The National Audubon Society's 119th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be conducted Friday, December 14, 2018 through Saturday, January 5, 2019. The count is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler. Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It's not just a species tally-all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. A map view of the circles expected to be included in the 119th CBC can be found here. If you're interested in participating, check out the map to find a count near you; more circles will be added as they are approved. Green and yellow circles are open for new participants, and red circles are full. If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.
The U.S. government's climate scientists issued a blunt warning, writing that global warming is a growing threat to human life, property and ecosystems across the country, and that the economic damage—from worsening heat waves, extreme weather, sea level rise, droughts and wildfires—will spiral in the coming decades. The country can reduce those costs if the U.S. and the rest of the world cut their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. Capping global greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) or less would avoid hundreds of billions of dollars of future damages, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, written by a science panel representing 13 federal agencies. The report, like a recent comprehensive assessment issued by the United Nations, signaled the mounting urgency for governments to act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before locking in high risks. The report looks at the damage already happening and what's ahead in each region, describing damage from wildfires and the impact of ocean acidification on shellfish in the Northwest; rising temperatures thawing permafrost in Alaska; coral reef damage in Hawaii; hurricanes, coastal flooding and mosquito-borne diseases in the Southeast; extreme rainfall destroying crops and eroding farm soil in the Midwest; flash droughts in the Northern Plains; and the dwindling of the snowpack and the Colorado River that the Southwest relies on. U.S. temperatures have already risen about 1.8°F (1°C) since the start of the Industrial era, and that warming has been accelerating in recent decades. "Recent record-setting hot years are projected to become common in the near future for the United States," the report says.
Following the state’s veto session, University of Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development team will host a free webinar, Illinois State Legislative Update, on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at Noon (Central Standard Time). Illinois Association of County Board Members’ local government legislative experts, Kelly Murray and Taylor Anderson, will discuss recent and potential changes in legislation that will have a direct impact on Illinois local governments. With a Q&A session following the presentation, participants will have an opportunity to discuss impact and better understand mandated and expected actions. Visit the registration site for more information about the program and presenters.