Focus

WILL - Focus - March 07, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Encore: From the Ground Up

Do you grow vegetables in a garden or in pots around your home or apartment? If you do -why did you start? If you don’t, why not? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with Jeanne Nolan, author of “From the Ground Up” about why she does and how she learned.

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(Duration: 51:29)

Jeanne Nolan

Jeanne Nolan has run the Edible Gardens at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago for eight years. In addition to working with Green City Market, the organization which maintains the Edible Gardens, Jeanne runs a business helping people learn to plant and grow their own vegetable gardens. Getting to where she is today, however, was a long and winding road.

This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to guest host Lisa Bralts' talk with Nolan about why she’s devoted her life to organic gardening and how she got to where she is today. We’ll hear her talk about the time she spent learning about agriculture at a commune in California and about the US’s urban farming movement and if it’s losing steam or still gaining momentum. During this hour on Focus, we dig a little deeper into the cost of the grow-your-own model and talk about Nolan’s “five food principles” when starting a backyard garden or urban farm.


WILL - Focus - February 26, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

In Battle against Asian Carp, the culinary solution

Have you, or would you, eat Asian carp for dinner? 

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(Duration: 51:44)

bighead Asian carp

The Army Corp of engineers recently proposed a barrier to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. It would take more than two decades and billions of dollars to build. The time and money that would go into a project like that has long had some looking for other ways to control Asian carp populations. In Illinois, there has been a push to harvest Asian carp and market the fish as food. So far, fishermen and those trying to develop that industry have been met with skepticism.

Categories: Environment, Food

WILL - Focus - February 18, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Insect Fear Film Festival 31: Pesticide Fear Films

Today on Focus, we welcome back Professor May Berenbaum to talk about this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival. 

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(Duration: 50:58)

May Berenbaum with an insect

At this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival, May Berenbaum says she’s out to explore our complex relationship with pesticides. This hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Berenbaum, professor of entomology and department head at the University of Illinois, about this year’s films, which include Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949), a film in which spraying DDT saves the day.

Berenbaum will also tell us more about new research linking pesticides to the decline in bee populations. Call us to join our conversation on Focus! 

Read more to see a full list of films at this year’s festival.


WILL - Focus - February 17, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Encore: Urban Squirrels

We see squirrels every day in cities across Illinois, but squirrels didn’t always live in urban areas in such abundance. 

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(Duration: 51:14)

If you’ve spent time on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana, you’ve likely noticed the squirrels… and their odd behavior. According to mammalian ecologist Ed Heske, they live on campus because in the early 1900’s, the UI allotted $125 dollars to introduce squirrels to campus to enhance interaction between its students and the natural world.

The idea that urban squirrels would be good for people living in cities, however, wasn’t unique to the University of Illinois; it was part of a much larger movement that swept the US starting on the East coast in the early 19th century. This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a coversation Jim Meadows had with  and Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania University Etienne Benson. 


WILL - Focus - January 03, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Urban Squirrels

We see squirrels every day in cities across Illinois, but squirrels didn’t always live in urban areas in such abundance. 

Listen to the Program

(Duration: 51:46)

If you’ve spent time on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana, you’ve likely noticed the squirrels… and their odd behavior. According to mammalian ecologist Ed Heske, they live on campus because in the early 1900’s, the UI allotted $125 dollars to introduce squirrels to campus to enhance interaction between its students and the natural world.

Categories: Environment

WILL - Focus - December 09, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Winter Meteorology

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with former WILL meteorologist Ed Kieser about winter weather and the recent tornado outbreak. We welcome your calls and questions!

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(Duration: 51:31)

Astrological winter hasn’t made its debut yet, but meteorological winter is here. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with WILL's former meteorologist, Ed Kieser, about the recent weather anomalies we have experienced in the area and how everyone can best prepare for the winter weather. Meadows will also talk to Kieser about the tornadoes that took place in the area last month and what circumstances contributed to that weather event occurring.


