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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich kicks off Earth Day celebration early with greening grants to 32 schools
Part of the Governor’s Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative

SPRINGFIELDGov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) today awarded School Greening grants to 32 communities across the state, as part of the Governor’s Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative.  Earth Day, celebrated by millions on April 22nd, is a day to promote environmental citizenship.
 
“These grants are part of our multi-faceted commitment to work with school officials to provide a healthier indoor and outdoor environment for Illinois students,” the Governor said.
 
The grants of up to $2,500 are being funded by revenue collected by the IEPA for environmental violations, and are available to schools to pay for environmental improvements such as products and/or equipment that will improve indoor environmental conditions, reduce waste and enhance energy efficiency.   For example, schools have earmarked some of these small grants to buy lighting and water conservation sensors, native plants for landscaping, nontoxic cleaning supplies, green chemistry curriculum materials, composting equipment and recycled content picnic tables, porous pavement systems and rainwater cisterns.  In fact, one school will use the money to help build a wind turbine.
 
“While the grants are for relatively small amounts, they provide a big payoff – healthier and more pleasing school environments, reduced utility costs and applied lessons in environment-friendly practices,” said IEPA Director Renee Cipriano.
 
Other elements of the Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative have included: numerous workshops for school personnel on environmentally safe maintenance and “green chemistry” techniques; pickups to provide safe removal of potentially hazardous chemicals from schools; a “Green Schools” instructional video; pilot “indoor environmental coordinator” grants; and the Governor’s Clean School Bus program which provides grants and technical assistance for equipment and fuel, and instructional workshops to reduce potentially hazardous diesel bus fumes.
 
The schools and projects to be funded are listed below.
 
Greenville Elementary School --- $2,200
The district will purchase battery-powered sensor faucets to conserve water in student bathrooms.
 
Bureau Valley Unit District #340 --- $2,500
The district will utilize renewable energy resources by installing a commercial-grade wind turbine to help power a school in Manlius.
 
Thornton Township High School (Harvey) --- $1,956
A compost bin, native perennials and picnic table kits will be purchased to create a courtyard garden.
 
Culver School (Niles) --- $2,500
The school will install sensor faucets with batteries that recharge during water usage for water conservation and energy efficiency.
 
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Middle School (Gibson City) --- $1,430
The grant will be used to purchase a mulch and food composter for the school cafeteria. Commercial mulch and food compost will be placed separately around newly planted trees.
 
Paw Paw Schools --- $2,061
Picnic tables, benches, landscape beams, bird feeders, shepherds hooks, rain barrels, hoses, thermometers, mulch and plants will be purchased for the growth of native plants while conserving water.
 
Atwood-Hammond Community Unit School District #39 --- $1,400
The district will purchase micro-scale chemistry sets for their school labs that are more environment-friendly to conserve the use of materials in laboratory experiments.
 
Pecatonica Community Middle School --- $1,500
The grant will be used to purchase plumbing materials, lumber and shade fabric for water conservation and waste reduction in a renovation of the school greenhouse.
 
Gemini Junior High School (Niles) --- $1,500
Deep-rooted plants and lights will be used to absorb stormwater runoff.
 
Field Middle School (Northbrook) --- $2,128
The native plants landscaping project at the school will also partner with senior citizens as part of the Illinois Learn and Serve program.
 
Oak Ridge School (Palos Hills) --- $2,500
The school will install porous pavers in the student courtyard to manage stormwater runoff.
 
Community High School District 94 (West Chicago)  --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase native wildflowers, tall prairie grasses, short prairie grasses, identification plaques and ground preparation for a landscaping project on the school grounds.
 
Cuba Middle School --- $2,493
The grant will be used to purchase environmentally friendly or “green” cleaners, strippers and finishes for floors to improve indoor air quality.
 
Hamilton Community Consolidated School District #328 --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase “green” cleaning supplies for improved indoor air quality.
 
Bluford Community Consolidated School District #14 --- $2,500
Asphalt will be removed from an area near the school and planted with shade trees and shrubs for greater energy efficiency.
 
River Ridge Community Unit School District #210 (Hanover) --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase grasses, plants, wood chips and landscape timbers for landscaping and nature trails.
 
Prairie Crossing Charter School (Grayslake) --- $2,500
The grant will be used to install four 1,000-gallon cisterns to collect water runoff and reuse the water to maintain landscaping.
 
East Middle School  (Waukegan) --- $1,490
The grant will be used to continue developing a schoolyard prairie, including planting additional trees and shrubs and labeling existing plants.
 
Hyde Park Elementary School (Waukegan) --- $360
A mini-greenhouse will be purchased for a classroom to propagate and grow plants that filter indoor air pollution. The plants will then be distributed throughout the school.
 
Grand Prairie School District #6 (Centralia) --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase materials to implement a green chemistry program.
 
Woodstock High School --- $2,500
Occupancy sensors, energy-efficient lights, and rechargeable batteries will be purchased to increase energy efficiency.  Prairie plants will be purchased to landscape an area outside of the science wing.
 
Farmington Central Junior High School --- $2,484
Recycled content materials, including a picnic table, benches and trash receptacle, will be purchased for a native habitat area used for teaching purposes.
 
Steeleville Community Unit School --- $2,500
Sensor faucets with batteries that recharge during water usage will be purchased for water conservation.
 
Glenwood High School (Chatham) --- $2,500
“Green” cleaners, including grout safe cleaner and mineral shock cleaner, will be purchased with the grant.
 
Winchester Community Unit School District #1 --- $2,500
A shredded tire base will be installed over a playground.
 
Lebanon High School --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase hoses, a sprinkler, spades, native plants, walking stones and edging to plant native gardens.
 
Deer Creek Mackinaw Primary Junior High School (Mackinaw) --- $2,500
Native plants and mulch will be purchased for creating native gardens.
 
Westville School District #2 --- $2,500
“Green” cleaners will be purchased for use in school buildings.
 
United Community Unit School District #304 (Alexis) --- $2,500
The grant will be used to purchase green chemistry textbooks, a lab safety course and green chemistry posters.
 
Nashville Community Consolidated District #49 --- $2,405
Permeable pavers will be installed for a handicapped accessible outdoor classroom.
 
Eureka High School --- $2,500
Electronic water quality probes will be purchased.


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