Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Walk 2012

December 1, 2012 we took a winter walk along William H. Powers Lake, formerly known as Wolf Lake.  We met at a central location and walked to different interesting points along the lake. Some of the attractions were the upcoming visitor’s center, the Nike missile, and the damage done to trees caused by beavers. We discussed the wildlife that inhabits the area and some of the new species that are being sighted.  We discussed the millennium reserve project as well as the benefits of connecting with nature. I felt it was an enjoyable walk; the weather was beautiful that day. I enjoyed the participants as well as they all something to share, whether it was about the area itself or the wildlife they have noticed around their homes. It was fun swapping stories and made for interesting conversation.  After the walk some of the participants joined us back at the SETF for hot chocolate and cookies it was the perfect end to an exciting afternoon.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Hard to Believe It's December 2nd

Perhaps Sunday wasn't unseasonably warm after all, but rather what the weather has in store for us from now on.  Who would have thought it was December 2nd the way the thermometer was  climbing into the lower 60's.  That kind of temperature called for time out of doors in the form of an excursion to Calumet Park.  An opportunity to stroll along the lake with my grand-daughter in tow. 

Few Chicagoans get to experience the lake the way we do on the Southeast side.  While every square inch of lakefront seems to be occupied up North, it's not true down here.  After "beach" season, the park is all but vacant.  You can ride your bike, jog or take a stroll without having to dodge between other pedestrians.  It's the prefect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and at this time of the year, the holiday season too. 

"Here a goose, there a goose, every where a goose goose."
I was surprised they  let me get this close.
Brown fallen leaves against grass that was
 still very green.
State Line Power Plant closed, but still  rather imposing.
Looking across the misty water at the beach.
Due to the low level of the lake, a part of the bottom I have
never, ever seen exposed.
How low can it go???
Like age rings on a tree, so telling are the worn
 lines along pier's pylons.
Enjoying the fall-winter-spring like air.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Touring Our Dumps

It never seizes to amaze people how many landfills there are on the Southside of Chicago or that most of our city's landfills were located here.  On November 2nd, Suhail Barot's Sustainabilities Studies class joined SETF for a tour of landfills in our community.   The tour with a brief presentation in our office about landfilling on the Southside: the reasons, the locations, and the current status.

Our first stop was Waste Management's Waste to Energy Plant where methane from their landfills is runs turbines that generate electricity.  Reuben Sanchez, an employee of Waste Management, graciously accommodates us and explains how the facility operates.  From there, we rode over to beautiful Beaubian Woods to catch a view of Land and Lake's notorious Riverbend Landfill that was recently in the news when it was allowed to disconnect  from city.  Before Governor Quinn's legislation prohibiting landfilling in Cook County, the intent was to sidestep the city's current moratorium on landfilling in order to expand it.  The students could easily see the negative impact a landfill so close to the river and Beaubian woods could have.

From there we headed back east to see the re-purposed landfill known as Harborside
Golf course, unfortunately, it was closed for the season so we were only allowed a tiny glimpse of it through it's gates.  From there we rode around Lake Calumet, passing the city's auto pound, the infamous Paxton Landfills with their adjacent Superfund Cluster Sites and Land and Lakes' composting facility atop the now defunct Haborview landfill.  All were surprised by the wetlands  interlaced between them. 

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Peggy gives a historical
explanation about the landfills they are about to see.

Historical photos are used to demonstrate how sites were filled
 in with trash.

At Waste Management's Trash to Energy facility, employee Reuben
 Sanchez in the green jacket, explains the facilities operations.

One of the noisy turbines behind glass for viewing purposes.

Students view Land and Lake's Riverbend Landfill across
the Cal Sag Channel.

SETF explains the current controversy involving the landfill.

Group photo with instructor
 Suhail Barot in forefront.

Land and Lakes Riverbend Landfill a viewed from Beaubien Woods.


Group aboard bus, finishing remainder of tour.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snowy Winter Walk

We're hoping for snow for our Winter Walk.  There's nothing like freshly fallen snow to add to the excitement of being outdoors in the winter weather.  This year our annual Winter Walk will be led by our intern Tiffany Mann from CSU.  Tiffany will share historical tibits about Wolf Lake, information about lakeside ecosystems and help you hunt for animal tracks.  Afterwards, all are invited for a hot cup of cocoa and cookies.  This event is designed for the sharing of quality family time, outdoors, in the climate of the season.  We hope you will join us.

Winter Walk
Saturday, December 1, 2012
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
William Powers Conservation Area
12640 Ave. 0, Chicago 60633 (meet in the picnic area by the entrace)

All children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call our office at 773-646-0436

Wolf Lake fisherman.

