Tag Archives: agriculture

HS Students Invited to Try Ag/Engineering/Tech Jobs

Regional high school juniors and seniors will soon compete in pit crew contests, spark plug challenges, carpentry contests, and other hands-on events introducing future career options in agriculture, engineering, and related technologies.

The annual Parkland College Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Open House is happening Friday, October 14.

Parkland’s state-of-the-art lab spaces will host the day’s events. The Parkhill Applied Technology Center, the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the Construction Education Alliance (Parkland on Mattis) simulate on-the-job conditions using industry-recognized equipment.

Students will choose two innovative sessions from automotive; collision repair; diesel power; electrical power; industrial technology and welding; construction management; engineering science; and agriculture, precision ag, and horticulture. Each session will last 40 minutes and provide a hands-on, career-exploration activity.

High schools are encouraged to bring groups of interested students. However, parents/guardians are also invited to bring their high schooler to the event should the local high school choose not to participate. Every participant will receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Please visit www.parkland.edu/agestopenhouse for more information and to register. Registration is required by September 28.

Drones for Business: Big Option in Small Package

If you use drones (or have thought of using them) for your business, you may not be aware of recently established federal regulations, known as Part 107, that could benefit you. These FAA UAS rules allow businesses to operate drones for commercial purposes.

What does Part 107 mean for you and your drone?

  • Drone operators must be certified under the new UAS Operator certification.
  • Drone operators no longer need to file a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • All aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Flight is allowed under 400 feet above ground level. If flying within 400 feet of a structure, flight can be up to 400 feet above the height of that structure.
  • Flight must take place within visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Approval is required from specific airports to fly within their airspace boundary.
  • Flight must only take place during daytime and twilight hours: flight is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Single-person operations are now allowed; a visual observer is no longer needed.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA, a process that can be done online in about five minutes
  • Drones can carry an external load and transport property for compensation, allowing for package delivery.

To help residents comply with the new standards, Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is pleased to bring the UAS Certification Exam Prep to our area September 15–16.

Discover what commercial drone/UAS operators will need to know in order to pass the certification test.  Learn pertinent information regarding regulations, airspace, weather, and more with Mandy Briggs, Certified Flight Instructor at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

The UAS Certification Exam, available directly after the second day of class, is being handled by the Parkland College Assessment Center.  Testing will occur on a first come, first served basis at the center.  The certification exam is $150.  Click here for all testing and registration information.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert is a program manager with Parkland Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Pantry Produce Plot: More than Honors Work

To complete an A with Honors project for her Hospitality degree, Parkland College sophomore Del Jacobs has been working with Parkland Horticulture faculty this summer to plant a garden for the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland.  She shares the process and her progress below. As a student, Del’s exemplary efforts in sustainability and feeding the hungry are well documented; the garden project is a continuation of her drive to serve. Parkland is proud to train those with a heart to help.

 

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I approached Theresa mid-spring about getting help from the Horticulture students to plan and plant a garden to feed 30 families. The Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland feeds an average of 30 families at each distribution.

Theresa’s class ran the numbers and figured out what to plant and how much to plant. In May, before my trip to Morocco, I helped Theresa and her staff plant the garden. Unfortunately, I was unable to monitor the garden for the first six weeks, and the weeds got very large and deep. Therefore, the garden doesn’t look pretty, which is why there are no pictures of it.

I began to coordinate volunteers to help me weed. We began by meeting every Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to pull weeds. We weren’t making much progress, so I added another day. We now also meet on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.  So far, I have had nine volunteers; most have joined me once. My most faithful volunteer is Thor Peterson, sustainability coordinator at Parkland.

In spite of the problems, I have been able to harvest approximately 450 pounds of produce!

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I am also providing recipes to the pantry clients. I try to furnish recipes that use more than one vegetable from the garden along with nonperishable
items available at the pantry.

As the season moves on and the summer vegetables are harvested, we will be planting vegetables to harvest in the fall.

