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Peoples Gas North Shore Gas

For Release: 07/25/2006

Peoples Energy's Support of Green Teacher Network Provides Grants for Schools' Outstanding Gardens

Environmental programs help schools' gardening initiatives thrive

CHICAGO, IL – At a ceremony today at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, Peoples Energy, along with Openlands, Chicago Botanic Garden and Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, presented four Chicago Public Schools with grants in recognition of outstanding gardens. Recipient schools include Peck Elementary School, Kinzie School and Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, and Dawes School in Evanston. As part of Peoples Energy's commitment to the communities and customers its serves, the company and its employees support a variety of organizations that focus on education, neighborhood development and the environment.

"For many years Peoples Energy has illustrated its commitment to the environment by generously supporting many green projects," Jaime Zaplatosch, Education Project Coordinator at Openlands. "We are grateful to Peoples Energy for enabling us to further our mission to allow young people in urban environments the chance to interact with nature through gardens."

Peoples Energy contributed $20,000 to the Green Teacher Network. The Green Teacher Network provides teachers with a resource for building school gardens into the curriculum and worked with Peoples Energy to give these awards to the schools for plants, supplies and gardening equipment.

"Peoples Energy is honored to support programs that both enhance education and promote our work for cleaner environments," said Rodrigo A. Sierra, Vice President of Communications and Government Relations at Peoples Energy. "It's exciting to see the direct impact that programs like these have on the quality of learning."

Teacher Stephen Menyhart, who oversees Perspectives Charter School's gardening program, represented the school at the day's ceremony and provided a tour. "It's exciting to be recognized for our efforts and I know that my students will greatly benefit from the enhancements this grant allowed us to make."

Having completed its third year with the 2005-2006 school year, the Green Teacher Network is run by Openlands, Chicago Botanic Garden and Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, is open to all Chicagoland schools with an interest in school gardens as outdoor laboratories linked to multi-disciplinary curricula. The Network has served 60 schools, from day care centers to high schools – both public and private – throughout the Chicago region, though the majority are part of the Chicago Public School (CPS) system.

Peoples Energy also boasts a thriving employee volunteer program, where employees take part in community events that support people and communities in its service territory. In 2005, Peoples Energy employees contributed more than 5,000 hours of their time to volunteer initiatives.

Each year, the company's Corporate Contributions Program helps to build healthy neighborhoods and lives. The company contributed $1 million in grants to 10 vital organizations in honor of its 150th anniversary, which included:

  • Environmental Education Center at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Gift: $500,000) - Over the next five years, the Lincoln Park Zoo will restore the South Pond, a five-acre public pond adjacent to the southern Zoo gates. The Peoples Energy Environmental Education Center will be a permanent structure on the East Side of the South Pond. It will serve as the hub of environmental education and the point of access for students and Zoo volunteers.
  • Chicago Department of Environment (Gift: $30,000) - The passive solar greenhouse at the Chicago Center for Green Technology was developed to demonstrate alternative energy sources and promote environmental responsibility. The Peoples Energy grant will support the educational programming for elementary and high school students focusing on landscaping and energy.

Openlands is one of the nation's oldest and most successful urban conservation organizations. Openlands protects, expands and enhances public open space – land and water – to provide a healthy natural environment and a more livable place for all people of the Chicago metropolitan area. Openlands focuses on the advocacy, planning, implementation, education and community involvement necessary to create public open spaces.

Since 1963, Openlands and its land acquisition affiliate, CorLands, have led projects to establish more than 50,000 acres of parks, bike trails, nature preserves, community gardens, tall grass prairies and recreational waterways throughout the metropolitan region.

Peoples Energy, a member of the S&P 500, is a diversified energy company consisting of four primary business segments: Gas Distribution, Oil and Gas Production, Energy Assets and Energy Marketing. The Gas Distribution business serves about 1 million utility customers in Chicago and northeastern Illinois. Visit the Peoples Energy Web site at

For More Information, Contact:

  • Rod Sierra (Media)
  • Doug Ruschau (Investor Relations)