Green conference comes to Elgin

Updated 4/5/2011 6:45 PM

The City of Elgin is set to kick off a summer conference season April 28 with GreenTown 2011, a one-day event focusing on sustainability and environmental initiatives.

Though GreenTown organizers a5 Inc. and Seven Generations Ahead approached Elgin in 2008 to host the second year of the conference, this will be the first year Elgin accepts the honor.


Registration is still open for the conference, where between 350 and 450 participants are expected. Tickets cost between $75 and $125. Visit to register or call Sophie Gatins at (312) 706-2533 with questions.

Seven Generations Ahead, an Oak Park-based nonprofit dedicated to ecologically sustainable communities, and a5 Inc., a Chicago-based marketing and communications company, have organized the conference since 2007. As the hosts, City of Elgin staff members also have contributed.

"We really kind of crafted it with them," said Aaron Cosentino, Elgin's sustainability coordinator.

Cosentino said the conference will take on an intimate atmosphere, giving attendees the chance to network and engage in quality conversations.

Randall Arendt, a landscape planner and author, will speak during the conference, as will Bob Dixson, mayor of Greensburg, Kan., a community destroyed by a tornado almost four years ago. Greensburg has been rebuilt aiming for environmental and economic sustainability.

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Workshop topics include renewable energy, community sustainability planning, zero waste initiatives, green building and transit-oriented development.

The conference will be carbon neutral, thanks to the donation of carbon credits from Viability LLC, a Holland, Mich., business, and it will be zero waste, with all products composted or recycled.

Elgin Mayor Ed Schock said he has been involved with GreenTown since its start in Oak Park as a presenter and panelist explaining Elgin's own initiatives.

"We now are formalizing those initiatives into a master plan, but even before the master plan idea was conceived we've been working on green initiatives," Schock said.

The Fox River Country Day School in Elgin will screen a premier of "Green Fire," a documentary film about 20th Century conservationist Aldo Leopold, in conjunction with the GreenTown conference. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. April 28 at the school, 1600 Dundee Ave., and will be followed by a speech by Curt Meine, Leopold's biographer and a conservation biologist.

Later in the summer, Elgin will also host the Green Expo on May 7 and the National Brownfield Association's one-day conference on June 9.


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