April 14, 2024

Calendar: Family Nature Celebration at Lilly Nature Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 11th annual Family Nature Celebration will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET May 20 at the Lilly Nature Center and Celery Bog Nature Area, 1620 Lindberg Road, West Lafayette.

This family-friendly event will include the Bird Hike at 10:15 a.m., Hoots 2 Howls live animal talk at 11 a.m., and the Nature and Wildflower Hike at 1 p.m. There also will be crafts and games at the event.

For more information, contact the Lilly Nature Center at 765-775-5172.

Plant Swap

NASHVILLE, Ill. — Bring a Plant, Take a Plant will be 8 a.m. to noon May 20 at the Nashville Public Library, 219 E. Elm St., Nashville.

Washington County master gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions.

No plant to swap? No problem. Plants will be available to take in exchange for a donation.

For questions, call the Washington County Illinois Extension office at 618-327-8881.

Trainer Training

INDIANAPOLIS — The Junior Master Gardener train-the-trainer workshop will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET May 20 at the Marion County Extension office, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis.

Participants will practice strategies and discover useful tools for successful, project-based programming for all ages. Each participant will leave with a Junior Master Gardener curriculum book.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/ms8927xe. For more information, email Ashley Shufflebarger, adshuffl@purdue.edu.

Plants and Pollinators

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The program Plants and Pollinators: Building Habitat with Native Plants will be 7 p.m. May 20 in the Champaign County Extension auditorium, 801 N. Country Fair Drive, Champaign.

Extension Educator Ryan Pankau will provide examples of how plants sustain pollinators in Illinois and will offer ideas and tips for how you can integrate more plant life into the landscape in support of these all-important insects.

Pankau also will cover Illinois Extension programs focused on pollinator support, such as the Pollinator Pockets program. He will share various Illinois-specific resources and information about both pollinators and plants, including the newly released Illinois Pollinators website.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/5fmmn7td.

Spices and Herbs

CARLINVILLE, Ill. — Cooking with Spices and Herbs will be 10 to 11 a.m. May 23 at the Macoupin County Extension office, 60 Carlinville Plaza, Carlinville.

Herbs have played an important part in human life for centuries. Learn about how to use various spices and herbs and about their healthful properties.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/y4z4jkjd.

Dial Testing

ELIZABETH, Ill. — Pressure Canner Dial Testing Clinic will be 2 to 4 p.m. May 23 at the Jo Daviess County Extension office, 204 N. Vine St., Elizabeth.

Before using your pressure canner, have your dial gauge tested for accuracy. Testing will ensure your pressure canner reaches the appropriate pressure needed to process low-acid foods, such as vegetables and meats, safely.

Bring in your pressure canner lid with the gauge attached. Staff will inspect the lid, gasket, and gauge for accuracy and provide you with an assessment.

For more more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/bdfb29wf.

Create Your Own Blue Zone

PRINCETON, Ill. — Cultivating Your Own Blue Zone will be 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 23 at the Bureau County Senior Center, 16 W. Marion St., Princeton.

Learn what distinguishes Blue Zones of the world and common lifestyles that contribute to health and longevity. Enjoy tasting a recipe made from a Blue Zone community, take home information and recipes to make at home, and make a plan on how to cultivate your own Blue Zone.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/5557ttfe.

Container Gardening

HILLSBORO, Ill. — Container Gardening with Vegetables will be 3 to 4 p.m. May 23 at the Montgomery County Extension office, 1 Industrial Park Drive, Hillsboro.

Promoting local food can start in your backyard, patio, or even indoors. Learn to grow a variety of vegetables in containers and use space efficiently. University of Illinois Extension Educator Andrew Holsinger will share some of the best cultivars for growing in containers.

The program also will be offered online. Register at https://tinyurl.com/232snyzb.

Creative Mess

AUBURN, Ind. — The program Art 101: Embracing Your Creative Mess will be 6 to 8 p.m. ET May 23, May 25, May 30 and June 1 at the DeKalb County Office Building, 215 E. 9th St., Auburn.

Participants in grades six through 12 will learn the the steps to create their own artwork, from sketching to framing. Last year, one of the participants from this course won the champion ribbon at the DeKalb 4-H Summer Judging.

Cost is $15. Register at https://bit.ly/23Art101Register.

Canning Basics

ELIZABETH, Ill. — The program Water Bath and Pressure Canning Basics will be 6 to 9 p.m. May 23 at the Jo Daviess County Extension office, 204 N. Vine St., Elizabeth.

