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Past Prairie Group General and Special Meetings

Current and Future meetings are listed on our HOMEPAGE.




Kickapoo Rail Trail Fundraiser

On Thursday, August 28^{th} we had a highly successful fundraiser for the Kickapoo Rail Trail. There was mingling, eating, drinking, and learning more about the trail from 6:30-8:00pm at Sleepy Creek Vineyards east of St. Joseph.
A minimum donation of $25 was requested; the size of the room limits us to 75 people.

Citizen Science - Li'l Miss Atrazine

On June 7 a group of Champaign-Urbana residents including Stuart Levy took samples of the water in Boneyard Creek and tested them for Atrazine. They were part of a survey project by students at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. There were about 50 such groups testing streams in the Mississippi River Watershed.

A fuller article about this project and the local participants was published in the August Prairie Flyer.

Earth Day Issues Forum

We had such a good time in 2013 that Sierra Club is did another Earth Day happy hour this year - this time on Earth Day proper!

Tuesday, Apr 22, 5:30-7pm
Escobar's (6 E. Columbia, Champaign)

We heard from:

Scott Tess (City of Urbana) - Urbana-Champaign Energy Star Challenge
Carrie Otto (Prairie Rivers Network) - Bulldog Mine
Joe Hooker (City of Champaign) - Clinton Landfill/Mahomet Aquifer
Terri Treacy (IL Chapter of the Sierra Club) - fracking rules and coal ash rules

We also honored Representative Naomi Jakobsson for her years of service and strong environmental voting record.


Tree to Honor Naomi Jakobsson

On Friday, May 2, 10 of us gathered at Victory Park in Urbana to commemorate the planting of a tulip tree honoring the many years of support that State Representative Naomi Jakobsson has given to environmental legislation. Thanks are due to Alice Englebretsen for organizing this event. The Prairie Group paid for the tree and the Urbana Park District employees planted it.There were no speeches, with everyone content to let the tree stand for itself.

However, many of us brought cameras to record the beautiful day and this gathering of Naomi and her friends.

Now there is also a plaque at the base of the tree; see the August Prairie Flyer.

Prairie Group Annual Meeting
6:30pm, January 28, Champaign Public Library, Robeson C

Join other members of the Prairie Group for our annual meeting. We will discuss our conservation priority for 2014 (Clinton Landfill), show vacation slides (if you want, bring your outdoor vacation pictures on a laptop or USB, but limit to 10 minutes), and watch the Annie Leonard video ``The Story of Solutions''. Please bring a small dessert or savory snack to share, and we'll provide the beverages.


Happy Hour at Jupiter's
Sunday, December 15, 5:30 to 7 PM.

Come to Jupiter's at the Crossing Sunday the 15th anytime between 5:30 and 7 to visit with your fellow Sierra Club members. They have wonderful thin pizza and salads and a nice selection of libations along with pool tables and skee ball and other games. It is located near the corner of Windsor and Duncan Rd. in Champaign. Depending on turnout we will start at the bar and move to a large table. Let me know if you have any questions at rlvellenga@yahoo.com. Hope to see you there!!

Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance

Risk Posed by Clinton Landfill Focus of 'Mahomet
Aquifer Matters' Meeting Nov. 2 in Clinton

Regional Alliance, Area Legislators Update on Efforts to Address Potential Groundwater Contamination from PCB Chemical-Waste Landfill

A public meeting "Mahomet Aquifer Matters" will be held with central Illinois stakeholders on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Vespasian Warner Public Library in Clinton starting at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will review current issues and legal challenges addressing risks from the proposed PCB chemical-waste landfill at Clinton, as well as its potential contamination of groundwater in the Mahomet Aquifer.

Presenters will include area legislators and regional organizations who are taking steps to address the contamination risks posed by the currently operating chemical-waste unit as well as the proposal to accept PCB-contaminated waste regulated by the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Among others, Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Gifford) and Sen. Chapin Rose (R- Mahomet) are scheduled to speak concerning the intra-agency working group reviewing ongoing contamination and other regulatory issues at Clinton Landfill. Representatives of the central Illinois governmental coalition opposing the proposed landfill through an ongoing lawsuit filed before the Illinois Pollution Control Board will also be present, giving updates on the legal initiative against the landfill's permit granted by the Illinois EPA.

