The Green Council for School Improvement (GCSI) was established in 2009 to implement and coordinate programs and activities that encourage environmental sustainability, the wise use, recycling and reuse of natural resources, and avoid activities that create adverse environmental consequences.

Key to the council's activities is a Request for Proposal (RFP) process that allows students and staff to submit their action plans for how to make our schools more responsible environmentally.  The District 219 Board of Education has approved funding for these projects.  GCSI members will screen and review the proposals and make the funding decisions.

 ************************************

Happy 100th Birthday National Parks Service!

Join us on October 8th for our Annual Environmental Service Day.

Hello Everyone,

  I hope the new year is treating you well.  I hope you don't mind, but I have kind of taken it upon myself to bring you environmental/green/crunchy-granola news from time to time and today is a big one. 

  100 years ago today, Woodrow Wilson signed "An Act To Establish A National Park Service." The purpose of this act was to create a Service to "promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations....the fundamental purpose of said national parks, monuments, and reservations is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner...as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

  Initially, these lands were managed mainly for their scenery, with "dangerous" megafauna such as wolves, bears, and mountain lions being killed to make the parks safer, and thus, more attractive to tourists.  Thankfully, nowadays, these lands are managed according to best practices that are supported by peer-reviewed science.  We now realize that these lands are important not just for their scenery, but to preserve remnants of the natural ecosystems that were once widespread across our country. 

  If you have ever visited a national park, you know of their magic.  There is solace in open spaces, and our parks have plenty of open space.  In my opinion, they are a necessary requirement for physical, mental, and spiritual health.  I urge you to take a moment today to reflect upon the work of various individuals such as John Muir, Ansel Adams, Stephen Mather, Teddy Roosevelt, and others who fell in love with these lands and saw that their true value lied not in what resources could be mined from them, but rather in their preservation.  Also, take a moment to reflect upon the lives of the Native Americans who felt a spiritual connection to these lands that sustained them and their culture for centuries long before European settlers arrived to stake their claim.


  Although our parks are not perfect, they are about as close as we can get to a stable, sustainable ecosystem in our increasingly urbanized world. Today, these lands are under attack from climate change, invasive species, human encroachment, and politics, but as with many things in this world, they are protected by a small group of people who care an awful lot, including Park Service employees and myriad volunteers.

  With that in mind, you can do your part to improve the quality of natural areas in our country without having to travel too far from home.  The 69,000 acres of the Cook County Forest Preserves, which celebrated its own centennial in 2014, are just outside your door.  Please consider joining my NARWHALS Ecology Club on Saturday, October 8th for our Annual Environmental Service Day.  We will be performing our usual natural areas restoration work of cutting and burning invasive species.  If you, your family, your class, your club, or your team, are interested, please let me know.

  If you are still reading, thanks!  If you gave up already, I understand.  I have a hard time editing myself.  Regardless, hopefully you can find some time to enjoy your favorite natural area(s) sometime in the near future and feel what John Muir shared with this quote:

"Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

Tom Jodelka, tomjod@d219.org, x2756




GCSI Meeting Dates 2016-2017