Knowing that the census guides how much money a community gets from the government is the most important reason for people to respond to the census, according to results from a 2018 Census Bureau survey. Thirty percent of respondents specifically said the most significant reason to reply to the census is the knowledge that census data are used to guide public funding decisions. Another 17% said it’s that it benefits their community’s future, while 15% said the most important reason is that it provides information for local governments. Only 45% of respondents knew the census of population and housing ─ conducted every 10 years in the United States ─ was used to help determine public funding. Yet, 62% said benefits to their communities are the most important reason for filling out the census questionnaire.
The ILLINOIS NATIVE PLANTS brochure is a guide to the characteristics and benefits of selected Illinois plants to help home gardeners choose native plants appropriate for site-specific conditions. By using native plants in your landscape, you help support healthy ecosystems on land and water. Many are food sources for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Native plants promote clean water and conservation by reducing the need for garden inputs. They rarely require fertilizer and pesticides when planted in conditions similar to their natural ecosystems. Further, native plants have extensive root systems that, once established, help them thrive without watering. You can be part of a network of native plantings by registering your Illinois native plant garden or rain garden. This helps build community and encourage native plant use. Add your native plant garden to the map: http://go.illinois.edu/GardenMap
The cascading effects of natural disasters have far-reaching impacts. Beyond being forced out of their homes and communities, residents also contend with a myriad of other logistical challenges. From food access to SNAP-Ed benefits, and from water quality to sanitation issues for people and animals, impacted communities are ground zero for tough questions. According to Carrie McKillip, community and economic development educator for Illinois Extension, in the aftermath of a crisis, agencies play a dual role of providing information and services to those directly impacted by the event, while also simultaneously gathering data to mitigate future disasters. “In many of our more rural counties, it’s not uncommon for Extension to be the only agency with an active, ongoing presence outside of a crisis response,” McKillip says. “Our network can and should be leveraged to provide more efficient access and communication to those individuals and families who are directly impacted. Whether we’re talking about disseminating Extension resources or those from other aid organizations, our network plays a crucial role.” According to McKillip, it’s not uncommon for municipal leaders to be caught unprepared to manage a local response to a natural disaster because it’s often not articulated as part of the responsibilities of their role. Through the work of COADs (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), elected officials and municipal leaders benefit from the stability of an entrenched, hyperlocal network of professionals who are trained to understand the depth and breadth of disaster mitigation and recovery.
Need help with a project? Apply for assistance from the National Park Service. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program is currently accepting applications for technical assistance requests. If your town or community group needs help planning an outdoor recreation or natural resource conservation project in your neighborhood, the National Park Service can provide advisory support to assist with project management, strategic planning, or community outreach. For more information visit https://www.nps.gov/orgs/rtca/index.htm.