Topic: In the News

It’s Not Too Late to Make a Year-End Charitable Contribution!

Posted on December 30, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News, Member Events

You can make a donation right now through PayPal or mail a check before the end of the year to:

EDMC
110 S Johnson St, Ste 106
Woodstock IL 60098
 

Greetings to all of you!  Whether you have been with us for decades, years or are new to our organization, know that each & every one of you is an essential part of the work & successes of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.  You are the energy & force that keeps our organization going!  Thank you for all that you do.

As members & volunteers, you commit daily to protecting & preserving our natural world & educating our community about the value of a healthy environment.  Because of that commitment, we have an influential voice out there in McHenry County.  To take advantage of this, we have been busy growing & changing to make our efforts more impactful. In addition to the annual events that we do such as our Earth Day Celebration, documentary screenings, County Fair booth, It’s Our River Day, fundraising & member events, & many more, we have some big accomplishments to highlight.  We ask for your continued support through an end-of-the-year gift to help us keep building on these accomplishments.

  • Recycling: We organized drives around the county keeping tens of thousands of pounds of waste out of the landfills, including electronics.
  • Water & Natural Resources Protection: We planted hundreds of plants for monarchs & other pollinators this year at four sites in the county.  We also advocated for a Water Resources Specialist position at the County level & educated our governmental bodies about the dangers of coal tar sealants.
  • Styrofoam Recycling Project: The technology for Styrofoam recycling changed quickly, so our efforts had to shift quickly as well.  We began a crowd sourcing program to raise money to continue our successful Styrofoam recycling project.
  • The Green Spot: Our little store has done big things this year, collecting & reselling books to raise thousands of dollars to help keep our lights on & computers humming to make sure we can communicate our work to you & the public.
  • BYOBag: Our efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags has gone big too, helping 20 municipalities & the county spread the word about not using paper or plastic when shopping, & helping the City of Woodstock to celebrate BYOB for a whole year!
  • Strategic Planning: This year we wrote a 3-year Strategic Plan that includes the hiring of a Part-Time Executive Director.  This is a big step for our organization, as it will allow us to have someone specifically designated for public outreach.

As you plan for your year-end giving, please consider a generous donation to the Defenders.  We are asking for your financial help to move us along in our goals.  Please let your dollars follow your heart!

And to keep abreast of all that your donation is accomplishing, please “Like” us on Facebook, read our quarterly newsletter – “EarthConnect”, check out our eNews in your inbox every Wednesday, & visit our website at www.mcdef.org!

Recycling Drive Today

Posted on December 10, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

We sincerely apologize to anyone affected by the unexpected early closure of our recycling drive on Saturday, December 10th in Woodstock. Our truck was completely filled by 11 AM and our volunteers were unable to accept items beyond capacity. Those affected are welcome to take their items, including TVs and other electronics, to our warehouse in Elgin at 501 Davis Road. Phone# is 827-429-1926. Donations for TVs, computer monitors and batteries apply. Again, we are truly sorry our drive was forced to end early due to volume of items. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you in March for our next drive and other Defenders’ events.

Climate Advocates to host viewing party for ‘Years of Living Dangerously’

Posted on November 29, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News, Member Events

On Thursday, December 8, Citizens’ Climate Lobby will be the focus of the acclaimed National Geographic series “Years of Living Dangerously,” which has helped to focus national attention on climate change and the organizations working on solutions that individuals, communities, companies, and governments can use to address it.

The McHenry County Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby will celebrate this recognition with a public viewing party, to be held at McHenry County College, Room 166-7, from 7:00pm-9:00pm. The public is invited to the screening, which is offered free of charge.

“At a time when many Americans despair about the partisan gridlock in Washington, CCL volunteers provide hope by bringing Republicans and Democrats together to work on climate solutions,” said Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. “This episode of ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ highlights the work of Jay Butera, one of those amazing volunteers.”

Citizens Climate Lobby works to build the political will for climate change solutions such as a national, revenue neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system. Since the organization’s 2007 founding, it has empowered ordinary citizens to hold direct meetings with congressional representatives, local officeholders and business leaders, and other influential stakeholders as they make the case for fair, effective climate action.

The episode will be preceded by a message from special guests, including members of the “Years of Living Dangerously” cast.

Local sponsors include Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the McHenry County College Sustainability Center, The McHenry County League of Women Voters, and the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.

DEFENDERS TO COLLECT POLITICAL SIGNS

Posted on November 8, 2016 by - Community Events, Environmental Tips, In the News

campaignsigns

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is again collecting political signs.

If you do not plan to re-use your signs following the election, signs can be brought to the Defenders’ warehouse, care of Chicago Logistic Service, 501 Davis Road, Elgin, Illinois. There will be a bin at the back of the building, available any time. You can also bring them to the Defenders Recycling Drive in Woodstock on December 10, from 9am to noon, at the Soil and Water Conservation District building, 2222 S Dean Street. (southeast corner of Route 14 and Dean Street.)

