Archive for April, 2009

The Facts on Yard Waste

  • The average American lawn uses about 18 gallons of gasoline per year to power the mower, run the sprinkler system, transport garden products and to clean up in the fall–for a total of 2.2 billion gallons per year nationally (
  • Landscaping accounts for about half of residential water use.
  • Every 40-pound bag of lawn fertilizer contains the fossil-fuel equivalent of 2.5 gallons of gasoline (
  • Sixty-five percent of the fertilizer put on each yard will end up in runoff.
  • Homeowners use 20 times more pesticides per acre than farmers (U.S. EPA).
  • Yard waste comprises 20 percent of landfill waste, on average, but can be as high as 50 percent in peak months (U.S. EPA).
  • In one hour, a running lawn mower emits as much air pollution as a car does when driven 20 miles (U.S. EPA).

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Eco Launch 2009

Eco Launch is an intensive three-week summer program exploring emerging careers and disciplines related to sustainability. Through hands on activities, field trips, readings, and group projects, students will gain foundational knowledge about the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability. Participants will begin to understand how these areas overlap and inform everything from businesses, technology, government initiatives, and design. Students will connect with Chicago’s foremost sustainablity leaders, explore ways they can pursue sustainabilty in college, and develop real world projects.

More info here

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Notes from Green This Old House

My thanks to all of the guests and panelists for participating in Green This Old House last night.  The store was packed with inquisitive minds, and our panel was incredibly informative.

As promised, here are some resources that were mentioned by the panel last night.  I encourage any and all to start a dialogue and/or add your own resources using the comments tool.

U.S. Green Building Council:

Info on the USGBC’s LEED Certification program:

Energy and Environmental Ratings Alliance:

Illinois Solar Association:

Waste Management:
ReBuilding Exchange:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore:

The ReUse People:


Tom Bassett-Dilley:
Marty Bhatia, Om Homes:
Jim Gill, Energy360 Solutions: (708) 969-0345

And finally, remember the words of Tom Bassett-Dilley: “Good design begins with a good understanding of your environment.”

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Art on a Rain Barrel

Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, and the Chicago Botanic Garden are pleased to announce the “Art on a Rain Barrel” contest.

Who can participate? teams of 3-5 Illinois youth, ages 8 to 18

What do you submit? 2-D designs (11 x 17”) for rain barrel artwork that communicates the importance of fresh water in Illinois

When is the entry deadline? June 10, 2009

What can you win? The top 50 teams will be invited to Navy Pier to celebrate the Governor’s “It’s Our River Day” on September 19, 2009. At this event, each team will receive a free rain barrel on which to create their artwork. Top designs will be put on display for thousands to see!

How do you participate? Visit the “Art on a Rain Barrel” Web site for complete contest rules and to download an entry form.

Questions? Contact

Rain barrels for this event are generously provided by Upcycle

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Summer Employment for Students in Conservation!

Friends of the Forest Preserves
Chicago Conservation Community Crew Internship
June 29 – August 13, 2009
$1,925 Stipend
This summer, Friends of the Forest Preserves will team up with the Student Conservation Association to involve students from local high schools in conservation projects that will benefit the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Students must be between the ages of 15 and 19 with an interest in outdoor work and learning about their local environment. Work will involve assignments like removing invasive plants that harm habitats, native gardening, and trail and fence building. Crews of ten students will be led by two adult leaders who will provide environmental education
activities and field trips to help develop conservation and community leaders. Transportation from a central meeting location is provided. Students will receive a stipend of $1,925 for successfully completing the program.

Application deadline is May 1st. Preference is given to students that apply early.
To learn more or to request an application please contact Alice Brandon, Conservation Director, (312) 356-9990,

Potential Forest Preserve Work Locations:
Dan Ryan Woods (87th & Western, Chicago)
Sand Ridge Nature Center (South Holland)
Palos Preserves (Willow Springs)
River Trail Nature Center (Northbrook)
Crabtree Nature Center (Barrington)
Hal Tyrell Trailside Museum (River Forest)

Friends of the Forest Preserves
is a non-profit conservation organization that advocates for the 68,000 acres held in public trust by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. We provide oversight for the District, organize volunteers and user groups, and work with Commissioners and District staff to promote sound policies and good management of the preserves.

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