Saturday, December 17, 2011

Studies on Cell Phones Convincing Enough To Promote Limited Use in Canada

Earlier research links just a half an hour's use a day with up to 40% higher odds of brain cancer. Children's maturing brains are especially susceptible, and will have decades of use before middle age. How to negotiate a reasonable relationship with this dangerous technology? Can you turn off your phone when not in use? Or carry it in a purse or bag away from your body? How about texting or using the speaker phone instead of putting the phone directly to your ear? Use old fashioned land line when not in travel? 
"December 9, 2011
Health Canada Admits Studies on Cell Phones Convincing Enough To Promote Limited Use

Ignorance may or may not be bliss, but one thing is certain -- it is very profitable. At least that's what cell phone companies count on to increase their bottom line. Health Canada may not be the most reputable agency when it comes to protecting the health of Canadians, but a promising initiative from the regulating body is proposing to adopt a precautionary approach and guidelines for limited cellphone use.
Canadians are encouraged to limit cellphone call length and to text message or use a hands-free device whenever possible (to increase the distance between the cellphone and the user's head). Those under 18 should be especially careful to limit all cellphone use. Children are still growing and are therefore much more sensitive to external agents such as radiation". For the complete article follow this link.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Committee Meetings - New Initiatives Day - Feb 1st and March 7th

Environmental Committee meetings take place on the first Wednesday of the month, 7 pm at Paul Revere Fieldhouse.

January 4 (CANCELED)
February 1st and March 7th  (NEW INITIATIVES DAY) 

Have you been wanting to join NNA's Environmental Committee? Then all that is required it that you become a member. Do you have an idea or want to lead your own initiative? Then February 1st and March 7th is for you! Join NNA's Environmental Committee and present your ideas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Are Earthworms Native to the Great Lakes?

Interesting information!
Ask anyone on the street if earthworms are good for ecosystems and you will undoubtedly receive a resounding “YES!”. When asked why, they may say something like “earthworms mix and aerate the soil”. It is a basic ecological concept that we may have learned as early as kindergarten. However, recent research on invasion of these seemingly benevolent creatures into previously earthworm-free hardwood forests of the Great Lakes Region has seriously challenged that belief. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, and elsewhere, have documented dramatic changes in native hardwood forest ecosystems when exotic earthworms invade. These changes including losses of native understory plant species and tree seedlings, changes in soil structure and declines in nutrient availability. There is also fascinating evidence emerging that the changes caused by exotic earthworms may lead to a cascade of other changes in the forest that affect small mammal, bird and amphibian populations, increase the impacts of herbivores like white-tailed deer, and facilitate invasions of other exotic species such as European slugs and exotic plants like buckthorn and garlic mustard. These results suggest that exotic earthworms may pose a grave threaten the biodiversity and long term stability of hardwood forest ecosystems in the region. Much more research is needed.
So, which earthworms are native in the Great Lakes Region? None! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Caped Crusaders

Great article, check it out! More reasons to start a bat initiative.

Let's get the myths out of the way.
Bats are not blind rabies-infested vermin that will suck your blood and entangle themselves in your hair.
What they are, obviously, is misunderstood. And, sadly, threatened.
Rob Mies got interested in bats while a student at Eastern Michigan University almost 20 years ago.
Over the years I became fascinated with how important bats are and how much people don't know," he says. "If they learn just a little bit of information about them, people become pro-bat. Or just not hate them."

Read more:

Anne Hunt - People You Should Know

Bruce and Anne Hunt, Mari Monroy, Cesar Espinoza

Congratulations to Anne Hunt, Bruce Hunt, Janice Ryan and all the members of the “St. Ben’s Buds” who work on Saturdays to make our area look so great. The award recognizes that in caring for our landscape, we contribute a significant commitment to our neighborhood and to the whole city. Gardens and other green spaces help improve air quality, utilize rainwater and make Chicago a beautiful place in which to live.

Ingenuity, design, volunteer effort and use earned a First Place Mayor’s Landscape Award for St. Benedict Parish and Schools, 2215 W. Irving Park. On Saturday, December 3, the winners of the 55th year’s competition were honored at a ceremony and received plaques from Karen Weigert, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer. The 1st place award to St. Benedict is in the schools category, in one of three regions in the city.

The gardens are adjacent to St. Ben’s preschool, elementary and high schools. Students of all ages come to the gardens for hands-on interaction with the green space. Eighth graders raise money for a class trip by selling bulbs, which they plant along Bell Avenue. Scout troops plant lilac trees, nasturtium seeds and the bulbs from Easter lilies used in the church. Students earn service points when they join regular members of the St. Ben’s Buds garden club to weed, trim, rake and spread mulch. Teaching children to love the earth is a part of the curriculum. How fortunate to have classrooms surrounded by green, growing plants and trees!

