University of Illinois extension adds natural resources, environment and energy educator to staff – Muddy River News
Amy Lefringhouse | Photo courtesy of University of Illinois Extension
URBANA, Illinois – The University of Illinois Extension recently welcomed Amy Lefringhouse as a natural resources, environment and energy educator in Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike and Schuyler counties in the west from Illinois. County Executive Shelby Crow says the position involves a partnership with John Wood Community College.
“We are proud to serve local residents with expertise and education in specialized areas to improve the overall health of our community,” Crow said. “Residents will now have a local professional to ask questions about their own natural resource issues, conduct environmental workshops, and serve as a resource for communities to learn how to save money through conservation. water and energy.”
Whether you’re fighting invasive species on your property, starting to compost at home, or trying to reduce fertilizers on the farm, doing the right thing for the environment isn’t always clear. The extension‘s team of natural resource experts connects communities across the state to research-based resources and best practices because small changes at the local level can have a big impact on the environment.
With community partnership a core part of his role, Lefringhouse will serve area students by teaching courses in natural resources, wildlife, and sustainable and renewable energy at John Wood Community College in Orr’s new multipurpose agricultural facility.
Construction of the new 24,000 square foot facility began in September. It will house the University of Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center and bring agricultural research, education and development to west central Illinois. The facility will include offices and classrooms, exhibit space, and an animal care unit for hands-on on-site training for students. The 400+ acre site will include grassland and grassland patches as well as a stocked pond.
“This new facility will increase and improve educational opportunities for agriculture students and community members,” Crow said in a press release. “We look forward to many more years of this incredible partnership and the potential for Illinois outreach programs that this new facility offers.”
Lefringhouse is passionate about bringing local natural wonders to communities and inspiring people to deepen their knowledge of the natural world by serving as a volunteer in the Illinois Master Naturalist Program.
“West-central Illinois offers so many natural gifts to explore and the University of Illinois Extension is well positioned to bring environmental education to families and communities right in their ‘backyard’ “, Lefringhouse said in the statement.
She looks forward to helping residents discover new perspectives on their natural resources, learn how to save money at home through energy-saving actions, and discover that time spent in nature can be a pathway to a healthier life. She plans to expand the Master Naturalist program, connect landowners with resources to manage their property sustainably, and inspire students to actively participate in the field of conservation management.
“Having managed several different natural sites, I have witnessed the positive impact of conservation practices on land and water resources,” said Lefringhouse. “I look forward to learning more about local natural resources and environmental concerns. “
Most of Lefringhouse’s career has focused on environmental education for young people. She most recently served as Executive Director of Gardner Camp, an outdoor youth education center. She previously worked with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Natural History Survey, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Minnesota.
A native of west-central Illinois, Lefringhouse studied environmental science at Illinois College and earned a Master of Science degree in environmental planning and management from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is a member of the Environmental Education Association of Illinois and a member of the Illinois 4-H Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Task Force.
University of Illinois educators and extension specialists connect every county in Illinois with university research through in-person and distance learning programs and other outreach activities. They strive to provide businesses, families and agricultural producers with the practical tools and resources needed to solve problems.