Patterns, pigeons and prairies

July 22, 2012

Non-threatening green interior design

If you listen to Mighty House on Chicago’s Progressive Talk on Saturday mornings from 7 to 10am (and if you don’t, why the heck not?), you know that show host Ron Cowgill helps you green up your home indoors and out every week. But he’s usually talking about solar and wind energy or low flow plumbing or efficient insulation. I could be wrong, but I don’t hear him talk much about how to match the drapes to the sofa…and do it sustainably.

Enter Jase Frederick of Jase Frederick Design, who says that she likes to turn houses into homes by offering a holistic approach to sustainable interiors. Now, you need to understand that it’s not the “sustainable” part of that sentence that makes me uncomfortable…it’s the “interiors” part–as in “interior design.”

I guess that’s why there are people like Jase Frederick around, who can help design-challenged folks like me deal with both form and function. But it isn’t just her, of course. She’s backed up by a network of industry professionals including architects, builders, contractors, trades, vendors, manufacturers and artists.

That allows her to even offer consulting services to interior designers whose clients request green design, including

  • Up-to-date knowledge of sustainable and green materials, finishes and furnishings and lighting
  • Knowledge of and recommendations for how and when to use green elements most effectively
  • Roadmap for creating a Sustainable Lifestyle tailored specifically to your client and your client’s budget
  • Connections with professionals in the green building and energy trades
  • Advice on LEED for Home and LEED Accredited Professional points for LEED certification projects

She’ll even schedule a complimentary consultation, whether you want to discuss a project or just ask a question. Here’s the info: Jase Frederick Design: Sustainable Interiors & Consulting. Write her at or call 847-226-1945

The return of Joel Greenberg…but not the passenger pigeon

It’s a pleasure to have naturalist Joel Greenberg back in the studio this morning. Greenberg is a naturalist, writer, environmental consultant and author of A Natural History of the Chicago Region, coauthor of A Birder’s Guide to the Chicago Region, and editor of Of Prairie, Woods, and Water Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing. Oh, and he’s the chief cook and bottle washer of The Birdzilla Blog.

Oh, and did I mention that he’s just one of the people behind Project Passenger Pigeon, an ambitious effort to remind humanity that exactly one hundred years ago, we managed to wipe out one of the most abundant species in the world. Good work,, humans! Part of PPP is a film called Message from Martha: Species Extinction & Survival in the 21st Century. The film is keystone of an ambitious multi-media project that uses the passenger pigeon story to explore present day issues of species survival and extinction on land and in the sea. By the way, you can also like Project Passenger Pigeon on Facebook.

Can you see why I might be intimidated by this guy? It’s a good thing that, if he’s a genius, at least he’s a friendly genius. And, as a naturalist, he loves prairies. That’s why he spent Saturday morning at the Gensburg-Markham Prairie in Markham, Illinois. He was joined there by Raymond Vegter, who has graciously allowed us to post some of the images from his site, My Piece of Heaven

Today on the show, we talk pigeons, prairies and…whatever else comes up.

A stinky tour reminds us of why the governor is signing a bill

A few hours after this morning’s show, I will head to the boat launch area of the Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve to watch Governor Pat Quinn affix his signature to HB 3881, which was recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly. The bill effectively abolishes landfills in Cook County and is an important victory forthe Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) , not to mention the good folks in that part of the county.

For any of you who are interested, the ceremony will be at 2:00 p.m. at 134th (roughly) at the Little Calumet River Bank. Geez, I hope I can find it.

But it’s a reminder of how badly the southeast side of Chicago has been treated over the past hundred years or more. Which is why SETF is sponsoring the DOWN IN THE DUMPS BUS TOUR next Saturday. This unique narrated tour highlights the Southeast Side’s overabundance of treatment facilities – huge landfills, recycling centers, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District wastewater treatment plant and sludge drying fields, as well as several former notorious illegal dumps. As you can see, it ain’t your ordinary city tour. The details:

Saturday, July 28, 2012
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$40.00 per person, includes lunch
For more details, call

And while we’re talking about the southeast side and Governor Quinn in the same breath, another bill is still sitting on his desk, and environmentalists hope he will veto it. I’m talking about SB 3766. which would authorize the Leucadia coal gasification plant at 115th Street & Burley Avenue. Please call the governor and tell him not to approve this slap in the face to an area that has already seen too much environmental degradation. His number in Chicago is 312-814-2121.