Climate Change: The Earth Calls to Us

Though the the temperature was pleasant last Sunday, the day was grey and drab, perfect for an indoor event.  Richard Treptow, our speaker on Climate Change, arrived early to make introductions and chat.  Living in Richton Park, he came quite a way, demonstrating his belief in sounding the alarm about Climate Change.  As  a professor ermiratus of Chicago State University, Richard's delivery was much like a classroom instructor's, designed to keep his audience engaged.  Using a PowerPoint Presentation filled with photos and charts, he easily made his point. 

Members grab snacks before settling in for the presentation.

Richard Treptow starting his presentation.

Members continue to discuss the presentation.

Sharon Rolek shares her opinion with Gerry Dagenais while Cliff Joseph listens in the background.

Multiple conversationscontinuted to fill the room.  I'm pictured here trying to answer questions posed by Nancy Thompson.

Richard wraps things up before it gets too late.

Cliff and Ann share an easy conversation before leaving to catch the bus.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Web Extra: Birds in Ancient Egypt | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

Rozenn LeSuer, wife of our President Bob LeSuer, has been involved in a fascinating exhibit at the University of Chicago.  To find out more, click on the lick below.

Web Extra: Birds in Ancient Egypt | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

By Popular Request

SETF had T-shirts printed commemorating our successful campaign to stop the Chicago Police Department from building an outdoor firing range adjacent to the Whitford and O'Brien Ponds.  The design was a collaborative effort with original art work taken from a paper cutting done by Susan Degrane, a member of our organization and a quote from Carolyn Marsh, another SETF member.  Printed originally for our Board Members to wear at our September fundraiser, we decided to sell the remainder once we discovered people were interested in purchasing them.  Find below a picture of the T-shirt that comes in men's medium or large.

If you would like to purchase one of our very cool T-shirts, you may not want to hesitate as we only  only 6 left.

You can purchase a T-shirt one of two ways: by using the handy PayPal feature provided or by stopping by our office.

Please select size

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Climate Change Disbelievers

Frontline documentary on those reversing the belief in Climate Change.  Watch in preparation for our presentation on November 11th.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fracking Coming to Southern Illinois

It is important to be aware of what is going on in our city, our state and our country.  Hydrofracturing or "fracking" as its known, is coming to Southern Illinois amid much controversy.  If you don't know the issue, you can learn by clicking on this short video:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


From today's NWI Times

Lower lake levels could hurt region, industry

Climate change is expected to drop water levels in the Great Lakes, affecting industry and the region.

Levels could drop anywhere from a few inches to several feet as water evaporates in the drought conditions, experts said Wednesday.

Extreme weather will become more commonplace. Heat waves will be more severe. Drought will be more frequent, said Don Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois.

Those are local impacts of climate change that are already occurring, Wuebbles said,
Even the 46 percent increase in extreme rainfall in the last 50 years won't overcome diminishing Great Lakes levels, said Wuebbles, who is co-authoring the long-awaited 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In short, the climate is changing, and the only logical explanation for this change is human activity, said Wuebbles, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the IPCC and Al Gore for their work on climate change.

"We're going to have to learn to adapt to climate change," Wuebbles said during the panel discussion "Great Lakes Water Scarcity and Regional Economic Development" at Northwestern University's Chicago campus.

Panelists agreed that the Great Lakes region would be hard hit if more isn't done about climate change. This year, the region and most of the country has experienced record heat, which has led to evaporation.

In Chicago, millions of people rely on Lake Michigan water. And suburbs strapped with declining well water supplies may be hard-pressed to link to declining lake supplies.

Panelists emphasized that the effects of climate change stretch well beyond the Midwest. The Great Lakes hold roughly 20 percent of the world's freshwater supply.

Cameron Davis, senior adviser to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said lower water levels already are affecting fishing, shipping and tourism.

When industry is impacted, it hurts the entire region. Davis said the Great Lakes support 1.5 million jobs and account for $62 billion in wages.

"To this region, water is everything," he said. "Water is our life."

When any of these lakes see a drop in water level, the ramifications are felt across the globe, said David Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

Even though climate change is a global problem, Ullrich said it should be dealt with at the municipal level. Cities need to develop ways to reduce water consumption and do a better job of protecting their water resources and coastal areas.

Regional governments have hammered out a number of compacts and agreements related to climate change, but the process has been hindered by a lack of specific goals, targets and timelines, Ullrich said.

Wuebbles said the potential impacts of climate change are so great the problem has to be taken seriously. The cost of doing something about climate change is small, he said, compared to the potential risks.

