Friends of the Parks Seed Grants are given annually to advisory councils and Adopt-a-Park groups. Up to $1,000. Go to and download or call Renee Chester, 312 857-2757 x 15. Applications due mid February each year; announcement in March. Note, not limited to organized councils.

Friends of the Parks will hold a seminar on fundraising for parks Tuesday, October 12, 5:30-7:30 pm, 55 E. Washington, Suite 1900. Contact Sarah Strong, 312 857-2757 X 15.

Great Lakes Aquatic.... see under Lake Michigan Federation.

Greencorps Chicago has announced its 2004 program with a different focus, one-time hardscaping. Their site,, is a good source for information not only on grants but much new thinking-in-practice on many ecological and environmental living fronts. Greencorps holds a grant seeker's workshop, usually in the spring. Applications for the next set are due mid April. Stacey Minor at Openlands 312 863-6257.


Alliance for the Great Lakes (was Lake Michigan Federation) announces grants for aquatic habitat-related restoration/ enhancement. Twice a year. Deadlines are March 31 and Sept. 30. Contact: Joel Brammeier - Alliance for the Great Lakes, 17 N. State Street, #1390, Chicago, IL 60604, 312 939-0838 x4 fax 312 939-2708, or Current Deadline is March 31. Applications are available online at

Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund (affiliated ally of AGL) summer 2005 announcement.

This summer, historic decisions will be made about our Great Lakes. Make your vice heard. To find meetings in your area and to send comments visit:,,

A Regional Restoration Plan. A regional collaborative, comprised of Great Lakes states, federal agencies, local communities, tribes, business interests and environmental advocates recently issued a $20 billion action plan to restore the Great Lakes. In July 2005, the group released draft of the [RAP] for 60 days of public comment. The plan contains many strong recommendations that would help restore the Great Lakes by cleaning up pollution, ending sewage dumping into the lakes, preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species, and restoring wetlands and other habitat for fish and wildlife.

However, restoration and protection of the Great Lakes will only be successful if the plan's recommendations are fully funded. While not perfect, the action plan contains many solid recommendations that will help nurse the Great Lakes back to health so that water is safe to drink, fish are safe to eat, and beaches are safe to swim. We have a responsibility to help keep the Great Lakes healthy and we should act now by funding this plan and making it even stronger. To learn more about Great Lakes Restoration or send your comments, visit

Annex 2001: Making Wise-Use of Our Water. The Great Lakes region has also seen massive water withdrawal and export proposals and is experiencing local water shortages. Without stronger protections, the Great Lakes' water supply could eventually be siphoned off. A revised agreement, often referred to as "Annex 2001," released by the Great Lakes governors and Canadian premiers on June 30th for a 60-day public comment period, updates an original draft Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact released last July. This binding "responsibility pact" provides rules for the withdrawal of water within the Great Lakes. While many believe this agreement is a step forward in safeguarding the Great Lakes, there are areas that should be strengthened. Now, more than anytime in recent memory, residents of the Great Lakes states and provinces have a chance to guarantee the long-term protection and sound management of our Great Lakes water, ensuring that these treasures are not sold to the highest bidder and that they are protected for generations to come. To learn more about the compact and to send your comments, visit

The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund (GLAHNF) offers grants of up to $3,500 for Project Grants and $2,000 for Technical Assistance Grants twice per year for community-based habitat protection efforts. There are also $500 emergency grants.

Types of projects that would be considered for funding include, but are not limited to: land use and watershed advocacy and planning; watch dogging of regulation implementation, reduction of polluted runoff, rehabilitation of ponds, lagoons, shorelines, and other wetland areas for fish and migratory bird habitat, and non-partisan voter education and citizen involvement initiatives. Also, this is the second year of a two-year wetlands theme for GLAHNF, so a portion of the available funds will be dedicated specifically to wetland projects. Much more than the lakes: Ask them for their packet, "CPR for Wetlands". Fall 2004 grant deadline September 30

Some key project criteria for all GLAHNF funding: grants are for smaller organizations, with budgets of about $250,000 or less; projects should be action and advocacy based (education alone will not likely be eligible); funds cannot be used for construction and/or planting costs, but can be used for other aspects of restoration efforts; projects should be in the Lake Michigan drainage basin, or a case must be made that the project will provide benefits to habitats/species inside the basin.

GLAHNF Great Lakes Advisor Affiliates is now by basins--For Lake Michigan Joel Brammeier. Consult also the Services include annual grants symposium, technical assistance grants, new themes grant category, watershed focus, Lake Advisor networking, GLAH News, about success stories, websites.

The Great Lakes have 20% of the world's and 95% of North America's fresh surface water and are a non-renewable resource. The governors and premiers of the Great Lakes states have recently released a draft agreement governing withdrawals and pollution. GLAHNF asks that watershed residents raise their voices to ensure that regulations control withdrawals in a sustainable manner that actually restores the Great Lakes and their resources. Comments can be made at the governmental site,, and at GL coalition site,

University of Chicago/South East Chicago Commission Neighborhood Beautification Grants. Up to $50,000 Offered yearly, maximum of $10,000 any one organization. Call now, 773 324-6926. Applications due by February 25.

