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, April 12

We're going to Aurora West Forest Preserve in Aurora. Click here for details!

Next VOF Meeting April 14th, Batavia Public Library

Jack Darin

On April 14th, at the Batavia Public Library, Valley of the Fox is pleased to have Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director Jack Darin as our presenter. Darin will provide a legislative update on this Spring's General Assembly sessions in Springfield. This is your opportunity to learn about Illinois environmental bills, and to meet and greet with Jack.

The public is invited and refreshments are served.

Monday, April 14, 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...

For our March 10 meeting at Hawthorne Hill, we discussed Climate Chaos and Solutions.

NVOF Meeting April 21, 2014, Hawthorn Hill Nature Center

A Wilderness Icon: America’s Red Rock Wilderness

If you missed last October's program, you still have a chance to see Clayton Daughenbaugh's presentation.

The program includes “Wild Utah”, a multi-media slideshow documenting citizen efforts to designate public lands in southern Utah's spectacular canyon country as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This 15-minute journey through red rock splendor, narrated by Robert Redford, invigorates and motivates viewers to participate in the movement to protect these unique lands. It was made possible through the generous donation of photos, music and words from concerned Utahans who wish to pass this heritage on to future generations.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and its partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition seek to gain local support for the “Citizens’ Proposal” to protect wilderness areas in Utah’s red rock canyonlands. Comprehensive legislation is pending in Congress and administrative decisions by the White House and the Department of Interior are ongoing.

Clayton Daughenbaugh is a conservation organizer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Mr. Daughenbaugh also serves as the volunteer Chair of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlands Committee.

April 21, 7:00pm.
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
28 Brookside Dr, Elgin, IL 60120
(847) 931-6123

Elgin Earth Day Celebration, April 22nd

Bring out the family for live music, food, arts and crafts, and speakers!

April 22, 5:30-7:00pm
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
28 Brookside Dr, Elgin, IL 60120

Fox River Area Earth Day Cleanups, April 26th/27th and May 3rd

Observe this Earth Day by helping us in a cleanup. There are several to choose from! Join Sierra Club and other local groups as we clear the Fox River recreational areas of the long Winter's debris.

Gloves, snacks, water, and garbage bags will be supplied. Bring a refillable water bottle (no disposable bottles!). Sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen are recommended. All participants must sign a waiver, and volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is greatly appreciated but not required.

Elgin Area Clean Sweep, 5/3

Sierra Club Valley of the Fox Water Sentinels
Rep. Anna Moeller, 43rd District
Saturday, 5/3, 9am-12pm
North parking lot of Trout Park. 1,000 feet north of Duncan Ave. and Trout Park Blvd.; under the I-90 bridge.
Sierra Club 312-251-1680, or

Aurora Fox River Clean Sweep, 4/26

Sierra Club Valley of the Fox Water Sentinels
City of Aurora
Fox Valley Park District
Sen. Linda Holmes
Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
Rep. Stephanie Kifowit
Saturday, 4/26, 9am-12pm
Aurora Township Parking Lot @ 80 North Broadway in Aurora.
Contact: 630-897-8373 630-859-1687

Aurora Big Woods Preserve, 4/26 & 4/27

You are invited to a “Workers Hot Dog Lunch” immediately following the cleanup.

Sierra Club Valley of the Fox Water Sentinels
DuPage County Forest Preserve
Saturday, 4/26, 9am-12pm
Sunday, 4/27, 9am-12pm
2651 Prairieview Lane South, Aurora, IL; go 'round back.
(Rain date May 3rd)
Terri Voitik, 630-585-9212

Become a Water Sentinel!

Training for New VOF Water Sentinels
May 3, 2014 9 AM- 12 Noon.

We invite you to be a part of a great National Team that monitors water quality in the Fox River Valley. We supply all equipment. Free and open to anyone willing to make a commitment. Pre-registration REQUIRED. Location to be announced. Call or email Fran Caffee for additional information.

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.