Environmental Hall of Fame inducts TRRT and Winnebago County

Environmental Hall of Fame inducts TRRT and Winnebago County

By Frank Schier

Editor and Publisher

Two years in a row! Last year, Illinois Renewable Energy Association President and Vice-President Drs. Bob and Sonia Vogl were the honorees and inducted into the National, Illinois and Chicago Environmental Halls of Fame (NICEHF). Besides their many achievements, they have also been our front-page columnists on all things Green since 2000.

This year, The Rock River Times, Rock River Trail Project and your Editor & Publisher Frank Schier are honorees to be inducted. Winnebago County and Chairman Scott Christiansen will also be honorees to be inducted.

The Vogls nominated us. NICEHF’s Allen Rubin visited our booth for the paper and the trail at the Green Festival, May  22-23, on Chicago’s Navy Pier and spoke to our Sales Manager Jody Marshall. On May 25, Rubin called Marshall and told her the good news.

When I spoke to Mr. Rubin to tell him how honored and thankful I was, he upped the ante and said we should pick a governmental entity to receive the award as well.

“Winnebago County government and its Chairman Scott Christiansen have a track record of proven results on implementing Green energy projects,” Dr. Bob Vogl said. “Freedom Field’s solar hot water system for heating and cooling is unique according to any standards of design. That system and the soon-to-be-installed wind turbine and rooftop prairie will be collecting data for students to use. It’s just not technology for technology’s sake but for learning’s sake. County taxpayers should be proud of this long-term value and innovation. Scott also promulgated $20,000 worth of WinGIS mapping time to the Rock River Trail Project. He also allotted $6,000 to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve for the creation of up to 20 new campsites on the Rock River at Hononegah and Hincliff Forest Preserves.

The Rock River Times has been a powerful media presence in renewable energy for at least a decade, even before we began writing for the paper. This paper helped create a clean energy vision for Rockford and the surrounding area, and its reach is growing. This latest project on the Rock River Trail is an outstanding notion that will be this newspaper’s legacy,” he concluded.

Mr. Rubin also empowered us to extend an induction to the Environmental Hall of Fame to the winner of the Micro-Hydro Generator Design Challenge, for science classes on the high school, community college and four year college level, as well as professional design, engineering and manufacturing firms in the 10 counties hosting the Rock River Trail. That award will be given at the Oct. 7, Winnebago County Green Business Awards. This will be an extension of NICEHF’s 2009 National Environmental Science Fair, Students Hope for Planet Earth.

Rubin said NICEHF would partner with Illinois Renewable Energy Association, The Rock River Times and the Rock River Trail Project for other future inductions into the Hall of Fame for candidates along the 285 miles, 33 towns and cities and 10 counties of the Rock River.

Those future inductees will be in very good company. Besides the Illinois Renewable Energy Association and the Vogls, last year’s inductees were:

American Solar Energy Society (ASES), Bradley Collins, executive director

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Randall Swisher, executive director

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Leader in Urban Sustainability

Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT), Green Building Center

Chicago Park District, Timothy J. Mitchell, superintendent and CEO

Chicago Public Schools, Suzanne Carlson, Environmental Program manager

City of Naperville Renewable Energy, 8.5 percent residential participation to date

Conscious Choice, Chicago’s sustainable Living Magazine for 20 years

CTA, 1.6 million daily rides reduce Chicago’s carbon emissions

Environment Illinois, Brian Granahan, environmental advocacy

Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), Karl Gawell, executive director

Hunter Lovins, Sustainable and Profitable Natural Capitalism Solutions

GreenPower, Michael Spitzauer, Emerging Technology, Biomass to Diesel

Illinois PIRG (IPIRG), Brian Imus, public transportation advocacy

Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA), Drs. Bob and Sonia Vogl

Illinois renewable portfolio Strategy, 15 percent renewable energy by 2020

Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), Mark Burger, executive director. Burger is also a guest columnist forThe Rock River Times.

Informed Energy Decisions, Building energy performance for 30 years

James Dehlsen, Father of American wind energy

Kimpton Hotels, USA’s Greenest hotel chain

Gov. Pat Quinn, chairman, Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council

Mark Victor Hansen, inspiration for the Environmental Hall of Fame

Merchandise Mart, World’s Largest Green Building, Silver LEED rating

Mike Nicklas, Innovative Design for Sustainable Schools

Museum of Science and Industry, Smart Home, Chicago’s Greenest Home

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Educating about nature and the environment

ShoreBank, Pioneering and Premier Green Bank, since 1973

Sierra Club, America’s oldest and largest environmental organization

Tim McNeil, Green Museum Exhibitions, co-designer of NRDC Action Center

Whole Foods Market, World’s Largest Retailer of Natural and Organic Foods

Environmental activists Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Brosnan, Art Linkletter, Ed Begley, Jr., Mario Van Peebles, Van Jones and Stan Ovshinsky were also honored at last year’s ceremony.

The presentation of induction of The Rock River Times and Winnebago County will be made at an upcoming Winnebago County Board meeting by NICEHF’s Allen Rubin and at the Oct 7, Winnebago County Green Business Awards in the Webbs Norman Center and Davis Park. All inductees will be on the Green Carpet at this year’s awards in Chicago as well.

Along with features on the event, look to our upcoming issues for other major announcements resulting from the Green Festival at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

On a personal level, I thank all of our staff, friends and readers through many years for making this honor possible. I thank the Rock River, which I love; that flowing oxymoron truly streams as my River of Hearts.

?From the May 26-June 1, 2010 issue of The Rock River Times