Allen Wehrmann, hydrologist with Layne-Hydro and project consultant to the regional coalition, will also present an update on the coalition's pending application to the U.S. EPA to designate the Mahomet Aquifer as a sole-source of drinking water for over 750,000 people in central Illinois.

This meeting has also been labeled a Chautauqua.


Lecture on Fracking

Thursday, August 29, 6:30 pm, at the Champaign Public Library, Robeson Room C.

Christopher Johnson will speak on "Hydraulic Fracturing and the Eastern National Forests: A Growing Threat". Mr. Johnson is a writer based in the Chicago area who focuses on conservation issues. He has co-authored a new book, \emph{Forests for the People: The Story of America's Eastern National Forests} (Island Press, 2013).
Illinois's General Assembly recently approved legislation to grant permits and establish regulations for fracking in Illinois, so the issue is highly relevant. Mr. Johnson will explain the impact that fracking and conventional drilling have had on Pennsylvania, as background for what we can expect to see in Illinois.
As part of his research, he visited the Allegheny National Forest in western Pennsylvania. He says, "When I visited the forest, I was shocked by what I saw. Every few hundred yards, I passed a pumping jack that was bringing oil to the surface, and enormous tankers carried the oil away on churned up dirt roads in the forest." He will examine the severe environmental impacts, from water contamination to fragmentation of essential wildlife habitats.

Prairie Group Excom election

As usual, this fall the Prairie Group will hold an election for Excom members. There are 3 positions to be filled; the terms of Stacy James, Alice Englbretsen, and me (Dick Bishop) will be over in January and we hope to get at least 4 nominees for those positions. A nominating committee of 3 persons will soon be appointed, at least one of which will not be a current Excom member.

I have decided to make this the last year on the Excom, although I shall continue to be active with editing the newsletter and the web pages. Please consider running as my replacement. We especially would like to have much younger Sierra Club members on the Excom.

Annual Prairie Group Picnic

Saturday, August 31, 5-7 pm, Chrystal Lake Park North Pavilion. Entree and dessert will be potluck, but the Prairie Group will furnish drinks. We hope to have a Cake Walk.

Spring hike and signage workday

At Forest Glen in Vermilion County, April 28, 1:30 PM.
The 11-mile trail needs better signs. We have made some and shall post them with the assistance of the preserve staff.

Green Politics Night

Escobar's, Thursday, April 25, 6-8 pm,

Refreshments will be provided, cash bar
We shall invite local politicians and environmental activists:
The Mayors, City Council members, County Board members, who will give short presentations starting at 6:30.


December 18, 7-8:45 pm
Annual Vacation Slide Show

Champaign Public Library, Robeson Room B

Show off your vacation pictures! They will be displayed using the built-in projector and screen. Bring them on a flash memory or CD. Computers will be provided. The public is invited. Snacks provided.

September 29
Househol Hazardous Waste Collection
The Illinois EPA will conduct a one-day household hazardous waste collection event in Champaign-Urbana on Saturday, September 29, from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Where: The News-Gazette Distribution Center on Apollo Drive in Champaign. (The same place as the more frequent electronic equipment disposals.)

Directions: Enter at the intersection of North Market Street and East Olympian Drive in Champaign.

What to bring: Oil-based paint, Household batteries, Paint thinner, Used motor oil, Herbicides, Drain cleaners, Insecticides, Lawn chemicals, Pesticides, Solvents, Old gasoline, Antifreeze, Pool chemicals, Hobby chemicals, Cleaning products, Aerosol paint, Mercury-containing devices, Fluorescent lamp bulbs, Double-bagged & wetted asbestos, Old medicines and pharmaceuticals, Propane tanks, Lead acid batteries

Latex-based paint will not be accepted.

Host: The News-Gazette
Co-sponsors: City of Urbana, City of Champaign, Village of Savoy, Champaign County, Champaign County Probation and Court Services, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club Prairie Group and MTD

More information: www.ccrpc.org

Prairie Group's Annual Picnic Sunday, September 23, 2012, 12:30 - 3 pm
Join members of the Prairie Group for our annual picnic. We will be at the Concession Shelter at Moraine View State Park; the shelter is on the west side of Dawson Lake, near the entrance. We will provide beverages and grill items (vegetarian and locally-raised meat), but please bring a side to share. The park offers hiking, rental boats (until 3 pm), and guided horseback rides (until 6 pm). See http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r3/moraine.htm for more details and a park map. We will be inviting area politicians who have been endorsed by the Sierra Club, including Dr. David Gill and Representative Naomi Jakobsson. And we will have stations with information on the Sunrise/Bulldog Coal Mine and the Clinton Landfill. Please come join us, and bring a guest!

Tuesday, June 5th, 6:30pm - 7:30pm.
Equinox House Tour
Come on the tour of this local environmentally friendly house given by the owner/ architect Ty Newell. Please RSVP by June 1st to rlvellenga@yahoo.com. If people are interested we could go out for dinner or drinks afterwards. For more information on the house prior to touring you can visit
Equinox house

From 9:30-noon, April 21
Natural Yard Care Workshop
Champaign Public Library, Robeson Bfrom 9:30-noon, April 21
Please get out your pens and save April 21 for Sierra Club's Natural Yard Care workshop. Here is the exciting lineup:

Theresa Meers (Parkland College, Horticulture Department) - eco conscious lawn care

Cathy Bilow (Grieder's Nursery) - kid conscious lawn care

Jamie Ellis (Grand Prairie Friends) and Stacy James (Sierra Club) - landscaping with native plants

This event is co-sponsored by Sierra Club Prairie Group, Representative Jakobsson, and Faith in Place.

Thursday, January 26.
The Revenge of the Electric Car
See and learn about electric vehicles. The film The Revenge of the Electric Car will be shown at the Normal Theater, 7:00 -- 8:30 pm, 209 North St., Normal, IL. It will be followed by a panel discussion in the theater, 8:35 -- 9:15 pm.

Before and throughout the evening, from 5:30 -- 9:45 pm, there will be an electric vehicle showcase at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel, in the Marriott Ballroom, 210 Broadway St., Normal, IL:

Mitsubishi "I"
Nissan Leaf
Chevrolet Volt
Tesla Roadster
Fisker Karma
1976 Vanguard Citicar
and more!

Encore screening: Revenge of the Electric Car
Friday, January 27, 7:00 pm, Normal Theater

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From Wild Lands to Working Lands to Urban Lands:
Connecting Conservation Across the Landscape
Dr. Curt Meine
Thursday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m.
in CNS C101., Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington
sponsored by Audubon.

In this presentation, conservation biologist and environmental historian Dr. Curt Meine explores the continuing relevance and evolution of the land ethic across the landscape, making the connections that underlie our contemporary commitment to sustainability. Dr. Meine, serves as the on-screen guide in the Green Fire documentary

Mingo Lake Hike

Please join the Prairie Group of the Sierra Club on Sunday October 23 for a fall colors hike around Mingo Lake in Kennekuk County Park (Vermilion County). See http://www.vccd.org/gikennekuk.html for a description of the area and a map The hike is about 6 miles long on fairly flat terrain, so be prepared for a 2-3 hour trek at a fair clip. We will meet at 1pm at the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana and carpool. For those who drive separately, we will be leaving from the Horseshoe Lake parking lot at 2pm. We should be back in Urbana by 6pm. Please RSVP by sending an email to rlvellenga@yahoo.com

There were 6 people who elected to go on this hike. It was a gorgeous fall day, with temperatures in the low 70s. The original plan was to hike only 6 miles of the trail and complete the loop by having a car left at the dam, but by consensus we decided to go the whole 7.3 mile loop. It took 2 hrs, 45 minutes.

At the start of the hike.
Pictured: Stacy James, Beth Wohlgemuth, Lixiang-Han,
Jim Webb, Rachel Vellenga.
Not pictured: Dick Bishop
Stacy, Jim, Rachel, Lixiang.
Mingo Lake, from the dam,
with a mile to go.

Wind and Wildlife
Tuesday, September 27, 7:00 pm.

There was a presentation in the Anderson Auditorium (C101), Center for Natural Sciences, at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington entitled "Wind and Wildlife" by Keith Shank of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This was sponsored jointly by the Bloomington- Normal Chapter of the Audubon Society and the Prairie Group.

Green Fire documentary
Thursday, September 22, 7:00 pm, at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign.

