Illinois Extension honors 30-year rainfall reporting volunteers

YORKVILLE – As northern Illinois residents know, weather and precipitation can vary greatly from town to town, even mile by mile. For more than 30 years, a devoted handful of volunteers have dedicated their time to tracking rainfall with the goal to share this information with their Kendall County neighbors.

University of Illinois Extension recognized six community members for reaching the 30-year milestone with the Kendall County Rainfall Monitoring Network: Donald Brummel of Plano, Bob and Sharon Friestad of Morris, Jan Kellogg of Yorkville, and Wayne and Lois Konicek of Plano. Each received a certificate and an umbrella.

Each year, from April 1 to September 30, network volunteers record and report rainfall to the University of Illinois Extension office weekly, and the information is compiled in a database and published in the Kendall County Record.

“We want to thank and honor these longtime volunteers, who have been with the program from the beginning and continue to share their time each year,” said Sarah Fellerer, Illinois Extension program coordinator for the local Master Gardener, Master Naturalist and rainfall network volunteers. “Over the decades, this important precipitation data has been used by fellow community members and farmers, as well as agricultural groups and other organizations.”

Brummel, who farms in Plano, said he remembers being approached about the project back in the late 1980s.

“I still do it because it really is interesting to see the difference just a few miles can make in the amount of rain you get,” he said, adding that his most memorable reporting moments included a whopping 14.7 inches of rain in a mere 24 hours back in July 1996 and the opposite issue, empty gauges during the drought of 2012.

The Kendall County Rainfall Monitoring Network currently has 25 volunteers – including six new recruits in 2020 – representing every township. Monitors include the 30-year honorees and the following: Hank and Pam Cryder, Tom Fleming, and Janine Johnson in Minooka; Gary and Jodi Brummel, LeAnn Schilling of FS Grainco, and Sherry Underhill in Newark; Nann Armstrong, David Chrestenson, and Greg Larsen in Oswego; Jeff Anderson, and Whitney French/Russ Miller in Plano; and Ashley Beumel, Anne DeLang, Meg Drake, Todd Fellerer, Linda Gengler, Barbara Hogan, Beth Johnson, James Kohout, Les Maierhofer, and Rod and Patti Wheeler in Yorkville.  


SOURCE: Sarah Fellerer, Illinois Extension Program Coordinator - DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties

WRITER: Rosie Ralston, Illinois Extension Publicity and Promotion Associate - DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties

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.