By Mary Rasic for SUST 210 online
I live about 50 miles northwest of the Loop, in Crystal Lake, IL. Honestly, six years ago, I was resistant to move here, as I perceived it to be too far from sweet home Chicago. However, I have learned the importance of appreciating my community and contributing to its wellbeing. I am in the Sustainability Studies program at Roosevelt University. Being in the program and having the opportunity to engage with fascinatingly intellectual people has encouraged me to think outside the box and view my community from a new, somewhat upside down, perspective. I now realize that living in a developing area is advantageous.
Crystal Lake earns its name by enforcing special requirements and regulating land development within The Crystal Lake Watershed, as a means to protect the integrity of the water that reaches the lake. Wetland Buffer Provisions are also enforced, which help maintain the quality of water, integrity of natural resources, and a healthy diversity of native plant and animal species.
There are plans to build rain gardens to help keep fresh rainwater out of the sewer systems as well as bioswales to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. To represent the best interest of the populous, the Clean Air Counts Committee is constantly seeking ways to improve the quality of the environment overall.
Recently, Crystal Lake adopted a Rain Barrel Incentive Program, in which residents can purchase a rain barrel and become eligible for a one-time $25 credit on their water utility bill. This encourages civilians to be cognizant of their water usage and use rain reserves to water their gardens and lawns.
The Three Oaks Recreation Area is a reclaimed quarry that has crystal clear waters and abundant fish population. It is the heart of Crystal Lake’s recreation scene as of late. There are rentable rowboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboats as well as a well-kept beach and picnic area. Many people enjoy the fairly new hiking and biking trails and, in 2010, Crystal Lake was deemed a bicycle friendly community.
I am hopeful and inspired, as the general population of Crystal Lake has a collective willingness to implement “Green Initiatives” within our neighborhood and surrounding communities. The interconnected network of land and water support biodiversity and provide diverse communities for native flora and fauna. By strategically planning and managing these networks and working landscapes, we are creating associated benefits for the human populace.
Each week during the Fall 2013 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future online class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.