ISTC hosts Sustainability Film Festival during Earth Week

With funding from the UI Office of Public Engagement, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is hosting a Sustainability Film Festival during Earth Week on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Three documentaries will be screened at the Spurlock Museum’s Knight Auditorium on the evenings of April 22, 23, and 24th from 6-7:30 PM:

Admission is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 5:30 PM. After each film, a Q&A/discussion will be held with ISTC staff and other relevant experts.

The Prairie Research Institute Library has developed a LibGuide for the film series, which includes resources relating to the three films. After the screenings, the documentary DVDs will be available for loan at the Prairie Research Institute Library. UIUC students, faculty, and staff will be able to borrow the videos via the University Library’s online catalog.

The general public will have access to materials either from their local public library via inter-library loan through the University’s participation in the Illinois Heartland Library System or directly from the Institute library if they have a UIUC Library courtesy card. The DVDs will have downloadable activities and resource lists associated with them to enhance the educational impact of the films.

A flyer for the film festival is available at The Spurlock Museum is at 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL 61801. The Institute Library is in the Forbes Building, at 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL, 61820.   For more information on the series, contact Joy Scrogum at 217-333-8948 or

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New Satellite Boosts Research On Global Rainfall and Climate

Read the full story at Yale Environment 360.

Although it may seem simple, measuring rainfall worldwide has proven to be a difficult job for scientists. But a recently launched satellite is set to change that, providing data that could help in understanding whether global rainfall really is increasing as the planet warms.

For information about precipitation and climate in the Midwest, visit the Midwestern Regional Climate Center web site. The Center is is a cooperative program between the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign, Illinois. It is a partner in a national climate service program that includes NCDC, five other Regional Climate Centers, and State Climate Offices. The NCDC is part of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The MRCC serves the nine-state Midwest region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin). Their services and research help to better explain climate and its impacts on the Midwest, provide practical solutions to specific climate problems, and allow them to develop climate information for the Midwest on climate-sensitive issues such as agriculture, climate change, energy, the environment, human health, risk management, transportation, and water resources.

Resources include Midwest Climate Watch, maps and data, and resources and links, including real-time climate monitoring and other tools.


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USGS Webinar: Using The National Map Services to Enable your Web and Mobile Mapping Efforts

On April 30th at 9 am Mountain Time, the U.S. Geological Survey will host a 30-minute webinar on “Using The National Map services to enable your web and mobile mapping efforts.” The webinar will provide a brief overview of geospatial services and data that are publicly available to assist the development of web and mobile mapping applications.

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Prairie Research Institute Anniversary Lecture Series: Nunavut: Canada’s Frozen Territory on April 30

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
4:00 p.m. Lecture
Beckman Auditorium of the Beckman Institute
405 N. Mathews, Urbana
Free and open to the public
Directions and Parking Information
RSVP on the facebook event page.

Speaker: Bill Shilts, Founding Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute

Nunavut, created in 1999, is one of the most remote, sparsely populated regions in the world with only 32,000 residents in an area larger than Mexico. Nearly all of Nunavut is in the zone of continuous permafrost, and glaciers and ice caps abound in its northernmost plateaux and highlands. In his 30-year career with the Geological Survey of Canada, Dr. Shilts carried out major research projects that provided a unique understanding of the permafrost, periglacial features, and glaciers of this arctic region. The modern world he experienced in Canada’s arctic is virtually identical to the world we would inhabit in Champaign County, if we had lived here 19,000 years ago.

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ISTC releases five new case studies

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center recently published five new case studies. They are:

Governor’s Sustainability Award Case Studies

E3 Case Study

Zero Waste Case Studies

Browse ISTC’s complete collection of case studies and other publications on the web and in the ISTC community on IDEALS, the University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

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2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp

The Prairie Research Institute, along with the five scientific Surveys, is pleased to announce the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp. This STEM experience is a week-long day camp where high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates have the opportunity to spend one day at each of the five divisions of the Institute working side-by-side with scientists to gain hands-on experience in geology, archaeology, sustainable technology, water science, and environmental/biological science. This year’s camp will be held July 21-25, 2014,and will feature driving a go-cart powered by biodiesel made from corn or plastic, water quality assessment, insect fossil study, ancient artifacts, and creating 3D geologic maps from core samples. This year’s camp will be limited to 24 students in the State of Illinois who are either a rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who are interested in learning more about science and engineering occupations. At $250 per participant, our camp is one of the least expensive camps at the University of Illinois.

Online applications are now being accepted on the camp website ( The application deadline is May 18, 2014.

The Prairie Research Institute is the home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeology Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

If you have any questions related to the Institute’s camp, please contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or

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Nation’s Authoritative Land Cover Map New and Improved

The latest edition of the nation’s most comprehensive look at land-surface conditions from coast to coast has just been released. National Land Cover Database 2011 is the most recent national land cover product. Read the press release for more details about the updated database.

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UIUC Library Survey

The University Library is conducting the LibQUAL+® Lite Survey from April 3rd to Saturday, April 19th. All students, faculty and staff at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus are welcome to participate. The LibQUAL+® Lite is an library service quality survey developed by the Association of Research Libraries.

Please take a moment and click here to participate in the survey.  The goal of the survey is to help the University Library assess your needs and improve library service.


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The President’s Climate Data Initiative: Empowering America’s Communities to Prepare for the Effects of Climate Change

Read the fact sheet from the White House.

Last June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway across the country.

Delivering on a commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is today launching the Climate Data Initiative—a broad effort to leverage the Federal Government’s extensive, freely-available climate-relevant data resources to stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness.

President Obama is committed to ensuring that communities across America have access to the information and tools they need to protect themselves from harm today and potential damage in the future. This means connecting regional and city planners, resource managers, farmers, hospitals, and businesses with data-driven tools to help them better understand, manage, and prepare for the real-world impacts associated with climate change. Maps of future sea-level rise, for instance, can help builders decide where to break ground out of harm’s way, while other online tools can help water utility operators identify potential threats to the local water supply.

Insights gathered from data can help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with climate change. However, taking data about climate that is collected by satellites and scientific equipment and turning it into easy-to-use information and tools takes analysis, innovation, and cutting-edge technology expertise.

Through the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today issuing a call to America’s top private-sector innovators to leverage open government data resources and other datasets to build tools that will make America’s communities more resilient to climate change and to forge cross-sector partnerships to make those tools as useful as possible.

Posted in Climate change, Data Management, Digital Collections, Downloadable Data, INHS, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Weather and Climate | Leave a comment

World Water Day 2014 – Water and Energy

World Water Day is an annual event organized by the United Nations.  This year’s theme highlights the link between water and energy:

” Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers. “

IMG_2754The Prairie Research Institute Library is celebrating World Water Day 2014, Water & Energy with an exhibit featuring library materials and posters describing water and energy research at the Prairie Research Institute.   Come see what Prairie Research Institute scientists are doing about water supply, alternative energy, protecting our aquifer, stream health, water and energy conservation, and  Illinois water-energy history!

We invite you to visit the display Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm through April 25, 2014, at the Prairie Research Institute Library (1816 S. Oak St.)

Visit our World Water Day 2014 LibGuide online to learn about the water energy nexus.  This guide features a wide range of resources for further research, and highlights water and energy topics of particular importance for Illinois.  The guide also provides information on local events, including the Illinois Water Day Symposium April 11th at the Yeh Student Center.

Posted in Energy, INHS, ISAS, ISGS, ISTC, ISWS, Library collections, Library resources, Prairie Research Institute, Water | Leave a comment