Celebrate the Accomplishments of the Chicago Conservation Corps

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from www.letUbeU.com

Chicago Conservation Corps

The Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) has put together an impressive resume of accomplishments over the past 5+ years. In case you are new to C3, we are a group of over 400 volunteers and teachers (with 3 staff members to facilitate) who recruit and train more volunteers to organize environmentally-friendly projects around Chicago’s 50 wards.

Chicago Conservation Corps

Our projects consist of cleaning neighborhoods & forest preserves, organizing workshops that teach citizens how they can save money by reducing water and electricity consumption, and educating & inspiring Chicago Public School students to be leaders in the conservation movement in Chicago. We also have a Speakers Bureau which provides businesses and organizations with C3 Leaders who provide inspiration and resources to make your event more eco-friendly.

Chicago Conservation Corps

To date, our volunteer’s actions have provided many benefits to the city of Chicago. Please celebrate with C3 and show you care for the environment by following us on Twitter (@ChiConservation) or Facebook (Chicago Conservation Corps) and sharing some of our accomplishments below. To date:

  • 401 projects since 2006 throughout the city
  • Currently 83 active clubs in CPS schools
  • 1,500 students engaged in the program per year
  • 6,903 weatherization kits (for reducing heat loss in homes) installed in 2011-2012 heating season
  • Nearly 125,000 community members impacted by C3 projects
  • 9.4 million pounds of waste diverted from landfills
  • Nearly 300 acres improved through clean-ups and plantings

Thank you for reading. Remember, this is for your, my, and our children’s

Chicago Conservation Corps

All photographs were taken from The Field Museum’s exhibit: The Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth

Green Field Day June 11 9:30-12:30 at IIT

Friday, June 11
C3 Trainee, Yvonne White-Morey:
On Track for the Environment –Greening a School Field Day Event

9:30 am -12:30 pm

The 4th Annual Chicago Virtual Charter School Field Day Event will be a lot greener this year as students incorporate green games with track and field events.

Yvonne will coordinate the addition of a Green Resource Center designed to educate students and their families on Recycling/Upcycling options, Vermicomposting, improving indoor/outdoor air quality by making green cleaning solutions and taking alternative transportation, energy efficiency and water conservation. Students will receive refillable water bottles. Families will take the $800 Savings Challenge.

Following awards and raffle prizes, families will gather on the lawn of Illinois Institute of Technology for a picnic lunch and hear a green literacy reading of Seeds of Change by Author Jen Cullerton Johnson, from her book based on the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Four C3 leaders or trainees willing to make ten-minute presentations on the environment to students and families are still needed.) 

For volunteer opportunities, contact C3 trainee Yvonne: ywm@alumni.depaul.edu

Earth Wine and Fire: Earth Day benefit party Fri April 23

Earth, Wine and Fire is a charity event intended to benefit the environment. It will occur on Friday April 23, 2010, the day after Earth Day, from 5-11PM (a movie screening of No Impact Man starts at 5:00; the party kicks off at 7:00). We expect it to be a fun party hosted by a small group of community folks who banded together to create an enlightened evening with a purpose. We intend to educate, incite action and enjoy. Buy your tickets in advance for a discount. $25 now; $35 on the day of the event. Includes: Entry, 3 tickets that can be used for drinks or the raffle, appetizers, music, entertainment and full access to all Nature Museum exhibits! Additional beverages available for purchase. Children 12 and under are free. Join the party! Buy your tickets at www.EarthWineAndFire.com!


A Forest For Earth Day

You can help protect one of the worlds most beautiful and diverse rainforest habitats when you participate and recycle with public schools in Chicago just in time for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. Recycle Tech Solutions (RTS), a local cell phone & electronics recycler, is working with individual Chicago public schools through RTS’s Dream Green collection program. Our program goal is to collect 25,000 cell phones among the 600 Chicago public schools before Earth Day on April 22nd of this year. Please speak to your schools environmental leader about ways you can participate.

