Organizations Invited to List Programs on Environmental Literacy for Illinois Web site

The Environmental Literacy for Illinois strategic plan was updated last year, and recently, the IDNR created a Web site to collect information from organizations on environmental education programs that are aligned with the plan’s goals. The purpose of this data collection effort is to show that there is interest in working together in a coordinated fashion on environmental literacy in the state and to identify strengths and gaps in implementation.

The reporting pages are now available for organizations to use. These pages can be accessed by going to and clicking on the link to “Enter Goal Implementation Information.” Organizations can request a survey code (necessary for entering data) from

A summary page that will compile the entered information for everyone to access is scheduled to be completed within the next two months.

Share Spray: A New Way to Do Everything [Video]

Watch the video at Shareable.

To convince everyone that sharing is smart and fun, Shareable contributor — and co-author of The Sharing Solution — Janelle Orsi teamed up with the Center for a New American Dream to create the animated Share Spray: A New Way To Do Everything. The piece shows how sharing can change not only one person’s life, but entire communities. Tools, household appliances, green space, toys, cars, food… they are all ripe for sharing. And, as the video illustrates, we don’t need a Sharey Godmother or a share spray to make it happen.

Mo. high school prepares to expand biodiesel production center

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

In Fenton, Mo., Rockwood Summit High School students and chemistry teacher Darrin Peters have taken hands-on learning to a whole new level with biodiesel production. The journey began five years ago when an organic chemistry student learned from Peters that fuel could be produced from waste restaurant grease. She presented research and plans for laboratory experiments to produce biodiesel and, since then, Rockwood Summit High School’s advanced classes in organic chemistry, authentic science research and environmental science have expanded their laboratory work to regularly produce biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oil collected from the school’s cafeteria.

Now, after using a small, dedicated space in one of the school’s storage sheds to produce biodiesel used to power two test vehicles for the past few years, Peters and his students are ready to expand.

Researchers seek to transfer water-wise traits to biofuel crops

Read the full story in Biomass Magazine.

University of Nevada-Reno researchers are leading an effort to identify the gene pathways responsible for the great water efficiency in desert plants, and transfer that to poplar trees being developed for biofuels.

A five-year, multi-institutional $14.3 million U.S. DOE grant to explore the genetic mechanisms of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and drought tolerance in desert-adapted plants was awarded to a team of researchers including John Cushman, a biochemistry professor at UN-R; Xiaohan Yang at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; James Hartwell at the University of Liverpool, U.K.; and Anne Borland at Newcastle University, U.K. and ORNL.

Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs)

Download the document.

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) allow Federal agencies to conduct energy projects with limited to no up-front capital costs, minimizing the need for Congressional appropriations. An ESPC is a working relationship between a Federal agency and an energy service company (ESCO). The ESCO conducts a comprehensive energy audit for the Federal facility and identifies improvements to save energy. In consultation with the Federal agency, the ESCO designs and constructs a project that meets the agency’s needs and arranges the necessary funding. The ESCO guarantees the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the contract ends,all additional cost savings accrue to the agency. Contract terms of up to 25 years are allowed.