Extension Educator, Horticulture
December 28, 2007
James B. Nardi, a University of Illinois biologist has written a book, Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners that introduces you to all the creatures that live in our soil.
Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred color illustrations and masterfully-rendered black and white drawings throughout, Life in the Soil invites naturalists and gardeners alike to dig in and discover the diverse community of creatures living in the dirt below us.
Biologist and acclaimed natural history artist James B. Nardi begins with an introduction to soil ecosystems, revealing the unseen labors of underground organisms maintaining the rich fertility of the earth as they recycle nutrients between the living and mineral worlds.
He then introduces readers to a dazzling array of creatures: wolf spiders with glowing red eyes, snails with 120 rows of teeth, and10,000-year-oldfungi, among others.
Organized by taxon, Life in the Soil covers everything from slime molds and roundworms to woodlice and dung beetles, as well as vertebrates from salamanders to shrews. The book ultimately explores the crucial role of soil ecosystems in conserving the worlds above and below ground.
A unique and illustrative introduction to the many unheralded creatures that inhabit our soils and shape our environment aboveground, Life in the Soil will inform and enrich the naturalist in all of us.
For more information, please contact Stephanie Hlywak at (773) 702--0376 or email@example.com
Source: University of Chicago Press
December 28, 2007
Mark Kastel's dynamic speaking style, combined with the Cornucopia Institute's reputation as an "organics watchdog," make him perhaps the most provocative speaker in the country on issues related to agriculture, organics, and small farms.
Kastel will be one of two keynote speakers at the Midwest Organic Production and Management Conference and Trade Show January 17 and 18 at the University of Illinois.
"This is the third year we've hosted a January conference on organics and each year we've had to move to accommodate the larger crowd," said U of I Extension's Dan Anderson.
"This year with the conference at the Illini Union, we'll have plenty of large meeting spaces and be more centrally located – making it easier for people from around the Midwest to attend." The Illini Union is at 1401 West Green Street on the University of Illinois campus.
"We are also excited to have Tim LaSalle, who is CEO of Rodale Institute, as a keynote speaker," said Anderson. "Tim has had a wide-ranging and influential career in education and research on organic farming and its effects on human and environmental health."
"We'll have a number of speakers who are University of Illinois researchers in the areas of economics and marketing, pest control and weed management, but because this year we have also partnered with Purdue University, we will have speakers from Purdue, as well as Michigan State, the USDA, and some successful organic farmers to tell their interesting stories and share what they've learned about organic farming," said Anderson.
The two-day conference will cover topics including economics, developing markets, livestock, agronomic and horticulture crops, aquaculture, and organic management.
For a complete listing of conference speakers and sessions and online registration, visit http://orgconf.sustainability.uiuc.edu/.
News writer: Debra Levey Larson
phone: 217-244-2880; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 15, 2007
Color can be the most impressive feature in the home garden, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator who developed a new website focusing on the use of foliage.
"Color is the garden feature that often overrides those of texture and form and thus becomes the most impressive and memorable of all the garden qualities," explained Greg Stack. "We remember color long after we leave the garden."
To help home gardeners decide what colorful foliage will look best in their garden, U of I Extension has launched "Fabulous Foliage".
"A current trend in home gardening is the use of plants that are tropical looking and that combine texture with boldly colored foliage," said Stack. "Plants with colorful foliage can create a bold color impact that continues for many months.
"This ability to provide long-lasting color which is not reliant upon flowers opens up a whole style of gardening that can make any garden inviting and dramatic."
Traditionally, one rule of the garden is that plants with colorful foliage should be used sparingly.
"But, when you set out to create a garden of color using foliage, you have to rely more on the colors of the foliage than those of the flowers," he said. "Flowers, as nice as they are, come and go, but foliage remains constant. So break the rules."
Stack recommended using masses of the same brightly colored foliage plants in groups of three, five, seven, nine, or more.
"The effect will be show stopping," he said.
On the website, Stack recommends some rules to follow as well as an endless array of plants that can be added to the garden for their foliage texture and color.
"The list will help to get you started in adding drama to the garden with plants that have fabulous foliage," he said.