The film was presented by the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation.
Green Fire is the first full-length, high-definition documentary film ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold and his environmental legacy. Green Fire shares highlights from his extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement. It also illustrates how Leopold's vision of a community that cares about both people and land continues to inform and inspire people across the country and around the world, highlighting modern projects that put Leopold's land ethic in action in a multitude of ways.
Following the film, Professor Eric T. Freyfogle, Max L. Rowe Professor of Law at the University of Illinois, lead a discussion about Aldo Leopold and the impact that Leopold's conservation ethic has had on the local landscape. Professor Freyfogle has authored or edited various books dealing with issues of humans and nature, including a collection of writings by Aldo Leopold, For the Health of the Land (Island Press 1999), which was co-edited by philosopher J. Baird Callicott. Drawing upon history, philosophy, biological sciences, economics, and literature, Freyfogle's work is guided in large part by the conservation teachings of Aldo Leopold, a philosophy that seeks better ways for humans to live on the land.

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Armory Park Cleanup
10 am to noon, Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seven volunteers worked at Armory Park to clean up trash and remove invasive species. This is a recurring project that the Pairie Group is dedicated to. Armory Park is on the north side of University Avenue on the south bank of Boneyard Creek, east of Cunningham Avenue about one block. The Urbana Park District supplies equipment and removes the trash and brush that we collect.

Summer Picnic
5 pm, Saturday, September 3, 2011

The group had its summer potluck picnic at Dick Bishop's house, 3514 N. Highcross Rd, rural Urbana.

Factory Farms
7:00 pm, Monday, March 28, 2011
Champaign Public Library, Robeson Pavilion C

200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL
Free and open to the public

Factory farms, also known as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), produce food of questionable quality cheaply and, for the animals, painfully.

A program by Prairie Rivers Network on where meat, dairy products, and eggs come from -- the environmental costs -- and opportunities for citizen activism and positive change in Illinois.

Presented by Stacy James, PhD, of PRN.


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Annual Picture Show, Dec. 21

For many years we have had a meeting in December for members to show each other the pictures of their vacations in environmentally interesting places. This year it was a little later than usual:

Time: 7 pm, Tuesday, December 21

Place: Auditorium, Urbana Free Library

There were some nice refreshments. A projector, Windows, and Mac computers were provided.


On the Shawnee Service Outing in April we built
some "turnpikes" over low spots in the trails.
The campground was on Glendale Lake.

Join us next year and bring your pictures!

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Fall Hike at Forest Glen Nature Preserve: Oct. 16th

Hello everyone: more than 20 people joined the Sierra Club Prairie Group for an outing Saturday October 16 to Forest Glen Nature Preserve south of Danville.

We enjoyed the fall colors on a hike along the Vermilion River, and learned about plants from Illinois Natural History Survey ecologist Connie Carroll-Cunningham. Some of those with energy after the hike went to the Champaign Art Theater to watch "Living Downstream" about environmental pollution and cancer (7pm, http://www.thecuart.com).

When: 2-4pm Saturday October 16

Where: Forest Glen Nature Preserve, starting at the Observation Tower

Carpooling: Some met at 1pm in the Schnuck's parking lot in Urbana (park near Vine Street) and left shortly after 1pm.

Directions to Forest Glen: from I-74, take the Georgetown Road exit (Route 1) and head south about 3 miles to Westville. At Westville, turn left/east at the light with the CVS pharmacy (Main Street). Drive the curving road approximately 6 miles to the preserve's entrance on the left. Proceed to the parking lot of the observation tower.

What was needed: water, shoes appropriate for hiking, clothes appropriate for the weather.

We did NOT need to RSVP.

Trip leader: Alice Englebretsen, 217-367-7344

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010, time: 7 pm
Geneva Room, McKinley Foundation

Lecture: Kirstin Replogle, Urbana Sustainability Advisory Comission

The lecture originally scheduled, by Andy Keller, is canceled. Instead we have our long time member of the Prairie Group Executive Committee, to talk about another of her many activities.

So instead we shall hear about the City of Urbana's Sustainability Advisory Commission. Please come to hear Kirstin Replogle talk about the work of the commission, including the drafting of a Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community! The plan will need your input as it develops, and even more, your help when it comes time to roll it out.

After the discussion, the Prairie Group Executive Committee will meet to handle business matters -- you are welcome to stay and participate (or simply observe) in this part of the agenda, too!

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Saturday, September 26, 2009
Armory Park Care

Four of us volunteers met at 8:30 am at Armory Park. This is a small triangular park north of University Avenue a little east of Cunningham Avenue in Urbana. It is bounded on the northwest by the Boneyard Creek and there is a small parking lot off of the first street east of there.
In about 3 hours, we collected 4 large bags of trash and cleared about 35 feet of dense honeysuckle brush.
Kirstin reports: "It's going to take several more workdays to clear the brush--it's amazingly thick in several patches. It would be great if we could double our workforce for the next time. And I'm thinking maybe we should try for one more day this fall."
Improving this little park is a project that the Prairie Group has taken on, with the cooperation of the Urbana Park District.

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, time: 6 pm
At Dick Bishop's House

3514 N Highcross Road

August Picnic!

The attendance was small, only 5 besides hosts Dick and Dolores, but the food was good and the conversation stimulating.

Tuesday, Jan. 13th, 2009, 7:00 PM
McKinley Foundation, Geneva Room

809 S. 5th Street (5th & Daniel), Champaign

Film: "The Real Dirt on Farmer John"

We'll show a documentary film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John (one of those selected at last year's Ebertfest), about Illinois farmer John Peterson.

"The award-winning true story of third-generation American farmer John Peterson's hero's journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth. Peterson is a true American original. His story parallels that of the family farm in 20th Centur America. What makes The Real Dirt on Farmer John so special is the fact that John Peterson is not only a farmer ... he's an artist, too."

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Unless stated otherwise, Meetings during Sept. 2007 through May, 2008 were held at 7 PM, 2nd Tuesday of the month, Bondurant Room (2nd floor), Illinois Disciples Foundation, 610 E Springfield, Champaign (NW corner Springfield & Wright)

Tuesday, Dec. 9th, 2008, 7:00PM
McKinley Foundation Geneva Room

809 S. 5th Street (5th & Daniel), Champaign

Holiday Celebration and Photo Show

Join us again on Tues., December 9, 7 p.m., at the McKinley Foundation in the Geneva Room for our annual holiday photo show. Bring photos of your summer vacations or any other nature pictures to share with others. We will have both a Mac and Windows PC available for you, so bring your photos on a CD or memory stick. Treats will be provided.

Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 2008, 7:00PM
Champaign Public Library

200 W. Green St., Champaign

Clean Cars and Alternatives
Presented by Will Reynolds
Chair, Illinois Sierra Club Clean Car Committee

Despite rising gas prices and the threat of global warming, the Illinois legislature failed to vote on the Illinois Clean Car Act this year. Find out how Illinois can reduce polluting emissions while improving mileage standards and get more alternative cars on the road. Also learn why false fuel alternatives proposed by the polluting industries won't work.

Tuesday, Sept. 9th, 2008, 7:00 PM
Urbana City Council Chambers

400 S. Vine St., Urbana

Political Forum on the Environment

Local politicians will give their views on environmental issues, and those in office will discuss their environmental legislative accomplishments. The Prairie Group has been hosting this Forum for the last three elections, and this year promises to be another exciting debate. The environment has become a hot issue, and the Forum will be an opportunity for the pols/candidates to give their views and/or report their progress.

Each candidate will start with a brief statement. Then, our MC, Kirstin Replogle, will ask the panelists a series of questions, some which will be prepared in advance and some which will be taken from the audience.

The speakers will be:

  • Naomi Jakobsson, Illinois State House Representative, 103rd District (incumbent) (D).
  • Frank Calabrese, candidate for Illinois State House Representative, 103rd District (R).
  • Mike Frerichs, Illinois State Senator, 52nd District (D).
  • Phil Bloomer, representing Tim Johnson, U. S. Congressman, Illinois 15th District (R).
  • Steve Cox, candidate for U. S. Congress, Illinois 15th District (D).

