Want information on soil tests for your lawn and garden? Plan on attending the March 1st program entitled "Tested Your Soil Lately?"
We often hear that we live in an "information overload" age. In many respects that sounds about right. Data, numbers, charts and graphs can overwhelm us to the point that we sometimes feel we need to enroll in a college level statistics course to understand "just the basics."
In the situation of wanting to know or learn about the soil fertility in our lawns and gardens, some numbers or data can be extremely useful. Farmers systematically use soil test data in an attempt to optimize their soil fertility levels for specific yield goals when producing corn, soybeans, and other crops.
By chemically and physically analyzing soil, agronomists can determine existing values of many nutrients that are critical or possibly limiting plant development.
Soil test data is not the only consideration when it comes to healthy plants. There are many facets of plant growth to examine when the question or call to the Extension office starts out, "What's wrong with my plant?" But soil testing is a very good tool that can help demystify and reduce the number of "unknowns."
University of Illinois Extension recommends that homeowners soil test their lawn and gardens prior to the application of soil amendments. Due to the cost of lawn care products, concerns about the environment, and the chance that soil test results may be a bit confusing, Christian County Extension will offer a short-course for the homeowner on soil testing and what the results really mean.
The program will be held on Saturday, March 1, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the UI Extension Christian County office, located at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville Advance registration is requested. For more information call 287-7246.
Do you want to become more active, improve your health and reduce the stress in your life? Maybe all you need is a little motivation.
Walking is an ideal low impact aerobic exercise that, if done regularly, can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lower total cholesterol, raise healthy HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It can help maintain healthy bones and muscles, stabilize blood sugar, improve immunity and relieve some of the stress in your life.
With all those great reasons, why not get started now? The University of Illinois Extension Christian County office will kick off a new walking program: "Step It Up", the week of March 1, 2008.
For the nominal fee of $5, you will receive an easy-to-use pedometer to monitor your own progress in a walking log, monthly wellness newsletters designed just for this program, maps of local walking routes and much more. To join, simply drop by the Extension Office anytime and fill out the registration form. We are offering free and optional testing during our kickoff week at several different locations.
So fit walking into your life and join us for a healthier you. This will be an ongoing program, but why not begin now and get a jump start on spring.
All participants should check with their physician regarding any health condition(s) that might prevent them from participating in this wellness program.
University of Illinois Extension will be conducting a Pesticide Safety Education testing program at the Extension office located at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville. The program will start promptly at 10:00 a.m. on March 3, and applicators should plan on approximately one hour for the exam. This program will test private pesticide applicators needing re-certification, and the certification exam is based on information found in the training manual. Manuals are available from the Extension Unit Office. Advance registration is required (no later than February 29). For more information call 287-7246. There is no fee to attend the "Test Only" session.
Each year consumers lose billions of dollars due to being a victim of fraud.
To learn the different types of scams and schemes that are present in today's society plan on attending this workshop on Thursday, March 20, at 9:30 a.m. in the U of I Extension Christian County auditorium.
Jennifer Hunt, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, from University of Illinois Extension East Peoria Center, will provide information on how consumers can protect their assets from scams, etc.
Call 287-7246 to register by Wednesday, March 19.
The Local Government program entitled "Myth of Free Money" will be held on Thursday, March 27, from 3:00–5:00 p.m. at the U of I Extension Christian County office at 1120 N. Webster St., Taylorville, IL.
This program will help officials know when, how, and even where to seek grants to make the process as painless as possible and to understand what comes along with a grant that has been awarded.
The program qualifies for 2 hours of Certified County Officials (CCO) credit.
The public is invited to attend and there is no charge. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 287-7246.
Plan on attending "Gardeners Day," on Saturday, March 29, 2008, at Lincoln Land Community College in Litchfield, IL.
"Trees in a Changing Climate" will be the keynote speech by Guy Sternberg, a landscape architect, arborist, tree consultant, writer, lecturer, and photographer from Petersburg.
Other speakers will discuss topics such as:
Contact the UI Extension Macoupin County office at 217/854-9604 for a registration form. Pre-registration before March 21, $7 per person; after March 21 & at the door, $10 per person.
If you're an expectant parent or the parent of a toddler, you won't want to miss this opportunity to learn more about the exciting and yet, difficult job of being a parent.
The Special Delivery: Parent and Child Health and Safety Fair will be held on Friday, April 4, in the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auditorium from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Over 25 agencies and organizations will have displays and share information about products and services they are offering to parents.
