University of Illinois Extension celebrated a century of serving Illinois communities in June.
To mark the official anniversary, friends of Extension, volunteers including Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, 4-H Leaders and others will recognize the educational programs at the following locations and dates:
- June 19 at 6:30 p.m. — Willoughby Heritage Farm, 631 Willoughby Lane, Collinsville
- June 26 at 6:30 p.m. — Shiloh Valley Township Building, 1370 Shiloh Station Road, Belleville
- June 30 at 6:30 p.m. — Monroe County Annex Bldg., 901 Illinois Ave, Waterloo
The public is invited.
“The anniversary commemorates the 1914 signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service to share land-grant university research with communities and provide practical information to farmers and homemakers,” said Pam Jacobs, University of Illinois Extension County Director, serving Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.
“Today, University of Illinois Extension continues to provide educational services and research-based information aimed at making life better, healthier, safer and more prosperous for all Illinois residents and their communities.”
The first 100 years
University of Illinois Extension played an important role in many major events in history – from the adoption of hybridized corn and the creation of rural electric cooperatives to the start of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the introduction of Telenet, the first distance-learning system. Since its inception, Extension has had its hand in important research and events, and in bringing together people around a shared cause or concern.
It was all about helping people, and that’s what it is today. The reason we made it to 100 years is that there is a need for it. Whether it is agriculture, home economics, or youth development, information continues to be updated or improved. And it needs to be packaged so it is useful to the end-user.
Time means change
Illinois has progressed over time from predominantly rural to a growing urban and suburban state. There is an increased interest among families, youth, garden enthusiasts who live in towns and cities. That is precisely what Extension strives to do. Extension people bring resources and research to the people of Illinois, whether that is a one-on-one visit with an educator or a visit to one of hundreds of online tools. The core values and purpose are the same whether we’re reaching out with social media or talking to someone one-on-one. We are about outreach; taking education and information to the people.
The next 100 years
Dr. George Czapar, associate dean and director of University of Illinois Extension and Outreach, explains how the statewide organization is starting the next 100 years with a new initiative.
“As we move forward, we are working to broaden our approach to provide research-based information from the whole University,” Czapar said. “We want to raise awareness of Extension and use the Extension network around the state to spread a vast array of campus research and resources.”
This means Extension will serve as the outreach arm for additional colleges and units at the University of Illinois, in addition to the long-standing collaboration with the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).
For more information about University of Illinois Extension, visit the Madison-Monroe-St. Clair website at web.extension.illinois.edu/mms or call (618) 939-3434 or (618) 344-4230.
University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.