Diverse programs offered at the Aug. 23-24 Renewable Energy Fair

By Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President, Illinois Renewable Energy Association

Ideas from many varied areas may be gleaned from this year’s Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair, set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24, at Ogle County Fairgrounds, 1440 N. Limekiln Road, Oregon, Illinois. In addition to renewable energy and sustainable lifestyles, specific topics include home energy efficiency and environmental interests.

Building energy-efficient homes and renovating old ones to become more efficient will be covered. In addition, ComEd and Nicor will discuss their home energy programs for those interested in upgrades. Smart Ideas gives homeowners the ability to make informed choices about how they and their family can manage electrical use. The energySMART program offers rebates and financing for energy efficiency improvements for residential and business customers of Nicor. Many good reasons exist to make a home more energy efficient.

These programs can help people reduce their utility bills and reduce their electrical use through environmentally-responsible actions. Tools, tips and rebates offered by both utilities will help customers save money and energy throughout the home. Visit their booths and learn. ComEd will only be present Sunday.

Diverse environmental topics are also included in the program. Dr. Philip Whitford, a.k.a. “Dr. Goose,” will talk about his stunning success in eliminating nuisance goose populations at the Madison, Wisconsin, airport. He reports that “final results were 97.99 percent reduction in goose strike risks September to January (peak migrant presence in Madison where strikes rose more than 40 fold from those of resident goose population numbers).” His wry style will make the presentation even more interesting.

The Green Lands Blue Waters Consortium (GLBW) is presenting a vision for transformational change and a practical “theory of change” about how to get there. GLBW has a strategy to move from the current dysfunctional agricultural paradigm to a new multi-functional agriculture paradigm. The current paradigm includes intensive row crop production in some areas and feedlots in other areas; both of these have terrible carbon footprints and adverse impacts on soil, water and wildlife.  The new paradigm involves integrating perennial and cover crops (continuous living cover) on the landscape to produce both perennial forage and bioenergy feedstock and also enhance soil, water and wildlife. GLBW’s progress over the past year in developing its strategy is a BIG PICTURE idea.

The Rock River Times’ Editor & Publisher Frank Schier, who is also the founder and coordinator of the Rock River Trail Initiative, will present how the initiative achieved National Water Trail status from the U.S. Department of the Interior & National Park Service for the 320 miles of the Rock River flowing through 37 municipalities and 11 counties in Wisconsin and Illinois. The Rock River National Water Trail is now one of only 11 National Water Trails in the entire country. Recently passed bills and resolutions in the Wisconsin and Illinois legislatures created the Rock River Trail Scenic and Historic Route along adjacent roadways for the entire Rock River from its headwaters above the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge to its mouth on the Mississippi. Recent research and inventories for water quality testing and protection, Native American village sites and effigy mounds, and the authors and sculpture foundries along the course of the Rock River have also been done.

Admission to the fair is $5 per day or $7 for both days. Ages 12-16 are admitted free, as are members of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association.

In addition to presentations and workshops, the fair also offers a market featuring sustainable offerings and live music from Tom Minnihan, Minimal (featuring Zack DeCarlo), Neil Andrews of Case In Point, Don Smith, Mike Minnihan, Adam Gasser, Adam Tobias and the JH Trio.

Learn more about the fair at illinoisrenew.org.

Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl are founders and officers of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) and coordinate the annual Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair. E-mail sonia@essex1.com.

From the Aug. 13-19, 2014, issue

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