Sierran Masthead

First Sierra Club Group of Millennium Forms Here

The first new Sierra Club group of the millennium has been established in Indiana. Called the Five Rivers Group, it centers on Muncie and includes Delaware County plus six contiguous counties--Madison, Randolph, Jay, Blackford, Henry, and Grant.

The Five Rivers Group joins the ranks of six Indiana groups and over 400 groups across the country. The new group will organize hundreds of long-time Sierra Club members in the area.

Chapter coordinator Jennifer Cannon said, “We’re very excited to have the Five Rivers Group up and running, and that the first Sierra Club group formed this century is right here in Indiana.”

Some members of the new group were also members of the Green Group in the Muncie area. The grassroots Green Group had been active on environmental issues, such as recycling, water quality, and land use, for the past year.

They recently decided to fold their efforts into the Sierra Club. Genny Gordy, interim chairperson for the Five Rivers Group, said, “If ever an area needs environmentalism, it’s east-central Indiana. The Sierra Club is a very welcome vehicle for our efforts.”

Members chose “Five Rivers” as the group’s name because its area’s boundaries include the headwaters of Indiana’s Blue, Flatrock, Mississinewa, Salamonie, and White Rivers. Members of the Five Rivers Group selected a volunteer executive committee, and activist Gordy was selected as the group’s chair.

Chapter member Ed Paynter, spokesman on the White River chemical spill for a coalition of central Indiana environmental groups, said, “We are pleased to have the Five Rivers Group officially established, yet sorry that their first chance for public participation was a public meeting in Anderson to discuss the White River disaster.”

Then, in early February, Genny Gordy was interviewed on NBC Channel 13 news in Indianapolis about the East Central Recycling MRF (materials recovery facility) and its contract with Muncie to recycle 25 percent of the city’s waste.

Ms. Gordy spoke about the intense smell, the months’ worth of garbage sitting inside a partially open building, and the concern over potential ground and water contamination. “The MRF sits just next to Muncie Creek, which feeds into the White River a few blocks away.”

The other pressing issue for the group has been and continues to be power plants proposed for about 20 sites around the state.

“Two of these are slated for the Five Rivers area,” Ms. Gordy said.

“Both would turn greenfields into brownfields. Industrial sites are available but undesired by power companies because they would have to pay more to locate gas lines there.”

Ms. Gordy said, “The resources and support of the Sierra Club--a huge and highly respected organization--will align and strengthen the efforts of our members in these seven counties who work to protect and preserve the environment. We invite all citizens to join us.”

The six other Indiana Sierra Club groups are centered in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Lafayette, South Bend, Lawrenceburg, and Valparaiso.

The Five Rivers Group meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 4800 W. Bradford Dr., in Muncie.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[10/8/02]efp

Spring 2000