WILL - Focus - October 29, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Managing Chronic Wasting Disease

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a closer look at chronic wasting disease and how Illinois manages disease epidemics in its wildlife populations. 

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(Duration: 51:50)

a healthy deer in the woods

Chronic wasting disease was first discovered in deer in the Rocky Mountains in the 1960’s. Since then, its spread to the Midwest, Canada and a few eastern states, and there has been ongoing debate about the best ways to keep the disease from infecting more deer. CWD, which is 100% fatal and incurable in deer populations and has been in Illinois for the past decade. According to new research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the state is doing something right when it comes to managing the disease. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, and Jan Novakofski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and a Professor of Animal Science, about the disease, how it affects deer and why we should be concerned with keeping it from spreading. We’ll also talk about managing diseases that have epidemic potential in wildlife populations.

Categories: Animals, Environment

WILL - Focus - September 24, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Richard Louv talks about “nature deficit disorder”

“The more high tech we become, the more nature we need?” Do you agree?

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(Duration: 51:45)

Richard Louv

Patients who can see outside from a hospital room often heal faster than those who can't, and even a little exposure to the natural world has been shown to decrease symptoms of ADD. If we all spent a little more time outside, what other benefits might we see? And, can you really credit those benefits solely to spending more time outside?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with author and journalist Richard Louv about what he calls “the nature principle.” Louv argues many of us are plagued by “nature-deficit disorder,” but says there are seven basic concepts that can help. We'll talk with Louv this hour about nature deficit disorder, why he says its so problematic and what we can do about it.

Categories: Environment

WILL - Focus - May 08, 2013

Colony Collapse Disorder

Before 2006, scientists referred to colony collapse disorder as autumn collapse or spring dwindle, it was normal for a hive or two to die. But as bees have started disappearing en masse, there’s been more and more research into what’s really happening. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with entomologist May Berenbaum about new findings that help scientists understand why bee colonies worldwide are collapsing.

Listen to the Program

(Duration: 51:31)

The US Agriculture Department said yesterday that the honey bee population declined by more than 30 percent last winter, continuing a decrease in honey bee numbers that began in 2005. That’s a problem as more than 20 billion dollars worth of annual harvests rely on bees for pollination. No one really knows exactly why bees are disappearing, although many speculate it’s due to what scientists are calling colony collapse disorder. Researchers have pointed to pesticides, stress and microbial organisms  as possible causes but conclusive answers have so far been elusive.

David Burns caring for his beesThis hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with May Berenbaum, Professor of Entomology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign about colony collapse disorder, what it is, and what might be causing it. According to new research, high fructose corn syrup could also play a role. We’ll also hear from David Burns, a Master Beekeeper and owner of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in Fairmount.

Are you a bee keeper? Are you a concerned farmer or gardener? We want to hear your story. Post in the comments section below! 

Categories: Environment

WILL - Focus - March 21, 2013

Compromising for the Greater Good? Regulating Fracking in Illinois

If you could have a voice in writing regulations for something you strongly oppose, would you? Or would you walk away on principle? Today on Focus, we talked about controversial legislation that would regulate the hydraulic fracturing industry in Illinois.

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(Duration: 50:26)

fracking equipment

Controversial legislation to regulate the fracking industry in Illinois written by both energy officials and environmental group leaders is being considered at the statehouse. Policy makers in other Midwest states that have yet to regulate their own fracking industries say that the way the legislation was written could serve as a model, both for its strict regulatory standards and for the voices that had a say in writing the regulations. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Allen Grosboll, Co-Legislative Director for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Representative for Illinois 11th District Ann Williams who is Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill, and Tom Wolf, Executive Director of the Energy Council at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, part of the GROW-Iliinois, a group that has been working in support of fracking in Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky, Statehouse Bureau Chief for Illinois Public Radio, also joins us with the latest news about the bill.

Categories: Energy, Environment, Land Use

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