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Will County hosts its first GreenTown Conference
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Will County hosts its first GreenTown Conference

Regional Sustainability Network launched at inaugural event

Will County and Joliet officials were joined by representatives from various industries at the first GreenTown Conference held in the county. The event, held on Friday, October 26, was designed to bring public and private sector partners together in order to create a coordinated plan to encourage healthy, sustainable communities.

The daylong event included presentations on topics such as energy, local and sustainable food sources, transportation, and healthcare. Experts from these and other fields presented a variety of workshops on issues of solar energy, recycling, and protecting local water supplies.

“This is an exciting day as we host the first GreenTown Will County Conference,” said County Executive Larry Walsh. “Will County is a leader in sustainable practices. We generate more solar energy than any other county in the state and we are committed to expanding our efforts.”

Gary Cuneen, vice president of Seven Generations Ahead and the co-founder GreenTown Will County, said the GreenTown organization has be hosting similar conferences across the Midwest since 2007.

“We have identified several key issues that factor into creating a GreenTown,” Cuneen said. “The Community Friendly Freight Plan offers information about transportation issues in Will County and we also looked at the national opioid crisis and how it is affecting the county.”

A goal of this inaugural conference was to strengthen the sustainable network in Will County. Keynote speaker Dr. Debra Rowe, president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development offered some key ideas.

“All of you have a uniquely important role in creating this network,” Rowe said. “A successful sustainable development plan will meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of our future generations.”

Dean Olson, director of the Resource Recovery and Energy Division of the Will County Land Use Department, said he was impressed with the attendance and the engagement of the participants at the county’s first GreenTown event.

“We definitely know how to work together in Will County,” Olson said. “This event was designed to share information and resources and I think that is exactly what we did today. We learned Will County is a leader in many areas of sustainable practices. We also learned how we can network to strengthen other areas and make our county and the State of Illinois a trailblazer in sustainability.”

For more information about green initiatives in Will County, visit the website: willcountygreen.com.

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