Brazil’s Atlantic Forest – Planting a Billion Trees Campaign

Centuries ago, the Atlantic Forest covered nearly 330 million acres, an area roughly the size of the eastern seaboard of the United States. Today only 7 percent remains, much of which is in isolated fragments. Home to 130 million people, the Atlantic Forest has taken heavy hits from urban expansion, coastal and industrial development, agriculture, ranching and illegal logging. Despite the forest’s diminished state, 70 percent of Brazil’s population relies on it for its drinking water.

How Can You Participate in A Forest For Earth Day?

One qualified cellular phone, Smart Phone, PDA device or MP3 Player plants one tree. It’s that simple. When you collect and recycle with Dream Green, you’ll contribute to the goal of planting a billion trees and help the Nature Conservancy protect and restore Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

1-2-3 Easy Steps to Rewarding Recycling

1) Recruit your green team and set an initial collection goal of 200 cellular phones

2) Promote your program in newsletters, websites, letters, posters to local business’ and encourage students, parents, staff, teachers, PTA, community leaders to bring your school used cell phones, smart phones, PDA devices and Mp3 players to be recycled – I have 5 old cell phones at home!!!

3) Contact Dream Green (http://www.recycletech.org/dreamgreen.html) through the web at DreamGreen@recycletech.org and request shipping guidelines & postage – paid shipping materials after 50 phones / devices have been collected. We also provide postage paid envelopes for smaller shipments to be passed out to offsite locations.

RTS will donate $1.00 to the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign in your schools name for every qualified phone collected. For more information on the Plant a Billion Trees Campaign go to www.plantabillion.org

As a bonus, for every location, when 50 or more qualified phones are recycled in a single shipment, you will receive from the Nature Conservatory:

· Personalized certificate with signature photo of the Atlantic Forest commemorating your generosity

· Colorful fact sheet about the Atlantic Forest

· Plant a Billion Trees magnet set

· World map

· Four issues of Nature Conservancy magazine to keep you informed all year about the many places the Conservancy is working to protect. (Plus, we’ll rush the current magazine issue along with your personalized certificate!)

· Great Places E-Newsletter subscription to our monthly e-communication with local conservation updates, enviro-tips you can use and stunning nature photography downloads.

Best of all, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to protect this extraordinary wild habitat now and for future generations. Please help plant trees today!

Spread the word about West Nile Virus

2008 Chicago West Nile Virus Public Education and Community Outreach Campaign

West Nile Virus infection (WNV) is an illness conveyed to humans primarily by mosquitoes. In most cases, people infected with WNV either show no symptoms or have very mild flu-like symptoms, called West Nile fever. WNV is an urgent issue that needs to be taken seriously in the Chicagoland area every summer.

In a collaborative effort to assist the Chicago Department of Public Health in its 2008 Public Education and Community Outreach Campaign, the Chicago Department of Environment (DOE) will be distributing brochures and magnets to the public at DOE outreach events this summer. Examples include rain barrel distribution and blue cart recycling events. To ensure that information gets to as many people as possible, DOE welcomes the assistance of interested C3 leaders and trainees that can help distribute information to members of their community or neighborhoods.

If you are interested in assisting, please contact Jerry Attere at 312-744-9136 or jerry.attere@cityofchicago.org to receive brochures and magnets for distribution.

For more information on WNV, go to the Chicago Department of Public Health’s webpage that can be found under the City Departments link at www.cityofchicago.org and look for the West Nile Virus information under the Infectious Disease link.

Plastic Bottle Awareness

Of the 25 billion single-serving plastic water bottles Americans use each year, 80% end up in landfills. Recycle your water bottles and, better yet, choose to re-use a refillable water bottle made of a refill-safe material. (BeGreenNow.com)

Last year on August 18, 2007 during and after the Air and Water Show, my group of 15 dedicated volunteers showed up during a rainy day to help me with my project. My project was to pick littered plastic water bottles and placed them in a blue recycling bags, so they may be recycled by the City of Chicago. By doing so, it will eliminate trash, which has a negative effect
on the environment. My team collected ‘hundreds of thousands’ of plastic water bottles, including plastic pop bottles discarded all around North Ave Beach.

This year we are having our Second Annual Water Bottle Awareness for the 50th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show which shakes up the lake front on August 16-17, 2008 which is the LARGEST free show of it’s kind in the United States. It is the city’s second most popular festival. Last year, 2,200,000 people watched the show. Imagine, about 2 million plastic water bottles will be discarded on the beach this year in a two day period.

