The Nature Conservancy’s Mackinaw River Program: Investigating the Science and Application of Agricultural Conservation Practices for Water Quality Improvements

Dr. Maria Lemke is Director of Conservation Science for the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Illinois. For the past 20 years, TNC in Illinois has worked with agricultural landowners and partners to implement and monitor the effectiveness of various agricultural conservation practices within the headwater region of the Mackinaw River. Research has been conducted across multiple project sites and scales to quantify how well several in-field practices (e.g., grassed waterways, winter cover crops) and edge-of-field constructed wetlands work to address altered hydrology and water quality concerns. Dr. Lemke’s presentation will describe their long-term research and monitoring results related to the ability of various conservation practices to reduce nutrient losses from agricultural systems to surface waters. This talk is co-sponsored with the Illinois Wesleyan University Biology Department and the Environmental Studies Program. The Zoom link for Dr. Lemke’s talk is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87001719483.

Rain Barrel Workshop – Online

See how our EAC rain barrels are built, and get to know some of the unique features we’ve incorporated into our design. Learn how to locate, install, and set up your rain barrel, and how to keep it in great condition and doing a great job all season. We’ll also provide some tips to transition your downspouts and barrel for winter storage. The final portion of our workshop is devoted to a live Q & A with EAC staff, who can answer questions about ecological impacts as well as practical everyday use of rain barrels.

By the end of the workshop, participants will have a sound understanding of the individual and community benefits of having a rain barrel, and can be confident about next steps to install, use and care for one. Use the “With Rain Barrel” registration option if you would like a rain barrel at our workshop rate of $45 (regular retail price $80).

REGISTER HERE!

Compost Workshop – Online

This workshop will cover the basics of backyard composting with or without a bin, and what you need to know to avoid spreading invasive jumping worms when you spread compost. You’ll learn basic techniques to build the pile, what materials to include, and what to do with compostable materials that don’t work in a backyard setting. We will cover monitoring and maintenance, how to know your compost is done, and how to know it’s safe to use!

Our educators will provide resources for help identifying jumping worms, and tips for using your compost bin, thermometer, and stirrer to keep them at bay. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a sound understanding of the individual and community benefits of composting, and can be confident about next steps to set up and monitor compost in their own backyard, while keeping invasive jumping worms out of the garden.

The workshop cost is $5.00, or you can choose the “All-Inclusive” option of $85.00 to receive a compost bin, thermometer, and compost stirrer (approximate retail value $120).

REGISTER HERE!

Compost Workshop – Online

This workshop will cover the basics of backyard composting with or without a bin, and what you need to know to avoid spreading invasive jumping worms when you spread compost. You’ll learn basic techniques to build the pile, what materials to include, and what to do with compostable materials that don’t work in a backyard setting. We will cover monitoring and maintenance, how to know your compost is done, and how to know it’s safe to use!

Our educators will provide resources for help identifying jumping worms, and tips for using your compost bin, thermometer, and stirrer to keep them at bay. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a sound understanding of the individual and community benefits of composting, and can be confident about next steps to set up and monitor compost in their own backyard, while keeping invasive jumping worms out of the garden.

The workshop cost is $5.00, or you can choose the “All-Inclusive” option of $85.00 to receive a compost bin, thermometer, and compost stirrer (approximate retail value $120).

REGISTER HERE!

Compost Workshop – Online

This workshop will cover the basics of backyard composting with or without a bin, and what you need to know to avoid spreading invasive jumping worms when you spread compost. You’ll learn basic techniques to build the pile, what materials to include, and what to do with compostable materials that don’t work in a backyard setting. We will cover monitoring and maintenance, how to know your compost is done, and how to know it’s safe to use!

Our educators will provide resources for help identifying jumping worms, and tips for using your compost bin, thermometer, and stirrer to keep them at bay. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a sound understanding of the individual and community benefits of composting, and can be confident about next steps to set up and monitor compost in their own backyard, while keeping invasive jumping worms out of the garden.

The workshop cost is $5.00, or you can choose the “All-Inclusive” option of $85.00 to receive a compost bin, thermometer, and compost stirrer (approximate retail value $120).

REGISTER HERE!

JWP Audubon Bird Walk

Join the local chapter of the JWP Audubon Society for a bird walk at Ewing Park in Bloomington! You don’t have to be a “birder,” you just have to enjoy taking a nice walk outside with nice people. We are moving into the exciting season of fall migration, when birds are making their way back south to their wintering grounds. Migrating birds include all of the young ones born this summer, so you’ll be treated to a variety of songs and color patterns. This walk is appropriate for all ages, and it doesn’t matter if you know a cardinal from a crow. Social distancing is very possible on these outdoor walks, and masks are welcome. We hope to have extra pairs of loaner binoculars available as well. It’s easy to drop off the walk if you need to leave early. Rain or shine, see you there!

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

Come join us for our October workday along Sugar Creek! We need help improving Sugar Creek in designated areas throughout Bloomington and Normal, by clearing invasive plant species and managing the non-invasive plants.

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COVID-19 Protocol: Per CDC guidelines, vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks when engaging in outdoor activities, but the CDC recommends mask wearing by everyone in crowded outdoor settings or when working in close proximity to others. The EAC asks that all volunteers wear masks when standing in close proximity to EAC staff or other volunteers, but when safe distances are maintained, mask wearing is optional. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools, gloves, and reusable water bottle. 

Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws.

The Sugar Creek Stewards is part of the Ecology Action Center’s Clean Water programming, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

Participants will be emailed confirmation and workday information the Friday before the workday.

Registration for this workday is closed.  Please join us in November!

 

Compost Workshop – Online

This workshop will cover the basics of backyard composting with or without a bin, and what you need to know to avoid spreading invasive jumping worms when you spread compost. You’ll learn basic techniques to build the pile, what materials to include, and what to do with compostable materials that don’t work in a backyard setting. We will cover monitoring and maintenance, how to know your compost is done, and how to know it’s safe to use!

Our educators will provide resources for help identifying jumping worms, and tips for using your compost bin, thermometer, and stirrer to keep them at bay. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a sound understanding of the individual and community benefits of composting, and can be confident about next steps to set up and monitor compost in their own backyard, while keeping invasive jumping worms out of the garden.

The workshop cost is $5.00, or you can choose the “All-Inclusive” option of $85.00 to receive a compost bin, thermometer, and compost stirrer (approximate retail value $120).

REGISTER HERE!