1. Published

    Master Gardeners from University of Illinois Extension serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties share a mission to “help others learn to grow.” Perhaps nowhere does this mission play out more directly than at the Peoria Riverfront Farmers Market (PRFM), where they answer hundreds of gardening questions posed by visitors from across Central Illinois and beyond.

  2. Published

    Local 4-H members showed their thanks to area farmers in a big way this season. The gift looks small but in reality, it comes with a life-saving message.

  3. Published

    Jo Elyn Smith, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program—Instructor

    josmith@illinois.edu

    “I reach people in the Peoria community to help them better understand what tools they need to become healthier. This is important to me because each person I reach is different in what they need to become healthier.”

  4. Published

    With a priority of focusing on food as medicine, University of Illinois Extension staff teamed up with two partners to provide Heartland Health Services pediatric families a bundle of fresh produce in conjunction with nutrition education and resources as part of a 10 week pilot project. Extension staff involved are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed) effort serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. The two partners were University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) and Peoria Area Food Bank.

  5. Published

    Wildlife Prairie Park (WPP) is one of the many natural resource treasures in Illinois. Their mission of conservation, education, and recreation goes hand-in-hand with the mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists (EMN) which is to provide educational opportunities that connect people with nature and help them become engaged environmental stewards. Within the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit, 25 Extension Master Naturalists invest their time and talents as members of the 380-person WPP volunteer team.

  6. Published

    Building generosity in young people though community service has always been a pillar of 4-H youth development. University of Illinois Extension staff led the way to take community service to the next level. Throughout 2019, 4-H clubs in  Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties combined traditional community service with experiential learning for a new focus on “service learning.” Club members and leaders worked together to plan, organize, and execute what was referred to as the 4-H 10 Gallon Challenge, in which milk or milk vouchers were donated to local food pantries.

  7. Published

    Kellie Roecker, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education Instructor

    kroecker@illinois.edu 

    “I visit classrooms, housing communities, early childhood centers, lunchrooms, and food pantries to provide nutrition education that teaches youth and adults the importance of keeping our bodies healthy from the inside out. My work has a positive effect on the entire family. Kids are excited to share what they have learned with their families and ask for healthy foods.”

  8. Published

    The Northwestern Illinois Agriculture Research and Demonstration Center, located outside of Monmouth, Illinois is a 320-acre University of Illinois facility. Chelsea Harbach is the new U of I Extension commercial agriculture educator who will be conducting research at this site, as well as providing education and presenting programs at a state and regional level. She is the first stop for Extension clients in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties who have questions about or need resources for crops topics.

  9. Published

    Highly trained Master Gardeners from University of Illinois Extension serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties enhance local communities and bring horticultural awareness and knowledge to hundreds of area residents. In recognition of this impact, a team of Extension Master Gardeners, and other volunteers, at St. Jude Parish Catholic Church and School received an award from Keep Peoria Beautiful, the local affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful organization.

  10. Published

    For almost four years, University of Illinois Extension in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit has extended the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) to reach not only Peoria but also Tazewell County to help address food insecurity and associated health issues that may arise from it. EFNEP staff teach citizens at food pantries and local organizations to help them better understand nutrition and strategies to buy healthy food on a budget.

  11. Published

    4G STEM Camp is a University of Illinois Extension camp for middle school girls designed to introduce them to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.  It is an engaging and successful camp for the participants, but its capacity is only 35 girls. Because of this limit, Extension staff incorporated a teacher track as part of the 4G STEM Camp experience in 2015, to extend STEM education to more youth. Since that time, 30 teachers have participated in the 4G STEM Camp Teacher Track.

  12. Published

    Cheryl Russell, Expanded Nutrition Education Program Instructor

    clrussll@illinois.edu 

    “I provide my homemakers with ways and ideas to improve the way they eat. I teach lessons on how to prepare healthy meals, develop healthy eating habits, and physical activities for the whole family. I like to focus on how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Small steps pave the way.”

  13. Published

    There is a correlation between improving science education and keeping the United States workforce strong and competitive. University of Illinois Extension and Bradley University Center for STEM Education have been partnering for many years, in a variety of ways, to help improve the learning environment for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education throughout Central Illinois. This summer a new training opportunity called Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was provided to area educational leaders.

  14. Published

    Within a matter of days, the compost workshop offered by University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit filled to capacity. Composting is a “hot-topic” literally and figuratively. Duane Friend, Extension energy and environmental educator, along with Dr. Paul Walker, retired Illinois State University professor taught 35 people the practical application and the science behind composting at a workshop held in March at the Tazewell County office.

  15. Published

    Deb Balagna, Fulton County Office Support

    dbalagna@illinois.edu

    “I provide support to all our great Extension staff, volunteers, and guests. Tasks can range from simply making copies to complex accounting tasks to unusual information requests. My goal is to create a memorable welcome, a calm work environment, and meet whatever need is presented.”

     

    Sheila Bolliger, Tazewell County Office Support

    sbollige@illinois.edu

  16. Published

    Members of the Mason County 4-H Federation Club teamed up with local law enforcement officers to host a food drive as a service learning project. Using the 2019 county fair as a collection site, the goals of the club were to partner with other community volunteers and to collect healthy food donations to benefit county food pantries.

  17. Published

    Wasted food  has been a great challenge at many schools across Illinois. The mantra “It is not nutrition unless it is eaten” is espoused by many school nutrition staff trying their best to ensure students actually consume a nutritious and delicious school meal. SNAP-Education Educator Kaitlyn Streitmatter worked with Beverly Manor Junior High in Washington to research and apply ways to reduce school food waste and increase the amount of healthy foods students eat.

  18. Published

    University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit is pleased to announce Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle, of East Peoria, has joined the team as the new horticulture educator. Her new role will include a wide range of horticulture programs, educational resources, and overseeing the unit Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs.

    “Attending the Master Naturalist training last year was one of my favorite educational experiences,” mentioned Nicole. “It is exciting to be working with that program in my new position.”

  19. Published

    Youth in 4-H who care for and show livestock gain technical expertise and develop important soft skills that will aid them in future endeavors. Fulton County, in particular, has a large number of youth enrolled in livestock projects.

    Fulton County is a big county. In square miles, it is the 8th largest county in Illinois. It also has large numbers of livestock. According to the 2019 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Report, Fulton County is the 7th highest Illinois county in cattle numbers with 29,500 head.

  20. Published

    Rebecca Crumrine, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education Program Coordinator

    racrumri@illinois.edu

    “I work with partners, such as schools, food pantries, early childhood centers, and coalitions, to help affect change at a policy, systems, and environmental level so the underserved populations in our counties can sustain a better diet and physical activity routine as well as have improved access to fresh, healthy foods.”