The “St. Ben’s Buds” take advantage of plant swaps organized by the Northcenter Neighborhood Association Garden Club and Greencorps Chicago, as well as divided plants from parishioners’ gardens. Annuals from the 47th Ward and the Chamber of Commerce also enhanced the beds this season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NNA's Partnership with North Branch Restoration Project

The Northcenter Neighborhood Association would like to announce their newly created partnership with the North Branch Restoration Project!

As part of the Greening of Northcenter Neighborhood, the Environmental Committee has joined forces with  the North Branch Restoration Project (NBRP), on their latest project, The Parkway Corner Initiative. This initiative aims to restore public land within the Northcenter Neighborhood Association's  (NNA) borders back to native plant systems, corner by corner. With the help of residents living near these corners,  these native plant areas will create forage for our wildlife, help to absorb rainwater near catch basins, and function as a way educate our neighbors and our children about the importance and history of Chicago's very own native plants!

The Parkway Corner Initiative will be the first truly "urban native plant initiative" within NNA's borders.  Soon, all members of NNA will receive an email listing the details and requirements to be a part of this exciting project.  Although the parkways will not be registered as natural prairies, or woodland ecosystems like many of the areas NBRP manages, this is a beautiful meeting of humans and native plants thriving together.

For those of you who do know The North Branch Restoration Project,  they are a group of dedicated citizens who have worked to help protect and restore native Illinois ecosystems in forest preserves and other public lands along the North Branch of the Chicago River since the 1970's. With over a dozen or so management sites they are among the finest natural areas in the county! 

For more information on the North Branch Restoration Project,  please visit:

Environmental Committee meetings take place on the first Wednesday of the month, 7 pm at Paul Revere Fieldhouse.
      January 4 (CANCELED)
      February 1st and March 7th  (NEW INITIATIVES DAY)

Have you been wanting to join NNA's Environmental Committee? Then all that is required it that you become a member. Do you have an idea or want to lead your own initiative? Then February 1st and March 7th is for you! Join NNA's Environmental Committee and present your ideas!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

47th Ward Fall Clean & Green 9am - 3 pm

Don't miss this great opportunity to be part of a Ward-wide effort to clean and beautify our neighborhoods and the Chicago River! 

This is the 1st event of this kind that our new alderman's office is sponsoring. River Clean-up is on the priority list, and the MWRD barge will be on the river at Berteau at approximately 8am.  The barge captain is willing to give a presentation at that time to the children regarding what they do for the river. Bring your children or their whole class to see our beautiful river.  The barge will go as far north as Lawrence and then down through the 32nd Ward to Goose Island and clean the river of debris and trim low hanging branches on both sides of the bank.

Contact the Wards office for more info: or call 773-868-4747

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Biodynamics for the Backyard & Garden

1 DAY WORKSHOP (Limit 30 people)
Learn about the origin and fundamental principles of Biodynamic agriculture in both theory and practice. Special emphasis will be placed on practical applications on a smaller scale for the yard, garden and vegetable plot. We will make a liquid treatment to fortify the soil and plants, an application to stimulate microbial activity in compost piles, and a poultice paste to strengthen and heal a 100 year-old horse chestnut tree.

Grace Street Garden
Hosted by Lisa Hish and Elizabeth Wenscott
2112 W. Grace St.
Chicago, IL. 60618

Sunday, October 23, 2011
10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Biodynamic Tree Paste 
12:00 pm 1:00 pm - Biodynamic Compost Pile Application 
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Yard & Garden Stir and Soil Application 

Guests that participate in the Yard and Garden Stir will receive a pint size sample of Biodynamic Soil Prep to take home . PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINER!!!!

Complete do-it-yourself Biodynamic yard and garden application  and or compost applications will be available for purchase.

Class taught by Ben Wilson of Angelic Organics.

Please pre-register by email to: or call (773) 396-2653.

Annual Plant Swap

Annual Garden Swap

Saturday, October 8th  at 9am 
Do you have extra plants or pots and not enough room to enjoy them? Consider sharing the rewards of your own garden at our annual Garden Swap. This is a perfect opportunity to trade tips along with your flora while recycling at the same time. Please label your plants in containers or bags so that everyone can enliven their own gardens with new plants from friends and neighbors.

