Palisades Views

Palisades Views Volume XXXXVI No.1 January 2016

Speaker Series: The CCC in Illinois

Kay Rippelmeyer was born on a farm near Valmeyer, Monroe County. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from UI in English Education, she went on to finish a Master’s degree in Literature at Southern Illinois University and completed all the coursework for a PhD in American Culture. Her presentation will be about the work and activities of the 28 CCC camps in southernmost Illinois between the years 1933-1941, including the two camps at Giant City State Park. She will also discuss information about the camp that worked in Pere Marquette State Park. She will bring copies of her two publications, "Giant City State Park and the Civilian Conservation Corps" (2010) and "The Civilian Conservation Corps in Southern Illinois, 1933-1942" (2015), to sell to interested members. A good part of her writing is about the philosophy of the CCC and its role in our country's environmental history. She will also display archival photographs. The program will be on Monday, January 11, 2016, at the First Unitarian Church, 110 E. Third Street in Alton and starts at 7:30 p.m. Attendees and friends are invited to have dinner and meet the speaker at Princivalli's Restaurant, 602 E 3rd St, Alton, IL 62002, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Three Rivers Project in Review

By Christine Favilla and Virginia Woulfe-Beile

2015 was an exciting year for the Three Rivers Project Coordinators. Our mission is to preserve the integrity of the rivers, wetlands, forests, and floodplains in the Piasa Palisades region. Along with protecting the areas big rivers, wetlands and open spaces we also focus on building a vibrant community with a clean energy future and access to sustainable agriculture. We strive to educate the public and the media about the threats to air and water quality facing our region.

As our project name indicates, protecting the area big rivers is paramount in our work. We partner with organizations such as American Rivers, Nicollet Island Coalition, Mississippi River Network, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, and Prairie Rivers Network to advocate and educate on issues impacting the entire Mississippi River Watershed. In 2015 we met with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Springfield to encourage the defunding of the New Madrid Levee, made comments at the US Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining hearing on stream rule making. We also actively serve on policy and steering committees of many of our partners and 1 Mississippi. It is with these coalitions that we uphold our desire to o restore and protect the Upper Mississippi River through navigation reforms and envisions a healthy and sustainable Mississippi River. Thus, we planned and implanted annual meetings and conferences; drafted letters to Congress on the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association’s demonstration project they're developing for the Public-Private Partnership Pilot Program; drafted comments and white papers on the Mississippi River Report Card from America’s Wetland Initiative; and urged full funding and successful implementing the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program.

We endeavor to involve local residents, students, partner organizations and elected officials in events and activities geared toward the protection of our valuable natural resources by planning and implementing the Mississippi Earthtones Festival and the Riverbend Earth Day. The Earthtones move of venue was one we did not wish to make because of the distance from the Mississippi River, but the result was a much more cohesive event: we had wonderful community participation and our 63 river cleanup crew reported 3.5 tons of trash collected as well as 6 tires.

Another important aspect of the Three Rivers Project is to promote clean energy alternatives. With our outstanding volunteers, we participated in Illinois Clean Jobs rallies and petition deliveries to elected officials in Alton and Springfield this past year. We also serve as a resource for the Alton, Godfrey, Granite City, Glen Carbon and Edwardsville Cool Cities Committees which is an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in municipal operations. In this past year we worked closely with Beyond Coal Campaign Organizer Elizabeth Scrafford to raise awareness of the eventuality of the retirement of the aging and dirty Dynegy Wood River power plant and the just transition of the community in this event. Dynegy announced the plant’s retirement in October and we have been working to convene residents, elected officials and community stakeholder at a Town Hall Forum on January 12, at Jacoby Art Center. The purpose of the forum is to begin what we hope is an ongoing conversation on the just transition of the displaced workers, the environment and our community.

Our work also involves protecting wetlands and open spaces. The Cabin Restoration Project has been working to preserve historically significant sleeping cabins in the upper camps at Pere Marquette State Park since 2012. In 2015 the Cabin A Team volunteers along with SIUE Wildlife Biology clubbers rehabbed two more. We also have several Invasive species removal projects in the works.

Sustainable Agriculture is also at the core of our work. As part of the local food project, we planned and started five community gardens and helped Grassroots Grocery design a local foods educational workshop series. We have worked with children to do healthy eating lessons and choose seeds for their gardens, with the help of our local foods intern from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) whose assistance was invaluable. We followed a clear schedule for community garden maintenance with partner organizations, held a successful Urban Farm Tour, and have gained four new steady volunteers as a result, as well as hundreds of pounds of vegetables eaten by those kids and their neighbors.

We want to thank our many volunteers who help make our work possible. Also much gratitude to our Executive Committee and the guidance they provide. Wishing you all the best in the new year!

Powering Your Home with the Sun


Solar energy can be harnessed in any geographic area because of the sun’s vast reach. Illinois has more sun power per square mile than Germany, the world’s leading producer of solar energy.

