March 07, 2021

Calendar: The Great Backyard Bird Count

Melody Arnold, president of the Macon County chapter of the Audubon Society, will discuss the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, set for Feb. 12-15 this year.

Each year people from around the world come together to watch, learn about, count, and celebrate birds. Find out more information about the count at Arnold will talk about a few of the birds that are most likely to see in this area and how you can participate.

The free program will be at noon Feb. 1. Register at

Winter Tree Identification webinars

Extension Forester Chris Evans will conduct a three-part webinar series on winter tree identification.

Feb. 1, 2 p.m.: Characteristics used in identification, terminology, and techniques and tools for identifying unknown tree species.

Feb. 3, 2 p.m.: Characteristics used to identify tree species commonly found in Illinois.

Feb. 5, 2 p.m.: Tree groups that are difficult to identify by species in winter, such as oaks and hickories. Also covered are uncommon tree species found in Illinois.

Virtual sessions are free and open to the public. Register at

2021 Crop Management Conference on demand

The 2021 Crop Management Conference is going virtual. CropFlix is binge-worthy content for corn and soybean producers aimed at improving your cropping systems.

CropFlix participants choose from a series of prerecorded programs and watch on demand for the entire month of February on the Moodle learning platform. The conference’s new online format has doubled the number of presenters, with a wide variety of presentations on research updates, recommendations for best practices, climate projections and more. Participants will also have access to two live virtual town halls to ask questions and have conversations with presenters.

Topics include:

Northern Illinois growing season review and outlook.

Central Illinois growing season review and outlook.

Southern Illinois growing season review and outlook.

Exploring the cause of injury or death in grain entrapment, engulfment, and extrication.

The why, what, and how of tile drainage and nutrient loss.

Cover crops and insect management.

Dectes stem borer management.

Ear-feeding caterpillars and above ground Bt traits.

Bean leaf beetle biology and management.

The current situation with the western and northern corn rootworm in Illinois.

Western corn rootworm biology and resistance management.

Climate Change and Crops, Managing crops into the future.

Phosphorous management revisited: myths and best practices.

Where are we with the soybean cyst nematode problem?

Economics of corn and soybean.

Cost is $50. Register by visiting

Let’s Talk Money webinars

Let’s Talk Money is a free, online eight-week series to help you talk with family, friends, and financial professionals about money. Many times, lack of financial knowledge and uneasiness of discussing sensitive issues keep people from having crucial conversations to improve the financial health of their family. University of Illinois Extension consumer economics professionals will provide sound financial education which will lead you to make more informed choices during each one-hour webinar. Presenters include Kathy Sweedler, Sasha Grabenstetter, and Camaya Wallace Bechard.

Register at

Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m., Who Are You With Your Money: The first step to taking control of your money is matching your values and goals to your financial decision-making. In this interactive workshop, assess who you are with money, and where you want to be in the future.

Feb. 9. 6:30 p.m., How Much Is Too Much Debt: Deciding when and how much credit to use depends on the financial situation. Discover different scenarios when you might use credit, and learn options for borrowing money from creditors.

Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m., Fair Access to Credit: Not all individuals and families have the same access to credit. While consumer laws offer protection from discrimination, this problem still affects many consumers. In this webinar, we will explore some of the challenges of obtaining credit as well as unfair lending practices that create barriers to accessing mainstream credit market.

Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m., Debt Repayment Strategies: Repaying debt is challenging in the best of situations, and today’s economic situation makes it more difficult. Learn tried and true strategies for prioritizing debt repayment, and paying it down effectively. Explore options for student loan repayment too.

March 2, 6:30 p.m., Credit Scores Revealed: Why is credit such a mystery? What’s the difference between a credit score, credit report, and credit history?

March 9, 6:30 p.m., Secrets for Financial Success: Money comes in. Money goes out. Do you have money left for your important goals and wants? Learn the secrets of directing your money to where you want it to go.

March 16, 6:30 p.m., Framing Biases, Overcoming Hurdles: Our financial fears and personal biases can hold us back from making wise financial decisions. Learn how to overcome poor spending choices by using behavioral economics techniques.

March 23, 6:30 p.m., Make Your Savings Grow: Do you feel alone in your struggle to save? Financial experts have emphasized the importance of saving for unexpected events and long-term financial goals. However, people at different income levels encounter challenges with saving. This webinar addresses this issue and provides practical ways to help you grow and maintain healthy saving behaviors.

Aquaculture and Aquaponics: Small Farms Winter Webinars

Aquaponics and Aquaculture will be presented from noon 1 p.m. Feb. 4 as part of the 2021 Small Farms Webinar Series.

This presentation will explore the science and symbiotic relationship between aquaponics and aquaculture and the benefits for urban agriculture.

The 2021 Small Farm Webinar Series gives small producers access to practical tools and knowledge to improve their profitability and sustainability by learning about leading practices on emerging topics in production, management, and marketing. Register at

Other topics in the series include:

Feb. 11, noon: So You Want to Be a Farmer/Value Added Producer?

Feb. 18, noon: Spring and Summer Bulbs for Cut Flower Production.

Feb. 25, noon: Regenerative Grazing - Could It Work on Your Farm?

March 4, noon: Grower/Business Spotlight: Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains.

March 11, noon: Containerized Production: Options When Quality Native Soil Isn’t An Option.

March 18, noon: Food Desert or Food Apartheid?

March 25, noon: Too Small for Wholesale Markets? Think Again.

If you cannot attend the live session, register to receive an email with the recorded session. Past programs are available on YouTube at

Meals for a Healthy Heart

Meals for a Healthy Heart is a two-part series of online classes to help improve overall health, wellbeing and awareness of cardiovascular risk.

The free classes, from 10:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 5 and 12, offer Illinois Extension research-based education for preventing and managing heart disease with healthy food choices and exercise tips. Participants will receive recipes, watch cooking demonstrations, learn about heart-healthy foods, and plan for exercise.

Register by Feb. 4 by visiting