Peggy West standing next to her display at Peoria Art Guild

Art and nature go hand-in-hand for Extension Master Naturalist and artist Peggy West. She uses her skills and expertise to educate and advocate for critical issues of the environment.

dad and daughter planting an oak tree

Youth and adults from Peoria County worked together on a unique community service project that they and others will watch grow for many years and will benefit generations to come.

Julie Dantone demonstrates how to brush teeth

Healthy living is more than just what we eat and drink. Thanks to partnerships, University of Illinois Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education staff in Tazewell County enhanced their standard curriculum with additional hands-on activities and gifts for the youth and adult participants.

Container Gardening

Picture of a recipe and its ingredients

Food is a big part of our lives. It can be part of who we are, where we came from, and how we express ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to food and the holidays.

Picture of Bob Coppernoll, Master Gardener

“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” - Kirill Korshikov.

4-H members participating in a meeting

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is a question we start asking young people almost as soon as they can talk. And it’s an important question. At its most fundamental level, the question is asking about a young person’s goals – but the conversation should not end here.

Profile picture of Kristi Smith

Kristi Smith has been part of the 4-H program long before becoming the Peoria 4-H program coordinator. She spent ten years involved as a member of the Laura Winners 4-H club and then during her teen years 4-H Federation. Upon her graduation from 4-H, she immediately became a volunteer as the 4-H Livestock Judging coach in Peoria County. Now, she is excited to join the 4-H team at University of Illinois Extension.

Extension Master Gardener working in a community garden

For a few years, new volunteers had the choice to complete the 60-hour Extension Master Gardener training in one of two ways: a face-to-face class or individually online.

Profile pictures of 4-H teen scholarship recipients

To be selected for a state 4-H scholarship is quite an honor, as the competition is steep. University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit is proud to announce that four local 4-H members were selected to receive $1,000 career achievement scholarships as well as one 4-H Sustaining the Future Award.

Local career achievement scholarship winners include:

Picture of canned food on shelf of food pantry

Food pantries serve as an invaluable asset in the community, providing both food and essential household and hygiene products to families in need. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church food pantry in Peoria looked to University of Illinois Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed) for expert advice implementing new systems and policies within their food pantry to better ensure nutritious food is offered and pantry guests’ needs are met.

Elementary age child works on STEM project

Afterschool programs have been a reliable source of support to young people and families who are balancing remote school or work, dealing with the health and economic stressors created by the pandemic, and managing the toll that COVID-19 is taking on their mental health and overall well-being (Afterschool Alliance, 2021).

Master Naturalist Mary Zehner holding binaculars close to face

Volunteer efforts can lead University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists (EMN) on some fun adventures. Sometimes those adventures are as close as their backyard. Citizen Science programs have given EMNs serving in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties opportunities to use their skills and knowledge to impact their communities and beyond.