The Plant Swap will be hosted by Julie Hobert at her home:
2037 W. Bradley Place

Botonist H.S. Pepoon and Lake View High School

When researching the flora of Northwest Illinois there is one man’s name that repeatedly shows up: H.S. Pepoon. More well known in Chicagoland, Pepoon was a native of Northwest Illinois, was the first professional botanist to study the area’s flora and is responsible for the creation of Apple River Canyon State Park.

His father, George Pepoon, was a Lieutenant in the Civil War, a member of  the famed 96th Infantry from Galena, IL. He was the Superintendent of Schools for Jo Daviess County as well as the Warren Township Assessor. Pepoon School on Twin Bridges Road is named after him. Herman Silas Pepoon was born to George and Mary Pepoon in Warren, Illinois on January 21, 1860.

Herman grew up south of Warren, IL and attended Warren High School (1877).  He left for Champaign to attend the The University of Illinois, graduating with a degree in Natural History (1881). After graduating from Hahnemann Medical College in 1883 he became a doctor and practiced medicine from 1883 until 1892 in Nebraska and Lewistown, IL. In 1892 he left Lewistown and the medical profession to become a botany instructor at Lake View High School in Chicago. He held that position for 38 years until he retired in 1930, when he reached the limit age of 70 years old.

For the rest of the story H.S. Pepoon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Year of the Bat

Bat Conservation International has become a 2011-2012 International Year of the Bat lead partner and we urge you to participate in the global celebration.

2011 October 15. Chicago, Illinois. BCI Bat Symposium will take place at The Field Museum. Featured speaker will be the Founder and President Emeritus Bat Conservation International Dr. Merlin Tuttle. This is a great opportunity for all members of NNA to learn from leading bat biologists about our friend and neighbor the bat.  To register

Friday, July 15, 2011

Designing the Building-Landscape Interface

As borders between buildings and their natural surroundings become more permeable, experts see green surfaces and related features as functional components of building systems, with evolving standards, clearer metrics, and definable benefits.

Nature has been prototyping designs far longer than humans have. And as architects strive to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of green-building standards, some of them are looking to exploit that experience by bridging the gap between nature and the built environment. The end goal: creating a functional interface between the two that improves building performance.
In the second half of the 20th century, buildings and landscape became disconnected. Many architects saw nature as an unruly force to be excluded at all costs. Nonetheless, a small but vocal group maintained interest in the interplay of the built and natural environments. And today, architects increasingly see biomimetic and biophilic approaches as practical strategies.
For the complete article follow...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Bridge between NNA's Garden Walk & Environmental Committee 2011

NNA gardeners celebrate the first completed Parkway Corner
All things are possible in the Northcenter Neighborhood! This year the Garden Club stepped up to do their part by embracing several of the Environmental Committee's initiatives. Proving once again that residence of the Northcenter Neighborhood Association are “home to many progressive and forward-thinking families who are committed to lives that make a small footprint on the earth’s resources.”

Here are the numbers on the successes of this years Garden Walk…

44 Gardens participated in this year’s garden walk
250 maps were handed out!

6 registered their gardens as TRANSITIONAL
3 registered their gardens as ORGANIC
2 registered their gardens as BIODYNAMIC

The 1st corner was completed in time for this years garden walk (SW corner of Hamilton and Byron) The corner was designed by Rinda West, maintained by Mercedes Prause and sponsored by NNA)

21 registered as BEE FRIENDLY

3 certified their backyards as a WILDLIFE HABITAT  

A special thanks goes out to Karen Carter-Lynch and Julie Hobert for all their support in helping to build this bridge!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

A truly inspiring TED video about pollination, which truly manages to picture the beauty of nature and the importance of the service provided by pollinators. Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life. This video provide amazing scenes from Schwartzberg Wings of Life movie.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wonderful Wasps

Wonderful Wasps: 
Everything you didn't know you wanted to know about wasps in your garden!

Friday, June 24 at 8:00 PM

Tai Chi Center of Chicago 
4043 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 201 
Chicago, IL 606013 

Eric R. Eaton, professional writer and entomologist and principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America will give an illustrated talk about wasps, their role in the garden, and how you can enhance their nesting habitat (along with native solitary bees). He will also answer questions about insects and arachnids.

Check Eric out on line at: 
Eric also contributes to the following sites: 

Bring your book for Eric to sign. 
(no books will be sold at this event, so hurry and make sure to order your book online!)
This is a friendly neighborhood event with NO CHARGE but feel free to bring something to eat or drink to share and a folding chair if you have one.

The Bullfrogs Community Choir will provide a musical treat.

This event is sponsored by 

Parkway #1 Complete

Top Left: Before - Right: After

To create pollinator friendly parkway corner landscapes using native plant sources to create a colorful array of pesticide free, bee's, birds, butterfly and even bat friendly landscapes.

