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Lt. Governor Quinn honors 26 residents with Environmental Hero Awards

Mike Clifford

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Lt. Governor Quinn honors 26 residents with Environmental Hero Awards


CHICAGO - December 30, 2008. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn presented the 2008 Environmental Hero Awards to 26 individuals, schools and groups in recognition of their commitment to environmental health and protection.


"The citizens here today are truly environmental heroes," Quinn said. "I am proud to salute them for the hard work they have done to show us that when it comes to making the Land of Lincoln a cleaner, better place - we can all make a difference."


The 2008 Illinois Environmental Hero Award recipients include:


  • Mike Coy, a science teacher at Chicago's Northside Prep High School, is the faculty founder of the school's Club for Alternative Sources of Energy (CASE). The group is dedicated to finding more ways to use alternative and environmentally friendly energy sources.
  • Isaac Sinnott of Oak Park is a 16-year-old that converts recycled food storage containers into rain barrels and distributes them to residents through the Oak Park Public Works Department. Isaac started his rain barrel business in April and has made more than 100 so far.
<li>Resurrection Lutheran Church is the first church in Chicago to install a solar hot water system. The solar hot water system will be used by the church to host soup kitchens, homeless shelters and after-school programs. Faith in Place helped Resurrection secure a state of Illinois rebate and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to install the system.
  • Sarah Welander, 8, of Bloomington worked to pass petitions to keep the state parks open and helped organize a press event at Moraine View State Park.
  • Ryce Tuggle, 11, of Oakwood founded Kids Interested in Conserving Kickapoo (KICK) and gathered signatures on a petition to help keep Kickapoo State Park open. Ryce became interested in saving the park when a teacher had her class write letters to their legislators urging the governor not to close the park.
  • Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) of Chicago is a community organization that has worked with local gardeners to promote healthy lifestyles and communities. LVEJO has also worked on promoting green collar jobs through their initiatives.
  • Patricia Parsons of Chicago is an environmental science and biology teacher at Gage Park High School. She currently leads the Chicago Conservation Club and works with the Chicago Conservation Corps. She received a grant from the Illinois Science Teachers Association to conduct water testing and monitor water quality for the Chicago River with her students.
  • Taylorville High School Envirothon Team won 1st place in an Illinois competition and 4th place in the national envirothon competition, which showcases groups' knowledge of natural resources. Mary Dawson is the team's adviser.
  • Citizen Volunteers of Quincy and Adams County is recognized for their generosity and community efforts throughout the flooding of 2008. Volunteers came together to fill sandbags to protect vital community assets such as drinking water. Quincy and Adams County also demonstrated excellent emergency planning and execution during this time.
  • El Valor is a non-profit organization in Chicago that has participated as a partner organization in the Monarch Live program. Every year, millions of monarchs migrate thousands of miles from Canada through the United States to Michoacán, Mexico, andMonarch Live is working to increase the understanding of monarch biology and ecology and to help schools develop butterfly gardens and schoolyard habitats.
  • Suzanne Casey of Kendall County transformed her family farm into an eco-friendly residential development where 48 houses on half-acre lots will be built. Families will have several choices in terms of green design for their new homes, including bioswales for natural drainage, geothermal systems, solar roofs and green roofs. In addition to eco-development, part of Suzanne's farm will be conserved for ponds, small holding ponds, prairies and trails.
  • Friends of the Forest Preserves is a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect the natural landscape of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Volunteers at the Friends of the Forest Preserves work to restore the 68,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County.
  • Friends of the Hennepin Canal worked to keep the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park open in Sheffield, Illinois, which is one of several parks that are scheduled to close this year. The park is used everyday by many people to bike, fish and camp. School groups, boy scouts and girl scouts all use the park for recreation and educational purposes as well.
  • The Better Fishing Association of Northern Illinois worked to keep the Hennepin Canal open and all other state parks that were threatened with closure. Members worked on educating members of the public at several events and passed petitions resulting in thousands of signatures. The Better Fishing Association also worked on passing local resolutions against park closures.
  • Melinda Hilker of West Frankfort is a teacher at St. John's Catholic School, where children from kindergarten to eighth grade are participating in the "Making Our Future Greener" program. Melinda was responsible for getting the children involved in signing the Sustainable Schools Compact, where they have pledged to create a recycling program.
  • Jane Hovland of Clinton is a state park activist who organized the Pack Our Parks effort to keep her local park from closing. When the parks closed, Jane participated in events to keep the Veterans Point Memorial open.
  • Jackson County initiated the first government-sponsored, permanent electronics recycling program in Illinois in 2002. The program has operated for more than five years and has grown each year. In June 2008, the county collected its one-millionth pound of electronics from the public.
  • The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston is the first house of worship in the nation to receive LEED platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council. The 32,000 square foot synagogue's green features include water conservation and recycled materials. The space will house the sanctuary, classrooms, meeting space and a child care center.
  • Jubilee Prairie Dawgs of Brimfield have worked tirelessly for 30 years to restore the Jubilee College State Park. This past spring several fields near the day-use areas and along Jubilee's main road were seeded with native plants. To assist, the Prairie Dawgs donated about 40 pounds of seed they collected from 12 different species of flowers.
  • Bill Kussner of Warren is a Facilities Manager at Warren CUSD, where he has spent his time championing a number of green efforts such as soybean roofs and recycling programs.
  • Kay McKeen of DuPage County is the Founder and Executive Director of the not-for-profit School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE). Each year, Kay and the SCARCE team reach hundreds of people in schools, businesses and community groups with innovative environmental education programs. SCARCE also runs a book rescue program, a free forum for exchanging and reusing school supplies, a cell phone recycling drop-off center, and recycling programs for printer cartridges and gym shoes.
  • The Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview is the nation's first mosque to install solar panels on the roof to help heat the building's water instead of using natural gas. The project was completed in part with a state of Illinois rebate and a grant provided by the Illinois Energy Community Foundation with assistance from Faith in Place, an organization that partners with religious congregations to promote clean energy and sustainable farming.
  • The City of Peru attained their 20 year hydro-electric power goal. The hydro-electric power plant generates 58 percent of all residential power to the city.
  • Quad Cities Conservation Alliance has been involved with eagle-watching for 41 years. The Quad Cities Conservation Alliance works to educate the public including community members and school groups about Bald Eagles and their impact in Illinois.
  • Susan Grabowski of Chicago is a teacher at Carl Schurz High School. She helped lead her students in various green projects such as litter clean-ups and gardening projects. She also helped the school apply for the Illinois Rain Garden grant, which they were awarded earlier this year. Susan is also involved with the Sustainable Schools Compact.
  • St. Lawrence O'Toole Parish members worked together to change more than 600 light fixtures and has focused on green cleaning products and eco-friendly paint. Last year, St. Lawrence O'Toole cut air pollution by more than 4,500 pounds by installing energy efficient lighting throughout its school and parish buildings.
For more information about Lt. Governor Quinn's green initiatives, please visit GreenSolutions.il.gov.



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