Virtual Home, Lawn, & Garden Day

This is the year of the gardener- 2021! Join fellow nature-lovers and learn all things gardening
this spring at the 19th annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day sponsored by McLean County
Master Gardeners, a program of University of Illinois Extension.

Participants will attend six live workshops on trending horticulture topics, from growing
tomatoes to designing stunning container gardens. Master Gardeners featured on the popular
WJBC Radio will host a question and answer segment—your chance to ask that gardening
question you have been pondering all winter. Researched-based solutions will be presented by
the panel, as well as fun and practical advice! In addition to the live presentations, participants
will also receive links to 10 pre-recorded sessions that will be available to you to watch at your
leisure and comfort of your home. Learn how to make a succulent wreath, get tips for designing
(or re-designing!) your landscape, be inspired to try new annual vines or groundcovers in your
garden, and more!

A $10 registration fee includes 5 live workshops, Q & A session with the Master Gardeners, and
10 pre-recorded presentations to watch in your free time. For more information and to register
online, visit go.illinois.edu/HLGD. Registration is open January 12 through March 3!
For more information about the event, please contact us at the McLean County Extension
Office at (309) 663-8306.

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

Come join us for our February workday along Sugar Creek! We need help improving Sugar Creek in designated areas throughout Bloomington and Normal, by clearing invasive plant species and managing the non-invasive plants.

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COVID-19 Protocol: All volunteers are required to wear masks when standing within 10 feet of EAC staff or other volunteers. This work can be largely independent, so there might be opportunities for volunteers to take their masks off if working in a spot far from other people, but be prepared to wear a mask as the default. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools, gloves, and reusable water bottle. 

Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws.

The Sugar Creek Stewards is part of the Ecology Action Center’s Clean Water programming, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

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To register, please fill out this volunteer liability waiver form.

 

 

 

City of Bloomington 2020 Holiday Collection Updates

Solid Waste Collection for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Bulk waste and brush will not be collected, and the Citizen Convenience Center will be closed, on Thursday, December 24, for Christmas Eve. Garbage and recycling will be collected on the regularly-scheduled collection day. Garbage and recycling must be placed in the proper container at the curb, not in the street, no earlier than 2:00 p.m. on the day prior to scheduled collection and no later than 6:00 a.m. on collection day.

Garbage, recycling, brush, and bulk will not be collected, and the Citizen Convenience Center will be closed, on Friday, December 25, for Christmas Day. Materials normally collected on that day will be collected on Monday, December 28. Bulk waste and brush will not be collected on Monday, December 28, and will be collected on Tuesday, December 29.

Solid Waste Collection for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Bulk waste and brush will not be collected, and the Citizen Convenience Center will be closed, on Thursday, December 31, and Friday, January 1, for New Year’s. Garbage and recycling will be collected on regularly-scheduled collection days. Garbage and recycling must be placed in the proper container at the curb, not in the street, no earlier than 2:00 p.m. on the day prior to scheduled collection and no later than 6:00 a.m. on collection day.

Your Guide to Holiday Clean-up

The holidays shouldn’t leave you feeling trashed! Here are collection schedule updates, plus some better options for many of the items on your post-holiday clean-up list.

Collection schedule updates for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day:
For residents enrolled the Town of Normal waste collection program
For residents enrolled in the City of Bloomington waste collection program

 

Other options:

Wrapping Paper can be recycled, as long as it is free of plastic, wax, shiny or metallic stuff.

Clean, dry cardboard can also be recycled! Just fold or cut to fit in your cart.

Styrofoam containers and packing materials can be dropped off at Dart Container Corporation (1505 East Main Street, Urbana, IL). Make sure materials are clean and dry.

Live-cut Christmas trees can be turned into firewood, compost, and more. Please remove all decorations & lights! For residents of Bloomington and Normal who are enrolled in those municipalities’ waste collection programs, live-cut trees are picked up curbside on the regularly scheduled waste collection day.  Other area residents can check with your waste disposal provider or drop off at Twin City Wood Recycling (1606 W Oakland Ave, Bloomington) for a fee of $1. Call John at 309-275-2854 to ensure someone will be there when you drop off.

String lights will be recycled locally for charity if you drop them off at St Luke Union Church (2101 E Washington St, Bloomington). Small or “twinkle” light bulbs can be left on the string, but please remove larger bulbs and any other decor before donating.

Food waste? Waste no more! Sign up here for our Community Composting program to turn trimmings into treasure!

Community Solar is now available – get clean renewable energy without an installation!