Native plants are deep-rooted plants and will also help to absorb rainwater deep into the soil versus short rooted plants/grass which have very short roots systems. Native plants can also withstand a large range of wet-to-dry conditions making these corners requiring very low maintenance.

Designed by Rinda West. 
Sponsored by Northcenter Neighborhood Association
Maintained by Mercedes Prause
Worker bees included Green Kenny and Scott, the neighbors surrounding Hamilton & Byron, Elizabeth Wenscott and Mercedes Prause.

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis
Wild Petunia   Ruellia humilis
Black Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia hirta
New England Aster - Aster novae-angliae
Woodland Aster - Aster divaricatus
Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum
Husker Red Penstemon 
Evening Primrose - Oenothera macrocarpa
Penn Sedge - Carex pennsylvanica
Prairie Dropseed Grass - Sporobolus heterolepis
Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Beebalm - Monarda fistulosa

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring has Sprung and WE are going Greener

With the start of the gardening season and the Garden Walk just around the corner (June 26th) now is the time to consider going a little or a lot greener!

The Northcenter Neighborhood Association has created an Environmental Committee, and members of that committee, have come of with a few initiatives that we hope will tie in with members of the Garden Club!

The Green Lawn Initiative
Is an initiative to create a coalition of gardeners, neighbor - by neighbor, that are committed to creating beautiful green lawns for all (wildlife, pets, children etcetera). Once a coalition of committed gardeners grow in numbers we will be able to
  • obtain eco-friendly lawn services at a discount;
  • affect the products and techniques used in Northcenter;s parks and public spaces; and
  • ensure a clean soil and water supply for our health.
If you live within NNA's borders, register your yard with us and receive a corresponding sign to position on your lawn. For those of you that participate in the NNA's Garden Walk let show your commitment to a healthier, greener garden! Join by emailing us at and let us know what kind of lawn you have.

Organic gardening incorporates the entire landscape design and environment to improve and maximize the garden soil's health, structure, texture, as well as maximize the production and health of developing plants without using synthethic commercial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides.

Biodynamic gardening is a method of organic gardening that treats the landscape as a unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a self nourishing system without external inputs. As in organic gardening, artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are strictly avoided. Methods using fermented herbal and mineral preparations are applied according to the astronomical sowing and planting calendar.

Transitional gardening means the gardener/s have chosen to adopt either Organic gardening methods or Biodynamic gardening methods. It takes 3 years for a garden to heal from conventional gardening practices to a healthy vibrant organic garden, hence the name, Transitional.

Parkway Corner Initiative
Is an initiative to create pollinator friendly parkway corner landscapes using native plant sources to create a colorful array of pesticide free, bee's, birds, butterfly and even bat friendly landscapes.

Native plants are deep-rooted plants and will also help to absorb rainwater deep into the soil versus short rooted plants/grass which have very short roots systems. Native plants can also withstand a large range of wet-to-dry conditions making these corners requiring very low maintenance.

If you live within NNA's borders and would like your corner to be beautified with attract native pollinators, email us at

The Bee Trail Project
The Bee Trail map was created in response to the devestating number of Honeybee losses since 2006. The goal of the Bee Trail Project is to protect the Honeybee (and all other native pollinators) by having as many households gardens, public spaces, schools... within 3 mile radius of a recognized hive and make those spaces bee friendly.

NNA members, gardner, beekeeper, Elizabeth Wenscott and Lisa Hish have created a unique opportunity for its residence. Both have agreed to allow our residence to be the first go "get of the map" before it goes national. For more information of The Bee Trail Project, please visit

ALSO DID YOU KNOW that Chicago is pushing to be the first major city in the U.S. to be certified as wildlife habitat friendly (food, water, cover, and places to raise young) through the National Wildlife Federation? To accomplish this goal Chicago need 1,000 residence, local schools, churches or businesses to get certified.  Gethsemane Gardens has teamed up with the NWF and is ready to help us if needed. For more information go to

These are exciting times in the Northcenter Neighborhood and we hope that spring will inspire to carry through with "Big Ideas or Little Acts."  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program