The keynote presentation "Think First: Safety At Home and on the Road." Special Delivery Parent & Child Health and Safety Fair will be presented by Mary Kay Reed from the SIU School of Medicine. Mary Kay will discuss safety around the home, and Darrell Patterson, from the Illinois State Police, will discuss safety with children on the road.
Taylorville Memorial Hospital is providing a free lunch to all those registering for the health fair before noon on Monday, March 31. To register, please call 287-7246.
The health fair is open to anyone and is free of charge. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. and the fair will continue through 1:00 p.m. with continuous door prizes donated by many local businesses.
This event is sponsored by the Christian County Public Health Dept., Christian/Montgomery Regional Office of Education #10–Learning Express, Morrisonville PRE-K/PAT, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, TCUSD#3 PREP/PAT/Even Start/PI/Baby Talk, and University of Illinois Extension Christian County.
Volunteer: Become an Everyday Hero
If you have the desire to volunteer, whether it's one hour a week or a few hours a month, plan on attending the first Christian County Volunteer Connection on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 from 3:00–7:00 p.m. in the Taylorville Memorial Hospital Auditorium.
This event will showcase over 20 organizations with opportunities for volunteering, so bring a friend along and find the best match for you time and talents.
Local senior transportation will be available by calling 824-4263 and refreshments will be served throughout the event.
Radon is a radioactive gas that you can't see, taste or smell. When you breathe in radon, the radioactive particles release bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium. Uranium is present naturally in the soil. Radon gas can enter the home through openings in the house around pipes and where floors and walls join. Radon also enters through the crawl space or cracks in the basement or slab foundation.
"Most homes have some radon in the air," explains Pat Hildebrand, University of Illinois Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics. "Every home should be tested since that is the only way to know if your home has a high level. One home might have high levels of radon while the home next door may have low levels."
You can test for radon any time of the year. During the heating season is an especially good time to test your home because the doors and windows are likely closed. You can buy short-term or long-term test kits. If you have never tested your home for radon, it is better to do a short test over a few days. You will know quickly if your home has high levels of radon.
A test kit is easy to use and can be purchased at some public health departments, local hardware stores or other retailers. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (800-325-1245) can tell you where to order test kits by mail.
"Package directions will tell you where to place the test kit in your home," says Hildebrand. When the test is complete, usually within a week, mail the kit back to the lab listed in the instructions. In a week or two, you should receive a report."
If the test shows a high level of radon, a second test should be done, a long-term test for 3 months to a year. If radon levels on the second test are high, contact a radon professional to seal up cracks in the foundation or basement floor and walls. A depressurization system can also be installed in the basement, crawl space or under a slab foundation. This uses a 4" PVC pipe to vent radon through the roof of the house.
A home should be tested for radon every two to three years because the house can settle and new foundation cracks can form.
You can't see or smell radon, but it may be in your home, posing a health risk to you and your family. The natural breakdown of uranium in the rocks and soil gives off a radioactive gas called radon that can enter homes, polluting the air. At elevated concentrations and prolonged exposure, radon can cause lung cancer, leading to approximately 22,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers and the first leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.
University of Illinois Extension encourages homeowners to test their homes for radon. High radon levels have been found in every county in Illinois. Testing is the only way to know how much radon is in your home.
Homes can be tested for radon at any time of the year, and the UI Extension Christian County office is offering a free radon test kit to the first 90 people requesting them.
Radon detectors are also available by going online to: www.radon.illinois.gov or call IEMA at 1-800-325-1245 to request the free radon test kit directly from IEMA. Radon detectors may be purchased at many hardware stores and some county health departments. Radon detectors are easy to use and low-cost, and homes with high radon levels can be fixed.
For more information about how to test your home for radon, visit the radon web site:
Radon information is also available at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Radon Program at 800-325-1245.
Copies of the most recent Christian County Plat books are still available now at the University of Illinois Extension office. These plat books, published by the Rockford Map Company, are of an excellent quality and are for sale at a cost of $35 per copy. Checks should be made payable to the Christian County 4-H Federation.
The University of Illinois Extension Christian County website located atis a quick pathway to research-based facts and other information available from the University of Illinois. Click on the "Local Links" tab on the "home page" for new information.
We are pleased to introduce a new Agritourism website that was developed by John Pike, Extension Educator, Community & Economic Development.
The site includes a discussion of what agritourism is with several examples, information on business development, resources, upcoming events, and an "Ask the Expert" section. You can visit the site at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/agritourism/.
The University of Illinois Extension office has a public use computer site. It is available during regular working hours–between 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. This site is connected to a high-speed internet line, so anytime you'd like to come use it, feel free to come on in and search the World Wide Web. The U of I Extension office is located at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville.