The Citizens Committee for the Environment (CCE) aims to educate Chesterfield on conservation and environmental awareness. It does this mainly through sponsoring various annual events and drives.
Committee Co-Chair Darcy Capstick said the committee works with and through government at all levels to maximize the opportunities for the conservation of nature and energy resources through education.
The old days, Capstick said, were the ones when group members would put on raincoats and rubber gloves and collect residents’ recyclables in the parking lot. The new days? The committee obtains funding for community environmental programs through grants.
One of the committee's claims to fame is making single-stream recycling possible for Chesterfield residents. Capstick said because of relationships CCE has developed at the city, state and national levels, it was also able to secure its own collection unit for the program.
“The goal was to hear our communities say, ‘The trash can is shrinking,’ ” Capstick said.
CCE is actively involved in applying for grants because it is not included in the city’s budget, Capstick said. Though most of CCE's funding comes from grants, Capstick said the process can be a bit slow because the committee needs to get specific approvals and work with the city government. A brochure on CCE’s website states CCE has been awarded 14 grants to date.
Even though CCE is not city funded, the city allots it small favors, such as being able to use city facilities for clerical work, she said.
Aside from the single-stream recycling campaign, which has now been in place about five years, the committee also hosts the annual Earth, Tree and Arbor Day celebration and three annual recycle drives.
For some of its events, CCE works in conjunction with Boy and Girl Scouts, especially on the state and national arbor days when the committee plants and gives away trees to the community. Capstick said they give the scouts trees and shrubs to plant, give out tree guides and explain Arbor Day to community members every year.
The committee has also received several awards and honors for its efforts, especially for the single-stream recycling program. The Missouri Recycling Association awarded CCE for having the highest curbside recycling participation rate in state in 2005, CCE's website states. CCE also helped Chesterfield achieve Tree City USA standing for the 10th year in 2006, its website states.
Some of CCE’s more recent accomplishments include inaugurating a green youth team program for students from kindergarten to college in 2009 and establishing a schedule for e-cycling at the .
The committee is composed of about 12 volunteers who range from their early twenties to seventies.
“We’ve got the minds of the adults, and we’re working with the little ones,” Capstick said of their efforts to get community members involved.