Blue heron photo 
© Jason Lindsey/

VOF Monthly Meetings

Why stay home watching the tube when you could be sharing an experience with the prime outdoors club in the nation? Enjoy old friends and make new ones. Talk about the environmental issues currently in the Illinois Assembly. Check on upcoming outings. Sign up for your favorite volunteer projects.

Next Kane Forest Preserve Outing Saturday, November 8

We're going to Blackberry Maples, and Grunwald Farms . Click here for details!

Next VOF Meeting November 10th, Batavia Public Library

Climate Reality

On November 10th, at the Batavia Public Library, Deni Mathews will bring us an update on climate change.

The Climate Reality presentation examines the clear indicators of global warming and its causes. It explains how global warming relates to extreme weather events and the melting of the ice caps and glaciers. Renewable energy solutions are available and reaching parity with conventional energy sources. The evening will end with a discussion centering on “What do/can you do to address climate change?

Deni Mathews is a Climate Reality presenter for Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. She is involved in Citizens' Climate Lobby, which is proposing a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend, and serves as legislative liaison to Rep. Roskam. She is also working on transforming her landscape into an environment that supports wildlife and insects.

The public is invited and refreshments are served.

Monday, November 10th, 7:00pm
Batavia Public Library
10 S. Batavia Ave.
Batavia, IL 60510-2793
Directions to the Batavia Public Library

VOF monthly meetings are usually (but not always) held the second Monday of the month at 7pm except for the months of July, August, and December. The public is invited and refreshments are typically available.

Last meeting...

On our October 13th meeting, Betsy Zinser presented an overview and update on the Batavia Peabody Energy situation.

Cool Cities adds Elgin

VOF now has three Cool Cities signed on: Aurora, Elgin and Oswego. For more information about this great grassroots Sierra Club campaign promoting local solutions to climate change, visit

Sand mine proposed right next door to Starved Rock

Tess Wendel, clean water organizer at the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter, reported in the February VOF meeting about Mississippi Sands proposal to mine for frac sand and its impacts on the park and surrounding community.

Here is a link to the Sierra Club's petition to protect Starved Rock and begin reform at IDNR.

If you want to take more action, Tess also recommends an op-ed/letter to the editor in smaller papers, or writing to the governor; see openlands action alert for suggestions.

For more information about fracking.

For the Sierra Club's view on fracking.

Make every day Earth Day!

You can make every day Earth Day. How? The Sierra Club has come up with two information sheets: Five ways individuals and companies can fight global warming, and five ways cities and states can to it too. Both are about a megabyte in size and are in PDF format. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the sheets. Most PCs already have this valuable and free program; try clicking on a link to one of the sheets to see. If you don't have it, click here to download a copy.

Want to celebrate on the actual day? Try these activities!

Don't dump it—recycle it!

What do you do when one of your energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs burns out? These bulbs should be recycled because they contain a small amount of mercury, a neurotoxin. However, the amount is miniscule compared to the mercury put into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Ace Hardware stores in Aurora will take back CFLs for recycling. Check the Ace in your area.
  • Home Depot has just announced that it will accept CFLs for recycling at stores across the U.S.
  • IKEA stores will also accept CFLs.
  • Many varieties of household hazardous waste, from CFLs and other fluorescent tubes to oil-based paints to prescription medication, can be dropped off Naperville's Household Hazardous Waste Center, 971 Brookdale Road, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a map to the facility, which is open to DuPage County, Kane County and Will County residents, click here

What do you do if a CFL breaks? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the answer. Click here to see the cleanup process.

Other recycling resources

According to Kane County officials, residents and businesses are recycling 42% of their waste, a vast improvement over the 8% that was recycled in 1986. Some stats from the county's recycling web site:

  • The average Kane County home recycles about 60 pounds of material each month.
  • Last year, we recycled about 65,000,000 aluminum cans in Kane County (or 168 for each person), but we still threw away 30 million cans (or 86 cans per person).
  • Kane County residents recycled 30 million pieces of junk mail (85 pieces per person). 44% of the junk mail was never opened.
  • We recycled 94 million pounds of paper, saving the equivalent of 796,000 trees. Each day, 2 million trees are cut down in the United States.

Click on a category to find out where and when you can recycle the following items:

  • Municipal trash pickups: (Weekly pickups) What will my local trash hauler accept for curbside recycling?
  • Electronics and books: (Monthly dropoffs) Computers and Peripherals: Personal Computers, Monitors, Printers, Scanners, Modems, Tape, Disk, CD Drives, Cables, Keyboards, Mice, Plotters.
    Entertainment Equipment: Televisions, Camcorders, Cameras, Stereo Equipment (no speakers), Game Players, Joysticks.
    Office Equipment: Telephones, Cell Phones, Pagers, Answering Machines, Typewriters, Calculators, Adding Machines, Fax Machines, Shredders, Copiers, Postage Meters.
    Electronic Media: Floppy Disks, Compact Discs (and cases), Videotapes (no audio cassettes)
  • Household hazardous waste: (Weekly dropoffs) aerosol products, antifreeze, batteries (auto and household), blacktop sealer, cleaning products, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, hobby and photographic chemicals, lawn chemicals, mercury, motor oil, oil-based paints, pesticides, pool chemicals, propane tanks and solvents. Not accepted: ammunition, explosives, fireworks, biological or medical wastes, farm machinery oil, fire extinguishers, latex paint, smoke detectors
  • Used motor oil
  • Used tires
  • Printer cartridges
  • Unused and expired medicines
  • Styrofoam

Don't live in Kane County? No problem! Just go to and type in your ZIP Code at the top of the page to get a list of recycling sites.

More recycling services

  • If you're doing any work around the house, you can find materials at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, an Elgin-based store that sells at bargain prices donated items from contractors, remodelers, manufacturers, distributors and homeowners–much of which would otherwise be destined for the landfill. Proceeds support the building of Habitat homes in Kane County. The store is located at 860 North State Street in Elgin. Details and map to store ...
  • Homeowners and small businesses in Batavia now can recycle electronic equipment, office equipment and books Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Batavia Public Works Department, 200 North Raddant Road. When you arrive at the Public Works facility, please enter the main entrance on Raddant Road and advise the receptionist you have equipment to drop off.

    Items accepted for recycling:

    • Computers and Peripherals: personal computers; monitors; printers; scanners; modems; tape, disk and CD drives; cables, keyboards, mice; and plotters. There is a limit of 25 pieces on PC towers/CPU's and monitors.
    • Entertainment Equipment: Televisions; camcorders; cameras; stereo equipment (no speakers); game players; and joysticks.
    • Office Equipment: Telephones; cell phones; pagers; answering machines; typewriters; calculators; adding machines; fax machines; shredders; copiers; and postage meters.
    • Software: Floppy discs; compact discs (and cases); videotapes; and audio cassettes. Please remove all paper and recycle it with your mixed paper at home.
    • Books: Hardbound and paperback books.
    • Please DO NOT bring manuals, packing material, air conditioners, other appliances or household hazardous waste.

    For additional information contact the Public Works Facility 630-879-1424 ext 310.


Who represents me?

Here's an easy way to find out who your state and local officials are. Click the link below, and you'll be taken to the Project Vote Smart site. On the left side of the page is a spot where you can enter your ZIP Code and get a list of all your state and federal elected officials, along with bios and contact information.

Click here to go to Project Vote Smart 

Where and how do I register to vote?

Click here to find out all the facts  

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Last updated November 15, 2011. Questions, comments on this web site? Contact the VOF's webmaster.