Worldwide sale of bottled water a year is estimated to be between $50 and $100 billion (US) and increasing approximately 7 to 10 percent annually. In 2004, the US bottled water industry surpassed 6.8 billion gallons of water for that year, an increase of 8.6% over the previous year (Beverage Marketing Corporation, 2005) 22.6 Gallons of bottled water each person in the U.S. consumed in 2006, up 8.4 percent from the previous year.

The consumption of over 150 billion liters of bottled water per year necessitates the use of billions of plastic and glass bottles. Though the materials used are generally recyclable, many of these bottles, particularly those used in developing countries without recycling infrastructure, are discarded rather than recycled, with this trash having a negative effect on the environment. More than a billion water bottles end up in the state’s landfills each year. (The Associated Press)

The plastic used to package the 6 billion gallons of bottled water sold in the United States somehow end up clogging landfills and littering the landscape and spreading toxins into ground water. Nine out of 10 plastic bottles end up as litter. That’s 30 million discarded bottles a day.
(According to Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures 2004)

We, the people of Chicago should all be aware about this, and I urge everyone to help us and give us a hand.

People, contributing in any way, are the main source of the help we need for our city, and the environment. If we can encourage other cities to participate and allow ourselves to be inspired, then we can achieve our goals.

Thank you again for those of you who helped during last year¹s event. Your help is very much appreciated!

M. Grace Sielaff
Leader Chicago Conservation Corps

Videos by C3 Leader Robert Aguilar

Check out Fall 2006 C3 Leader Robert Aguilar’s video projects at the sites below.

This is the submitted video for the Treehugger.com contest.
- What Can Regular People Do About Global Warming?
- Carrying Power: Solar Energy On The Go

This submitted version is broadcasting on CurrentTV.
-Sun Powered Purses

This is a submitted shorter version that is in a contest for Current
- What Can Regular People Do?

You can still help vote for Robert’s video! Congrats Robert on these inspiring projects!

Vacation is all about Renewable Energy

Justin Lotak sent this about a recent trip he made to Costa Rica’s Rancho Mastatal, for a Renewable Energy in the Developing World workshop:

The workshop was through Solar Energy International (SEI), if anyone’s interested in attending, and they have several other topics besides renewable energy. Over the course of a week, we installed a 40W solar panel with three LED lights, put a methane biodigestor in the ground, put up a 45ft bamboo pole with an anemometer at the top to measure wind speed, put together an electric bike, and built a solar oven. We were busy from 8am-10pm every day except one free day – and we learned a ton. The food was all vegetarian, but some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life (the two owners of the ranch, Tim and Robin, used to work in 5 star restaurants in Seattle, so they brought a lot of food knowledge
down with them).

Overall it was probably the best vacation I’ve taken – the small community of volunteers and the owners of Rancho Mastatal really have created something special down there, and I would highly recommend a visit to anyone.

Here’s the link to my photos (there are a lot):

Hope you enjoy!


Thanks for the story and photos, Justin. Looks like this was quite a trip.

Not in Your Food?

C3 Leader Elizabeth Wyman says:

Whether you eat meat or not, here’s a little something you may want to read this from the Consumers Union (Consumer Reports).

In late December, the FDA decided that milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring are safe to eat. This means that within a few months, FDA could tell the livestock industry go ahead and start selling cloned meat to your local grocery, without any label to let you choose whether you want to buy it.

I’ve just signed a petition urging FDA to keep the moratorium on meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring in food and to require labeling of such products if FDA does allow them on the market. Sign the petition now by clicking here: NotInMyFood.org

Why community gardens are called “shared gardens” in Paris


Paris’ (France) City Council has recently developed a policy in favour of shared gardens (jardins partagés) in the city. A charter has been produced that sets some conditions on governance and the balance between public access and the specific rights of the group that cares for the garden. Like many European countries we had a strong -though declining- tradition of allotments, sets of individual gardens in a space provided by a local community or sometimes by an employer. But the notion of community gardens had become quite foreign to us, even if in the past, sections communales (the old French name for commons) existed in many villages and cities. Alice Le Roy and the other promoters of the shared gardens initiatives have taken inspiration in the community gardens that flourish in many US cities, for instance in NYC. But in Paris, it was not possible to call them community gardens. That’s in part because

Convenient Truths: A Green Video Contest

Channel your inner eco-critic. Seventh Generation, Inc. and TreeHugger.com asked citizens to share their solutions to climate change. Help out our expert judges by watching and rating the submissions.

