When Illinois’ stay at home order began in March, University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell (FMPT) Unit staff shifted to working remotely and modified their current programs to continue to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, and local governments. Illinois Extension recently announced plans to continue providing programs in formats that support public health and safety priorities throughout the summer months. Staff and volunteers have approached the shift head-on and have a well-curated line-up of programs and services readily available. A few examples include:
4-H Shows conducted online
Our 4-H shows will be conducted online using a digital exhibition platform. Members have the opportunity to prepare their 4-H projects for exhibit and submit photos or videos, along with a written report. Project judges will review the submitted materials and provide the youth feedback on their 4-H project.
Gardening Helpline available
The Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) have provided a free gardening helpline for the past 30 years. This year is no different. The local Gardening Helpline volunteers field questions such as general gardening advice, problems with a specific plant, how to deal with a pest, the general condition of a lawn, and a variety of other topics. During the 2020 shelter-in-place order, EMGs are receiving the questions via email and voicemail.
Everyone is welcome to send in questions to email@example.com or leave a message with their local Extension office.
Extension educators from all units across the state have expanded the number of webinars and trainings available online. In addition to topics directly related to supporting people and businesses during COVID-19 pandemic, we have increased the number and variety of webinar topics related to horticulture, natural resources, nutrition, agriculture, local government, and family health.
Examples of summer webinar series include:
- Teacher Tuesdays STEM, presented by FMPT Youth Educators
- Understanding Alzheimer’s, presented by Family Life Educators
- Fill Your Pantry - Food Preservation, presented by Nutrition & Wellness Educators
- Four Seasons Summer Series, presented by Horticulture Educators
- Everyday Environment, presented by Energy & Environment Educators
More details on all of our upcoming webinars, along with links to recorded webinars, are available at go.illinois.edu/ExtWebinars
Our unit's 4-H STEAM summer assistant Kate Mueller has been working with several agencies via video to provide them with a great line up of kids activities. We have created a video playlist to share with everyone. She teaches kids about making observations, binary code bracelets, fingerprinting, and design.
Forms and supplemental resources are online at - go.illinois.edu/STEAMactivities
MEET THE AUTHOR
Anita Wilkinson has been serving University of Illinois Extension since 1998, currently in the role of Communications Program Coordinator for the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit. She began her career in Marshall-Putnam counties leading the 4-H program and transferred to Tazewell County 4-H in 2011. Her 4-H experiences began as a youth member and later 4-H volunteer in Stark County where she was born and raised.
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