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The IPRA Model Environmental Policy

Have You Thought About Your Earth Today?

by Alan D. Kromanaker, CLP

In 1992, the IPRA Environmental Committee wrote its Model Environmental Policy. The policy laid the framework for agencies to develop their own environmental policies to aid in the conservation of the facilities for which we care. It is the purpose of this article to acquaint you with the IPRA Model Environmental Policy, or to reacquaint you with it if you haven't reviewed it recently.

The purpose of the policy states:

It is the intent of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association to encourage its membership to set a high standard of leadership and competency in the promotion of sound environmental practices and life-styles. Park and recreation professionals, by the nature of their jobs, have an obligation to set an example and assume a leadership position in the development and use of policies, practices and environmental opportunities which promote a healthy environment.

To meet this end, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association has developed this Model Environmental Policy to be used by park and recreation agencies as a tool when considering their own commitment to the environment. This model is intended to guide the development of agency-specific environmental policies that reflect the environmental concerns, political realities, funding and natural resources of individual committees.

The environmental policy is categorized into six different areas. These are:

1. Purchase and Use of Environmentally Safe and Sensitive Products. Purchase products for use in facility and park operations which minimize negative environmental impacts, taking into consideration the effects of product production, use, storage, and disposal.

2. Wise Use and Protection of Air, Water, Soil and Wildlife. Actively seek and implement ways to conserve and protect water and soil, enhance air quality, limit the production and release of damaging pollutants, and protect wildlife.

3. Wise Use of Energy Resources. Actively seek and implement ways to conserve energy resources and investigate methods of applying alternative energy technologies.

4. Reduction and Handling of Waste. Reduce waste production, reuse and recycle materials from facility and park operations, and handle hazardous and all other wastes according to lawful and safe procedures.

5. Open Space Planning and Preservation. Protect and restore indigenous natural communities such as grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands, and promote the reclamation, acquisition, preservation and management of other open space areas, including river corridors, greenways and trails.

6. Environmental Education and Interpretation. Provide education and interpretation opportunities for staff and the public which increase appreciation for the natural world and promote environmentally conscious life-styles, emphasizing selective consumption and low-impact resource use.

The policy further breaks down each area of interest by listing specific actions. These actions can be undertaken for helping to achieve a successful environmental policy within your agency. The Environmental Committee feels very strongly about the preservation and conservation of our natural resources. We urge you to read the IPRA Model Environmental Policy and encourage you to take the lead in your agency, and your community, to develop your environmental policy.

If you need a copy of the IPRA Model Environmental Policy, it can be purchased from the IPRA office by writing or calling the staff. Also, the Environmental Committee is always interested in hearing from the membership about environmental issues and topics. Please contact the committee through the IPRA office.

Alan D. Kromanaker, CLP, is co-chair of the IPRA Environmental Committee. He is the Outdoor Education Director at Hoover Outdoor Education Center in Yorkville, Illinois.

44 Illinois Parks & Recreation March/April 1995

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