I submitted two videos to the Convenient Truths: a green video contest.

My first film asks “What can regular people do about global warming? This film takes a look at how average Americans perceive the climate crisis while giving practical, everyday tips toward reducing our Carbon dioxide footprint.”

My second film takes a look at how one business has combined style with sustainability to create solar paneled bags. Its a great way to integrate renewable energy into daily life!

Here are the links…

What Can Regular People Do About Global Warming?

Carrying Power: Solar Energy On The Go


How Much Water Does it Cost?

This from MoneyWeek recently…

“A typical meat-eating, milk-guzzling Westerner consumes as much as a hundred times their own weight in water every day,” says Fred Pearce, former New Scientist news editor and author of When The Rivers Run Dry.

That’s because it takes between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogram of rice, 11,000 litres to grow the feed for enough cow for a quarter-pound hamburger, 50 cups of water for a teaspoon of sugar and 140 litres of water to produce just one cup of coffee. The world today grows twice as much food as it did in the 1960s, but uses three times as much water to grow it. Two-thirds of all the water taken from the environment goes to irrigate crops. “This is massively unsustainable, and has led many people to conclude that the apocalypse wasn’t averted, only postponed,” says Pearce.

And the over-use of water doesn’t just apply to food production. Every T-shirt you wear will take 25 bathtubs of water to produce. Every small car uses 450,000 litres. If what you wear or drive is imported, you in the West are helping to empty rivers across the world. Water used for growing food and making products is called “virtual water”. Every tonne of wheat arriving at a dockside carries with it, in virtual form, the 1,000 tonnes of water needed to grow it, explains Pearce.

Fancy water as the new gold, or new oil? Getting more precious and powerful, all the time.


This post is from a blog comment by M. Grace Sielaff

Bioremediation can be defined as any process that uses microorganisms (Microorganisms – a tiny organism such as a virus, or protozoan, or bacterium that ca only be seen under a microscope), fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the environment altered by contaminants to its original condition. Bioremediation may be employed to attack specific soil contaminants, such as chlorinated hydrocarbons that are degraded by bacteria, or a more general approach may be taken, such as oil spills that are broken down by multiple techniques including the addition of nitrate and/or sulfate fertilizers to facilitate the decomposition of crude oil by indigenous or exogenous bacteria.

Household Chemicals and Electronics Recycling

On October 28th the City of Chicago opened its permanent facility to collect HHW items, computers, and cell phones on a year-round basis. Located at 1150 N. North Branch, the facility is accessible from the Kennedy Expressway at the Division Street (east) exit.

The facility accepts oil-based paints and aerosol paint cans, solvents and paint thinners, used motor oil, gasoline and antifreeze, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides, drain cleaners and cleaning products, pool chemicals, hobby chemicals, and materials containing mercury, household batteries and fluorescent bulbs.

Hours of operation are: Tuesdays (7:00 a.m.-noon), Thursdays (2:00-7:00 p.m.), and the first Saturday (8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) of each month.

For more information visit, http://www.cityofchicago.org/Environment

Rainbarrel delivery and installation

From Julie Peterson:

Would you dump sewage in the river? Of course you wouldn’t. But that’s what we do with our sewage in Chicago when it rains. Each homeowner can stop 55-100 gallons or more and protect the river by installing a rainbarrel. BeyondToday has arranged for a servich which will deliver and install the rainbarrel for you. Read more here about this and other ways to join our Project Raindrop Respect!

Cook County Forest Preserves

Did you know that Cook County has 67,000 acres of forest preserve land? That’s 11% of the county, and is more land than the entire city of Washington, DC. The District is 61 square miles, less than 40,000 acres.

One preserve in particular, Busse Woods, has more visitors annually than Yellowstone National Park, but admittedly fewer bears and geysers.