GRANITE CITY — An opening ceremony for the new Greener Cleaner Granite City Air Quality Flag and Ozone Garden program will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, April 1, at Six Mile Regional Library District, 2001 Delmar Ave.
Refreshments will be served. The public is encouraged to attend.
Using a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, United Congregations of Metro-East is offering educational programming and science activities that highlight ways to improve air quality and health. Local resident and member of both United Congregations of Metro-East and Granite City Cool Cities committee Linda Aud is the leader of this project, which benefits residents in the 62040 ZIP code. Partners in writing the grant proposal include Saint Louis University, Granite City Community Gardens and Granite City Cool Cities.
This project is possible because of joint efforts of project partners United Congregations of the Metro-East, Saint Louis University’s Center for Environmental Sciences, Madison County Green Schools Program, Granite City Cool Cities, Granite City Community Gardens, United Steelworkers-SOAR, Six Mile Regional Library District, SWIC Granite City Campus, Granite City Housing Authority, Granite City Fire Department, Granite City School District 9, St. Elizabeth Catholic School, Holy Family Catholic School, University of Illinois, Washington University, Sierra Club, Madison County Partnership for Community Health, the Clean Air Partnership, Second Baptist Church and the Boy Scouts.
There are two parts to the project. The first is an ozone garden at the Granite City Fire Station on Rock Road. The garden was planted in June 2015. This year, the garden will be available for visitors. Kelley Belina, Saint Louis University’s ozone garden project manager, oversees the garden as well as gardens at the SWIC Belleville Campus, the Saint Louis Science Center, Grant’s Farm and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. An ozone garden is a visible way to demonstrate the damage ground-level ozone pollution can do to plants and the environment. Belina will present more information on this part of the program.
The second part of the project is a citizen monitoring network using EPA’s air quality index and EPA’s air quality flag program. The Six Mile Regional Library District is installing air quality monitoring networks to monitor local air quality, including ozone, black carbon and particulate matter. The equipment reports through the regional network to contribute to the overall collection of data for the metropolitan area. The fire station on Rock Road will also have an ozone monitor at the ozone garden.
The visual component of the second part is the air quality flag program. Staff and students for each participating organization will check the EPA’s AirNow data daily to provide the most accurate air quality forecast and will display the appropriate flag. Sites displaying flags are SWIC Granite City Campus, Granite City School District schools, St. Elizabeth School, Holy Family School, the Granite City Housing Authority, the Six Mile Regional Library District libraries and the Fire Station on Rock Road. Included in the project are opportunities for classroom visits, air quality-related lessons and professional development for teachers and library personnel. Madison County Green Schools Coordinator Kim Petzing is leading the educational components of the project and will present information about this part of the program.
Linda Aud will give an overview of how the project evolved and the project goals. Refreshments will be provided by the Six Mile Regional Library District.