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August 10, 2018



University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live Local Government Education webinar, Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part I), on September 13, 2018, Noon – 1:00 p.m. Scott Tess (Environmental Sustainability Manager at the City of Urbana), will share strategies and experiences to make your municipality an easy, fast, and cheap place for solar energy installations for both public and private sector properties. He will discuss the SolSmart best practices and recognition program, municipal solar procurement, public bulk purchase programming, and leasing underutilized property for solar. The webinar is free and open to the public. Register Here



Between 1906 and 1909, a pair of ornithologists crisscrossed the state of Illinois, creating a unique record of its avian inhabitants across grassland, forest, urban, and agricultural habitats. Michael Ward, associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, retraced their steps from 2006 to 2008 and used the data to build mathematical models of bird occupancy, assessing how things had changed over the course of the twentieth century. Ward and his colleagues found that birds’ use of alternative habitats had changed more than use of primary habitats: The 40 species in their analysis that expanded their occupancy did so by making more use of urban habitats, while the 26 that decreased did so because they were making less use of agricultural habitats. Urban habitats have become more bird-friendly in the past century as vegetation has matured and bird-feeding has become more popular. Agriculture, on the other hand, has seen a shift from small, diversified farms to vast corn and soybean monocultures managed with heavy herbicide and pesticide use.



The Illinois Department of Transportation will be accepting applications for the Safe Routes to Schools Program from September 24, 2018 to November 19, 2018. If you want to apply, you must be registered through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) grantee portal, and all pre-award requirements must be fulfilled prior to submitting an SRTS application. Awarded Projects will be announced March 2019. If you are interested in more information, CLICK HERE.  Safe Routes to School (SRTS) uses a multidisciplinary approach to improve conditions for students who walk or bike to school.  The program has three main goals: 1) to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; 2) to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and 3) to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity (within 2 miles) of both public and private primary and middle schools (grades K-8).



Illinois Bicentennial Commission will host Illinois’ 200th birthday at the United Center on December 3, 2018 in Chicago, IL at the United Center. Illinois celebrities and contributors in all walks of life, including entertainment, sports, politics and more will be invited to participate. Initial talent confirmed to participate include members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Styx, Blues legend Buddy Guy, the Chicago Bears, Olympic Champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bill Kurtis and more. The theme of the year-long Bicentennial Celebration will showcase the people, places and things that have been Born, Built and Grown in Illinois over the last 200 years that have made us Illinois Proud. A special Veterans commemoration, hosted by Illinois’ Joe Mantegna, will recognize the sacrifice Illinoisans have made over 200 years. The evening’s programming will mix historical video and live entertainment, including musical performances by an array of Illinois artists. Additionally, the event will reflect on great events in Illinois sports, including a look back at the birth of the NFL, which had its roots at the University of Illinois with Papa Bear George Halas and Red Grange, as well as a salute to all of the professional championship teams featuring players, trophies and special guests. Other segments are being developed and invitations to many celebrities are being extended ensuring this will be a night to remember for the next 200 years. The evening finale will chronicle the story of how Jazz and Blues migrated from Louisiana through East St. Louis and to Chicago. A tribute to Chicago Blues will feature a performance by Buddy Guy and his band. At 81 years old, Guy continues to be the King of Chicago Blues and has just released his 18th studio album, “The Blues is Alive and Well”.



September 13, 2018 (Webinar) - Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part I)

September 25, 2018 (Grant Deadline) - USDA Rural Business Development Program

September 27, 2018 (Webinar) - Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part II)

September 30, 2018 (USDA Funding Deadline) - Rural Energy Savings Program