Solar panels work in cold temperatures. Panels are actually a little more efficient when it’s cooler outside. They can work in snowy climates as well. You get the most solar power on a clear, sunny, day, but your panels won’t stop working when it’s cloudy.

Solar panels protect and preserve the portion of the roof they cover.

For customers in Illinois, 100% financed solar is a better investment than the stock market.

In many locations solar will add substantial value to a home or business.

Solar systems are resilient and have great longevity and typically carry a 25 year warranty.

Solar panels will outlast your roof and are hail tested to sustain 1-inch hail impact at 50 mph.

How a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Works:

The system operates using a principle known as the Photovoltaic Effect (PV). This allows an array of solar PV panels to directly convert solar radiation into electricity as follows:

1. Solar panels capture energy from the sun and create direct current (DC) electricity.
2. An inverter in the power box converts the DC power into alternationg current (AC) that is suitable for home and businesses.
3. A 2-way electricity meter records the amount of electricity generated and, if required, measures any power the home or business feeds into the grid.

Is Your Home or Business a Good Place for a PV System?

Do you have a clear and unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day throughout the year either on the roof or on the ground? Is your site free from shading from trees, nearby buildings, chimneys or other obstruction? Do you have sufficient southerly facing roof surface? (Roofs that face east or west may be also acceptable.) Does your roof or property contain a large enough area for a PV system? What kind of roof do you have and in what condition?

Steps to Consider When Installing Solar:

Get an accurate idea of the amount of energy your home uses each month. Make sure you are already as energy-efficient as possible; as a consequence less energy needs to be generated which affects the size of the solar array required.

Consider hiring a Certified Site Assessor to evaluate the proposed site, answer questions, and summarize the site specific information in a written report. The information gained from an unbiased site assessor is invaluable in making a wise solar energy decision.

Find the right contractor for you. Get multiple quotes from more than one contractor that is properly licensed or certified and check how many years of experience they have. Call their references! Your system will need to be sized, sited, installed and maintained correctly to achieve optimal performance. Ask if the contractor will facilitate handling of local construction permits and assist with determining State and Federal incentives that may be available.

Illinois Solar Energy Association:

ISEA is a non-profit, whose mission is to educate and advocate for the widespread application of solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy for the people of Illinois. ISEA periodically offers opportunities for solar tours of local homes and businesses. They also facilitate vocational training for installers and assessors via the community college system.

To find more about ISEA and details on solar, go to In Glen Carbon you can contact Chris Krusa, a Glen Carbon Cool Cities Committee member, and request tour of his home’s solar array at 27 Rose Court. This article was prepared by Chris Krusa utilizing information provided by the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA).


Riverbend Town Hall Forum

Tuesday, Jan. 12th 2016 at 6-8pm

627 East Broadway

Alton, IL

A town hall meeting to discuss Dynegy Retirement & Our Community, co-hosted by Piasa Palisades Sierra Club, Mayor Walker of Alton, & Mayor Akers of Wood River. Contact: Elizabeth Scrafford 208-818-6426

WFR Course

Saturday, Jan. 16th 2016 at 8am to Sunday, Jan. 24th 2016 at 5pm

25W560 Geneva Rd., Suite 30, Carol Stream IL 60188

Cost: $795 (includes breakfast and lunch); $400 deposit required at registration
Contact: Mindy at 630-517-4561 for questions or for more details

Winter Gala

Saturday, Feb. 6th 2016 at 6-9pm

301 Riverlands Way

West Alton, MO

Celebrate with the Piasa Palisades Group at our annual Winter Gala!

Meet friends, new and old, at our festive gathering. Whether you wear your finery or your hiking boots, we will be happy to see you!

Come with an appetizer, entree, or dessert to share in our delicious potluck dinner. Bring your favorite beverage, as well. Don't forget your serving utensils; we will provide plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery.

We will also have live musical entertainment throughout the night.

If you have photos from your forays into nature over the past year, please consider making them part of our slideshow. We will not have a formal show-and-tell, but we will loop them on thr big screen for all to enjoy. E-mail your digital files to XXXXXX at, or bring them to the Gala on a USB drive.

Our party will once again take place at the Audubon Center at Riverlands, a beautiful educational facility set amidst 3,700 acres of protected prairie, marshland, and forest along the Mississippi flyway.

Please join us for this celebratory evening with the club!

Friends' Events

Historical Walk in the Park

Saturday, Jan. 16th 2016 at 8am-3pm

13112 Visitors Center Lane

Grafton, IL

Interesting historical sites in Pere Marquette State Park need documenting. Join Rich Keating in an exploration of Graham Hollow to establish two sites. 1) To find the grave sites of the Graham family that was decimated by disease in the early 1860s. 2) To find the site of Camp Graham. This was the encampment of CCC workers that built the park infrastructure in the 1930s. We will go to the lodge for breakfast, then walk in Graham Hollow to the known candidate areas. The ground must be snow-free so the date will be postponed as necessary.

Contact: Rich Keating