Sunday, December 13, 2015

The hatching of the DuPage Monarch Project

Photo by Joe Lecroy
In the spring of 2015, a group of students at Ben Franklin elementary school in Glen Ellyn set out to help monarchs and the ripples from their efforts are spreading throughout DuPage county.

The students, engaged in a lesson in Problem Based Learning, decided to find out more about the declining monarch butterfly population.  They learned the population decrease was due in part to a loss of milkweed in their breeding territory, which includes Illinois.  The identified solution was planting more milkweed.

The students approached the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission with their suggested solution and a civic coalition was formed to take action by educating the public about monarchs and increasing the amount of milkweed available in Glen Ellyn.

The DuPage Monarch Project (DMP), a coalition of the Sierra Club’s River Prairie Group, Greater DuPage Wild Ones and The Conservation Foundation, is building on this model and taking it to communities throughout DuPage County.

In 2016, DMP will continue to spread the word about the plight of monarchs by hosting a program on monarchs and pollinators Feb. 23, 7:00 pm at the Glen Ellyn Library.  There are plans to offer free milkweed plants in the spring.  The third goal is to expand the number of villages and cities working on monarch conservation by asking six to eight DuPage municipalities to join the effort by passing a resolution to make their community more monarch friendly.

Stay informed about local monarch initiatives by liking DuPage Monarch Project on facebook.  To become involved in your community, email Lonnie Morris at

- Lonnie Morris

Saturday, November 28, 2015

DuPage County is committed to saving energy

What makes DuPage cool?   Outstanding forest preserves, amazing bike trails, a world-class arboretum and now, leaders working together on clean and efficient use of energy.

In 2013, DuPage County upped its commitment to the environment and a stronger economy by committing to the Cool County initiative.  As a Cool County, DuPage has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10% by 2020 and 20% by 2030.

Cool DuPage is inviting all DuPage communities to participate in its clean energy initiatives.  Participating communities are offered technical assistance to help them achieve their carbon pollution reduction goals.

Energy efficiency and clean energy projects have a proven track record of saving money and creating jobs.  As DuPage grows cooler, everyone benefits from cleaner air, reduced energy costs and a stronger and more resilient economy.

Mayors working together with the County for cleaner energy will make DuPage a truly cool place for its residents to live and work.

Like Cool DuPage on Facebook

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The value of a professional home energy assessment

Every existing home should have an energy assessment.  

Here’s why:
Technician performs blower door testing
  • Many homes have excessive air leakage and drafts leading to discomfort, wasted energy, and higher bills.  And surprisingly, some homes are too airtight, causing potential indoor air quality issues.
  • Most homes in DuPage have considerable air leakage well in excess of modern building standards, and do not have adequate insulation  for our climate.
  • About 30 percent of the homes in the area have improperly vented bath vents, causing excessive moisture and potential mold in the attic.
  • A professional assessment includes a check for natural gas leaks and possible “backdrafting” of appliances that causes spillage of exhaust gases into the home.
Please note that every home can be unique.  Prioritizing weatherization projects that are effective is difficult without a professional review of what is actually happening using a blower door test.

The bottom line:  Addressing residential energy efficiency is good for health, comfort, safety – protecting you and your family.  It also promotes better air quality by using less fossil fuels, and - not surprisingly - it saves money.

ACTION STEP:  Make use of the Energy Impact Illinois program.  If you live in DuPage County outside of Naperville, call SCARCE today at (630) 945-9710.
Additional information:  Energy Impact Illinois

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Eco-Updates and Action

Eco Events:

January 26 (Glen Ellyn) - John Huston, a native of Glen Ellyn, will speak on his expeditions in the arctic regions, Glen Ellyn Library.  Introduction by Glen Ellyn Sustainability Group.

January 30 (Glen Ellyn) - Churchill Woods workday (buckthorn removal), Churchill Woods Protectors

January 31 (Naperville) - Seed swap and potluck luncheon, The Resiliency Institute

February 3 (Lombard) - Starting Seeds for Your Vegetable Garden, GardenWorks Project

February 5 (Lombard) - Film showing at Helen Plum Library, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Prairie Food Co-op

February 17 (Naperville) - Douglas Sisterson will speak on Climate Disruption: Science Based Evidence of What You Should Know, League of Women Voters of Naperville

February 20 (Glen Ellyn) - Restoration workday at Churchill Park, Glen Ellyn Park District

March 4-6 (Oak Park, Chicago, and Elmhurst) - One Earth Film Fest

March 5 - Square Foot Gardening program, Sweet Home Organics

March 19 (Batavia) - Earth Hour observance and activities, Batavia Park District 

April 22 (Glen Ellyn) - Earth Day celebration, Glen Ellyn Park District

May 21 (various rivers) - DuPage River Sweep, The Conservation Foundation

  • Be engaged with elected officials, and look for opportunities to promote sustainability at the office, place of worship, and at home.
  • Web page spotlight:
  • Illinois Clean Jobs Bill  The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of over 300 Illinois businesses and organizations representing the state's environmental, business and faith communities. The coalition supports raising energy efficiency standards to 20% by 2025, and renewable energy standards to 35% by 2030.  All Illinois Businesses are invited to be part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill Business Coalition. If you want a clean energy future for Illinois you can add your good energy to this important effort. You do not have to be a solar business to join this group for free! Businesses can Join the Coalition here.  (from Illinois Solar Energy Association)
  • Green Watershed Workshops - various dates, locations TBA, DuPage County

Listings without Web page links have details pending.  Due to the diversity of views within the environmental movement, this calendar does not imply endorsement by the Glen Ellyn Sustainability Group of all events listed or the positions taken by various groups.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

October is OAKtober Awareness month!

A message from The Morton Arboretum:

We have received the signed proclamation from Governor Rauner establishing October 2015 as OAKtober- Oak-Awareness Month!!!

Thank you for sending letters of support to accompany our proposed proclamation! The state-wide support for oaks and oak ecosystems led to the official proclamation of October 2015 as OAKtober- Oak-Awareness Month.

This OAKtober, we hope you will share your love and appreciation for oaks by hosting, planning, or participating in an event to commemorate and publicize OAKtober. OAKtober is an opportunity for individuals, organizations and agencies throughout Illinois to recognize and support oaks and oak ecosystems in their own way during the month of October.

The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is registering oak-related events occurring this OAKtober and posting them ( Registration with CRTI means that we will promote your event on our website and through Twitter. We are hoping for a strong showing of events from around Illinois. To register you events, contact Melissa at

I have attached a pdf of the signed proclamation and a press release. We hope you will promote OAKtober in your newsletters and eblasts.

Thank you!!!

Melissa Custic


Melissa Custic, M.S.  |  Chicago Region Trees Initiative Coordinator
The Morton Arboretum  |  4100 Illinois Route 53  |  Lisle, Illinois 60532
T  630-719-5646 |  |
New website: