Mike gets an apology from the City of Chicago

August 19, 2012

The City of Chicago apologizes for tree damage on McLean Avenue

Yes, you read that correctly. This morning, live on my radio show, I will be receiving an apology from Tom LaPorte, Assistant Commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Water Management, for damage done to trees on my block in the Logan Square Neighborhood. I will accept that apology on behalf of the good citizens of McLean Avenue.

If you’ve been listening to my show in the past few weeks or following developments on this website, you know that Water Management has been replacing water mains on my street. That’s not particularly newsworthy. After all, it’s no secret that our aging infrastructure is in desperate need of replacement.

What IS surprising, though, is the amount of damage the trees on my block sustained from the work crews. I have been posting photos of the carnage for two weeks. They are still on my home page. Now, I do understand that it’s hard to get heavy machinery down every block in the city without something being affected. But the level of damage sustained was so beyond the pale that I felt I needed to call it to the attention of the Department of Water Management and the Bureau of Forestry.

Last week, Senior Forester Joe McCarthy responded to my inquiry by saying, in part,

Everyday around ALL Cities, Towns etc, construction is ongoing.  New construction and repair/upgrades of homes and utilities (gas, water, sewer with connections from mains to each and every home) all affect tree health.  You are undergoing a main replacement.  This may cause gas mains to be relocated and all sorts of other dominoes that fall in place.  These large projects are typically reviewed as plans are developed, distributed and reviewed through a utility coordination process in Chicago’s Department of Transportation called Office of Underground Coordination ( OUC ).  Through plan review and training efforts we attempt to stem the tide (ounce of prevention worth more than a pound of cure) since enforcement can overwhelm staff and is limited to the most egregious cases.

He also sent me the text of a talk he made in Toronto a few years ago. In it, he talks about how trees are valued in Chicago:

Utility installations involve digging trenches as it is cheap and easy for installation. Trenching near a tree, especially a tree of large stature, can lead to disaster. The tree may not fall down right away or four months later, but eventually the tree will come down.

We have an office of underground communication where we coordinate digging and plan reviewing, as well as a damage prevention council where standards are set, as trees are an integral part of infrastructure in Chicago along with utilities, streets, and sidewalks.

Sidewalks and streets begin to decline as soon as they are installed and have a finite replacement period. Trees on the other hand, are the only infrastructure that increase in value after installation. Install a $500 tree and one day it could be an $80,000 tree. We start with education, teaching the importance of where the tree roots are, and how to work around them. If they cry, “oh it’s going to cost more”, you impose the value of the tree. If you’re going to have to do it the cheap way, you pay for the value of the tree if it has to come out.

I’m pleased to have Tom LaPorte from the Water Department and City of Chicago Senior City Forester John Lough on the program this morning. And may I say here that I thank Mr. LaPorte and the Department of Water Management for stepping up and accepting the responsibility for the damage. My goal–and Mr. LaPorte has made it clear that it is his goal, too–is to make sure that this doesn’t happen on other streets in other neighborhoods.

To that end, if you see damage caused by city workers or outside contracters who you think have been hired by the city, call Tom LaPorte, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Water Management at 312/742-1029, or Commssioner Thomas Powers at 312/744-7001.

Get ready to Tweet for the ICG Show

The Independent Garden Center Show comes to Chicago this week, and if that doesn’t have you jumping for joy, it’s understandable. It’s really a show for garden center professionals–whether you own one, sell your products for them, grow plants for them, or are involved in some other way…like talking about them on the radio.

So, as the more than 1,000 exhibitors hook up with thousands of IGC buyers, some of us get all goose-bumpy, just thinking about wondering the isles at the Navy Pier show. And, like last year, the folks who like to Tweet about these events are back in town. A number of them will be gathering at the Peterson Garden Project Learning Center for a live #gardenchat on Twitter from 7 to 8pm tomorrow evening (August 20).

If you’re not sure what that means, it’s basically a reason for you to log on to Twitter at that time, follow the hashtag #gardenchat, and post your comments. Other Twitter codes that you might find useful are #IGC12 and @IGCShow.

I’ll be there in person, along with LaManda Joy (@TheYarden) from the PGP, Brenda Haas (@BG_Garden), and others who show up when I tweet at @MikeNow. Unfortunately, the event is by invitation only, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t join the fun on Twitter.

D. Landreth Seed Company is still going strong

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked to Barbara Melera of D. Landreth Seed Company. You might remember that they were on the verge of insolvency at the beginning of this year, but managed to fight back, thanks to the efforts and the purchases of hundreds of people who believed that this 227 year old American company deserved a little better than it was getting. My Chicago listeners stepped up big time, and I’m proud of that.

Well, Landreth is back as an advertiser on the show, just in time for planting Wild Saffron Crocus Bulbs. Here’s what Barbara has to say about them:

In addition to peas and herbs, THE SEED OF THE DAY FOR MID-SUMMER AND FALL PLANTING is going to feature three bulbs that should be ordered in July for planting in August. If you don’t plant a single thing this summer, you should plant one of the fall blooming crocus bulbs. They are one of the nicest surprises of the fall. They can be planted in full sun or partial shade, and they can be planted in containers. YES, they do come back each year, and YES they will spread – doubling about every 12 months.

Here is the ‘hitch’. Unlike the bulbs you plant in the fall or the bulbs you plant in the spring, fall blooming crocus have to be ordered in July or early August. We receive the bulbs in late August and ship them to you in late August. You, then, need to plant the bulbs in late August or early September and they will begin blooming for you in September or early October.

If you haven’t ordered them now, you’d better get going. Meanwhile, you can follow–and Like–D. Landreth Seed Company on Facebook.

The First 100 Native Gardens Walk…

…was yesterday. I’m sorry if you missed it. But there’s a reason that I’m mentioning this terrific event, sponsored by the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee (WPPC) in McHenry County. More than100 homeowners planted native gardens in their yards and yesterday twenty-two of those yards were open to the public for a self-guided tour.

Homeowners planted woodland shade gardens, savanna gardens, prairie gardens, and rain gardens ranging in size from 100 square feet to over 600 square feet on lots ranging in size from a regular city lot to 6 acres. They’re all part of the “Natural Garden in Your Yard” (NGYY) mentoring program of the WPPC. The program is based on the concept that many small native gardens, when combined as part of the bigger picture can make a big difference for a cleaner, healthier environment for all. NGYY began in 2005 with 12 mentees. In 2012, there were 16 new mentees.

And, guess what? You can still get involved for next year.   Pat Sullivan-Schroyer wrote to me that the deadline for applications for the next mentoring class is August 25, 2012.  Interested homeowners/gardeners can go to the website: thewppc.org, and click on Natural Garden in Your Yard.  That gives a detailed description of the program as well as a link to the application.  There is no charge for participating in the program.  Their only cost will be for whatever plants they choose to purchase for their yards.

Join me at Knupper Nursery and Landscape next Saturday

I’m finally going to learn how to pronounce Knupper’s!!

That’s because Laurie Gravagna (who has a difficult enough name herself) stops by today to preview the first annual Veggie Fair at Knupper’s Nursery and Landscape in Palatine. It’s a free event and it will feature seminars and demonstrations, a vegetable contest, and even a pie eating contest. I am doing a presentation at 1:00 p.m. Here’s the schedule of events:

10:00 am – Water Bath Canning Demonstration by Kirstin Larson
Do you have more fruits and vegetables than you can eat?  Let Kirstin show you how to preserve your tomatoes so you can enjoy them all winter long!  She will also be discussing making jams and jellies.

11:00 am – Decorating Gourds for Fall by Paula Farrell
Join Paula Farrell as she discusses gourds.  From selecting fun shapes and sizes, to preparing and cleaning (or not cleaning) and how to turn them into lovely decorations for your home, you’ll learn everything there is to know about this fun fall vegetable.

12:00 pm – Seasonal Cooking Demo. by Dave’s Specialty Foods
Chef and owner Dave Esau of Dave’s Specialty Foods in Mt. Prospect will amaze you with his culinary skills and wit as he prepares a tasty recipe using seasonal ingredients for all to try.  www.davesspecialtyfoods.com

1:00 pm – “Thriving in Hard Soil” by Mike Nowak (that’s me)
I will talk about my experience creating a community garden in my Logan Square neighborhood and give advice on how to start a garden in your neighborhood.

2:30 pm – Pie Eating Contest
Come out and enjoy some good old fashioned fun!  Contestants will be competing to finish their pie the fastest (without using their hands).  The Pie Eating Contest is limited to ages 15 and up.  There is no charge, but pre-registration is required and there are a limited number of spaces.  You may register by coming into the store or giving us a call.

2:45 pm – Veggie Contest Judging
Submit your homegrown vegetables in our contest. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded in each category.  Please drop off all entries on Friday, August 24 before 6:00 pm.  Judging categories are as follows:

• Most Uncommon Vegetable
• Heaviest Tomato
• Ugliest Tomato
• Heaviest Zucchini
• Prettiest Multi-colored Pepper
• Potato Pageant**

**The Potato Pageant is a costume contest for potatoes.  You don’t have to grow it, just pick one up from your favorite grocery store.  They can be superheroes, animals, cartoon characters or whatever you can imagine them to be.  It is open to all ages.

It all sounds goofy–and fun. Join me if you can. Here are directions.

And I would be remiss…

If I didn’t mention that my good friends Rich and Susan Eyre are having another of their hosta sales at Rich’s Foxwillow Pines in Woodstock, Illinois. It’s actually called the Hosta Sale and Arts & Crafts Fundraiser and you can learn more about it here.

Here’s the info:

Saturday August 25, 2012, 9am-4pm
Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
11618 McConnell Road Woodstock IL 60098

For more information, write coniflora@richsfoxwillowpines.com or call 815-338-7442.

The best part is that all proceeds benefit Heifer International and Mano a Mano International Partners. Can’t get any better than that. Thank you, Rich and Susan.

Fall gardening tips, dealing with food waste, and a lot more

August 12, 2012

A little bit of this and a little bit of that…

On this Sunday morning, I’m covering a number of different topics–including gardening, composting, Illinois environmental issues and more. So let’s get started.

…Jennifer Brennan has help for late summer gardens…

It’s always a pleasure to have my co-host from Dig In Chicago join me on my radio show. Jennifer and I just finished shooting our final three TV shows of the season, which included stops at the Peterson Garden Project, Jack Pizzo‘s personal prairie in Clare, Illinois and even a talk with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who talked to us about the ever-expanding garden at the Cook County Jail.

As we roll into the final couple months of gardening in the Midwest, Jennifer talks about some things that you need to get your plants to the finish line this year, and ready to start a new race in the spring. Says Jennifer:

Since it has been so hot, the plants have not been metabolizing new roots. We need to tell how to help woody plants catch up on root growth by planning on fertilizing in October and watering until the ground freezes, if we do not get rain. We need to remind people to avoid fertilizing after August 15, which will produce new soft wood that will not harden off before the first frost. (I like the analogy of not giving children chocolate 30 minutes before bedtime. Otherwise, they stay up giggling when the lights go out.)

Of course, your questions are welcomed, whether you call us at 773/763-9278 or send a Tweet to @MikeNow or post a query on my Facebook page.

…The Morton Arboretum figures out how to compost food scraps…

Organic materials–landscape waste, food scraps and other substances–account for about one third of what goes into landfills. In 2010, Illinois passed SB 99, which was supposed to clear the way for composting much of those materials, which would not only remove them from the “waste” stream, but create valuable soil amendments. However, as has been chronicled in numerous articles, it hasn’t exactly created composting nirvana.

Which is why it’s welcome news to hear that, beginning this month, food waste generated through the Morton Arboretum‘s restaurant and catering efforts will be composted at an off-site composting facility, which means it will no longer be taking space in local landfills.  Arboretum food service probably generates an average of 90 to 100 pounds of food waste per day, which equates to about 16-18 tons during the course of a year.  That’s a lot of trash that we’ll keep out of the landfills. Currently, there are fewer than 100 businesses in DuPage County that are composting their food waste, and most of those are Jewel and WalMart stores.

Here’s how Rick Hootman, Director of Visitor Programs at the Morton Arboretum, explains the program.

In our program, which we are starting this week, we can compost virtually all food items, including the vegetable materials that we typically associate with composting, as well as meat and bones, bakery items, tea bags, and paper napkins.  The Arboretum also has compostable paper cups provided in our restaurant and cafe, and we provide serving utensils made from plant-based compostable materials (they have to be “compostable”) in our cafe only.

The Arboretum restaurant and catering service utilizes reusable china and metal silverware, and catering also uses reusable glassware, all of which is returned to the kitchen for cleaning in a dishwasher.  Using reusable items, of course, reduces a lot of waste.  Left-over food, napkins, compostable cups, and other compostables from the used plates are scraped into a 64-gallon “compost container” (which has a compostable collection bag) in our dishwashing area.  Food preparation scraps from the kitchen also are put into the container.  When the container is full, it is moved outside to our waste pick-up area.  We have several containers, and the compost materials will be picked up twice a week.  Our composting facility is operated by Waste Management in Romeoville.

Part of the problem to this point has been that there are no composting sites in DuPage County. However, the Morton Arboretum and Jewel Food Stores use the same waste hauler–Waste Management–and because the Arb is on a route between Jewel stores, it made sense to add it to the route, thus reducing transportation costs.

The Arboretum has also been on a mission to rid itself of as much plastic as possible. I was there last week and was pretty amazed to be be able to buy water in a glass bottle. There was even a bottle refilling station. I’m impressed.

Rick Hootman joins me on the show this morning to talk more about sustainability at the Morton Arboretum.

…the Governor steps to the plate and hits it out of the park…

I was happy to see an email message show up in my inbox on Friday. It was from Josh Mogerman of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and it read, in part:

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn chose to veto a bill today that would have forced natural gas utilities, and ratepayers across the state, to purchase expensive synthetic natural gas derived from coal. Following is a statement from Henry Henderson, director of the Midwest program of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago: “The Governor did the right thing today in standing up to special interests and looking out for communities already choking through some of the worst pollution loads in the country. “The Leucadia bill was not good for anyone in Illinois…aside from Leucadia, which would take in guaranteed profits by foisting overpriced, fake natural gas on almost every utility customer in the state while the real stuff is selling at historic low prices. “This project is the sort of dirty, expensive boondoggle that impacts Illinois’ reputation nationally. Governor Quinn was wise to stop it in its tracks.” More information on the environmental and economic costs of the Leucadia project can be found on NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

Immediately, the Southeast Environmental Task Force put out a jubilant message. And the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club reminded us that we need to thank the governor, which you can do here.

Now we’re waiting to see if he will veto SB3442, the bad plastic bag recycling bill that led to 12 year-old Abby Goldberg to collect 154,000 signatures against it. Call the governor today and tell him to finish the environmental “hat trick,” including his signing of the landfill ban in Cook County. The number in Chicago is 312-814-2121.

…the City Water Dept. continues to damage trees on my block…

For the past two weeks, I’ve posted photos of the damage to trees on my block caused by the Chicago Department of Water Management, which has been installing new water mains along my Logan Square street. I wish I could say that things have gotten better, but they haven’t. In fact, this work crew inflicted its worst damage on the largest, most impressive tree on the block this week. The photo is on my home page.

I’m done messing around. Next week, I will have have Chicago Bureau of Forestry aborist Joe McCarthy on the show to talk about the ongoing problem of how to protect trees during utility work.

…and it’s the final day of the Renewable Energy Fair

Last week I talked about the 11th annual Illinois Renewable Energy & Sustainable Lifestyle Fair at the Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon, IL.. It’s sponsored, of course, by the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA). Today is the final day, and it goes from, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Here are the admission prices:

Adults: $5/1
Youth: $3/1day
Children: (under 12 in the company of a parent) Free
IREA Members: Free

Still fighting to save an Illinois treasure

August 5 , 2012

Starved Rock v. Mississippi Sand: It’s not over ’til it’s over

It seems more than ironic to me that the home page for Starved Rock State Park contains this phrase: “VOTED THE #1 ATTRACTION IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS – is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! You will know it the minute you enter the park, as you wind your car through the towering trees.”

I wonder how long it will continue to be the number one attraction in Illinois…if Mississippi Sand LLC is allowed to scar the eastern entrance with an open pit mine that will produce silica sand to be used in the fracking process…and don’t even get me started on that. We’re told that it will bring around 39 jobs to the area. Please look at that number–39! Meanwhile, Starved Rock is a destination for more than two million visitors each year.

And if you want to know how dangerous that sand can be, you might want to sneak a peak as this Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Mississippi Sand LLC sent to me by listener–and lawyer–Steven Penn. He just happens to be part of Penn Rakauski, a firm that handles asbestos-related cases, though he has written to me about the dangers of silicosis, which can be caused by exposure to the very dust that will be kicked up in this mine. As Penn states, ” Company websites are often the best evidence against them.”

The battle to preserve the natural wonders that make Starved Rock unique continues to rage–if not much in the press (when’s the last time you saw a news story?), then certainly between environmental and civic groups and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The problem is that IDNR has a mandate not only to protect our natural resources, but to facilitate their extraction, too.

As I told IDNR Director Marc Miller at Governor Pat Quinn’s signing of the landfill ban legislation on Chicago’s south side a couple of weeks ago, “You can’t serve two masters.” He didn’t argue with me.

So where does that leave us right now? Basically, wondering whether IDNR, which has stalled, obfuscated and been fairly opaque in this matter (in my opinion), will finally get around to having public hearings. Recently, the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, which has been one of the groups in the center of this fight, sent out a letter outlining the situation. They started with the statement, “The fight to protect Starved Rock State Park from an open pit frac sand mine isn’t over.” But protecting the park won’t be easy. From their letter:

Unfortunately IDNR’s Office of Mines and Minerals approved Mississippi Sand‘s mining permit on June 15th and has sent the company a bond and fee letter. A written response from the company with the correct financial information will finalize the mining permit. There is no regulatory deadline for responding to the letter and we suspect that the company will want to be assured that their air and water permits are good to go before responding.

Before approving a permit DNR is supposed to consider the short and long term impacts ((see 62 Ill. Adm. Code 300.70(a)) but there are no findings documents detailing such work. We are concerned that the Office of Mines and Minerals is simply deferring to the county decision rather than using their regulatory authority to truly evaluate all the impacts. The Sierra Club is also concerned with the DNRs response to the citizen complaint letter that was written in March that had voiced project concerns and requested a public hearing under the Illinois Rivers and Streams Act. DNR gave a one-page response to a detailed 10-page letter and did not respond until July 3, almost 20 days after they had already approved the permit. This untimely response along with their response to comments submitted during the public availability session have been disappointing and show a lack of care for both our beloved state park and the surrounding residents. (Emphasis mine)

At the meeting we also asked for air and water monitoring to establish current conditions on the site. Right now no baseline monitoring is required nor are there permit conditions requiring monthly monitoring once operations begin. The air and water and related construction permits from IEPA are on a slower timeline and we are hopeful that the numerous comments generated will cause the decision makers to think twice before approving the permits.

In the meantime individual calls to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor as well as the director of the Office of Mines and Minerals at IDNR about your concerns related to this mine project will help ensure basic protections are put in place for humans and wildlife.

Governor Pat Quinn: 217-782-0244
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon: 217-558-3085
Michael Woods- Director of OMM at IDNR: 217-782-6791

Fortunately, friends of Starved Rock seem to have found a friend in Thomas Davis, Chief of the Environmental Bureau in the State Attorney General’s office. He has fired off letters to Anne Mankowski, Director, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; Randy Heinhorn, Acting Director, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; and Michael Woods, Acting Director for the Office of Mines and Minerals of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that he’s not pleased with the way the permitting process has been proceeding. In particular, he seems concerned that due process is being circumvented in regard to the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act and the Consultation Procedures for Assessing Impacts of Agency Actions on Endangered and Threatened Species and Natural Areas at Part 1075. He writes to Michael Woods:

Your letter, however, takes an unduly narrow view of your agency’s statutory obligations: “The Department has no authority to consider potential mining in reviewing this application as the expansion of the mine would be speculative due to unknown market conditions and other variables in the future.” I respectfully suggest that there is plenty of legal authority. The scope of mining proposal is certainly not speculative; the company detailed its plans in the proceedings before the county board. Please consider that a public hearing as requested by the Illinois River Coordinating Council and concerned citizens would allow the Office of Mines and Minerals to properly evaluate all proposed mining, its short and long term impacts, and to determine whether a permit may be issued. After all, the Office of Mines and Minerals is not required by the Act to issue a permit. The statutory language (“shall approve”) is directory and not mandatory where the legislature delegates to an agency discretion to be exercised under certain conditions. In other words, Section 5(g) mandates a conservation and reclamation plan prior to issuance of a mining permit and directs approval of such a plan if it complies with the statutory requirements.

