Category: Champaign-Urbana

Donor’s gift allowing Urbana to plant 200 new trees over next three years

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

Urbana is a city that loves its trees, and it’s about to plant a lot more of them.

Mayor Diane Marlin announced Friday that an anonymous donor has given the city $98,650 to plant more trees, enough to cover the cost of 200 new trees over three years.

Job announcement: Visiting Scientific Specialist, Institutional Water Treatment Chemistry

Closing date: May 19, 2021
Read the full job description and apply online.

ISTC is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Institutional Water Treatment Chemistry to conduct water quality research for institutional water treatment clients. Conduct on-site collection, testing, analysis, and recommendations for improvement. This position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct on-site collection and testing of water samples of institutional water systems such as potable, boiler, closed systems and cooling towers.
  • Complete 1 to 6 site visits per year to each assigned client requiring overnight travel two to three nights per week.
  • Perform onsite testing and analysis.
  • Interpret testing results and transmit those results with corrective recommendations to the site engineers.
  • Provide written and verbal communication, including analytical results of samples, detailing any noted deficiencies in treatment or control with recommendations for improvement, opportunities for human health and safety, reducing energy, water, and treatment chemical use.
  • Consult with institutional personnel concerning the state of their systems and answer requests for assistance in person, by phone and/or e-mail, including updating of control charts, complex problem solving, water treatment, and equipment recommendations as necessary.
  • Identify efficiency opportunities in the IWT system to streamline information flow and decrease labor and time required from IWT personnel.
  • Perform laboratory analysis on collected samples and other laboratory duties as required.
  • Collaborate with TAP team members to recommended testing and services based on systems at prospective client facilities.
  • Visit prospective client facilities in support of writing service proposals.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.

Required Qualifications:  Bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Alternate degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience at it relates to this position.  Experience conducting chemical analysis. Experience with wet chemical analysis following Standard Methods procedures including preparation, titration and digestion. Maintain and calibrate laboratory and field equipment and solutions. Ability to ensure compliance with all ISTC and laboratory safety procedures. Effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills. Proficiency in commonly employed software and databases. Must be able to meet the physical demands of transporting testing and analysis equipment weighing up to 50 pounds for distances up to 100 yards. Must also be able to meet medical requirements for wearing a respirator. Must be able to climb 3 stories of stairs. A wide range of temperatures and condition will be encountered. Boiler rooms are typically up to 110 degrees with high humidity and cooling towers are often located on roofs and exposed to the elements. Valid driver’s license.

Preferred Qualifications: Master’s degree in chemistry. Alternate degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience at it relates to this position. Experience conducting research on water quality. Experience building client base and working with institutions in Illinois.

ISTC hiring up to six applied scientists to assist businesses with sustainability

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse.

ISTC is seeking to hire up to four Visiting Senior Scientific Specialists, Technical and up to two Visiting Senior Scientific Specialists, Sustainability (depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to collaborate with businesses, manufacturing, and industrial entities as well as municipal agencies, colleges, and universities throughout Illinois to improve sustainability, provide technical assistance in identifying opportunities and implementing sustainable solutions associated with materials, processes, water and wastewater, energy utilization, waste minimization and recycling.

Closing dates

Learn more at PRI Jobs.

Protectors of the prairie: A look at the work of Grand Prairie Friends

Read the full story at Smile Politely.

On May 2nd, Grand Prairie Friends is opening the online store for their popular annual native plants sale. While the sale has been held at Lincoln Square Mall for years, the 2020 and 2021 sales shifted online due to the pandemic. I’ve known about the organization in name, mostly because of the annual sale, but until I spoke with Executive Director Sarah Livesay, I was not aware of the impact they have on the preservation of the prairie in East Central Illinois.

Fishes of Boneyard Creek

Boneyard Creek is a tributary that flows into the Saline branch of the Vermillion River. The Creek runs through the center of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus and is 3.3 miles (5.3km) long. Beautification efforts to improve the overall appearance and prevent flooding during the summer months have resulted in landscaped stonework around the creek.

Boneyard Creek is home to a variety of fishes.  Look at the FISH LIST to learn more about each fish species, or use the FISH KEY to identify the fish species.

The website is updated and maintained as part of the University of Illinois’ Ichthyology class (IB 463).

University of Illinois YMCA launches community vermicomposting program

The University YMCA is launching a community vermicomposting program.

If you’re interested in participating or learning more, fill out the interest form. They’re also looking for volunteers.

For more information, look them up on social media or contact Stuart Seputro ( at the University YMCA.

Plant yourself a great home garden with the Urbana Free Library’s Seed Library

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana area and want to improve your home garden, you can borrow seeds from the Urbana Free Library’s Seed Library.

A seed library is a place where you can “check out” seeds and bring back new seeds from your harvest. You take seeds from the lending library, plant them, grow the plants, let some go to seed, and then return some of these next-generation seeds for others to borrow. They also accept store bought seeds.

For more information, including a list of currently available seeds and instructions for “returning” or donating seeds, visit the Library’s web site.

Artist builds Christmas tree out of glass; needs help collecting materials

Read the full story at WCIA.

A local artist is building the world’s largest glass Christmas tree and he needs your help to make it happen.

Artist Jason Mack will build the tree at 502 North Neil Street in Champaign. He said he will work every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until December 20. The public is invited to watch him build the tree.

Clear and green bottles, jars and vases will be collected between December 5-20. You can bring your donations to 502 N. Neil St. There will be a collection bin on-site. You are asked to not bring any window glass.

Webinar: Solar Urbana-Champaign – Everything You Wanted To Know About Solar But Were Too Afraid To Ask

Sep 17, 2020, 5 pm CDT
Register here.

Do you have a nagging question about solar, but have never had a good opportunity to ask it? You’re not alone!

Like you, there are tons of solar owners and would-be solar owners that have great questions about the complex topic of solar.

In order to finally get you the answers you deserve, we’ve put together a panel of solar experts for a special session on Thursday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m. – “Everything you wanted to know about solar but were too afraid to ask.”

So grab a cup of tea or your favorite adult beverage and join in on this interactive one-of-kind solar session!

Webinar: The Idea Store: Lessons in Creative Reuse

Oct 8, 2020   12:00 – 1:00 pm CDT
Register here.

Abstract: The Idea Store celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall, proving that creative reuse efforts can garner solid community support.  We’ve learned, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t, with still much potential for improvement and growth.  Carol Jo will share lessons learned, success stories, nuts and bolts, goals reached, and plans to move forward. Every community can benefit from a well-organized creative reuse center!

Biography: Carol Jo Morgan, MSW, MS, is a co-founder of The Idea Store, a non-profit creative reuse center in Urbana, Illinois.  Her desire is that consumers understand and practice daily diversion of reusable items    and materials from the waste stream.  She was the store’s first educator and has done countless hours of sorting donations, recycling/hauling, volunteer training, public speaking, coordination of its major fundraising events, and serves on the board of directors.

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