Monte, The Promise of the Banner Marsh and Environmental Activism

March 26, 2011

Prior to the creation of the publicly accessible Banner Marsh in Fulton and Peoria counties, what is now over 4,300 acres of lakes and marsh land, used to be farm land and a privately owned coal mine.  This wildlife area is bordered by US Route 24 and the Illinois River.  For the longest time, only certain people were allowed access to this land.  Of those, most included employees of the mine or those associated with the mine.  Anyone familiar with this area knew of the excellent fishing spots that existed and often times those living around this area would try sneaking into this site only to be chased out by mine employees or have the local police called down upon them for trespassing and poaching.

When it came to Monte’s environmental activism, he chose to play roles mostly behind the scenes.  Though he did enjoy debating people, Monte was not one who enjoyed being out in front of particular issues.  Frequently, he would use his artwork to create parodies involving local environmental issues and public officials.

Below are a series of pencil sketches Monte created to ridicule and bring attention to local politicians regarding their battle over the development of the Banner Marsh from privately owned land to that of an area open to the general public.

Monte created a fictional organization called “YECH” and based this parody on the resistance at the time of the members of the Fulton County Board to allow progress on the development of the Banner Marsh.

In Monte’s left behind notes, he emphasized at one point only a single member of the Fulton County Board voted in favor of the Banner Marsh.

There is a good chance if a person were able to obtain photographs of members of the Fulton County Board during this time, individuals in Monte’s parodies could probably be recognized.


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