- Retirees Aren't Shy
- Environmentalists Hit the Airwaves
- Dead End for Proposed Toll Road
- Reach Out and Activate Someone
- Shillings for Students
- Grants for Greens
- Question the Candidates...
- ...Then Cast Your Vote
"It's a win-win situation," says Bill Steibel, Long Island Group
activist. He's referring to the group's efforts to expand outreach to
Long Island's 3 million inhabitants as well as its 6,000 Sierra Club
members. "By working with non-environmental groups we've been able to
raise environmental issues with those who may not generally be aware of
local or national issues. We get to talk to people we don't normally
reach directly; they get an accurate, first-hand account of the current
environmental situation. Then those who are concerned about the state
of the environment can find out how they can join the struggle."
Last November, Steibel spoke at a meeting of over 400 retirees from
Grumman Aerospace Corporation and discussed the Club, its history and
its purpose. The retirees invited members of the Long Island Group to
speak in response to the group's request for permission to use the
retirees' e-mail list to announce Club-sponsored events. In addition to
approving this request, the retirees invited the group members to
address them at their next meeting. "We were extremely well received,"
says Steibel. "The retirees wanted to know more about the Sierra Club
and the environment, and we were able to awaken and encourage their
Steibel brought along copies of Club publications including The Planet,
Sierra magazine and group and chapter newsletters. He also made copies
of his speech available and noted his group's World Wide Web and e-mail
addresses for the benefit of those with Internet access. By the end of
the evening, just about all the literature was gone.
"I emphasized that we can achieve much in protecting the environment
against the depredations of big-industry-backed members of Congress
just by getting into the act," says Steibel. "Will the fight ever be
over? Probably not. Will we protect everything? Probably not. Will we
ever stop trying? Absolutely not."
For more information: Contact Bill Steibel at (516) 271-8904;
What do a high school math teacher, retired pharmacist, psychology
professor and homemaker have in common? They're all regular
contributors to the State of Franklin Group's "Environmental News"
radio show on the National Public Radio affiliate at East Tennessee
In early 1994, group member Pete Zars contacted the local station with
a proposal for a 15-minute program featuring news and information on
environmental issues. Station managers liked the idea and the show has
been on the air ever since. Written and produced by State of Franklin
Group members, the show has become increasingly popular and recently
expanded to a half-hour format. Of the station's 130,000 listeners, 22
percent, or 28,000 people, are tuning in each week. The group is now
aiming to syndicate the program nationally.
"We keep our membership extremely well-informed through the paperless
media, and our show makes the Club more prominent in the region," says
group chair Linda Modica. "Group membership has been on the rise ever
since we went on the air. The show is also good for retaining members
because they are proud of the recognition our group has received.
"To accomplish what we've done, all we needed was confidence,
dedication and a little prior experience," says Modica. "We would be
happy to share our experience with other groups that want to start
their own local radio programs."
Other interested Sierra Club groups should ask their NPR
affiliate to contact WETS in Johnson City, Tenn., for a copy of an
"Environmental News" demo tape. To get your own cassette, call Jane
Ensign, chair of the Environmental News Committee, at (423) 349-4457,
or write to Linda Modica at
In Illinois, the Sierra Club won a major court ruling in January
against the extension of toll road I-355 into the southern part of the
state. "The extension would damage three public forest preserves and
upland and wetland habitat for state-threatened and endangered species,
as well as lead to more air pollution and the paving over of a largely
rural area," says Jack Darin, state field representative.
"Media coverage of our victory was substantial," says Darin. "We made
the front pages of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the
For more information:
Contact Jack Darin at the Illinois Chapter office
at (312) 251-1680; e-mail:
Frank Orto, chair of the River Prairie Group in Illinois, has
transformed his group phone tree into an innovative, statewide
telephone activist network that can quickly inform and mobilize
members. "What makes ours different from other networks is that a real
live person alerts our members," says Orto. "There's a direct
connection, and it's this personal touch that fosters greater activism
and commitment of volunteers."
The Illinois Telephone Activist Network (I-TAN) links the state's 15
groups into one activist system focusing on state and federal issues.
When contacted by a phone-tree member, network activists are instructed
to dial into a hotline to hear a message that describes the issue, the
Club's position and what action to take. If there's more than one
action alert at a given time, members have the choice of accessing the
message they're interested in.
The phone tree coordinators in each group communicate regularly with
members to learn how network messages are being received and to monitor
the activity level and commitment of participants. This feedback is in
turn passed along to the chapter, a process Orto says is essential to
keeping network quality at a high level.
"The network has been successful at reaching Club members who don't
necessarily attend meetings, but who want to make a contribution to
protecting the environment and are willing and have the time to place
lobbying phone calls to public officials," says Orto.
For more information:
Call the hotline at (630) 690-4930 or contact
Frank Orto at 5611 St. Charles Rd., Berkeley, IL 60163; or e-mail:
Schumacher College, an international center for ecological studies in
southwest England, is offering scholarships to environmental activists
in 1997. Participants will study with "leading thinkers in developing
aspects of a new ecological world view" in a range of courses, some of
which last up to five weeks.
For more information:
Contact Hilary Nicholson, Schumacher College, The
Old Postern, Dartington, Devon TQ9 6EA, UK; phone 011-44-1803-865934;
Three grant programs administered by The Sierra Club Foundation
specifically provide for the support of charitable, wildlife-related
- The Avery Wildlife Fund offers five grants of up to $500 each in 1997
for local projects to preserve, protect and educate the public about
- The Schroeder Wildlife Fund offers $4,500 in 1997 in support of
wildlife projects at the local, regional and national levels.
- The Ben and Bessie Glazer Wildlife Fund offers $1,800 for projects
preserving wildlife, particularly through preservation of sanctuaries
that support migratory birds.
To be considered for a grant, please submit a detailed proposal, one to
three pages in length, describing the overall goal of the project,
specific activities planned to meet that goal and a budget and time
frame for its completion. Proposals must be received by April 21, 1997.
Project proposals should be directed to Kyndaron Reinier, assistant
director of Granting Services, The Sierra Club Foundation, 220 Sansome
St., Suite 1100, San Francisco, CA 94104. Indicate on your proposal
that you are applying for a wildlife grant.
For more information: Call (800) 783-9273, pin code 1802.
How can you find out more about the candidates for the Club's Board of
Directors? If you have e-mail, you can subscribe to the Club's new
electronic forum and send questions to a moderator who will select the
most pertinent and forward them on to the candidates. Candidates'
answers will be posted to subscribers; you do not have to submit
questions to participate. To join, send the message:
and type your membership
number (found on your Planet subscription label) in the subject line of
For more information:
Contact forum moderator Cal French at
...Then Cast Your Vote
Ballots for the 1997 Sierra Club Board of Directors election were
mailed in February. If you don't receive yours by March 28, contact
Gene Coan at the San Francisco headquarters for a replacement ballot.
Please look for it in the mail and cast your vote. Completed ballots
must be received by the election vendor by April 19, 1997.
For more information:
Contact Gene Coan at (415) 977-5681; fax: (415)
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