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the Forum's organizer, Jim Beauchamp, jwbeauch {at} illinois.edu.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008, 6:00 pm
Ambucs Park, E. University Ave., Urbana

Potluck Picnic and Softball Game

We will picnic at the Nick Santi Shelter towards the west end of the park. Grilled burgers and veggie-burgers with condiments will be provided. Please bring your own drinks, plates, and eating utensils and a dish to pass. After the meal we will have an informal softball game. Bring your mitts! This is a chance to show off your hitting, running, and fielding skills!

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2008, 7 PM

Marie Streenz, Horizon Wind Energy

Marie Streenz of Horizon Wind Energy in Bloomington will talk about the McLean County Twin Groves Wind Farm and its environmental impact.

Monday, May 5th, 2008, 6 PM (rescheduled from March 25th original)

EPA Public Hearing on Andersons' Ethanol Plant
Building D (South side of campus), room D244
Parkland College, Champaign

The Andersons' proposed ethanol plant, to be built just west of Champaign, will draw something like 1.8 million gallons of water per day from the Mahomet aquifer. Much of that is to be evaporated in cooling towers, but about 720,000 gallons per day of variously processed water will be discharged into the Kaskaskia Ditch, the upper reach of the Kaskaskia River.

At 6 pm on the evening of May 5th, in Parkland College's Room D244 (in building D, on the south side of campus), the Illinois EPA will hold a public hearing on the draft water-discharge permit. Details here:
    EPA May 5th Public Hearing Announcement (PDF)

The IEPA has made a tentative determination to issue this five-year discharge permit. The draft of it can be found at:

The IEPA will accept comments from the public, either at the above hearing, or in writing until June 4th. (See the Hearing Announcement for details.)

Tuesday, Apr. 14th, 2008, 7:00 PM
McKinley Foundation Geneva Room

809 S. 5th Street (5th & Daniel), Champaign

Boneyard Creek
In preparation for Boneyard Creek Community Day (on 4/18), our April 14th meeting was about the Boneyard creek and plans for it.

Stacy James spoke about the Boneyard Creek Second Street Detention Project.

This project will provide detention storage in two detention basins along Second Street between Springfield and University avenues. An underground storm sewer will convey many flood flows through Scott Park while maintaining a surface creek.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008, 7 PM

Carolyn Raffensperger
Science & Environmental Health Network

Carolyn is the Executive Director of Science & Environmental Health Network, which is based in Ames, Iowa.

SEHN was founded in 1994 by a consortium of North American environmental organizations (including the Environmental Defense Fund, The Environmental Research Foundation, and OMB Watch) concerned about the misuse of science in ways that failed to protect the environment and human health. Granted 501(c)(3) status in 1999, SEHN operates as a virtual organization, currently with six staff and seven board members working from locations across the U.S.

Since 1998, SEHN has been the leading proponent in the United States of the Precautionary Principle as a new basis for environmental and public health policy. SEHN has worked with issue driven organizations, national environmental health coalitions, municipal and state governments, and several NGO/government teams to implement precautionary policies at local and state levels.

The Science and Environmental Health Network engages communities and governments in the effective application of science to protect and restore public and ecosystem health.

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Saturday, April 5th, 2008, 10:00am--3:00pm

Prairie Rivers Network Biofuels Workshop
White Oak Park, Bloomington, IL

Details taken from the workshop flyer:
Understand the true costs of biofuel production and its impacts on Illinois' water resources. Learn how to participate effectively in the biofuels decisionmaking process. Topics:

  • The True Cost of Biofuels
  • Water Supplies in Illinois
  • Aquifer Hydrology: An Interactive Lesson
  • Impacts of Ethanol Plants on Water Quantity & Quality
  • How to Effectively Participate in Biofuels Decisionmaking: A Case Study of One Activist's Lessons Learned
Cost: $15 including lunch. Limited to 30 participants.
Register: please visit http://www.prairierivers.org/ for the registration form.
Contact: Cecily Smith, csmith at prairierivers.org, 217-344-2371.

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008, 7 PM
East-Central Illinois Environmental Alliance Meeting

Champaign Public Library
Robeson Pavilion Room C

Gary Jackson
Environmental Advisory Panel

The next meeting of the East-Central Illinois Environmental Alliance will be Tuesday 3/25, at 7:00pm, in the Champaign Public Library's Robeson Pavilion Room C.

The speaker will be Gary Jackson. Gary is well known for his long-time involvement with a variety of local environmental groups including Sierra Club and Prairie Rivers Network. Gary was a member of the Environmental Advisory Panel which prepared the November 2004 Report to the Champaign County Board, and a member of the environmental section of the Big, Small, All project. He will discuss implementing some of the recommendations contained in those reports, and how this relates to activities of local environmental groups.

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, 7 PM

Traci Barkley, Prairie Rivers Network
"In Search of a Water Conservation Policy"

Prairie Rivers water resources scientist Traci Barkley will give a talk:

"In search of a water conservation policy"
She'll look at water use and management in central Illinois, especially in Champaign County.

The story has many interrelated parts: the ongoing regional water supply planning process, the impact of major extractors like Illinois-American Water and proposed ethanol plants, domestic and industrial and municipal water use and misuse, and the role of conservation.

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Tuesday, Mar. 10th, 2008, 7:00PM
McKinley Foundation Geneva Room

809 S. 5th Street (5th & Daniel), Champaign

Champaign County Forest Preserve
Jerry Pagac

The guest speaker for this meeting is Jerry Pagac, Executive Director of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District (CCFPD). We are very fortunate to have such an eminent person in that position. As a former Director of State Parks in Indiana, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his position. The CCFPD is a tax-supported branch of the county and runs the five various forest preserves throughout the county. These districts serve multiple environmental and recreational purposes, ranging from manicured picnic sights, pavilions for meetings, and a golf course to lakes for fishing, a camping site, and wild areas for hiking and birding. Besides these districts, the CCFPD will also be given the task of maintaining the Champaign County portion of the Urbana-to-Danville bike trail, which we hope will soon become a reality. Jerry will give a survey of all the activities of CCFPD -- there are many more than already mentioned. Please attend and come armed with all the questions you want to know about CCFPD.

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Tuesday, Feb. 10th, 2008, 7:00PM
McKinley Foundation Geneva Room

809 S. 5th Street (5th & Daniel), Champaign

My First Summer in the Sierra
Book Club event

Join us to talk about the writings of John Muir, Sierra Club's founder! As another of the Prairie Group's efforts to bring diverse programming to our members, we're going to try a "book club" event. This is a great opportunity to read (or re-read!) one of Muir's most popular works. If there is sufficient interest, we may begin hosting environmental book club events on a more regular basis. And guess what? You don't even have to buy the book--most of Muir's works are available free on the internet! Point your browser to
and you will download a .pdf of this book, including illustrations. (This file is approximately 1 MB in size.)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008, 7 PM

Executive Committee meeting
Kirstin Replogle's House

808 S. Cedar, Urbana

See the agenda here; here's a summary:

  1. Election of Excom Officers (Chair, Treasurer, Vice-Chair, Secretary)
  2. Other Excom members, to be elected with terms as follows
  3. Other chairmanships -- using HELEN, Leader Change Worksheets:

    Chapter Delegate; Membership Chair; Newspaper layout, Environmental Education, Conservation, Publicity; Webmaster; Publications Representative, Calendar Sales.

    There are many other less significant chairs; some will remain vacant.

  4. Treasurer's Report
  5. Prairie Flyer articles
  6. General Membership meetings in April, May, June, with a point person for each meeting
  7. Lincoln Bicentennial Project -- Barbara Wysocki's note to Cynthia
  8. Place for Chapter Excom meeting of Saturday, March 8, 2008 (we will be hosts)
  9. Someone to investigate about pipeline from Canada to Decatur and cooperate with Chapter Conservation Committee
  10. Distribution list for Prarie Flyer--to places, nonmembers
  11. Report on meeting with Chrissy Maher & John Gaudette of IEC; membership in IEC; lobby day April 2
  12. Report on meeting with T. Johnson's representatives concerning Utah Wilderness legislation

    Tuesday, January 8th, 2008, 7 PM

    Film Night!

    We'll watch some films. Some suggested are "Being Caribou", "Sierra Club Chronicles" (activists' personal stories), and "Story of Stuff", a look at the workings and side effects of our material culture.

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    Annual Vacation Slide Show

    Join us for our annual "Vacation Slide Show" evening! We will have a slide projector and computer equipment (for both PC and Apple computers) available. In order to accommodate everyone, please limit your presentation to 10 minutes or less. Please feel free to bring a holiday treat to share!

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