GR2012 promises to be best ecology fest ever

Event moves to Joliet Junior College

GR2012: “Celebrating Sustainability” on May 19 at Joliet Junior College promises an exciting and jam-packed day of speakers, films, vendors, exhibits, demonstrations and entertainment capped off with the first “after-party” community picnic. It is the fifth annual event and the culmination of Earth Month in Will County which started with an April 19 kickoff at JJC.

Firsts this year: a new location, the opportunity for vendors to sell their products and a gigantic “Recyclepalooza” that features expanded opportunities to recycle items like Styrofoam and candy wrappers.

The location has moved to Joliet Junior College as the festival outgrew its former stomping grounds of two years, the Black Road Branch of the Joliet Public Library.

The powerhouse behind this event continues to be its founder, Jeanne Phelan of Joliet, a long-time environmental activist and kind of modern-day Johnny Appleseed who plants seeds in people’s minds about sustainability. Maria Rafac, a teacher at JJC, is this year’s chairman. The committee worked on this all year. The event started small for the first two years and grew in 2010 to 3,000 attendees and 2011 to 3,800 attendees. There are more than 70 booths.

Sustainability embraces urban farming, urban planning, alternative green energy, green construction, ways to reduce, recycle and reuse and much, much more.

One example of an exhibitor is this year’s GR2012 Sustainability award winner, Steve Tidwell and the Green Earth Institute of Naperville, a 60-acre organic vegetable farm in Naperville.

Partners are Joliet Junior College, Will County Green, City of Joliet, Joliet Park District, Forest Preserve District of Will County, Joliet Public Library, Joliet Job Corps and University of Illinois Will County Extension.

Musical lineup

9:30 a.m.   Dimonte Brothers

10:15 a.m. Doug Swenson

11 a.m.       Dog Patch Ramblers

Noon          Los Galleros

1:15 p.m.    Nedra Johnson

2:30 p.m.     Peter Mulvey

3:45 p.m.     Edie Carey

5:15 p.m.     Hoots and Hellmouth



8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 in JJC parking lots.

     Unusual items: 100 percent wool sweaters, “Costume to Custom” jewelry drive by JJC for upcycling and to help raise fund for the GR2013 art exhibit/competition, used bicycles, pens and markers. Cookie, energy bar and candy bar wrappers for Terracycle. Clean Styrofoam meat trays, cups, take-out containers, clamshells and packing blocks.

   Also: broken or obsolete electronics, scrap metal, some hazardous waste materials, textiles and home goods.

   For more information on what can or can’t be recycled, see www.celebratingsustainability.com


Films (Room T1000)

11 a.m.  “Vanishing of the Bees”  

2 p.m. “Tapped”



JJC LEED Certified Campus Center, Greenhouse and Gardens and Automotive Center.





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