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Inspiring People to Care for the Earth

History of SCARCE and the Rescue Projects Print E-mail

Our Executor Director, Kay McKeen, started SCARCE (used to be called SCRAP) in 1990 and she began teaching in DuPage County Schools about recycling and other environmental issues and concerns. Kay was out teaching when she realized that many schools had countless textbooks just sitting in storage, taking up space. All the while, the information was becoming obsolete, it was costing the schools money for the books to sit in storage AND they were going to end up in the landfill! Therefore, in 1991 she started the Book Rescue with the idea of "rescuing" gently used books (text, reference and library) from going in the landfill, and instead putting them into the hands of those who need them.

 SCARCE Thru the Years

  • 2009: Recipient of the Public Education Award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM)
  • 2008: Led initiative towards collection of unwanted pharmaceutical disposal in DuPage County
  • 2008: Recipient of Illinois Environmental Hero Award from Governor Pat Quinn
  • 2008: Received the Business Partner of the Year Award from the Central DuPage AM Rotary
  • 2008: Received The Conservation Foundation’s Paul Butler Memorial Award, for extraordinary efforts in promoting conservation and the environment through her work with SCARCE
  • 2007: Named one of DuPage County’s “10 Most Influential Environmentalists” by The Daily Herald Newspaper
  • 2006: Joined “Clean Air Counts” initiative to improve air quality in the Chicago metropolitan area
  • 2006: Developed & implemented county program establishing groundwater flow models and teacher-training in all middle schools
  • 2005: Developed & implemented county program establishing watershed models and teacher training in all middle schools
  • 2005: Received the State of Illinois Hometown Hero Award from Lieutenant Governor, Pat Quinn
  • 2004: Along with Lieutenant Governor’s office, lead efforts to develop a comprehensive policy for composting throughout Illinois
  • 2004: Helped State Representative, Sandra Pihos, with House Resolution 0840 declaring May 4,
  • 2004: Illinois Clean Air & Asthma Awareness Day and promoting School Bus Idling Ban
  • 2004: U.S. Green Building Council, Chicago Chapter, Re-Generation Award, for educating children
  • 2003: Began work with Lt. Governor Quinn’s office to start food scrap composting for Illinois
  • 2003: Founded and developed the Green DuPage Patch Program for community youth group members
  • 2003: Kane DuPage Soil and Water Conservation’s Excellence in Environmental Education Award
  • 2002: Established the ‘Tools for Schools’ Rescue Program. It becan with a grant from Tellabs Foundation.
  • 2002: Established The Green Bulletin, an electronic environmental newsletter for the community at-large
  • 2001: Founded and developed the Ecology Flag Program; 12 DuPage County schools have earned the Ecology Flag
  • 2001: Illinois Recycling Association’s Recycling Educator of the Year Award
  • 2000: Received DuPage County Conservation Foundation Brooks McCormick Environmental Award
  • 2000: Began ongoing association with The Shedd Aquarium, to conduct a waste audit, develop a comprehensive solid waste reduction program on-site, and assist in development of education programs
  • 1999: Began ongoing association with Field Museum of Natural History, to assist in development of exhibit & education programs
  • 1998: Began ongoing association with Brookfield Zoo, to assist in development of exhibit and education programs
  • 1998: Presenter, the Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award (one of 4 first-ever presenters)
  • 1998: SCRAP Book Rescue Program is recipient of the Role Model Program Award, from the State of Illinois, Department of Commerce & Community Affairs [CCA] Bureau of Recycling
  • 1997: Illinois Tool Works Hi-Cone Ring Leader Team Award, for Outstanding Environmental Education Program
  • 1997: Founded and developed the Earth Flag Re-Certification Program; over 150 of DuPage County’s 289 Earth Flag schools have earned Earth Flag Re-Certification
  • 1996: The Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award
  • 1993: Executive Director, DuPage County Solid Waste Education Center in Carol Stream; developed the Center and established an extensive education program for schools, colleges, business, social, community, organizations and groups of all ages. Over 110,000 visitors toured the center from 1993 to October 2000, when it closed.
  • 1993: Illinois Recycling Association’s Outstanding School Recycling and Reduction Education Program Award
  • 1993: Initiated Wheaton’s “Recycling Extravaganza” community-wide annual recycling event to collect, or safely dispose of, items such as books, tires, scrap metals, electronics, athletic shoes, American flags, eyeglasses, household hazardous wastes. Helped over 10 towns develop ongoing “Extravaganzas” for their communities.
  • 1991: Established SCRAP Book Rescue Center (now known as SCARCE’s “Book Rescue Center”), in Glen Ellyn, over 3 million books have been rescued from landfills for reuse since inception
  • 1990: Founded and developed two composting programs for schools Outdoor: “Turning Garbage into Gold” Indoors, with worms: “Kids Aren’t the Only Wigglers That Belong In School”