Down in the Dumps and Toxic Tour
Behind the Science — Down in the Dumps and Toxic Tour
We will start the tour through the Chicago Southland’s most interesting ecological region and experience the massive wetlands sheltering our endangered species. You will be introduced to the Calumet River’s and Wolf Lake’s industrialized bridges and substantial industries, landfills and unique cultural attractions of the past and present.
While exploring this area you will gain in-depth knowledge of significant industrial and natural sites of recognizing their positive and/or negative impacts to the region’s environment. Also hear the analyzed development potential for currently vacant or underused areas.
Some of the detailed features we will cover (of which are currently the focus of intense controversy):
- U.S. E.P.A. Cluster site - highly contaminated off-limits area like the Thornton Quarry and future proposed site of solar farm in the Southland areas.
- Huge Waste Management landfills - Waste to Energy
- BP Oil Refinery - One of the nation's largest oil refineries, and a huge polluter
- Monstrous Steel Mills, spewing smoke & steam from their tall smokestacks
- Huge "slag" heaps - left from the days when steel was a dominant industry in Chicago Southland and Chicago’s Southeast side.
As most Chicagoans know, this section of the Chicago Southland has been the dumping ground for much of the city's industrial and sanitation waste for generations. It is also home to Chicago's and America's heavy industry producing most of the steel that forms downtown's buildings, bridges, and infrastructure.
Today you can see the remnants of that heavy industry alongside the struggling natural beauty of the wetlands and former industrial sites. You'll see an abundance of birds and waterfowl, steep landfills both illegal and legally permitted; including amazing bridges. The hard-working Calumet River is Chicago's second and third largest lake showcasing one of Chicago’s premium golf courses built atop a garbage dump!
Your guide, Tom Shepherd: a twenty-year board member of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, a local non-profit organization focused on tackling environmental issues impacting Chicago Southland. This is a 5 ½-hour tour with a stop for lunch.
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