December 14, 2007
Dear Past and Future Herb Day Attendees:
This letter is to announce that Herb Day 2008 has been scheduled for Saturday,
January 19, from 8:00 am (when registration begins and the retail area opens) through 4:30 pm, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 1001 Killarney St., Urbana, IL 217-328-7900. The Holiday Inn is just south and west of exit #183 off I-74 (Lincoln Avenue), conveniently located and easy to find. Hotel rooms are reserved for Herb Day attendees at the special Herb Day rate ($70 single, $80 double) until January 1. After that date, this rate will only be in effect if rooms at the hotel remain available. There is also a Holiday Inn Express just across the parking lot from the Holiday Inn. The first educational session begins promptly at 9:00 am.
As has become traditional, herbal experts will present five educational sessions to inspire herb gardening and use in the coming year.
Session 1 Jeanne Rose of San Francisco, California, will speak about The Aromatic History of the Use of Essential Oils. She is a noted author and expert on this subject, who teaches a wide array of classes on the uses of essential oils during the year.
Session 2 Pat Burnell, of Burnell's Neat Wheat, in Varna, Illinois, will give a lecture-demonstration of this ancient art form, entitled Getting Started with Wheat Weaving. Pat is well known around the country for her work with this herb-related craft activity. She has just completed her 15th annual visit to Dollywood, where her presentations are greatly appreciated.
Session 3 Ben Lubchansky from Urbana, Illinois, recently completed his masters degree working on a project with pastured poultry and organic vegetable production. He is also an accomplished young chef who gave a wonderful presentation at the 2006 Organic Gardening Day. He will cook for us, using Herbs in the Twenty-First Century Kitchen.
Session 4 Jonathan Hoffman of Vicksburg, Michigan, is in the process of writing a book about the plants that Lewis and Clark encountered along their historic route. Jonathan has traveled much of the route himself and will share his knowledge and excellent photos of The Herbal Footprints of Lewis and Clark.
Session 5 Jeanne Rose will complete the day with a second talk about the production and use of essential oils in everyday life, entitled More Smelly Stories.
There will be a retail area selling a broad spectrum of herb, spice, and gardening products. Get a jump-start on the 2008 gardening season by shopping now. Morning coffee, tea, and rolls will be available near the exhibit area, and an herb-themed lunch buffet will be served in the Atrium.
Attendees may register through January 11, as long as space remains available. Registrations will be allotted on a first come, first served basis, so register now. Once the available 270 spaces are filled, any additional registrations will be returned. On-site registration (which does not include lunch) will only be available if all 270 seats are not filled by January 11. It has been several years since any on-site registration space has been available.
Cost of registration is only $49 per person. This includes seating in the lectures, coffee, tea, and rolls during morning registration, an herbal theme lunch buffet (including vegetarian options), and access to the retail area. A vegan plate is available, but only if specified on the registration form. Herb Day registrations are due by January 11, 2008. Those interested in attending should mail checks, payable to the University of Illinois, to: Herb Day 2008, Attn: Carol Preston, S-406 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, Illinois 61801 (see enclosed return envelope). For more information call 217-333-7738 or email email@example.com. Sorry, credit card orders cannot be accepted, and cancellations will not be refunded. Registrations may be transferred to another individual, as long as Carol Preston is notified of the name change by January 11.
No confirmation of registration will be sent. To confirm receipt of registration, please phone 217-333-7738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vegetable and Herb Specialist
(due by January 11, 2008)
Name (as wanted on nametag) and contact information - address, phone, and email (please print):
Total number of registrations: x $49 = $
Number for vegan lunch plate (no meat, dairy, or eggs) List name(s) below
Send check, payable to UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, to Herb Day 2008, Attn: Carol Preston,S-406 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801. Sorry, no credit
December 8, 2007
Take a moment out of your busy holiday activities to read " The Gardener's Place" a column written by Chicago Master Gardener MaryAnne Spinner and University of Illinois Extension horticulturists.
Read MaryAnne's latest very timely article: Green for the Holidays: "Distinctively Different Garden Gift Books".