As we are inundated by continuing proof of the destruction of earth’s biosphere by global warming, officials at District 97 are preventing a simple, sensible act which would help the environment, and save substantial taxpayer dollars. Last year, after wading through five levels of bureaucracy, I convinced Dist. 97 to work with the village to use ground stumps of diseased trees for mulching at Mann School. This was stimulated by the sight of a huge pile of mulch literally across Berkshire Street from the Mann School bushes. The village followed my further suggestion and directed the contractor, who is paid to transport the mixture of chipped wood and dirt to a landfill in western Illinois, to take the material from eight or so trees and place it next to the bushes. Several weeks later, it was distributed under all the trees and bushes of Mann School.

Despite my efforts, Dist. 97 did not use mulch in other areas of Oak Park to similarly protect the landscaping at other schools. The contractor, on the other hand, contacted schools on the West Side of Chicago, who eagerly accepted tons of mulch to protect their landscaping, courtesy of Oak Park taxpayers.

This should be an annual effort. This winter, I accordingly asked the village to investigate a strategy with Dist. 97. Although contacted two weeks ago, Dist. 97 has yet to respond and soon diseased elms will be cut down and their beetle-free stumps chipped.

Such a program will save Dist. 97 thousands of dollars for the costs of commercial landscaper mulch and maintenance, will save the village the costs of transporting the material to the dump site, will save the gas used by the dump truck, and will provide all the advantages of mulching, beautifying the landscape, reducing weeds, retaining moisture, and providing cooling in summer and a blanket in winter.

Such a program could have saved the bushes and trees on school property which died in the drought of last summer for lack of a Dist. 97 summer watering plan.

Dist. 97 should get back to the village officials who called them about the mulch distribution and work out a plan.

Les “Use the Mulch and Save the Earth” Golden
Oak Park

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