Lastly, I began working with Dawn Longfellow, Wesley Food Pantry’s operations manager, on a name and graphic for the garden. Dawn is still working on the graphic, but we have decided on the name: “Parkland’s Pantry Produce Plot.” I’m hoping this project will continue for many years, and I plan to be involved past the end of my A w/Honors project.

[Theresa  Meers is an associate professor of ag/horticulture at Parkland.]

 

European Union Delegate to Visit Parkland

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Mr. Damien Levie

On April 7, Parkland will play host to a dignitary of the European Union, stationed in Washington, DC.

As part of his visit to the University of Illinois, Mr. Damien Levie,  head of the Trade and Agriculture Section of the EU Delegation to the US, will be spending the afternoon at Parkland where he will meet administration and faculty, tour campus, and deliver a public talk on the relationship between the EU and agriculture in central Illinois. His talk will take place from 1 to 2 p.min room U140.

Hailing from Belgium, home of the EU’s capital, Mr. Levie earned law degrees from KU Leuven (Belgium) and the University of Chicago, as well as an economics degree from UC Louvain (Belgium).  His section works closely with the US Government and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to coordinate trade, investment, and agriculture policies between the US and EU.  Prior to his current posting, Mr. Levie served as a deputy chief negotiator on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), served in the cabinets of the EU Trade Commissioner and EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, worked on economic development policy in Africa and chemical regulation in Europe, and before joining the European Commission was a lawyer in Brussels and New York.

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Flags of the EU Member States

Devised in the wake of the Second World War by French and German statesmen to ensure the two European powers didn’t enter a fourth war against each other, the European Union began as an economic cooperative.  Since then, the EU has grown from 6 to 28 members, turning it into the world’s largest and most advanced economy, and the United States’ single largest trading partner.  Its global reach has enhanced free trade, human rights standards, and democracy around the world. While it is a continent away, the politics and policies of the EU affect international and domestic business and agriculture for Americans.

Mr. Levie’s visit to Parkland College is arranged and sponsored by the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, a US Department of Education Title VI-funded center.

[Chris Jackson is an international admissions advisor for Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

A Bee’s Life for Me

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I am a beekeeper, but the truth is that beekeeping did not come naturally. When someone gifted me with a hive about seven years ago, I spent the first year being terrified every time I opened it.  Honey bees pick up very quickly on a beekeeper’s fear, so I knew I had to get over it.

When I started talking to my bees, I started to relax.  Then I started to listen. They were talking back through their buzzing.  Over the course of many conversations, my bees wrapped their tiny legs around my heart.  Today I talk to them every chance I get.

Being a beekeeper brings you into direct contact with nature.  You start looking at the world like a bee, seeing flowering plants and insects like you’ve never seen them before.  The weather becomes super important.  You know just by looking at the sky if it’s a good day to fly.

Beekeeping has also brought me closer to the land.  I maintain about 50 hives, so I need good agricultural landscapes for my bees.  The five farms around Champaign-Urbana where most of my bees reside are organic or natural farms far from conventional corn fields and deadly pesticides.  Like me, the farmers on these farms take pleasure in observing their bustling little charges at work among the flowers.

My company is called Second Nature Honey, and gourmet-infused honey has been my main product.  Chocolate honey is my most popular flavor, followed by honey infused with chamomile or hibiscus flowers.

This year I am partnering with Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch to implement a USDA grant to capture varietal honeys. I work closely with the Curtis beekeeper, Rachel Coventry, to improve pollination.  We use a microscope to examine pollen in honey to determine which plants they prefer to pollinate.

I love to teach beekeeping.  I teach at Parkland and at Common Ground Food Co-op.  Parkland is a great place to connect with beginning beekeepers and help them get started.  My students’ enthusiasm for the bees keeps me going!

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Maggie Wachter is a master beekeeper and a certified honey judge. Her goal is happy, healthy hives all year long. Maggie’s expertise has led her into “Second Nature Honey”, an award-winning local business that specializes in gourmet honeys and mead making. Her beekeeping is based entirely on  sustainable and natural principles.

Check out Maggie Wachter’s bee classes in the 505, Community Education’s summer class listing.