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:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Climate Change in the Arctic - A Polar Explorer’s Perspective

Date:Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Time:7:00 PM
Presented by:River Prairie Group
Leader:Moira Noll - 630-469-1606
Location:Glen Ellyn Civic Center, 535 Duane Street, Glen Ellyn, IL

Be sure to put DECEMBER 2 on your calendar for a special presentation from Glen Ellyn native, John Huston. 
A veteran of the first American expedition to reach the North Pole unsupported, John speaks with a passion challenging and inspiring others to believe in their potential to meet their goals.   John has also completed major expeditions to the South Pole, on Greenland, and on Ellesmere Island.  
This presentation takes you to the frontlines of climate change, the Arctic. John’s stories from the North Pole and the Canadian Arctic demonstrate how climate change is affecting the polar regions. Without a significant reduction in atmospheric carbon levels, there may not be enough ice to ski to the North Pole in the near future. This presentation is about melting ice and the beautiful Arctic, but it is also about working together to make forward-thinking choices.  
Plan to join us for an evening of stunning photographs and motivational stories.  As an added bonus, John’s book will be available as the perfect holiday gift for adventurers in your family.  He has offered to give personalize signatures as well. 
Our meeting will be the Glen Ellyn Civic Center, December 2, 2015 at 7 pm, Sponsored by the River Prairie Group.  (As posted on the RPG's web page)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DuPage County Eco-Events and Actions

Upcoming Events!

October 21 (Glen Ellyn)Glen Ellyn Sustainability Group's ECO-SOCIAL at Shannon's Irish Pub in downtown Glen Ellyn, 7 p.m.

(October 23 (Lombard) - SCARCE's 25th Anniversary Green Tie Gala, SCARCE

October 24 (Glen Ellyn) - Illinois Prairie Path Cleanup with the Sierra Club (actually a pleasant 2 mile hike), River Prairie Group

October 28 (Champaign) - Illinois Bike Summit, League of Illinois Bicyclists

November 14 (Glen Ellyn) - From 9:00 a.m. - noon, we are trying something new at the scheduled workday. The Glen Ellyn Park District is teaming up with Sustain DuPage to cut young buckthorn that will be used to make a wattle hurdle. A what? A wattle hurdle is a panel of woven fence. You can use it to pen-up your waddling wattled-turkeys, use it as a decorative piece in your yard, or weave a nice holiday gift for someone. We will provide the loppers to cut the buckthorn, but please bring a pair of hand pruners if you have them to help de-branch the saplings. Andrew Van Gorp will be on hand to demonstrate the techniques and possibly wield his trusty hatchet to speed up the de-branching efforts.  Help with ecological restoration and take home a personal creation as a reward.
-Renae Frigo, Park District Naturalist

December 2 (Glen Ellyn) - Sierra Club lecture by John Huston, polar explorer, Sierra Club River Prairie Group

Featured Web site:  Greater DuPage Wild Ones

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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Energy Efficiency Program


Energy Efficiency Is Interesting When You Can Save $500/year

SCARCE, a local nonprofit, is working with Elevate Energy, a Chicago non-profit that creates and promotes programs that provide smarter energy use.  This educational effort can help you save money and become more comfortable in your home right away by providing options for buying and using electricity and through prioritized home improvements.

Go further by making practical and lasting improvements to your home. Schedule a $99 assessment to learn how to fix your home, or host an energy house party and get your assessment for free. Qualified contractors will find the most cost-effective approaches, identify instant rebates, and SCARCE will ensure the work gets done right. Join the 4000+ homeowners who have made improvements and are reducing their energy bills by 15% or more.

To learn more about this program and other energy-related information, attend SCARCE's Energy Palooza on Friday, July 17.  A variety of organizations have been invited.  See  Otherwsie, contact SCARCE at 630-545-9710 or to be connected with your local energy advocate

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Viilage of Glen Ellyn provides mulching advice

As posted in today's e-newsletter from the Village of Glen Ellyn (below).  Sadly, many local landscaping contractors still don't how to properly mulch a tree.  We need to be inspecting their work.