Link to the Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program
2011 Sustainable Backyard Workshops
Learn how to make your back, front or side yard more environmentally sustainable. These workshops will cover the basics of installing a rain barrel, setting up a compost bin, planting a tree, planning a native garden and more. Unless noted otherwise, registration is not necessary.
2011 Sustainable Backyard Rebates
Rebate forms are available to Chicago residents for up to 50% off their next local purchase of:
TREES (up to $100 back)
NATIVE PLANTS (up to $60 back)
COMPOST BINS (up to $50 back)
RAIN BARRELS (up to $40 back)
The benefits of trees, beyond aesthetic appeal, are well documented and include the following:
  • Improved Air Quality. Trees absorb air pollutants and help reduce smog.
  • Stormwater Management. Street trees intercept and absorb rain, reducing and slowing the amount of runoff that makes its way to the sewer system.
  • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. As a tree grows, it sequesters carbon dioxide and converts it to woody and leaf biomass.
  • Improved Wildlife Habitat. Urban forests provide food and shelter to many important native and migratory birds and animals.
  • Improved Energy Conservation. When strategically planted, trees can cut heating and air conditioning costs by providing shade and cutting the wind.
Native Midwestern plants have evolved to thrive in our natural conditions and once established, require little maintenance. Native plants are deep-rooted plants and help direct rainwater into the soil. If planted in a rain garden in conjunction with a disconnected downspout, native plants are especially effective for managing stormwater. Native plants are ideal for rain gardens because many can withstand a range of wet-to-dry conditions, and their long roots absorb more water. Plus, they are beautiful and attract birds and beneficial butterflies and insects.
Composting is a natural way to turn your fruit, vegetable, and yard waste into a dark, soil-like natural fertilizer for your garden, lawn, or indoor plants. Backyard composting helps recycle valuable organic resources, reduce air pollution from refuse trucks, and extend the life of our landfills.
Up to 40% of the water we use at home is spent on watering our lawns and gardens during hot summer months. Instead of using water from the tap, which requires energy and money to treat and deliver to our homes, we can use a rain barrel to collect and store rainwater from our roofs through a disconnected downspout.
To receive periodic updates about the program including new incentives and workshop dates, send us an email at or call us at 312.743.9283. We will automatically add you to our contact list.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Green Buildings

Three great video's sent to us from Karen Carter!

Green ARch with Jeanne Gang

Chicago's City Hall Green Roof

Organic Rooftop Farming in Chicago from OrganicNation

NNA's Annual Meeting

Mark your calendar! Our annual meeting is on Monday, May 16th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sultzer Library. Come hear about the amazing year we have had, and help us to plan and ensure that 2011-12 is even better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Earth Day - April 22, 2011

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

What will you be doing on Earth Day? Need and idea? Go to

Green Fire

The Green Fire Film Project

Green Fire was produced in partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the US Forest Service. The film provocatively examines Leopold’s thinking, renewing his idea of a land ethic for a population facing 21st century ecological challenges. Leopold's biographer, conservation biologist Dr. Curt Meine, serves as the film's on-screen guide.

Green Fire describes the formation of Leopold’s idea, exploring how it changed one man and later permeated through all arenas of conservation. The film draws on Leopold’s life and experiences to provide context and validity, then explores the deep impact of his thinking on conservation projects around the world today. Through these examples, the film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land community.

The high-definition film will utilize photographs, correspondence, manuscripts and other archival documents from the voluminous Aldo Leopold Archives as well as historical film and contemporary full-color footage on location, including landscapes that influenced Leopold and that he in turn influenced.

The film also features commentary and insight from some of today’s most recognized and credible scholars and conservation leaders, including: three of Aldo Leopold’s children—Nina, Carl, and Estella, Leopold scholars, noted environmental writers, scientists, humanities experts, public policy leaders, business leaders,; and leaders of non-profit groups inspired by Leopold.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Earth Hour - Candle Power

Earth Hour - Candle Power
March 26, 2011
8:30 - 9:30pm

Northcenter Neighborhood Association  invites all households and businesses to turn off their nonessential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

During Earth Hour - Candle Power
  • Light a candle and place it in your front window so all can see your commitment to a healthy environment.
  • Sit out on your front porch with family and friends and share in the fun with your neighbors.
  • Let us know if you participate and we will compile the total power saved in Northcenter
  • Create your own unique Candle Power event.

For the official Earth Hour website, please visit

19th Annual Chicago River Day


The Chicago River vs. The Los Angeles River. The competition is ON!
The Windy City is taking on the City of Angels - but with an ecological twist. For decades, our two cities have hosted some of the largest volunteer-driven river clean-ups in the country - and this year, we’re competing to be the best.
The Urban River Challenge is a three-month competition between our two organizations to see who can 
(1) get the largest number of volunteers out to our large watershed workday/cleanup events Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 
(2) add the most new Facebook fans leading up to their cleanup. The prize for this competition is the fame, acclaim and the knowledge that both of our rivers will be better off than they were before the challenge began. And, just so you know, we are in this it win it Chicago!!!!!
The competition is from March 1 through May 20, 2011. Help the Chicago River win the Urban River Challenge. Follow this link for more information!