environment

Perspective: What Are YOU Going To Do About Microplastics?

Mar 10, 2020
Elsa Glover

Occasionally, our Perspectives author Elsa Glover turns over regularly scheduled spot to her colleagues and students who have something to say. This time, she asked students in Clinton Rosette Middle School's Green Club to talk about something important to them. Melanie Hernandez and Julia Glover worked together to research, write, and deliver their Perspective.

Electricity and environmental advocates offered their pitches to Illinois state senators this week on how to reduce a portion of the state’s carbon emissions. But each group has different ideas about how to do it.

High schools promote a four year college degree to students, often placing less priority on other options like vocational training, two year degrees and more.  We learn about a program in one community that is working to explain the different choices.  

More colleges and universities are making standardized test scores from the ACT and SAT scores optional when it comes to admissions.  

And we get a lesson on coyotes and why more are showing up in urban areas.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

In Rural Illinois, It Takes Green To Go Green

Oct 16, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

Down the road from Ogle County’s Solid Waste office in Oregon is a can crusher. It looks like a top heavy white shed, a rectangle on top of a square.
 

You could bring your aluminum cans here and get 25 cents per pound for them. The operator, Dan Roos, said that’s if the computer that does the crushing ever gets fixed.

University of Wisconsin

Spruce trees are a common choice for Christmas decorations, but a regional fungal disease can strip away their needles.

Rhizosphaera Needle Cast is a fungus that can infect several varieties of spruce trees, with one of the most vulnerable types being the Colorado Blue Spruce.  Taylor Hennelly is a Forestry Supervisor for Rockford. He says the city’s tree is infected with Rhizosphaera which can be tracked by the gradual browning of needles.

Terry Schuster

There’s no denying the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve is a pretty special place. Last year, the Byron Forest Preserve District acquired the gravel hill prairie that had been used for cattle grazing for decades. For one thing, Forest Preserve Executive Director Todd Tucker says it’s the second highest point in Ogle County. It has a great view of the Rock River. It’s home to endangered and threatened plants and animals, like woolly milkweed and short-eared owls.

Oh, and the largest tree in Illinois.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

One man’s prairie is another man’s patch of weeds. That’s the debate that is unfolding in DeKalb over a proposed rewrite of the city’s “weeds ordinance.”

About 20 people spoke out about native plants, property rights, and good neighbors at Thursday’s hearing of DeKalb’s Citizens Environmental Commission.

Paul Soderholm of Mt. Morris spoke about his own nature preserve in neighboring Ogle County and the benefits of native plants. He said they “support native insects, support native birds.”

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A new poll from Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had surprising results for environmentalists. 

The institute surveyed one thousand registered voters earlier this month, and 64% said they prioritized the environment as an issue.  In contrast, 27% said economic growth should come first.   The results took Illinois Environmental Council Director Jennifer Walling by surprise. 

"I have not seen a poll that so strongly prioritized environmental protection, so that is very interesting," she said. 

Rockford's New Hazardous Waste List

Nov 18, 2015
willcountygreen.com

Starting Saturday, the Hazardous Waste Site in Rockford will no longer accept latex paint due to  changes in the hazardous waste list.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that latex paints be allowed to air-dry by leaving the lid off. You also can add absorbents, such as oil dry or cat litter to the remainder content.

The Illinois State Museum

A mysterious fungus is threatening to wipe out some isolated populations of rare rattlesnakes. 

In Illinois, the fungus infects about 15 percent of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes: it kills up to 90 percent of those that contract it. There are only about 300 of the snakes in Illinois, mostly in Clinton county. The swamp rattler has also been found in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties. It was already a candidate for the federal endangered species list before the fungus was discovered. 

DeKalb County Suspends Recycling Of Older TVs

Jul 23, 2015
Susan Stephens

DeKalb County residents will need to keep their Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions a little longer. That’s because the vendor who collects them can’t take them anymore.

The problem they’re facing is that they have taken the maximum amount of televisions and will suspend the collection until they can catch up.

Michelle Gibson is a specialist with DeKalb County Solid Waste. She says the problem is not in the recycling.  It is in the disposal of some of the components.

Starved Rock Hosts Bald Eagle Observation Event

Jan 23, 2015
Starved Rock State Park

    

Thousands of visitors are expected this weekend to try to catch a glimpse of bald eagles in their natural habitat near Starved Rock State Park.

Kevin Ewbank, a park ranger with the US Army Corps of Engineers, says the national bird migrates this time of year to unfrozen bodies of water like the bottom of the dam at the Illinois Waterway near the state park.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

There's a new plan for improving the health of the Great Lakes. The Environmental Protection Agency released its Great Lakes Restoration Initiative's action plan today at a meeting of the region's mayors in Chicago. 

A number of local governments across Illinois are getting money to inspect pollution-control facilities and to investigate complaints about illegal dumping.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The proposed expansion of the DeKalb County landfill is now in the hands of three appellate court judges.

about.com

A new law is making it tougher for dry cleaners to use a carcinogenic chemical that has been found in groundwater.

Illinois officials are trying to combat the spread of gypsy moths responsible for weakening and killing trees in northern areas of the state.  The department uses federal funds to spray bacteria and in some cases...pheremones to confuse the male moths during mating. Nancy Williams with the Illinois Department of Agriculture says the program is not intended to kill off all of the moths, but to at least slow their spread.