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August 12, 2016

In recent years, one of the most popular trees planted in yards and by cities has been Callery Pear. These trees can cross with the Asian Pear, and can spread into areas where they are not wanted. In early spring you might have noticed large swaths of these white trees along highways and along the edges of forested areas. The weakness of the tree makes it vulnerable in winter, and even if cold weather kills off the top of the tree, the root stock can continue to sprout and produce more trees. Many cities have stopped planting them on city property. The tree itself poses a threat to native areas, as it spreads aggressively and has the potential to crowd out more desirable species. If you have any questions about Natural Resources or Invasive Species, please contact University of Illinois Extension Educator Jason Haupt (

With its rover named Curiosity, Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability." On August 5-6, 2012, the Curiosity rover, which is a 1-ton robot – about the mass of an SUV, made an unprecedented landing on Mars. The NASA video shows how the risky maneuver kept rover team members in suspense for 7 fateful minutes. You can read the latest mission updates here.

The Illinois Water Resources Center invites photographers to enter the second annual “Water Is” photo contest. Photos should be taken in Illinois and capture what water means to you and your community. First place winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. The contest is open to the public, including state employees. Professional photographers are welcome to submit entries under a separate category. Email your submissions to Anjanette Riley at by September 15.


August 15-18 - Midwest Community Development Institute, Moline, IL
August 27 - 28 - Agritourism Workshop, Ottawa, IL
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