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In Progress

Sustainable Art Displays

One of the primary goals outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan is to enhance the culture of sustainability on campus and ensure that our education and outreach initiaves are accessible and visible to every campus and community member and visitor. 

Stay tuned for more updates! 

Diversion of Non-Recyclable Plastic using Pyrolysis Process to Produce Fuels for Campus

According to a 2012 EPA report, 251 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in the US and the University generates about twelve tons of trash per day. After MSW recovery through recycling and composting, plastic was the 2nd largest component (18%) behind food waste (21%) of the 164 million tons discarded in 2012. This means that huge quantities of plastics end up in landfills (29 million tons). Translating these numbers to UIUC campus MSW would mean that we are sending 1.39 tons of plastic in trash to landfill daily.

ReImagine Our Future

The global sustainability crisis is an opportunity for humanity to learn to flourish without compromising the natural systems upon which we depend. A few of the interrelated challenges presented through the global sustainability crisis include Global climate change, Persistent poverty, Food and water insecurity, Lack of quality education, Social inequities, and Loss of Biodiversity.

Kickapoo Rail Trail (KRT)

This multi-purpose recreational trail will extend 24.5 miles from Urbana to Kickapoo State Park in Vermilion County. The trail is designed for pedestrians and bicyclists, and passes through some of the most diverse ecosystems in this part of the state, including woodlands, prairies, and wetlands.

The first phase of the Kickapoo Rail Trail is now open! Work on the trail began in the spring of 2016 and the 6.7 mile Urbana to St. Joseph trail segment is open to the public for hiking, biking, and other non-motorized uses.

Greenways and Trails

The Greenways & Trails maps show off-street trails, on-street bikeways, parks, open spaces, and places of interest in Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, Mahomet, Rantoul, St. Joseph, and Champaign County. Detailed maps of the county’s seven forest preserves are also included, courtesy of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District.

Sustainable Land Management Committee

The ISEE-ACES-F&S Sustainable Land Management Committee is designed to evaluate and incorporate sustainable land management practices at the University of Illinois South Farms on non-research land and beyond the campus boundaries on some of the University-owned land. This follows the recommendation made by the Agriculture, Land Use, Food, and Sequestration Sustainability Working Advisory Team and Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) Working Group.

Clean Meat at Illinois

Food insecurity is a major public health issue in the United States, affecting over 1 million Illinoisans in 2018 and over 13 million Americans in 2019 (Feeding America, 2019; USDA, 2019). Furthermore, nearly 20% of greenhouse emissions come from livestock and around 70% of all land used for agricultural production is used for breeding and maintaining livestock (UN Report, 2006; FAO Report, 2012).

Benefits of a Large-Scale Prairie Experiment

Near campus exists an under-utilized living laboratory that could contribute significantly to student education and improve campus sustainability initiatives like iCAP. This 13-acre prairie experiment was established in 2018 with funding from a USDA grant. Across 96 plots, the project was designed to examine interactions between soil, microbes, prairie plants, agrochemicals, and bees with the goal of identifying best prairie restoration practices for habitat adjacent to crops.

Let It Flow

Rain is a blessing and a curse on our research farms.  We cannot grow a crop with out it but when it comes in excessive quantities has a destructive result on University farms.  Our farms are intertwined too so as water flows downhill it passes from one department farm to the next.  This project looks to redesign the Energy Farm waterway and install a waterway on the Animal Sciences farm to the west so that water flow can be channeled to the Embarrass River in a more direct and environmentally sound path.

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