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Earth Month 2014 

What began as a modest “teach-in day” in 1970 has turned into a global phenomenon lasting a full month with enormous effects.

When U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) saw images of the 1969 oil spill on a pristine California beach, he resolved to use the tragedy as a teaching moment for young people, and the first Earth Day was born. Senator Nelson chose April 22, as it was the day after naturalist John Muir’s birthday and most college students would be back to campus from spring break.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans participated in “teach-ins”, tree plantings, waterway clean-ups and more, far exceeding Sen. Nelson’s expectations. A new social movement and a new consciousness were launched. Each year, participation in Earth Day grew, and the activism of the era compelled Congress to act to protect our air, water and endangered species. By 1990, Earth Day was celebrated worldwide, and many communities now take an entire week or even month to celebrate.

In Illinois, we consider every day to be Earth Day. Protecting our natural resources helps to improve our public health, economy, tourism and quality of life. We take our stewardship duties seriously and Illinois State Government tries to lead by example. We invite you to explore our Earth Month website to learn about the wide array of initiatives we’ve undertaken to make Illinois a more livable place for future generations. Happy Earth Month 2014!

Greening Illinois

Greening the Mansion

Built in 1855, the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield is among the oldest and longest continuously-occupied Governor’s residences in the nation. Abraham Lincoln and six other Presidents attended events there. Governor Pat Quinn has declared it the “People’s House” and hosted a wide range of audiences and guests there.

To set a “green” example for all Illinois residents, Governor Quinn has been transforming this 159-year old relic into a model of sustainable living.

Transformation Timetable Available Here

Press Releases

Governor Quinn Proclaims Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day in Illinois

Urges People Across the State to Go Green and Continue Environmental Consciousness

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed Tuesday, April 22 as “Earth Day” in Illinois and urged residents to get outdoors and involved in keeping Illinois at the forefront of conservation and sustainability. The Governor also discussed the work the state is doing to improve sustainability and protect our environment. Today’s proclamation is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Full Release Available Here

Governor Quinn Announces Investments to Conserve Lake Michigan Shoreline

Visits Volunteer Beach Clean-up to Announce Investments That Will Support Environmental Education and Stewardship Projects

CHICAGO – In honor of Earth Month, Governor Pat Quinn today visited a volunteer clean-up of Chicago’s Oak Street Beach to announce a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the Millennium Reserve-Calumet region. The projects will be funded through the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP), which was formed in 2012 by Governor Quinn to protect Illinois’ 63-mile Lake Michigan shoreline. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Full Release Available Here

Governor Quinn: Happy 50th Birthday, Skokie Swift!

Innovative Mass Transit Line Curbed Car Traffic and Noise

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn celebrated the Skokie Swift’s 50th birthday and Earth Month by reminding Illinois residents of the importance of mass transit to our economy and health.

“The Skokie Swift was a mass transit trailblazer, curbing traffic and noise while being the first CTA line to be fully accessible to those with physical disabilities,” Governor Quinn said. “Generations of commuters view the Skokie Swift as a cultural and economic lifeline, and still regard its iconic ‘swift’ logo with affection.”

Full Release Available Here

Earth Day in the Parks Promotes Natural Resources Stewardship for Students

Eighth annual event will be held across the state on several dates in April and May

SPRINGFIELD – More than 750 students will visit Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) state parks in April and May for the eighth annual Earth Day in the Parks event series. Earth Day in the Parks is an initiative of the IDNR to introduce students to environmental stewardship.

Full Release Available Here

Governor Quinn Announces $16.5 Million for Local Park and Open Space Projects

46 Local Park District Projects Will Expand Outdoor Recreation Opportunities and Promote Healthy Lifestyles

LA GRANGE PARK – Governor Pat Quinn today announced $16.5 million in investments for 46 local park projects across Illinois. The investments will expand outdoor recreation opportunities in communities across Illinois, and are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that no child is left inside.

“Parks and outdoor recreational activities help make Illinois a great place to live and work,” Governor Quinn said. “These projects will create jobs, allow more families to get active outdoors and promote healthy lifestyles.”

Full Release Available Here

Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett today, as part of the Agency’s Earth Month activities, announced household hazardous waste collections have been scheduled in eight communities for spring 2014.  Through household hazardous waste collections, citizens are given the opportunity to safely dispose of unused or leftover household products commonly found in homes, basements and garages.  Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Full Release Available Here

Illinois EPA Honors Young Environmentalists in 27th Annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest Ceremony

Students recognized for creativity on the importance of environmental justice

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett today honored a group of distinguished fifth and sixth grade students selected for their creative skills used to express environmental awareness, as part of the Agency’s 27th Annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest. The writers and artists selected from throughout Illinois were recognized at a reception in the Old State Capitol building in downtown Springfield.

Full Release Available Here

Governor Quinn Encourages “Lights Out” During 2014 Earth Hour on March 29

Orders State Facilities to Keep Lights Off Across State

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today urged Illinois residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour 2014 by turning off their lights for one hour on Saturday, March 29. He also ordered “lights out” from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. that day at many state facilities, including the James R. Thompson Center, Michael A. Bilandic Building, Illinois State Fairgrounds and other state facilities in Springfield, Peoria, Rockford, Champaign, Carbondale and Marion.

Full Release Available Here

IDNR Awards Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants to Schools

Privately Funded Program to Assist Nearly 8,000 Students in Learning about Illinois’ Natural Heritage

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller today announced the awarding of more than $96,000 in Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants. The 103 grants to schools in 41 counties, made possible through private donations, will assist more than 7,700 students to visit Illinois state parks, museums and other natural resources sites to learn about nature and conservation.

Full Release Available Here

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois is First in the Nation in Renewable Energy Use

New Report says 91 Illinois Communities Have Achieved 100 Percent Renewable Electricity

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that a new report has found Illinois leads the nation in the number of communities using renewable electricity. The report shows 91 Illinois communities have achieved 100 percent renewable electricity, far more than any other state. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

Full Release Available Here