A graduate student looks over crops at U of I's Woody Perennial Polyculture site

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - July 08, 2014

Two U of I Students Champion “Restoration Agriculture” at South Farms Site

The Woody Perennial Polyculture site at U of I's South Farms employs principles of what is known as permaculture - taking advantage of natural systems rather than constant technological intervention, replacing annual crops with perennial ones, and replacing monoculture with a diverse, complementary suite of crops

A muskrat swims in a creek

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - June 12, 2014

Appreciating Muskrats

What might a muskrat be doing in an urban park, just blocks from the center of town? Muskrats occupy a wide variety of aquatic and wetland habitats, including slow moving creeks near cities and towns.

Softshell, Painted Turtle and Red-Eared Sliders sit on rocks at the shore of a pond

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - June 05, 2014

Appreciating Everyday Wildlife

Summer means traveling and the opportunity to see wildlife in other places, but looking around one's own hometown can yield a surprising diversity of animals

Monarch Butterfly feeding on butterfly milkweed

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - May 08, 2014

Support monarch butterflies by planting milkweed at home

Monarch Butterflies are declining rapidly as a species—by a staggering 90 percent in the past two decades. Butterfly milkweed, an easy-to-grow perennial characterized by attractive foliage and bright orange flowers; it is also the only plant fledgling Monarch caterpillars feed on. People can provide important habitat for them in home landscaping—just by cultivating some milkweed for the caterpillars to feed on.

Garlic Mustard Hunt participants, left to right: John McWilliams, Nathan Hudson, Eileen Borgia, Mike Daab, Cindy Strehlow, Susan Campbell.; at Homer Lake Forest Preserve

Marilyn Leger

Environmental Almanac - April 24, 2014

Two Ways to Fight Invasive Plants

What’s wrong with garlic mustard? Probably nothing in itself, but garlic mustard is one of many plants that can produce bad effects when propagated them in the wrong place. Natural areas in Illinois are definitely the wrong place for garlic mustard, where it can crowd out native plants, depriving insects and the animals that eat them of an important food source, depriving birds of the cover they need for nesting, and more.

 Anibal Torres explains how coffee is grown on a conventional plantation

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - April 17, 2014

Field Expedition to Costa Rica Provides Students Rich Opportunities

Twenty-one U of I undergraduates in the Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability program studied the complexity of sustainability - from how CO2 in the atmosphere affects coral organisms to the effects of different methods of coffee growth and cultivation

Rob Kanter holds a Middle Fork smallmouth bass

G.K. Appler

Environmental Almanac - March 13, 2014

Speak out to protect the Middle Fork

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is the only Illinois waterway with the designation “National Wild and Scenic River.” But there's a potential accident waiting to happen: a shuttered Dynegy power plant to the north contains three ponds of toxic coal ash in the river's floodplain. These are virtually guaranteed to wind up in the river eventually as the Middle Fork itself meanders toward these coal ash ponds

A Skunk Cabbage grows out of the snow

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - February 27, 2014

On the hunt for first flower of spring

The “skunk cabbage,” is a plant that lives up to its name, giving off a distinct, skunk-like odor. But this distinct early spring flower also distinguishes itself from all other plants native to Illinois by the fact that it generates heat--enough so that its flower can remain 36 degrees F warmer than the surrounding air for a period of about two weeks.

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