Solar energy deployment is getting super charged on Chicago’s near west side, thanks to a community-based program called PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community. The program is developing a pipeline of community solar projects to meet the renewable energy goal in Oak Park and River Forest’s PlanItGreen sustainability plan: achieve 25% renewable energy procurement by 2020.
The PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest – was created through compiling baseline data and holding many community forums, led by Seven Generations Ahead in collaboration with the Delta Institute. The planning was funded primarily by the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation’s Communityworks Endowment Fund. Communityworks has three priority areas, including Environmental Sustainability. PlanItGreen was established as a 10 year plan in this area, beginning in 2011. Thus, we are half-way through the Plan.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the official planning agency for the 7 counties that make up the Chicagoland region, is looking for your perspective on what the region should look like in 2050 as it draws up a new plan to succeed the GO TO 2040 plan. The federal government requires every urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants to create a regional plan.
Area congregations have demonstrated that they can make significant contributions to community sustainability through their facilities and operations including installation of geothermal and solar systems, energy efficiency retrofits, native and edible gardens, and zero waste programs, as well as advocacy for sustainable policies.
This presentation will include discussion on how Oak Park and River Forest schools and congregations can install their own native plant/butterfly gardens and be a part of the “Wild Ones 200” Native Garden Corridor in Oak Park and River Forest. Learn how to get involved, what support Wild Ones will provide and when and how to get started. Learn about native plants and why they are so valuable in designed landscapes, and how they benefit institutions and the broader community.
PlanItGreen is launching a campaign to make a big reduction in the amount of material we send to the landfill. The PlanItGreen sustainability plan outlines a goal to divert 50 percent of Oak Park and River Forest “waste” away from landfills by 2015 and into compost and recycling, where it becomes a resource.
As in all the great social movements of the past century, the faith community is taking a leading role in the environmental movement. On Oct. 22, nearly 40 congregation leaders of the Interfaith Green Network (IGN) met to strategize efforts to combat climate change in our community. Over the years, this network of more than 20 Oak Park & River Forest area congregations has come together toward building a vision and role for congregations in caring for Planet Earth.
The Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation hosted a "Thanksgiving in October Celebration of Giving and Grants Presentation on Thursday, October 25th. Among many other grants, five organizations were awarded grants through the COMMUNITYWORKS initiative for environmental sustainability. The five organizations and their projects that received environmental sustainability grants in this round of funding are as follows:
District 97 Irving School Garden Project: Grant to expand the garden to provide students, families and the community with access to and knowledge about healthy foods and sustainability.
Green Community Connections: Grant to support the Energy, Waste and Water Campaign, a 12-month campaign to educate, motivate and support OPRF residents to make measurable changes in areas of 1) residential energy efficiencies and alternative energies, 2) indoor and outdoor water management and conservation, and 3) household waste reduction through reducing, reusing and recycling.
Oak Park Development Corporation: For the Green Business Project which identifies and suppports local businesses implementing and measuring environmentally sustainable improvements in commercial buildings and business operations aligned with PlanItGreen goals (energy, water, & waste outcomes) while being mindful of business's financial "bottom line."
Triton College: For BizItGreen designed to deliver training to OPRF businesses on how to achieve Green Business Certification and to provide technical assistance and consultative support to OPRF businesses that elect to engage in the process available through the Illinois Green Business Association.
Village of Oak Park: For the Oak Park Residential Energy and Water Efficiency program based on energy audits, low flow toilet rebates and a shower head and faucet aereator program.
Additional information on the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation and it's grant-making is available at the foundation's web site: http://www.oprfcommfd.org
Greenline Wheels works to reinforce the values of the Oak Park River Forest community and contribute to its vibrancy by renting bikes and accessories, engaging with community partners of all types to support local commerce and tourism, promoting and expanding bike safety education, and promoting a more bicycle friendly community. We teach and advocate for bike safety by facilitating in-school and out-of-school bike safety training for students; by promoting special needs adult cycling classes; and by offering free programming for seniors.
By attending the lecture, a teacher could gain the following...
- An overview of bike curriculum materials available to teachers for a variety of grade levels and subject areas- Resources and opportunities available to area schools for bike-related classes and events- Update on local efforts related to schools, safety, and cycling