Buffalo Grove will continue its popular holiday lights and electronics recycling programs this year, officials said this week during a presentation to the village board on the town's 2014 environmental plan.
The plan also calls for restoration and cleanup at Rylko and Willow Stream parks, and a third annual "Green Fair" organized by the village's Environmental Action Team (EAT).
Debi Moritz, a founding member of EAT, told village trustees the group's major project for this year will involve the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership, which formed to improve water quality in the creek and its tributaries.
The organization, she said, recently received two grants, and five members were trained as citizen scientists through Illinois RiverWatch to conduct work on the project this year.
"You have to crawl into these streams and you have to find out what's living in there, the critters and the larvae," Mortiz said. "And that's how you determine the health of a stream. So if you have a lot of mayflies and dragonflies, it's a healthy stream. If you have a lot of bloodworms and things like that, it's not healthy. So we can test along the entire Buffalo Creek and see where it's getting polluted and where it's clean and try to determine the cause."
Other activities the EAT has planned for the year ahead include a third Green Fair, tentatively scheduled for June 22, and an Earth Day program at the Raupp Museum featuring a showing of "Green Fire," a documentary about noted environmentalist Aldo Leopold.
The 2013 Green Fair attracted 20 exhibitors and hundreds of residents. Among the highlights was the appearance of an electric car and a "Green" recycling truck provided by Waste Management. Items collected for recycling included eyeglasses, hearing aids, keys, light bulbs, clothing, bicycles and household batteries.
Also this year, EAT plans to conduct recycling at apartment complexes and community composting.
"We have got one of our members who lives at a complex, and they don't do any recycling there, so he's going to start doing some education and see if that's going to work, and we can expand that this year," Moritz said.
Brett Robinson, Buffalo Grove's purchasing manager, outlined a series of energy efficiency measures implemented by the village, including the recent replacement of lighting at the Arboretum Club golf course's clubhouse.
"We switched incandescent and halogen lighting to LED lighting," Robinson said, resulting in a 90-percent reduction of electrical consumption for lighting at the facility. The work was funded through a grant, and a similar project is being undertaken at the Metra train station.