"It's how much humanity decides we're going to go," Wuebbles said.

Wednesday's panel discussion was sponsored by the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, the Midwest Energy and Sustainability Leadership Alliance, Argonne National Laboratory and the Shedd Aquarium.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Green Energy Forum October 10th, 2012

Now that Leucadia is no longer an issue of concern for the residents of the Southeast side, SETF, along with their EJ Alliance partners is planning to investigate better alternatives. Contrary to what some people believe, we support new development for the area.  Because the 10th ward has some of the largest tracts of vacant land it is key  to providing jobs, taxes and development opportunities for the city. But we want to see a comprehensive plan of sustainable development and not this piece meal approach that has been taken thus far. With the large number of contiguous acres of land available, opportunity exists for innovative thinking to be applied to produce a plan for an Eco-industrial park that would be an asset to our community and a model for the rest of the country.

To find out how you can help direct this effort and to learn more about what opportunities might exist, come to our Community Forum on October 10th at the Zone. 

Couldn't Have Asked for a Lovelier Evening

Last Saturday, SETF went unplugged for the evening and invited our members to join us. We met at Calumet Park by the boat dock for an evening of relaxation and conversation. Sitting around the fire, in the peacefulness of the evening, with only the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze, and the waves lapping the shore  it was easy to forget we were in the city. The huge harvest moon suspended over the lake was a sight to see.  It's a little known secret that Calumet Park is all but empty at this time of the year and unlike the congested north side lakefront, a joy to be at.

Sipping warm drinks and snacking on goodies, the group engaged in easy conversation, sharing humorous stories and commenting on our state of affairs.  As the evening wore on, and the temperature dipped a  more, we huddled closer to the fire.  Originally scheduled to end at 9:00 PM ( the assumption being that people would not be able to survive longer without access to their cell phones) we ended up extending  the time until 11:30 PM when the appearance of a police car made it clear it was time to pack up and go.

SETF thanks everyone who came out.  And we hope to accommodate requests to do it again.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Celebrate our 2012 successes with us at our end of the summer cook-out at Papi Chulo's Bar and Grill on the river front.  We have a fun day of activities planned: raffles, games, music, food and conversation.
Goodies baked by our board members will be raffled off, as well as  baskets filled with wine or natural health and beauty products.  And whether an active athlete or a vegetative couch potato, you'll want to participate in our Split the Pot Boccie tournament. The ability to roll a ball is the only skill necessary.

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Papi Chulos Bar and Grill (on the river)
13601 Hoxie Ave., Chicago
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Menu includes:  hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pasta salad, tossed salad and soda or water.  Food will be served between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM only.  CASH BAR

You may purchase your ticket at our SETF office, from one of our Board Members or at the PayPal link conveniently located here:

Friday, August 17, 2012

SETF Granted Funds Through the Millennium Reserve Project

The Southeast Environmental Task Force proudly announces that their submission was among the initial projects selected to be funded through the Millennium Reserve Project that was announced by Senator Richard Durbin and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar on Thursday. 

The twelve model projects selected to be funded under the Millennium Reserve Project were:

Blue Island Rain Barrel Initiative, Burnham Prairie Restoration, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps, Calumet Water Trails Brochure, Greencorps Chicago, Midlothian Creek Green Infrastructure Plan, Mighty Acorns Program: Calumet Partnership, Mighty Acorns Program: Calumet Partnership, Millennium Reserve Roots, Northerly Island Restoration, Off the Beaten Path Eco-Tours, and River Volunteer Stewardship Program: Kickapoo Woods Demonstration Site.

All twelve project will further the intent to transform the Calumet Region of Chicago into a one-of-a-kind public destination through the conservation, restoration and enhancement of our natural ecosystems; consequently supporting prosperous communities and stimulating economic growth.

Peggy Salazar explaining SETF's Calumet Vision

Just one of the 12 model projects on display.

Suzanne Malek-Mckenna points out a map of the Millennium Reserve to Secretary Salazar

Zhanna Yarmokov of the Chicago Park District with Board Member Tom Shepherd

Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust with SETF members Peggy Salazar and Tom Shepherd

Mark Carroll of the Rowing Group poses with Tom and Peggy

Catching up with Judy Pollack, Director of Regional Audubon

Tom posing with Duane Ambrosz of IDNR

Tom chatting it up with Benjamin Cox, Director of Friends of the Forest Preserve

Explaining or Calumet Vision to Carolyn Marsh and Scott Harper

Salazar, Shepherd and Salazar

SETF member, William Balasas
Secretary Salazar with SETF Intern John Rossi

Walter Marcisz, Carolyn Marsh, Peggy Salazar