Do you want to power your home with clean, renewable solar energy but can’t or don’t want to bother with a rooftop installation?  Community Solar may be for you!
Companies managing community solar arrays approved by the Illinois Power Agency in early 2019 are now actively seeking customers for community solar subscriptions.  Here are few things to keep in mind if you are interested in pursuing community solar.

What is community solar?

A large solar array in your utility territory (in central Illinois that means Ameren) that feeds the electricity it produces directly to the power grid. Customers sign up for their own shares of the array, the size of the share is based on your home electricity usage. Subscribers receive credits on their utility bill for the energy generated by their share, and they purchase those credits at a discounted rate from the company managing the community solar array.
As an example: you use 600kWh of electricity in a month, and your community solar subscription generated 500kWh worth of electricity. Your Ameren bill will show the 600kWh usage, with a 500kWh credit. You will pay your Ameren supply rate for the remaining 100kWh. You will pay your delivery fees and taxes to Ameren for the full 600kWh. You will receive a subsequent bill from your community solar provider for the 500kWh – but the rate you are charge for that energy is 20% lower than the Ameren supply rate charge.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who receives electricity services from Ameren Illinois can be a community solar subscriber (Corn Belt customers do not have community solar options available to them). Community solar is a great option for homeowners who have heavy shade making on-site solar nonviable.  Renters can also participate in community solar so long as they are responsible for their own utility bill (and electricity is not included in their rent). Community solar is also a great option for people who might not be able to afford the upfront investment required for a home solar installation. However, the Illinois Solar for All program provides rooftop solar options with no upfront costs and community solar options with increased savings for income-eligible residents. Check with the EAC for details about these options! Community solar subscriptions for income-eligible residents offer the energy supply at 50% lower than the Ameren supply rate.

Interested in signing up?

The Ecology Action Center recently signed up for a community solar subscription through Nexamp for our building. The subscription offers a 20% savings on energy supply (the fee they charge per kWh of energy produced by your portion of the solar array would be 20% less than Ameren’s supply charge), has no sign-up fee, and no cancellation fee (important to remember, you can take your community solar subscription with you if you move to another home that is still in Ameren territory).
Residents in Ameren territory interested in signing up witht NexAmp can do so hereThis referral code at this link will give both you and the EAC and extra bonus when you sign up.  NexAmp will ask you for 12 months of your energy usage to determine what size portion of the community solar array will cover your energy needs. The community solar array won’t likely start producing energy until next year. Before your community solar service begins, residents participating in Bloomington and Normal’s municipal aggregation will need to opt-out of service. If you are unsure whether or not you are getting your energy supply from an alternate energy retail supplier, look at the energy supply section of your Ameren bill. If you are enrolled in municipal aggregation, Homefield Energy will be listed as your supplier (see picture below). To opt-out of aggregation just call their number at 866-694-1262 and cancel.
Please contact Larissa Armstrong at [email protected] or 309-454-3169 x15 with questions or for more information.

You, Me, and the EAC

REGISTRATION CLOSED – Join us in December! 

Calling all EAC members, supporters, donors, and volunteers!  We want your feedback, your suggestions, and your constructive criticism.  Please join us for an informal, small-group discussion where YOU and your thoughts are the topic.  We want to know how we are doing, how we can do better, what your priorities are, and hear your ideas for how to better reach our community especially in the era of COVID-19.

We hope to offer these sessions monthly – please join us for casual conversation and possible minor program updates and insights from EAC staff.  All meetings are held via Zoom for safety of all participants.

 

Pumpkin Compost Drive

When Halloween is over, don’t let your Jack O’-Lantern meet the scary fate of the landfill! The ISU Student Sustainability Committee has partnered with Better Earth Logistics & Compost to give our pumpkins a new life!
Drop off pumpkins and gourds outside the ISU Office of Sustainability. If driving, pull into the parking lot and we will come get the pumpkin for you. All volunteers will be wearing masks. Hand sanitizer and gloves will also be available. Remove any candles or decorations, and please no glitter or painted pumpkins.

Pumpkin Compost Drive

When Halloween is over, don’t let your Jack O’-Lantern meet the scary fate of the landfill! The ISU Student Sustainability Committee has partnered with Better Earth Logistics & Compost to give our pumpkins a new life!
Drop off pumpkins and gourds outside the ISU Office of Sustainability. If driving, pull into the parking lot and we will come get the pumpkin for you. All volunteers will be wearing masks. Hand sanitizer and gloves will also be available. Remove any candles or decorations, and please no glitter or painted pumpkins.