Home food preservation continues to be a growing trend. Whether it is due to the increase in food costs, the desire to know what is going into your food, or because it benefits the environment by reducing one’s carbon footprint, home food preservation continues to be extremely popular.

Canning is a great way to use the foods you have grown in your garden or have purchased from your local farmers market. It also allows you to enjoy the incredible tastes of summer all year long while keeping food safe. However, a lot of science goes into safely preserving food.

When it comes to canning, there are two canning methods: boiling-water bath canning and pressure canning. The acidity of the food will determine which processing or canning method is used. The boiling-water bath canning method is used for acidic foods, meaning foods with a pH of 4.6 or less. Most fruits are naturally high in acid and thus are safe to process this way. However, some foods must have additional acid added, such as pickled foods, tomatoes, and figs, before they can be safely processed.

Low-acid foods such as carrots, corn, green beans, potatoes, peas, and meat will not be acidic enough to prevent the growth of a dangerous bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Therefore these foods must be processed using a pressure canner. A pressure canner is the only safe method for processing low acid foods because it can reach a temperature of 240 degrees under pressure.

If you are interested in learning what it takes to preserve food safely, or perhaps you simply need a refresher, this class is for you.

Participants will learn the basics of home food preservation, food safety guidelines, and the most recent methods used to preserve food safely. Additionally, participants can have the dial gauge on their pressure canners tested; just bring your lid with the gauge attached.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/2trcxsrh.

Carnivorous Plants

MENDOTA, Ill. — Carnivorous Plants will be 6 to 7 p.m. May 23 at the Graves-Hume Public Library, 1401 W. Main St., Mendota.

This presentation discusses why carnivorous plants have evolved to eat meat, the different ways they go about capturing their prey and how to take care of them.

Register for this free program by visiting https://tinyurl.com/53vuc44v.

Herbicide Drift

URBANA, Ill. — The online program Recognizing and Reporting Herbicide Drift will be 7 to 8 p.m. May 23.

Featured speaker will be Diane Plewa, a plant diagnostic specialist and the director of the Plant Clinic at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and the state Integrated Pest Management coordinator. She will discuss identification of herbicide drift damage and the proper way to report it to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/yh37d7ps.

Community Garden

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Community Garden Collaboration Quarterly Meeting will be 6 to 8 p.m. ET May 24 at Fountain Square Neighborhood Community Garden, 873 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis.

This meeting is a great opportunity for anyone interested in urban agriculture in Marion County where they can learn about relevant growing practices and connect with others in the field. ICGC meeting topics range from irrigation to volunteer management and provide an excellent way to network and build relationships with other growers.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/2uah6zb5.

Cooking for 1 or 2

DECATUR, Ill. — Cooking for 1 or 2 will be 5 to 7 p.m. May 25 at Decatur Memorial Hospital, 2300 N. Edward St., Decatur.

Cooking by yourself or with one other person can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to meal planning. Learn techniques for cooking on a smaller scale and simplifying meals without them getting boring. Learn how to shop, prepare, and modify recipes for fewer people. Participants will sample recipes tailored for one or two people.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/5czmfzc8. For more information, contact Caitlin Mellendorf at 217-877-6042.

Healthier Diet

ELIZABETH, Ind. — Are you looking to make small, manageable changes to improve your diet and overall health? The free program Small Steps to a Healthier Diet will be 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET May 25 at the Harrison County Public Library, 5101 Main St. SE #109, Elizabeth.

Topics will include nutrition label basics, healthy ingredient substitutions, and a food demonstration with samples.

Participants will be entered for the chance to win a crock-pot slow cooker, courtesy of program partner LifeSpring Health Systems and Nurse Educator Breeze Peele.

For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/nhzemjn7.

Youth Mental Health

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The online program Youth Mental Health will be noon to 1 p.m. ET May 26. Discussed will be some of the most effective tools and strategies that can be used to identify and support young people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/23p922m9.

Cupcake Decorating

OGLESBY, Ill. — Cupcake Decorating will be 1 to 3 p.m. May 27 at Illinois Valley Community College, Room CTC-122, 815 N. Orlando Smith St., Oglesby.

Youths ages 10 to 19 will create a daisy, sunflower and other spring-themed cupcake designs.

The $10 fee includes instruction to complete one dozen designer cupcakes and a take-home decorating supply kit.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/ybf4uxf2.