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Find nature in your backyard with environmental webinar series

photo of solar panels

URBANA, Ill. – Nature is closer than you think. From the entertainment of backyard squirrel gymnastics to indoor worms composting kitchen scraps, the University of Illinois Extension Everyday Environment webinar series shows how everyone has access to the natural world.  

Starting in August, the Illinois Extension Energy & Environmental Stewardship team of educators will present a free, monthly webinar with research-based information and tips to make small changes that have a positive impact on the environment.

The five-part series will be the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. CDT. The program is free, and participants need to sign up in advance to receive login information.

August 13, Solar Energy for the Home: As renewable energy production has grown in popularity, solar panels are now more accessible and affordable for homeowners. Energy & Environmental Stewardship Educator Erin Garrett will cover the basics of solar energy including what makes a home suitable for solar panels and options for homeowners.

September 10, Watershed Planning: Everyone who lives in Illinois has a stake in the protecting its waterways. Extension Watershed Outreach Associates Haley Haverback-Gruber and Jennifer Jones will cover how watershed-based planning in Illinois uses a collaborative, grassroots approach to improve and protect the state’s water resources. Learn how Illinois conservationists work with communities on a local level to preserve their natural resources.

October 8, Composting Do’s and Don’ts: Composting isn’t complicated, but following a few basic rules will help turn your pile of kitchen scraps and garden waste into a nutrient-rich organic material. Join Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator Duane Friend to discuss the composting process, what goes into a compost pile and what should be left out, as well as basic management of air, moisture and temperature. 

November 12, Vermi-Composting: Odorless and indoor friendly, vermi-composting is one of the easiest ways to compost at home. Join Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator Peggy Doty to learn how to harness the power of worms to turn leftovers into soil.

December 10, All About Squirrels: Squirrels are a staple of backyards, college campuses, and, of course, forests, but how much do you really know about these mischievous rodent neighbors? Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator Abigail Garofalo will delve into the ecology and life of squirrels to better understand one of the most commonly encountered wild animals in Illinois.

For more information, contact webinar coordinator Erin Garrett at

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any of these programs, please contact Garrett. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.

SOURCEErin Garrett, Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator, University of Illinois Extension

NEWS WRITER: Emily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, University of Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.