The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 11, 2013

Nature class lends a hand

DANVILLE — Many people are familiar with the Master Gardener’s program. We have heard them on local television and radio stations or read an article they published in the newspaper.

Master Gardeners give out great advice on whatever problem residents might have in a garden or lawn. If they don’t know the answer, they ask a fellow Master Gardener or they have the resources of the University of Illinois Extension to find an answer. And, best of all, the service is free.

There is a similar program that covers areas outside of residents’ backyards. It covers forests, grasslands, wetlands, ponds, rivers and other places outdoors. It is the Master Naturalist program.

The concept of the program is much like the Master Gardener program. The program educates and trains volunteers to give out natural resource information to the public and to assist in conservation activities.

The area program, the East-Central Illinois Master Naturalist program, began in 2005. Since that time, 165 residents have completed the 70 hours of classroom and in-the-field training. They also have completed the required 40 hours of volunteer service after the classroom training is complete.

These Master Naturalists have completed 15,400 volunteer hours with an estimated value of $320,000 in area parks and nature preserves.

Gay Cullum of rural Potomac is one Vermilion County resident who has completed the program. Cullum became involved because of her love of nature.

“My husband and I go to Kickapoo every weekend to walk with our dog,” Cullum said. “I just like to be outside after working inside all week.”

Cullum said she initially read about the program in the spring of 2012 in an area newspaper.

“I contacted Sandra Mason, who is an extension educator with the University of Illinois Extension, for more information,” Cullum said.

Cullum signed up for the class that began in August 2012 and completed it in October 2012.

According to Cullum, the classes were wide ranging and interesting.

“We had classes on archaeology, botany, entomology forests, geology, learning about the grasslands and wetlands, and learning about all of the different area birds and wildlife,” Cullum said.

Cullum said the class made visits to the Collison Indian site as well as trips to Kickapoo to study aquatic life in the river. The classes are taught by experts in their field from the university.

Cullum said the classes are normally conducted on Tuesday nights for 10 weeks with a couple of Saturdays for field trips. After completion of the classroom phase of the course, participants are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer service.

Cullum chose Kickapoo State Park as the place she would perform her volunteer hours.

“I chose Kickapoo because it was close to my home and I was familiar with it,” Cullum said.

Some of Cullum’s volunteer activities have included being a site steward, cleaning up around campsites, monitoring the area bluebird population and improving hiking trails. The latter resulted in her and Kickapoo site superintendent John Hott leading a group of a dozen volunteers on a recent Saturday morning in trimming the brush back on one of the trails in Kickapoo.

Hott said he is thankful for Cullum and the enthusiasm she brings.

“With the recent cutbacks by the state in funding for places such as Kickapoo, we are going to have to rely on volunteers more,” Hott said.

Hott, who not only supervises Kickapoo with its 2,842 acres, also is responsible for the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area with 83 acres and the Harry “Babe” Woodyard State Natural Area with 1,104 acres.

Hott manages all of these areas, which is a little more than 4,000 acres with just two workers and himself. Hott said at one time he supervised a staff of 13 people.

Hott, with Cullum’s assistance, plans to have more volunteer days at Kickapoo. They have tentatively set the third Saturday of every month to meet and do some project at Kickapoo. The group will work from 9 a.m. to noon, with volunteers asked to show up at 8:30 a.m. at the Kickapoo maintenance building.

FYI

If you are interested in the Master Naturalist program, contact University of Illinois Extension at 333-7672. If you would like to talk to one of Vermilion County’s Master Naturalists, contact Gay Cullum by e-mail at gayncullum@yahoo.com or by phone at 474-2884. Her group will conduct volunteer work days on the third Saturday of each month at Kickapoo State Park.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Learn about photos

    July 22, 2014

  • DEATH NOTICES These obituaries were received by 7 p.m. Tuesday: DANVILLE

    July 22, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 22, 2014

  • Covington appreciates volunteer work

    City council members heard thanks Monday from street superintendent Rick Smith to Jared Brothers and the Stringtown Church of God youth group. The youth group has been helping the city street department for several summers with various odd jobs.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fire Reports Firefighters responded to the following calls: Friday, 11:18-11:42 a.m. — A broken sprinkler head at 75 Walz Creek.Friday, 12:23-12:38 p.m. — A natural gas leak at 13 S. Kansas St.Friday, 1:18-1:30 p.m. — A trash can on fire at 21 N. Vermilion S

    July 22, 2014

  • Police Reports Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleTuesday:Criminal trespassing in the 1600 block of Redden Court.Wednesday:Theft in the 1300 block of Lape.Thursday:Theft in the 600 block of South Bowman Avenue.Friday:Illegal consumption in the 100 block

    July 22, 2014

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Medal photo Afghan vet earns Medal of Honor WASHINGTON — Bleeding from both legs and his arm, Ryan Pitts kept firing at about 200 Taliban fighters in June 2008, even holding onto his grenades an extra moment to ensure the enemy couldn’t heave them back.On Monday, President Barack Obama draped

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Musical photo Musical takes serious tone For those who are inspired by classic tales such as “The Little Mermaid” and “My Love, My Love,” DLO Musical Theater’s summer youth musical is a must see.About 30 cast members ages 8 and up will perform “Once On this Island Jr.” at 7 p.m. Friday and

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Stanis photo Vermilion County Museum Society honors longtime quilter WESTVILLE – Victorena Stanis, 90, of Westville could tell a story behind every quilt she’s made over the years, starting in 1935. She knows where the fabric came from, and how she came up with designs.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire destroys barn used for storing hay SIDELL — A fire Saturday night destroyed a hay barn at Crosswinds Equine Rescue, 8182 E 200 North Road, near Sidell, but owner Mike Cross is thankful that no person or horse was injured in the blaze.Four fire departments — Sidell, Indianola, Allerton

    July 22, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
Must Read