We believe in Illinois: its people, its diverse neighborhoods and communities, and our shared future. We believe that health and wellness are the foundation for individuals, families, and communities reaching their full potential. We believe in and promote a culture of service as fundamental to strong and healthy families, neighborhoods, and state. We believe that the long term sustainability of the environment and agricultural productivity requires stewardship and care. We believe in and respect youth’s potential to change the world and work to support nurturing communities and opportunities to learn and grow.

We believe in the state of Illinois and we are committed to our mission, linking local communities to the University and developing programs, tools, and knowledge that will support needed change. These webinars help us fulfill our mission: to align research to needs and translate research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

vegetables growing in garden

Home Fruit and Vegetable Gardening    

April 27: What’s That Bug? How to Identify Insects 
Have you ever spotted an insect and wondered what type of insect it was? Insects are all around us and play important roles in our ecosystems. Explore how to identify different groups of insects commonly found in Illinois.

 

pansies flowers

Lawns, Shrubs, and Flower Gardening    

May 11: Green Screens Fences and Borders
The home landscape can be thought of as an extension of our living space and much like the rooms in our homes we can use plants as structural elements in the landscape. If you’ve visited an arboretum or botanical garden you’ve likely seen walls created with different plant species such as evergreens and perennial shrubs. Explore design elements, some good species for creating screening, and design consideration for creating a green fence or screen successfully. 

May 13: Shade Gardens: Native Plants & Ecological Benefits
You may have heard about the benefits of planting native plants in your home landscape, but is there a place for native plants in the shady spots of your yard? Learn which native plants are best suited for a shade garden. There are many ecological benefits of planting natives underneath trees. Explore your options for choosing shade-tolerant native plants. Replace your existing vegetation with natives that are both aesthetically appealing and help support wildlife food webs.

 

fruit and oatmeal

Family, Food, and Finances         

April 6: Law Enforcement Safety for Individuals with ASD
Individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as their caregivers, are invited to learn skills and techniques for safely interacting with law enforcement officers. The one-hour session provides participants an opportunity to apply learned skills to hypothetical situations.

April 7: Stand Up Against Sitting Down: The Benefits of Sitting Less | Springtime Science Health Series 
Have you been thinking about how much you've been sitting during this pandemic? Hear the latest research on sedentary behavior and the impact of excessive sedentary time, as we discuss strategies to replace sitting with physical activity. 

April 8: Physical Activity | Keys for Embracing Aging 
Regular exercise is associated with decreased death and disability from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Make exercise a habit.

April 13: Neurodiversity at Your University
Explore what neurodiversity, particularly autism, looks like in the people around you, learn about characteristics of autism, and help cultivate an inclusive community where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. A panel of peers on the autism spectrum will answer questions about life experiences, encounters, and achievements. 

April 14: Myths and Misconceptions of Metabolism | Springtime Science Health Series
Can specific foods truly boost your metabolism? Does aging inevitably slow it down? In this presentation, learn the most common misconceptions and important factors that affect your metabolism. 

April 14: Get Savvy: Student Loan Repayment
It seems every year we see a record high for student loan debt. In 2020, that record hit $1.56 trillion. As of 2018, average student loan for bachelor degree recipients in Illinois was $29,855. Understanding repayment is a key to driving down individual student loan debt post graduation. Join us on April 14 at noon CST to learn the terms, tools, and strategies to empower your student loan pay-off plan. 

April 15: Brain Activity | Keys for Embracing Aging
A healthy brain is crucial to survival, growth, and everyday successes. Similar to the rest of the body, the brain needs exercise and maintenance to optimize and protect its current and future health. In particular, the brain needs socialization, mental stimulation, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. 

April 15 : How to Save on Travel: Lessons for Living
Traveling across the state or around the world offers many opportunities for fun and spending money! Join us in discussing ways to be a savvy traveler, including how to manage your finances efficiently and safely while traveling. 

April 20: Communicating Healthy Relationship Education with Youth on the Spectrum
Relationship education often excludes youth on the spectrum. As an adult supporting an adolescent on the spectrum, learn about emotions and barriers that can prevent open communication, and discover tangible resources and evidence-informed tips families and communities can use to address and help close the gap. Youth are also welcome to attend!

Future Learning Opportunities

 

forest with sunlight shining in

Trees and Forests

April 7: Get Lost: How to Get Lost in the Back Country
Have you considered navigating off-trail or wondered how to get back on track after getting lost, but didn’t know where to start? Orient yourself with this session on basic map-and-compass navigation and the mapping app for smart devices, Avenza Maps™. Outdoor enthusiasts will gain skills allowing them to adventure safely and how to navigate a safe return. 

April 14: Identification and Management of Herbaceous Invasive Plants
Herbaceous invasive plants are a threat to forest health, productivity, and diversity. Learn how to identify common Illinois invasives, tools for controlling these invaders, and new species to keep an eye out for.

 

government building

Community Economic Development and Local Government

April 20: Redistricting Illinois
Post-census redistricting results from reported changes in population and affects both the state of Illinois and its local communities. After a decennial census, states create new electoral maps, redrawing district lines for state legislators. States with more than one U.S. Representative likewise revise their congressional district maps, using a variety of legislative procedures. In a parallel process, Illinois counties redraw their district boundaries as well. 

Future Learning Opportunities

 

envrionment bird flying

Energy and Environment

April 8: Illinois Owls | Everyday Environment Webinars
Owls are not only at the top of their food chain; they are at the top of their game. Owls have one of the most unique set of tools in their predator toolkit, from eyes that can penetrate the darkness, to rotating toes to pick up the smallest of rodents. Owls are also masters of illusion and silence. Peer into the world of Illinois owls in this free online webinar. 

Future Learning Opportunities

 

3 youth happy

4-H Youth Development

April 6: Ag Career Exploration Ag Ed/Outreach
Explore numerous professional pathways related to agriculture. Seeing your professional pathway as a career ladder can help align short term and long term goals. 

Future Learning Opportunities

 

farmers markets flowers vegetables

 

Local Food Systems, Small Farms, and Specialty Operations

 

If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact the presenter listed. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.