Whether you're managing your family's farm or you're an avid supporter of greenspaces 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? Contact our energy and environmental stewardship educator, Jay Solomon, to learn more about how Illinois Extension is prepared to help.
Understanding Limitations to Grass-based Agriculture in the Driftless Region of Illinois and Wisconsin
The Driftless Region of Illinois and Wisconsin is a unique agricultural region with a history of
evolving farming practices that are economically and ecologically viable. This technical report is
based on a four-year research project to understand barriers and limitations to grass-based
agriculture. The research seeks to identify opportunities to reduce barriers to grass-based agriculture
to enhance both the agricultural and ecological outcomes of farming. We used a placed-based
approach that builds on insights from farmers and agricultural stakeholders living and working in the
Throughout our research, we have been aided by numerous local stakeholders. We are grateful to
the local leaders, farmers, and residents who met with us and shared their insights. The information
received from the residents we engaged is at the heart of our research. We also want to thank the
local farmers who participated in our survey and the valuable information they shared about their
decision-making related to farming practices. We hope this report will help improve the future of
agriculture in the Driftless region.
Link to the full report:
Everyday Environment Webinar
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Illinois Extension Forestry
Find a Consulting Foresters
Find and Agency or Staff Foresters
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.
Podcasts, Blogs and Newsletters
Spotlight on Natural Resources
Nutrient Loss Reduction Podcast
Illinois Drainage Research and Outreach Program (I-DROP)
Stormwater @ Home
Red Oak Rain Garden
Additional Resources for Water
- Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant: Research, education and outreach promoting the sustainable use of the Great Lakes and other water resources
- Bioreactors, Water Table Management, and Water Quality: Explore techniques for minimizing nutrient loading into surface waters.
- Rain Garden - A Native Planting Guide for Rain Garden Beds: This guide provides a suggested rain garden planting plan.
- Stormwater@Home: Video series about rainwater management featuring homeowner nature-based solutions including rain gardens and permeable pavement.
- Native Spring Ephemerals: A Guide to Illinois Native Spring Ephemerals for the Home Garden: A guide to the characteristics and benefits of selected Illinois spring ephemerals to help home gardeners choose plants appropriate for site-specific conditions.
- Full Sun Pollinator Garden - A Native Planting Guide to Attract Pollinators: This guide features a plant plan that creates year-round interest for people and extends the foraging season for pollinators.
- Illinois Native Plants for the Home Landscape: This brochure is a guide to the characteristics and benefits of selected Illinois plants to help home gardeners choose native plants appropriate for site-specific conditions.
- Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report: Report on Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy implementation for the years 2017-18. Includes an update to the Science Assessment.
Land use changes affect water resources (see the following page maps showing land cover in the 1830s and in 2012).
This plan has been created to identify and assess issues related to surface water and groundwater in the county and to
document consensus about the best way to manage water resources going forward. Science-based stewardship and
evidence-based decision-making have been the guiding principles of this planning process.
This plan documents consensus on three broad goals designed to achieve incremental, sustainable improvements to
water resource management within the county:
▪ Enhance stormwater management
▪ Enhance surface water management
▪ Enhance groundwater management
Plants and Wildlife
Emerald Ash Borer
Additional Resources for Insects, Plants and Wildlife
- Invasive Species: A guide to managing invasive plants and pests of Illinois. Invasive species cause damage by changing the habitat for wildlife and native plants or by negatively impacting the forest or agriculture resources.
- llinois 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.
- Pollinator Garden - Native Plants for Attracting Pollinators: This guide features a plant plan that creates year-round interest for people and extends the foraging season for pollinators.
Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation
Firewood in Illinois
Additional Resources for Energy
- Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory: Working to advance research and education focused on renewable food, fuel and fiber-based processing platforms.
- 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.
Additional Resources for Weather and Climate
- Midwest Regional Climate Center: Services and research help to better explain climate and its impacts to the Midwest.
- Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program (WARM): Research and data about Illinois conditions.
- Winter Storm Resource Center: Links to the information you need to cope with severe winter weather.
- Illinois Drought Resources: Learn how to deal with heat and drought in Illinois.
- All About Weather: Learn more about Illinois weather patterns, climate, precipitation and more in this blog by Duane Friend.