The recently released Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities provides background information, recommended action steps, and promising practices to help manage the impact of substance use disorder on communities and help persons with the disease of addiction. The topics are based on lessons learned from Department of Agriculture rural roundtable discussions held in over a dozen states, as well as the experiences of several rural stakeholder partners. The guide complements both the Community Assessment Tool, which gives county specific data about deaths and factors which may make a community more vulnerable to addiction, and the Federal Rural Resources Guide, which includes comprehensive information about different federal funds for rural communities impacted by addiction. The Guide also has a companion supplement, a listing of promising practices which you can find here: Rural Community Action Guide: Promising Practices.
A new study from the University of Illinois and Reed College estimates the value people place on improved water quality and stormwater management. “Our research indicates that these environmental goods produced by green infrastructure have significant monetary value, and that people might be willing to volunteer a significant amount of time to help provide those goods,” says Amy Ando, professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the U of I, and one of the study’s authors. The paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, used a choice-experiment survey to provide respondents with background information about stormwater management issues, then to choose between different scenarios. The study included survey responses from 334 individuals in Chicago and 351 in Portland. Ando and co-authors Catalina Londoño Cadavid, Noehwah Netusil, and Bryan Parthum found that people are willing to make considerable contributions both in terms of time and money. For example, improved water quality is estimated to be worth about $280 a year per household. If flooding is cut in half, that benefit is estimated to be worth $300 a year. These amounts indicate how much people would be willing to pay in fees or taxes to obtain those benefits. The study also showed that people may be willing to spend a considerable amount of time working to support these environmental features, especially if it directly benefits their local community.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open-access digital archive dedicated to the natural world, is now offering more than 150,000 high-resolution illustrations for copyright-free download. These public domain images belong to an archive of more than 55 million pages of literature about earth’s species of flora and fauna. They include animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries across the world. Some of the illustrations date back to the 15th century. Among the collections are a digitized copy of Joseph Wolf’s 19th-century book Zoological Sketches, containing about 100 lithographs depicting wild animals in London’s Regent’s Park, watercolors depicting flowers indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, and an 1833 DIY Taxidermist’s Manual. Selected images from the public domain images are available on the library’s Flickr and Instagram pages.
The Illinois Office of Broadband opened applications for a $50 million competitive matching grant program, Connect Illinois, part of a $420 million program to extend critical high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions throughout the state. In collaboration with Illinois Extension, the office will host three webinars to help potential applicants and other stakeholders understand the Connect Illinois program and the current funding round. A recording of the February 13 Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure (Part 1) is available here. The next two webinars will be on Friday, February 21 (Part 2) and Friday, February 28 (Part 3), both at 2PM CST. To attend, REGISTER HERE.