St. Charles is putting its environmental efforts on display as judges for the 2016 America in Bloom Program get set to tour the city from July 10 to July 12.
Make no mistake, this is a big deal, and St. Charles is a serious contestant.
The American in Bloom national awards program is more than a beauty contest for floral displays. The program recognizes communities for their environmental efforts, historical preservation and community involvement. And St. Charles is no delicate flower when it comes to these weightier categories.
Take environmental programs and awareness, for example. The Community Profile document the St. Charles in Bloom Committee submitted for the program includes initiatives from the City, Park District, businesses and residents.
Some environmental highlights:
City and Park District
- The Park District worked with School District 303 to collect more than 30 large boxes of gently used school supplies in an effort called Feed the Green Machine. Rather than ending up in a landfill, these items were instead distributed for reuse in summer camps, afterschool programs and daycare facilities.
- In another Park District-School District collaboration, more than 6,000 students visited local parks during the 2015-2016 school year for field trips in wetland ecology, forest ecology and other life-science subjects.
- The Park District has placed recycling containers in all District buildings and community parks and also has initiated a district-wide polystyrene recycling program.
- The City has placed recycling bins around town that sort plastic, aluminum cans and glass, and trash.
- The LEED-certified Hickory Knolls Discovery Center hosts nature- and environment- themed events throughout the year. One key initiative is the Kane County Certified Naturalists, a year-long program that trains adults to become knowledgeable stewards and volunteers in the community.
- Nutrient-dense biosolids produced from the City’s two wastewater plants are used by farms rather than being sent to a landfill.
- St. Charles boasts a 90% residential participation rate in curb side recycling.
- Clarke mosquito control company installed solar panels at their headquarters building in St. Charles that delivered power back to the grid. Solar panels also power electric vehicle charging stations.
- Aquascape Designs water feature design and installation company building is LEED Certified. It also has the largest sloping green roof in North America, planted with native prairie grasses and flowers and a complete irrigation system that recycles rain water.
- Since 2004, 2,177 volunteers have provided more than 160,000 hours of clean up and improvement efforts around town.
Two program judges will tour St. Charles July 10-12. A virtual tour of the judging route will be available on the city’s website so everyone can follow along and see what the judges will be looking at.
“We are excited for the judges to come to St. Charles so we can show off our wonderful community,” said 5th Ward Alderman and America in Bloom Committee Member Maureen Lewis. “I’m amazed at the time and dedication of numerous individuals and organizations that come together to make this happen. We enjoy great community spirit here in St. Charles.”
Because this is a community wide program, the America in Bloom Committee is seeking volunteers to help with this year’s entry. For more information or to volunteer, contact Steve Amatangelo at Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.338.7085; Diane Cullen at email@example.com, or Maureen Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.584.4622.
St. Charles’ America in Bloom Committee
Maureen Lewis, Ward 5 Alderman; Diane Cullen, resident; Steve Amatangelo, resident; Steve Martin, First State Bank; Barbara Campbell, resident; John Thornhill, resident; Frank Esposito, resident; Nona Koivula, resident; Chuck Parr, Resident; Holly Cabel, St. Charles Park District; Pam Otto, St. Charles Park District ; Chris Adesso, City of St. Charles; Isabel Soderlind, City of St. Charles; and Lynne Schwartz, Downtown St. Charles Partnership.
About the City of St. Charles
Friendly neighborhoods, diverse retailers, international employers, innovative schools, beautiful parks, varied cultural amenities, and unique architecture have earned St. Charles its reputation as the Pride of the Fox. Located in both DuPage and Kane counties, the City of St. Charles is 35 miles west of downtown Chicago, and has a population of approximately 33,000. Over 2,100 businesses, consisting of a balanced mix of retailers, restaurants and manufacturing facilities, employ more than 18,000 people. The City of St. Charles was named the #1 City for Families by Family Circle® magazine in 2011; one of the “150 Great Places in Illinois,” by the AIA Illinois; and one of the “Top 10 Towns To Live In” by West Suburban Living magazine. www.stcharlesil.gov.