Lipman, J. (April 20, 2006).
Thursday, April 20, 2006
By Jonathan Lipman
environmentalists who will help their neighbors plant gardens, use public
transportation or make their homes eco-friendly.
Mayor Richard Daley announced the creation of the Chicago Conservation Corps
as part of his 2006 environmental agenda.
"It will be a grassroots network of volunteers," Daley said Wednesday. "Each
neighborhood has its own needs. We want the ideas to come from the people
who live there."
Volunteers would get city-provided training in starting their own local
environmental projects and would get access to city departments for
information and services.
Training for the corps, or "C-3" as the city has nicknamed it, starts in
May. Volunteers will get classes in core areas of environmental action as
well as help in developing their own projects. People with less time to
commit can call the corps to be matched with one-time projects in their
Several environmental groups are working with the city on the project. Ben
Cox, executive director of the Friends of the Forest Preserve, said the
corps is the "real deal" and could boost the number of community gardens and
local cleanup projects you see across the city.
"You're going to have representatives in every neighborhood who are going to
be experts in whatever are they decide (to train in)," Cox said. "They're
going to be able to get the resources they need to get the job done. And
they'll be connected to a network of experts in other projects."
The city itself is trying a new environmental experiment by placing four
high-tech wind turbines atop
highest building-mounted wind generators in the world.
"We're pretty excited about that," Daley said.
The turbines, which look like 15-foot-tall vertical corkscrews made of clear
plastic, will cost $100,000 to install and maintain and will generate enough
power for one or two courtrooms in the 680-foot tall building. City
environmental commissioner Sadhu Johnston said the point is to test the
"We don't know (how much power they'll generate), because it's a test, these
are the first of their kind in
expand it ... to as many buildings as we can."
The turbines are built in
International and were designed
professor Bil Becker.
Becker said his vertical turbines rotate slower, but with more force, than
traditional propeller-style windmills. That makes them safer, quieter and
more stable. Propeller turbines often spin so fast they rock off their base,
throw off dangerous chunks of ice and are invisible to hapless birds who are
killed by the blades.
"We don't know what the winds are. We know they're going to be significant
at the top of the
For information about the Chicago Conservation Corps, call (312) 743-9283.