Throughout the semester, NEIU’s Green Conservation Group (GCG) have been working with Friends of the Forest Preserve and Friends of the Chicago River.
GCG’s President Stephanie Teresi said, “We worked with Friends of the Forest Preserves on doing restoration work and local habitat. So we burned and cut down Buckthorn, we did seed collecting, we did some trail maintenance. And then we also worked with Friends of Chicago River. So we did a river cleanup. So we’ve removed the actual trash along the river to make sure it doesn’t get into our river system.”
According to the City of Chicago website, the city spends millions of dollars to clean up litter each year. Major sources for the city’s litter and pollution are from motorists, pedestrians, truckloads, construction, demolition sites and loading docks.
“We’re just going to bring awareness too, and we’re doing a lot of networking with other groups to really build our university’s name to show that, ‘Hey, we’re here! We’re trying to make a difference, you know, Northeastern students care about the environment,’” Teresi said.
All NEIU students pay a $3 “Green Fee” as part of their tuition. The Green Fee helps fund the Green Fee Committee’s initiatives to make the campus more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
One of the projects the Green Fee Committee (GFC) implemented was the solar hot water system at CCICS with the help of Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
Another projects GCG works with Green Fee on is Tree Campus USA. “We’ve been trying to work on awareness of the trees here on campus,” said Teresi.
Along with conservation work on and off campus, GCG is trying to raise awareness among NEIU students.
“We’re trying to make sure we have more students wanting to come and do fun activities and they really want to do hands-on work… . We do a lot of fire circles here… . It’s very spiritual; you feel really connected to earth. It’s really cool. So we have had three of those. We’re having a fourth one on week after Thanksgiving,” said Teresi.
Besides working with Green Fee and outside organizations, GCG also works with the geography and environmental studies (GES) department with prescribed burns.
“Prescribed burns are really necessary for certain parts, especially in the Cook County area. It really helps bring back nutrients to the soil,” Teresi said. “It helps a lot of our native plants grow and it kills off some of the plants we don’t want, like the invasives… . We’re going to be doing another one in the spring as well.”
For more information, contact GCG on their Facebook page, “Green Conservation Group of NEIU.”