Help Stop the Practice of Volcano Mulching
"Volcano Mulching" refers to the practice of piling mulch against the trunk of a tree, thereby creating a volcano shape at the base of the tree. This practice is extremely harmful to the health of trees.

Mulch provides numerous benefits which include; insulates soil, retains moisture, prevents weed growth, prevents soil compaction, reduces lawnmower damage, and adds an aesthetic touch to a yard or street! To mulch trees properly, remove any grass within a circular mulch area between 3 to 10 feet in diameter, depending on tree canopy's outer diameter. Pile wood chips, mulch shred, or bark pieces within the circle, but NOT touching the trunk. Many landscapers recommend creating a "well of mulch", where the least amount is around the trunk, fanning the mulch up and out, but only piled 2 to 4 inches above the ground line. Anything higher, or piled right up to the trunk, is referred to as "volcano mulching".

This practice prevents air from circulating around living bark, and can harbor mold and bugs. The use of this practice can eventually kill a tree. Be a protector of our parkway trees. Participate in these tree preservation practices, encourage landscape contractors to also do so, and help ensure the health of our Village trees for decades to come! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Earth Day Festival 2015 at Lake Ellyn

Announcing another great festival at the Boathouse.  Thanks to the lead role taken by the Glen Ellyn Park District, we are very excited to have a variety of business and nonprofit organizations (at least 15 of them) share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the community.

Here are a few details provided by the Park District:

Date:                     Wednesday, April 22nd
Event Time:        7:00 PM to ~ 9:00 +/-
Set-up Time:      6:00 – 7:00 PM
Location:              Lake Ellyn Park in the Boathouse
Address:              645 Lenox Road, Glen Ellyn

This year we are going with a FOOD theme, but know that not everyone has this as a central mission. Therefore, we hope to highlight the ideas of locally sourced food, organic and sustainably grown food, vegetable gardens, composting, and edible landscaping.  We’ll also have information about smarter energy use, better indoor/outdoor lighting, the benefits of native plants, upcoming environmental events, the Glen Ellyn Saves Monarchs initiative, as well as giving away free oak saplings.  Something Different will be sharing their musical talents and the Naperville Astronomical Association will be setting up  telescopes for closer looks at our night sky (let’s hope for a clear night!).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Eco-Crazy April is under way

Welcome to Glen Ellyn's Earth Month.  The previous post summarizes a wide array of events for you to participate in meaningful environmental activities that support of your values for your family, the earth, and your community.  Facebook "likes" is not enough anymore.  April has traditionally been the time when we come out of out winter cocoons and renew our commitment.

Again, we are supporting the Glen Ellyn Park District in its unique and special Earth Day Festival at the Lake Ellyn Boat House on Wednesday, April 22nd.  This year will be different, and we urge you attend.

More politically-minded folks (honestly, that should be all of us) will be traveling to Springfield for a day of lobbying. It is considered to be an impactful and enjoyable way to engage our elected leadership, especially during this watershed year for energy policy. They enjoy receiving feedback from constituents.  Otherwise, there will be plenty of opportunities to be engaged this month.  For example, there will be several workshops on residential energy efficiency. Pick one and go!  We all need to "walk our talk" as we are able, and these workshops will be fun and engaging. Plenty of outdoor activities as well.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Current Eco Events Listing for DuPage County and beyond

April 21 (Naperville) - Introduction to Spring Plant Identification, by Pat Armstrong, at The Resiliency Institute

April 22 (Glen Ellyn) - Earth Day Festival at Lake Ellyn, with a food theme this year, Glen Ellyn Park District

April 22 (Springfield) - Earth Day Rally organized by Illinois Environmental Council - Also see Faith In Place page.

