Energy & Environment
Whether you're managing your family's farm or you're an avid supporter of green spaces in urban areas, interest in expanding our understanding of the natural environment has never been higher. With an increased focus on sustainability, safety, and innovation, what we know about shepherding our energy and environmental resources has evolved rapidly in the past decade. If you've got questions about best practices in environmental stewardship, you'll appreciate that our information is based on peer-reviewed science - the gold standard in determining the credibility and reliability of information.
Looking for an answer to a specific question? Call your local office to learn more about how Illinois Extension is prepared to help.
Become a Master Naturalist
Our Master Naturalist training program is designed for adults of any age that want to learn about and positively impact their local environment. While our training is not required to volunteer at specific events, it sure does help!
Energy and Environment is a broad and diverse area of study. We've organized our resources into several topical themes to help you dig more deeply into your areas of interest. From educational curriculum units to websites devoted to deeply exploring a single topic area, our resource collection represents best practices based on both proven and emerging research and the work of our professional education staff.
Composting and Soil
- Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation: Research on sustainable energy sources.
- Ethanol: Learn the basics of ethanol production and use.
- Energy Education Council: Research, education, and outreach promoting the safe and efficient use of energy. Working with utilities to provide educational resources for public outreach.
- Firewood in Illinois: Learn about good firewood characteristics, forest and woodlot management, and wood stoves and fireplaces.
- Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory: Working to advance research and education focused on renewable food, fuel and fiber-based processing platforms.
- Smart Grid Education Outreach: Learn about Illinois Extension's smart grid education outreach efforts.
Environmental Stewardship at Home
Insects, Plants, and Wildlife
- Emerald Ash Borer: Learn how to identify ash trees and spot possible Emerald Ash Borers adn then explore options for controlling the problem. Spanish version available.
- Gypsy Moth Reporting Site: Learn about gypsy moths and how to control them.
- Illinois Forestry: Educates landowners, environmental groups, natural resource managers, foresters, and loggers about forestry.
- Living with Deer in Illinois: This website provides residents of Illinois with information about how to coexist with Illinois deer.
- Living with Wildlife in Illinois: Information about how to coexist with Illinois wildlife.
- Adventures of Squirmin' Herman the Worm: Lessons about worms and how to make your own worm bin. Intended for 1st-3rd grade students. Spanish version available.
- Exploring the Secret Life of Trees: Designed to help 3rd–5th grade students gain an appreciation of trees, observe trees in their everyday lives, and develop an interest in discovering more about trees. Spanish version available.
- I Think Green: Youth investigate how living things interact with each other and with their environment.
- Natural Resources and the Environment: Explore how plants, animals, and humans interact within ecosystems and how they each influence one another.
- Trees are Terrific: Designed to help young children (5–8 years of age) gain an appreciation of trees, observe trees in their every day lives and develop an interest in learning more about trees. Spanish version available.
Sustainability, Weather, and Climate
- Disaster Resources: Quick access to information on disaster resources and agencies.
- Global Climate Change at Illinois: The access point for global climate change-related research conducted across campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Illinois Drought Resources: Learn how to deal with heat and drought in Illinois.
- Illinois State Climatologist Office: Provides weather and climate data, maps, and information for Illinois.
- Land to Water: Nutrient Explorer: Explore a sortable list of external resources on the topic of nutrient pollution, its sources, and its solutions.
- Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program (WARM): Research and data about Illinois conditions.
- Weather Video Series: Learn all about the weather with this informative video series.
- Winter Storm Resource Center: Links to the information you need to cope with severe winter weather.
- Riding the Winds with Kalani: This weather adventure teaches about temperature, clouds, precipitation, and Earth movements. Intended for K-2nd grade students. Spanish, Chinese, and Korean versions available.