Some Green initiatives, issues HPKCC, park councils, and local groups and activists are concerned about

At the March 22, 2005 5th Ward Mo. Mtg., a developer and Florian Architects showed plans for a green development at 65th and Dorchester (currently completely vacant) , including photo solar cells, open/street visible garden space, recycled and local materials, and many other features with sustainability as well as beauty in mind. The plans were enthusiastically received. Units will start at a barely "affordable" range, though, $c160,000 and up for 1-bedrooms, up for up to 3 bedrooms.

Chicago Area Transportation Study is again seeking comments on its annual (spinning?) docs assuring feds that the our Regional Transportation Plan will put the Chicago Region into clean air compliance--which the feds now say is out of compliance. You are free to comment to CATS for the next few weeks. In fairness, there is an extensive set of federally-funded programs each year designed to mitigate air pollution and congestions.

A new $4 billion Great Lakes cleanup and ecological Trust has been proposed by congressmen Kirk and Emanuel. See discussions of the controversies over beach, shoreline, and lagoon pollution in the Jackson Park pages and Park Issues.

In November 2004, responding to legislators, coastal municipalities, owners, and conservation agencies, Gov. Blagojevich announced Illinois will join the NOAA Coastal Management Program (CMP). Illinois was the only coastal state in th country not taking advantage of the federally- supported planning and funding program, resulting in loss of up to $2 million according to Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network. The program now has much better coordination with local land use and zoning decisions. Programs and mechanisms include reduced sewage overflows, preventing beach closures, restoring natural areas, enhancing public access. Chicago and Highland Park are among those carrying out many such initiatives on their own, although Chicago sometimes takes steps backward on the access side with its revetment program. G. O.

Clean Air issues, including rollback of standards for factories and power plants has many in the area concerned, from health and transit interested persons who work with Metro Seniors in Action, Neighborhood Capital Budget Group et al to PIRG: Public Interest Research Group- IllinoisPIRG/Clear Air. HPKCC passed a resolution of concern.

There is a new alliance in town: Clean Air Counts. It's under the Center for Neighborhood Technology's umbrella and was developed by the Regional Dialogue on Clean Air and Redevelopment. Joining forces are CNT, Chicago Dept. of Environment, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, LEED Council, Waste Management and Research Center, and Openlands (wow!). Among the newest joiners are The University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Hospitals and (considering) Nichols Park Advisory Council. CAC provides a free program to inform businesses and households ho they can help improve air quality. "Our goal is to reduce ozone pollution smog in Chicago[land]," which is having trouble achieving "conformity" to federal standards. [CNT's Chicagoland Air Quality Commission is also working on the matter, in cooperation with Chicago Area Transportation Study and other initiatives.] CAC wants to reduce energy-costing and smog-forming emissions and create a more natural landscape at the same time. The later interests Nichols Park Advisory Council, for its wildflower meadow.

The Hospitals see CAC alliance as fitting their need to recycle, use paints and cleaning products with less smog-causing and health-eye-respiratory-cancer hazardous organic volatiles (which also cuts down on how much must be shut down and how long). And the University's new transportation/parking manager, Brian Shaw, is reving up carpooling and hoping to move into van pooling.

Evidence continues to grow of accelerating effects of greenhouse gas global warming, despite what appears to be a well-funded and concerted campaign to debunk or suppress? evidence. But what will be consequences, where, and what are appropriate steps, which cannot be taken outside a large web of natural and human activities.

Landfills or trash to energy? Waste Management seeks a five year extension, and expansion of its landfill at O'Brien Lock on the Calumet. The city's stop on landfills is about to expire if aldermen do not act.

Recycling: some do it, most don't, many think both the city's blue bag program and the scavengers are a joke. CNT and NCBG are some of the larger groups involved. U of C Greens/Environmental Center are interested; The Resource Center is heavily involved.

Many Hyde Parkers are concerned about the way trees are cavalierly eliminated in roadway and building projects and either not put in right or not sustained in parks. This includes use of inappropriate or all-the-same-kind trees, squeezing into bulb-outs, timber planter boxes and sidewalk wells that are too small, and "volcano" style mulch over covering. Many places are starting to use self-sustaining, zeriscapic plantings (including U of C). Other Parks discusses "new" green and other gardening styles including roof-top.

Water and hydrologic system quality issues in Lake Michigan, park lagoons, and elsewhere of are of considerable interest. Most of these are here discussed in Jackson Park pages. See also in Washington Park (look for "lagoon rehab and toxic blue-green algae"), and Park Issues.
Wetlands CPR- See Links: Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund. Lake Michigan Federation. And above.
The Jackson Park Lagoon Restoration was among many projects in the Chicago region to be awarded by the EPA and Chicago Wilderness in a ceremony May 11 at Jackson Park's Osaka Garden. The audience learned some amazing facts about the power of phytoregenerative plantings and how helping greenspace be smartly natural can prevent literally tons of pollutants getting into our air and water.

Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly Lake Michigan Federation) is seeking partnerships for stretches of the Lake Michigan shore including Chicago's South Side beaches and lagoons, to go with other partnerships and conservancies such as for Lake Calumet.

Birds are highly sensitive to and serve as bellwethers of general pollution and high-rise glass (perhaps uniquely on this one), light and noise pollution and just plain disturbance including by dogs, wild or off leash in sensitive parts of parks.

City initiatives

In April 2005 Mayor Richard M. Daley set forth an Environmental Action Agenda for the next 20 years. These are quite comprehensive, ranging from efficient transportation, green building funding, tax incentives to for organizations following sustainable business practices, and education in the classroom. The thrust is energy efficiency and reducing fossil fuel consumption. It is notable that in the following summer the city played a key role in founding Clean Air Counts (see above).

The city has established the Chicago Standard, to make all new city buildings LEED certified for energy efficiency and to retrofit to 25 percent all buildings by the end of 2006. The city has invested in alternative energy sources, expecting to use 20% of electricity from alternative sources by the end of 2006 and achieve an annual 10% increase in hybrid and alternative fleet starting in 2006.

Accomplishments include 1 megawatt of solar generating capacity, 10% renewable in the Dept. of Aviation, and the Chicago Energy Conservation Code for all new and existing buildings. Millennium Park has 120 solar panels and 125 city buildings have green roofs.

Re: the Energy Code, the city offers grants and rebates to businesses to invest in upgrading infrastructure for energy efficiency. This includes fast-track permits and Green Tax Increment financing options (for individuals, too).

The initiative and model realizes that people and businesses need support as well as leadership to succeed in green conversion. But, coordinated federal and state initiatives, including regulatory changes, are needed for municipal and local efforts to really bear fruit.

Learn about the still-not-rolled-out Chicago Climate Action Plan (Strategy) at

Green facts

Pest insect irregular outbreaks, such as those of the Gypsy Moth, are being untangled by new models that combine knowledge of the presence or ups-and-downs of the pest's parasites/diseases and of the steady-state of the pest's macro enemies such as birds and spiders. Also odd about these outbreaks is that separated populations participate in them, and the new model developed by professor Dwyer's group accounts for this as well as predicting the spacing of the duration between outbreaks. (The synchronous outbreaks seem to be related to long duration between outbreaks, which levels out environmental distinctions between regions.)

From the US EPA: Native plants, once established, do not need watering, fertilizers or pesticides. This reduces maintenance costs and benefits the environment.

Is eating organic enough? How much is genuine? Some say eat savvier and local.

Green, sustainable, alternative links

Green Links (many of these provide grants). Curricular, Private, then Government, Learning with maps, Resources and sources to start living green/getting offsets, Community and other Gardening, Natural Areas volunteering, Local Religion in Green/Sust.
See more in HPKCC Environmental Sustainability Committee and documents.

Recommended incl. for teaching materials:

Climate Action day is coming. Many events are being planned by

NEW: Curriculum and Resources Posted – Free for download!
Climate Change: Biological and Social Implications

Materials from the 2008 Summer Teacher Institute
Download a Full Curriculum Unit (printable daily lesson plans and answer keys) based on the information presented at the June 23-25, 2008 University of Chicago Summer Teacher Institute on Climate Change. You can also view and download Climate Change Readings, Resources, and Videos of the Institute Speakers' Presentations. You are encouraged to use these materials in the classroom and for further curriculum development.,
Greening Your School Workshops
Download resources presented at the September and October Greening Your School workshops. On September 26th and October 24th, 2008, more than 85 Chicago area educators and administrators attended the Greening Your School workshops organized by the University of Chicago's Program on the Global Environment and Sustainability Council . Suzanne Carlson, Environmental Program Manager in the Office of the CEO for Chicago Public Schools, and Bart Schultz, Director of the Civic Knowledge Project – Sustainability Partners Network, were just two of the presenters who addressed topics ranging from "What Defines a Model Green School" and "What the University of Chicago and CPS are Doing to be Sustainable". Participants left with a greater understanding of what it means to be a sustainable school, as well as with the tools to help promote green lifestyles more comprehensively to their students.

Organizations and resources-private checks the facts in articles on the subjects and gives a ranking.

Find some ways to calculate and manage your energy more effectively at The Energy, an energy IQ site run by public-private Energy Impact Illinois alliance (EI2)


Mapping Resources/Monitoring pollution et al patterns

Some sources that can help you live green including getting offsets (Play round with the search engines for lots more.)

New practical books include Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, Urban Homesteading; Doug Farr, Sustainable Urbanism.


Resource Center :: City Farm


Going Green: Environmental Tips -


50 Ways to Green Your business - Sustainability - Green business - Environment | Fast Company


The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil | Global Public Media


What's Working - Visionary Solutions for Green Building


green exchange | a sustainable retail & office marketplace | mall

Green America 's National Green Pages™ - the Nation's Only Directory of Screened and Approved Green Businesses

Environmental Tips for Shoppers


For classroom consideration:


Community Gardening contacts, resources, sites, volunteer contacts (more in 1st section)