April 23 (Woodridge) - Earth Day Benefit dinner for the Conservation Foundation

April 23 (Glen Ellyn) - Save Energy and Money at Home, a new workshop offered by SCARCE.  You will learn something new at this workshop!

April 23 (Elmhurst) - Stormwater meeting, sponsored by Elmhurst Cool Cities and Elmhurst League of Women Voters

April 24 (USA) - Plant a tree on Arbor Day

April 25 (DuPage) - The Illinois Prairie Path and Great Western Trails cleanups.  The Sierra Club will handle a portion of the IPP in Glen Ellyn.

April 25 (Glen Ellyn) - Recycling Extravaganza in Glen Ellyn
and in other communities on various dates

April 25 (Downers Grove) - For the benefit of numerous groups, DuPage Human Race

April 25 (Wheaton) - Party for the Planet at Cosley Zoo

April 25 (West Chicago) - Illinois solar Energy Association sponsors a Legislative Solar Social

April 25 (Elgin) - Elgin Community College Sustainability Fair

April 30 (Naperville) - Green Infrastructure and Nature-Friendly Landscaping, a free workshop at Morton Arboretum, offered by the Conservation Foundation

May 2 (Naperville) - Come to a Permablitz and help plant fruit trees, organized by The Resiliency Institute  (note a date change may occur due to early arrival of trees - check with the Institute)

May 3 (Naperville) - Green Earth Fair at Green Earth Institute

May 2 and 3 (Lake Barrington) - Annual Native Plant, Shrub & Tree Sale, sponsored by Citizens for Conservation

May 6 (Springfield) - Solar lobby day, sponsored by ISEA

May 9 (Glen Ellyn) - Get Your Garden Growin' Green, an outdoor event at SCARCE

May 16 (West Chicago) - Blooming Fest

May 16 (DuPage) - Annual Conservation Foundation DuPage River Sweep

May 17 (Warrenville) - Sierra Club’s Party on the Farm fundraiser social with live music

June 13 (Aurora) - Aurora Greenfest

June 12-19 (various locations) - Bike to Work Week

Aug 10 (Naperville) - Veggie Fest

News items:

Smart meters and renewable energy, oh my!

The Glen Ellyn Historical Society hosted a popular event this past Saturday about the history and future of electricity, presented by ComEd. After ComEd's excellent presentation about the benefits of smart meters and real-time pricing, interesting questions arose about the real time pricing options, electrical aggregation, and community-wide purchasing of clean energy based on wind power.

Although most homeowners realize smart meters are being rolled out, many do not understand the nuances of how electricity is purchased and delivered to residences.  It is also not clear that the most Glen Ellyn residents are aware that we are purchasing wind power through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) through the Village's electrical aggregation program. To be fair, this is not intuitive.  RECs are nevertheless considered by regulators to be valid way to buy wind power.  An excellent explanation is of how RECs work is published by the Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Eco-Social scheduled for Wednesday, January 21

Come to our eco-social at Shannon's in downtown Glen Ellyn beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a short meeting around 7 p.m. or so, on Wednesday, January 21. Learn about exciting environmental initiatives and how we fit into a growing movement in DuPage County.  

Some examples follow:

  • April 22 Earth Day festival – (proposed food theme) – planning committee being formed
  • February 5 – Green Group forum at Lombard library (noon luncheon) – GESG invited
  • SCARCE/Elevate Energy  home energy efficiency program – hold house parties for free energy audits
  • Quarterly Prairie Path cleanups with Sierra Club
  • March 30 – IIT small business and nonprofit energy efficiency outreach programs
  • Prairie Food Co-op coming to Lombard
  • Solar energy program at library (ISEA Solar Ambassador outreach)
  • Village may install LED street lights – possible committee?

  • Flooding – DuPage County seeking feedback through survey and public meetings
  • Green Power Plan for Illinois
  • Idling at schools
  • Electronics and CFL recycling
  • Plastic Bags – Environmental Commission holding information meeting on February 3rd