EDMC Informs about Health Hazards of Coal Tar Sealants

Posted on October 26, 2016 by - Environmental Tips, In the News

Woodstock, IL – October 21, 2016- On October 18th, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County sent information regarding the dangers of coal tar sealants to over 250 establishments throughout McHenry County. Recipients included city/village leaders, Park, Road and School Districts, hospitals, libraries, daycare centers and theaters. Included in the information was a six-page factsheet from the United States Geological Survey, which concludes that coal tar sealants contain extremely high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (PAHs), “which have been known to cause cancer, mutations, birth defects or death in fish and other aquatic organisms.”  Coal tar is a known human carcinogen and asphalt sealant, therefore, is recommended for sealing paved surfaces.

The Environmental Defenders strongly encourages that our communities cease the use of coal tar sealants on pavement and reports that eight municipal and township members of the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) adopted a resolution in January 2016 committing to not purchase or apply coal tar or other high PAH sealants.

Founded in 1970, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment in McHenry County.

 

Contact:

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County

Email: envirodefmc@gmail.com

110 S. Johnson Street, Suite 106

Woodstock, IL 60098.

Ph: 815-338-0393

www.mcdef.org.  Like us on Facebook! Twitter

EDMC Seeking Support to Reopen Styrofoam Recycling Sites

Posted on September 23, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

WOODSTOCK – In July of 2016, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County reluctantly ended their Styrofoam recycling program and closed their many drop-off sites. The increased popularity of the program resulted in rising costs due to greater and greater quantities of collected material. Additionally, the Defenders were limited in the number of responsible recyclers that would accept the material. Thankfully, the Dart Corporation recently reached out to them to provide logistical support once the Styrofoam is collected. However, financial resources are still needed to provide transportation and labor getting foam to and from collection sites, once they are reestablished. This is the reason the Defenders just launched a fundraising campaign called “Cloud Based Styrofoam”. They are seeking donations to fully fund three to five years of the collection program, to reopen local sites and to expand efforts into neighboring communities. Read more about the campaign at Generosity.com or by clicking this link: https://goo.gl/ygPa6s

With the news attention being given to the plight of the program through the Chicago Tribune and Northwest Herald newspapers, by WBBM radio and, recently, through a story aired on WGN’s 10:00 news, the Defenders are looking forward to catapulting the Styrofoam recycling campaign forward. If you have questions, please contact the Environmental Defenders office at 815-338-0393, or Ken Santowski directly, at 847-910-2985

Annual community cleanup of Fox River set for mid-September

Posted on August 29, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

Published: Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 5:30 a.m. CDT

ALGONQUIN – McHenry County residents will be able to help clean up the Fox River by participating in the ninth annual “It’s Our River Day” celebration Sept. 17.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the village of Algonquin are sponsoring the local celebration of the statewide initiative from 1 to 4 p.m. at Cornish Park, 101 S. Harrison St. The initiative was created in 2004 by the Illinois River Coordinating Council and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to create awareness of the state’s major waterway.

Volunteers will help clean up the Fox River while learning more about local environmental groups. Some local organizations participating in this year’s river cleanup event include the Land Conservancy of McHenry County, Illinois Paddling Council, Algonquin Rotary Club, Friends of the Fox, Sierra Club and McHenry Conservation District.

There also will be a live water rescue demonstration provided by the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District during the event.

Event co-coordinator Cynthia Kanner, with the Environment Defenders, said about 70 to 100 volunteers attended the celebration last year.

“It’s a day to just to celebrate the Fox River,” Kanner said. “We’d love to have more people come down this year and help appreciate that part of the river.”

http://www.nwherald.com/2016/08/26/annual-community-cleanup-of-fox-river-set-for-mid-september/aebp9wb/

Woodstock giving residents reusable grocery bags in eco-friendly campaign

Posted on August 29, 2016 by - In the News

City will distribute reusable bags as part of environmental initiative

Published: Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 12:45 a.m. CDT

Caption

(Sarah Nader)

WOODSTOCK – The city wants to make it easier for Woodstock residents to opt for cloth over paper or plastic.

The city will buy 15,000 customized reusable grocery bags and distribute them to residents in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Woodstock’s Environmental and Culture and Social Awareness commissions are leading the initiative. The bags are expected in November and the commissions also are working on marketing strategy, community education and a website dedicated to the initiative and local sponsors.

About 9,000 of the bags will go to Woodstock homes and the rest will be available to buy at City Hall and potentially partnering stores, said Laura Crain, chairwoman of the joint commissions.

The project doesn’t have any definite sponsors yet, but there has been interest in the program, she said.

“It’s not just our main, big box retailers but small businesses that are very interested in the option,” she said. “It can actually be cost saving for retailers when customers use reusable bags. … I don’t think the community will ever get to 100 percent plastic free, but we want to see it reduced and the impact on community diminished.”

The McHenry County Board in July declared August “Bring Your Own Bag” month. That campaign is headed up by an advocacy group with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. The group is working with Woodstock and has prompted similar initiatives in Crystal Lake, Cary and Algonquin, among others.

