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Welcome to another edition of the EAC Action News, a publication of the Ecology Action Center, the primary resource for environmental education, information, and outreach in McLean County.


Green Gifts

This time of year we are deluged by constant advertising encouraging us not so subtly to buy, buy, buy, and more, more, more.  Longtime friends of the EAC know that the last thing we want to encourage is more consumption.  Meanwhile greenwashing is at an all-time high, with many items at stores everywhere proclaiming that they are environmentally friendly; some of these claims likely have some validity while others are just trying to take advantage of interest in environment to make a buck.  For many items, you can do your own research and make your own determination  - if the product has some sort of "green" certification, don't just take this at face value, but look it up - Google it!  Is it a valid certification with some meaning and third-party testing or verification or is it just a marketing ploy?

At the same time there are some consumer items items that truly can potentially help in reducing waste, conserving water, saving energy, reducing pollution, and other important functions to protect our environment.  Here at the EAC we try to find and then offer to you a few good quality items at reasonable prices to help you in your own efforts to reduce your impacts.  Please consider the EAC as you do your holiday gift shopping this year - all profits from merchandise sold at the EAC help support our ongoing education and outreach efforts.  EAC members get a discount on select items; you and your family can join anytime to take advantage of this discount.

Green gifts you will find at the EAC right now include:
  • Prairie Rain Harvester Rain Barrels: special sale this week only - marked down from $90 regularly to $80 each or only $70 for EAC members!

  • New Dowdownspout_diverter_abpDDy_250wnspout diverters to make rain barrel usage and winterization easier (2"x3", white - other colors may be available by special order). $30 each or only $25 for EAC members

  • Wrapsack reusable gift bags: avoid one-time gift paper usage by using these reusable 100% cotton gift bags available in a variety of colors and sizes.  Bonus fun feature: track your gift bag in its travels across the world through its serial number via the Wrapsack website as your gift recipient and others down the line reuse your Wrapsack again and again!  Prices range from $4 to $11

  • Chicobag:  For those of us that frequently forget to carry our other shopping bags with us, the ChicoBag is small, lightweight, stuffs into an attached stuffsack, and clips to your backpack or purse with a small included carabiner so you don't forget it in the car!  $5

  • WrapsackLunchKit lunchkits: Stop using disposables in your lunch with a brightly colored reusable lunchsack with sandwich and snack wraps.  A variety of prints are available; all are easily washable. $20

  • EAC classic canvas shopping totes: "Paper or plastic?  Neither...I choose to reuse!"  These heavy-duty recycled content canvas shopping totes will out perform any other reusable shopping bag lasting for years of hard grocery shopping while others tear and fall apart.  $5 or free with a new memEco Cupbership purchased in person at the EAC.

  • EcoCup: We all enjoy stopping at the coffeehouse for a nice hot latte or other beverage, but now you can avoid all of the waste of disposable coffee cups with a high quality porcelain EcoCup.  Price reduced to $7

  • Radon Test Kits: Have your friends and family tested tradonheir homes for Radon?  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and lung cancer deaths in the United States.  The only way to know if this odorless, invisible radioactive gas is present is by testing.  Test kits include all lab testing fees - results will be sent directly to you.  $10

Come shop at the EAC anytime during our regular business hours - Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

(RED and) Green Drinks - December 7

GDlogo3Join us for the Holiday edition of Green Drinks - the monthly environmental networking opportunity! Green Drinks is an informal, social networking group for people working on or interested in environmental issues. Green Drinks groups meet in over 500 cities across the globe. The groups have no political affiliation and no agenda. They serve as a forum for green professionals and other interested community members to meet, socialize and share ideas. Join the conversation! 

This month, we will have representatives from multiple environmental groups present; each will give a short overview of their efforts in our community. Groups represented include Heartland's Green Institute, Ecology Action Center, Illinois Chapter of the US Green Building Council, ParkLands Foundation, and more.

Join us, Tuesday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Medici in Normal.  Look for the Green Drinks sign in the downstairs bar.

Green Institute Online Courses

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The Green Institute at Heartland Community College is now offering online courses.  According to Rebecca Rossi, Associate Director, “We understand that it can be a real challenge to fit traditional courses into a busy schedule. Our online courses offer folks an opportunity to learn with more flexibility and convenience.” A broad array of courses are available on topics like energy conservation, waste reduction and sustainable living. Course are available for those with a general interest, as well as people looking to expand their professional skills or earn a green certification. For more information, visit the Green Institute at or send a message to

Some courses and pricing:

Home Energy Fundamentals $29

Achieving Solar - An Introductory Guide $59

Senior Certified Sustainability Professional $2,495

Principles of Green Buildings $595

Building Analyst Quick Start $1,195

Certified Green Supply Chain Professional $1,595

Certified Indoor Air Quality Manager $795

Certified Indoor Environmentalist $895

Performing Comprehensive Building Assessments $695

The Green Institute at Heartland Community College
As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Ecology Action Center! Please stop by anytime Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call us at (309) 454-3169 for information on our latest programs and events or to get answers to questions on recycling, household hazardous waste, clean water, and more!

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit walk-in information and environmental education center with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.

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