The front-page article in the Chicago Tribune of Nov. 3 was uplifting – Hatch School kids composting vegetable waste. This has a message for us all, and specifically District 97 and the park district.

We will soon see hundreds of 10- to 20-pound pumpkin shells thrown into the “garbage” and illegally placed in leaf piles. Just dump them in your now moribund vegetable or flower patches. They quickly decompose and provide nutrient-filled soil for the spring. Plus, as I have experienced, that stray seed may provide you with your own pumpkins for next Halloween.

Despite my publicly expressed entreaties, now supported by the Oak Park Forestry Department, neither Dist. 97 nor the park district will accept soil-enriched mulch from the chipping of Dutch Elm-infected stumps. These possess no disease problems. The trees, hundreds from the village each year, are in many cases located directly across the street from parks and schools.

About 10 years ago I achieved, after wading through the bureaucratic maze at Dist. 97, the transfer of mulch from a house on Berkshire directly across the street to Mann School. Unfortunately, Dist. 97 has ignored the benefit of such a simple act subsequently.

Exercises by scout and PTO groups would complement the Hatch School effort in organic recycling. Have the village direct its contractor to take the mulch across the street or down the block to the nearest school or park. Have the supervised kids spread it around under bushes and trees. This saves the diesel fuel to relocate the mulch to a landfill. It saves taxpayer dollars, Dist. 97 and the park district no longer having to pay untold thousands of dollars each year to their landscapers.

It is such a no-brainer, but Dist. 97 and the park district refuse to cooperate with the village. Maybe the Hatch School article – way to go kids! – will shame the Dist. 97 and park district boards into comparable acts of environmental responsibility.

Les Golden
Oak Park

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