O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh turns a green leaf with Heartlands Conservancy award

From left, David Eustis, president of Heartlands Conservancy; John Marquart, Shiloh village administrator; Bill Boker, village treasurer; Brenda Kern, village clerk; Kathy Wangler, village engineering staff member; Colleen Powers, village trustee; and Norm Etling, village engineer.
From left, David Eustis, president of Heartlands Conservancy; John Marquart, Shiloh village administrator; Bill Boker, village treasurer; Brenda Kern, village clerk; Kathy Wangler, village engineering staff member; Colleen Powers, village trustee; and Norm Etling, village engineer. Robyn L. Kirsch

The Village of Shiloh has turned a new leaf—a ‘green’ one, according to Heartlands Conservancy.

By making St. Clair County ‘greener,’ Shiloh was nominated as a finalist for a 2015 Green Leaf Achievement Award with the Mascoutah based agency for its exemplary sustainability and environmental stewardship achievements.

“This event emphasizes the importance and need to bring all sectors together—people, communities, governments, associations, volunteers—because with a cohesive approach, we get to celebrate the wins, but also share ideas on how to accomplish so much more,” David Eustis, president and CEO of Heartlands Conservancy, said.

During the event, held last Thursday (April 16) evening, at the Hidden Lake Winery, located in Aviston, Ill., Eustis challenged attendees to continue to bring attention to the ‘good work’ individuals, businesses, communities and organizations are doing in their niche in Southwestern Illinois.

Representing the village at the event were Administrator John Marquart, Engineer Norm Etling, Kathy Wangler, Treasurer Bill Boker, Trustee Colleen Powers and Clerk Brenda Kern.

Marquart accepted the award with many thanks for the support of local businesses and organizations, “...we are very proud of our village’s environmental stewardship, leadership and efforts. We hope we can continue to act as a role model to others in our mission to be environmentally conscious in our endeavors.”

“Educate your friends and neighbors, spread the word about your projects so others can learn, grow and benefit—and perhaps, they will implement a green plan of their own that makes another outstanding contribution,” Eustis encouraged. “Together, we can make a difference and together, we will. We are inching closer to the tipping point...and we have you to thank for it.”

The award program had 21 finalists in five categories: Agriculture, business and industry, individuals or group, youth and education and the lifetime achievement award for the late Lester Harnetiaux.

Specifically, the community category Shiloh was nominated in recognizes efforts contributing to healthy, sustainable communities in the Southwestern Illinois region.

With support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, a developer (McEagle-Three Springs development) and the village have developed and implemented a storm-water management plan on approximately 111 acres south easterly of the intersection of North Green Mount Road and Frank Scott Parkway—transformed in recent years from field to construction site to wetland.

“We relocated the creek for the wetland mitigation project for the Three Springs development. We took all the soil and seed bed and stored it near the property and when preparing for the wetlands we used that soil to create the wetlands because all the soil contained within it—the seed bed, was the right type soil,” Etling said. “I’d like to thank the key members of the village engineering department, Kathy Wangler and Mike Campbell for helping me put together our application for nomination.”

The wetland was designed by O’Fallon’s SCI Engineering and Cole Engineering as part of a mitigation requirement to replace wetlands that were altered due to development of Three Springs in Shiloh. Local water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act and any building project that changes the characteristics of a wetland must be compensated for it—whether by planting trees, fixing up a stream or constructing a whole new wetland.

Supporting a storm-water management plan that blended the creation of a lake and wetlands within the corporate limits, village officials chose the desired wetland creation and stream bank restoration project at Three Springs Park so residents could enjoy the benefits of the amenity, according to Etling.

“We’re hoping that this will also help the local schools with the (amenity) acting as a sort of outdoor classroom for students to learn more about the natural world and the local native species of animals and plant life,” Etling explained. “The wetland and storm-water management component of the project was envisioned as an example of how development, regimented sports activities, storm-water management and land stewardship all can work together.”

Etling went on to say, “wetlands are an essential ecosystem component that add some amazing benefits (such as): erosion control, water filtration, flood control, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and educational opportunities.”

Some of the native species expected to be seen frolicking in the area as a result of this project include: Beavers, heron, egret, ducks, geese, fish, frogs, deer and many more species, Etling said.

Having the crowd rolling with laughter intermittently throughout the three-hour event, Meteorologist Mike Roberts, of KSDK News Channel 5, served as the event’s emcee.

Roberts recently moved to Godfrey, Ill., with his family and has won Emmys for Best Weathercaster in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and earned the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval in 2008.

For more information visit http://www.heartlandsconservancy.org/.

Contact reporter Robyn L. Kirsch at rkirsch@bnd.com or 239-2690.

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