“Of course, the bring your own bag proclamation should be the beginning of changing behavior,” said Cynthia Kanner, with the defenders.

The group is working to draft an ordinance that would have retailers charge customers for paper and plastic bags, similar to Aldi stores, she said. The group would ask different towns in McHenry County to consider the idea.

“Charging has been proven to be a good deterrent,” she said. “And people are beginning to realize that some stores will give you 5 cents off if you bring your own bag. I definitely see more people bringing their own bags, but there are still way too many shopping carts coming out of the stores with tons of plastic.”

 

Read the article HERE.

Environmental Defenders, municipalities try to keep up with demand for TV recycling

Posted on June 13, 2016 by - In the News

Copyright Northwest Herald, June 11, 2016 http://www.nwherald.com/2016/05/25/environmental-defenders-municipalities-try-to-keep-up-with-demand-for-tv-recycling/afpr6z5/

 

When Sue Jensen used to see TVs dumped on random curbs or in Dumpsters, she thought people were putting them there because they were unaware Illinois had banned electronic devices in landfills in 2012.

Four years after the ban began, Jensen no longer believes ignorance is the issue.

“I think TVs are on the curb now – or in the ditch, or in the river – because people are frustrated there’s nowhere else for them to put it,” Jensen said.

Jensen, a board member of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, sees firsthand how much the demand for recycling of electronics – particularly TVs – has exploded in recent months.

She and Ken Santowski, another Defenders board member who also is on the Lakewood Village Board, have led the effort to give McHenry County residents a place to recycle those devices.

A series of events has contributed to the spike in demand, including the fact that a Spring Grove vendor who previously collaborated with many municipalities went out of business.

Meanwhile, stores such as Best Buy that used to accept TVs have stopped because state law dictates they cannot charge for the service.

The Defenders accept electronics at their monthly recycling drives, charging 50 cents a pound (up to $40) for TVs and computer monitors, which is allowed because the organization is a 501(c)(3) charity.

Santowski provides trucks and other resources from the company he co-owns, Elgin’s Chicago Logistic Services, and the events are run by volunteers. The Defenders do not profit – the collected fees cover the cost of hauling and recycling.

“A lot of times, people just assume – why else would we be doing it if we weren’t making money?” Jensen said. “That’s why we are the only ones left doing it: We’re doing it because we care about the environment.”

The Defenders always have worked to fill a niche for recycling that’s not being offered elsewhere, Jensen said, but the influx of TVs got so huge last last year that the group reached a “crisis point” and suspended its monthly drives for three months to regroup.

The first three drives of 2016 yielded 34,000 pounds of TVs, they said.

Although municipalities also cannot charge for electronics recycling, several have worked with trash collectors or other companies to arrange spring cleaning events, only to see the events get swamped.

Cary hosted a recycling drive for residents on April 23 and anticipated double the 70 vehicles it served at last year’s event. The event ended up serving 315 vehicles, mostly with TVs, before the line had to be cut off with dozens still waiting.

“It’s pent-up demand is what it is,” Village Administrator Chris Clark said. “We’re talking about a lot of very, very large TVs, not just small televisions or monitors. … It becomes an issue of safety.”

In McHenry, a May 21 event yielded about 30,000 pounds of TVs, nearly double its collection from last year, Public Works Director Jon Schmitt said.

Algonquin Township, which hosts a monthly drive for residents, had to institute a limit of one TV or monitor per household per month. At its April drive, Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller said the line stretched down Route 14 from the Country Gas station in Crystal Lake to the Thornton’s in Cary.

“What happens is, you open the door, and my good golly, they just keep coming,” Miller said.

Those running recycling drives are hoping the state will come up with a better solution to ensure that all residents have a place to properly recycle old TVs.

For now, the Defenders are continuing their monthly efforts around the county. The group’s drives include one that occurred Saturday in Harvard and one planned for July 9 in Algonquin, and it is working with McHenry Township to host regular drives there.

“My goal is that everyone will finally get rid of all their TVs and we can go back to collecting light bulbs and Styrofoam,” Santowski said.

Green Drinks – April 6, 2016

Posted on March 23, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

Join us at April’s Green Drinks as we celebrate Earth Day! April 6 from 5-7, at Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, 110 N Main Street in Crystal Lake. We’ll focus on trees and the services they provide for us. We’ll have some local tree seedlings free for the first folks who arrive, thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation and a generous donation.

Our program will be provided by Ed Weskerna, who is the District Manager of the McHenry – Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (MLSWCD). Ed attended Western Illinois University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1978. Ed has been with the MLSWCD since March 1984.

SWCDs work to sustain natural resources to meet the needs of a growing population. For example, for the past 50+ years the McHenry –Lake SWCD has promoted trees as means of increasing wildlife habitat, reducing soil erosion by wind and water and conserving energy by promoting residential and farmstead windbreaks.

Green Drinks is sponsored by the Environmental Defenders and Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen.