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American Badger out in the wild

In search of the American badger

By Carla Rich Montez, Extension Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell countiesIt’s not easy to examine the life of an animal that is secretive, solitary and nocturnal.Just ask any scientist who has attempted to study the American badger. In fact, details about its...
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Brent Fowler standing in blooming prairie with a corn field in background

Quail comeback

By Carla Rich Montez, Extension Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties   Almost everywhere you look on Brent Fowler’s farm, a restored habitat is visible. But it hasn’t always been that way. Fowler grew up during the era of farm modernization when...
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Jnnifer Bass and Nancy holding Conservation at Home sign

Conservation@Home Member Spotlight: Jennifer Bass

By Jennifer Bass, Extension Master Gardener and Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties“It Seemed the Natural Thing to Do!”When I was growing up, I lived on a farm with a large yard and two wonderful timbers. My mother had many flower beds with some natives...
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bush honeysuckle with red berries

7 terms to know about invasive species (and some to avoid)

Effective communication in invasive species management relies on consistent and accurate terminology. Confusion is a problem when terms are not clearly defined. Agreeing on terminology helps to clearly communicate so that everyone can understand what invasive species are and why there is concern...
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Spring Gardening: When is the best time to get started

By Ella Maxwell, Extension Master Gardener serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties The temperatures this spring have been up and down which forced some of the earliest flowering plants to begin blooming at least two weeks earlier than normal in my garden. My winter aconite and...
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Eliana' Garden memorial rock in her garden

Gardening can help you heal while grieving

In August of 2020, I received a call with the news that is every mother’s nightmare. There had been an accident and my six-year-old daughter did not survive. That week, her lovely kindergarten teacher brought us five plants to start a butterfly garden. Although I already loved gardening, at that...
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