I would encourage you to allow a public hearing on the mine proposal; this is admittedly a discretionary matter, but certainly good government. The consultation requirement, however, is mandatory and the Office of Mines and Minerals must comply with the Part 1075 rules.

We’ll see if pressure from the Attorney General’s office can slow down this unhealthy juggernaut. To discuss the issue with me this morning, I welcome Tracy Yang, Clean Water Organizer from the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Steven R. Penn of Penn Rakauski.

Three events that will help the planet…and I’m MC at one of them

#1.- Join me out in lovely Caledonia, Illinois for the 5th Annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner benefit on Saturday, August 11! The event benefits Angelic Organics Learning Center, which helps urban and rural people build local food systems. They reach more than 4,000 people each year through their programs at partner farms and urban growing sites in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

The dinner, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, will be a seasonal 5-course gourmet meal in the beautiful fields of Angelic Organics, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL. Dishes will be prepared by some of the region’s most recognized chefs, including:

Marc Bernard of  Big Bowl
Molly Johnson of  Calihan Catering
Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp of  Sunday Dinner
Nathan Chappell of  Rushing Waters Fisheries
William Harriman of  Angelic Organics

For folks from Chicago, there will be an exclusive pre-event reception at 2:00 p.m. at  Big Bowl , 60 E. Ohio St., Chicago, and ride a shuttle bus to the farm. Enjoy seasonal appetizers and cocktails, courtesy of Chef Marc Bernard. Purchase your ticket and reserve your seat here.

Sponsors for the event include Whole Foods Market, Urban Partnership Bank
The LeFort Martin Fund of the Chicago Community Trust  All proceeds from this annual fundraiser benefit the educational programs of Angelic Organics Learning Center. For additional information visit http://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmdinner or call Corinne at 773-288-5462

Dinner tickets: $150 Bus tickets (from Chicago): $25.

Corinne Henry, Director of Development and Communications at Angelic Organics Learning Center, joins me on the show this morning to talk about the shindig.

#2 – “An Evening at the Garden” is this Thursday, August 9, from 6-8pm at the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse.

You might remember that they had their wonderful plant sale in May. As a matter of fact, I grabbed some tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries, tomatillos and borage for my community garden Green on McLean at that sale.

Chef Jeff Adamek and Pastry Chef Jennifer Templeton are creating appetizers featuring produce that comes straight out of the Kilbourn Park garden. Here’s some of what they’ll be offering:

Bacon, kale, and tomato on brioche with sweet pepper conserves
Savory flatbreads with:
Tomato, roasted garlic, oregano and pecorino cheese
Roasted peppers, basil pesto, and fresh chevre
Mint Creek lamb, rosemary, feta, and kale
Berry custard filled pate choux with cantaloupe mint salad

But wait, there’s more! There will be live acoustic guitar jazz and a silent auction that includes unique hand crafted items for your garden. The goal is to raise enough money to begin work on the new Nature’s Playground, a natural play space within the garden, and to improve the infrastructure of the greenhouse (which sorely needs it, if I may speak from personal observation).

Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets. $40 per person in advance (Kids under 12 are half price) Tickets at the event will be $45/adult; $25/child. Kirsten Akre from Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse drops by today to talk about the event.

#3 – Explore a full weekend of alternative energy and sustainable living at the 11th annual Illinois Renewable Energy & Sustainable Lifestyle Fair at the Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon, IL.. It’s sponsored, of course, by the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) and it takes place Saturday, August 11th, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 12th, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Keynote Presenters will be Paul Fenn (Local Power), Fred Kirschenmann (Redesigning the Human Adventure: Challenges & Opportunities) and John Perlin (History of Solar Homes in the Midwest). There are seminars, workshops and booths that will get you moving toward incorporating renewable energy in your everyday life.

And talk about a bargain! Here are the admission prices:

Adults: $5/1 day or $7/2 days
Youth: $3/1day or $5/2 days
Children: (under 12 in the company of a parent) Free
IREA Members: Free

There you are, kids. Go to one or more of these fun, interesting events and help change the world.