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Youth in grades 4 through 6 at Gallatin County Schools learned about invasive species last Wednesday at the annual Conservation Fair in honor of Invasive Species Awareness month in Illinois. Most youth could name several invasive species. They also had a pretty good grasp of the definition of an invasive species. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources defines an invasive species as “any species not native to a particular ecosystem, including its seeds, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm.”  This is different than an exotic or nonnative species which is simply a species that was not present prior to European settlement.  

The majority of students were aware that invasive species can be plants, animals and sometimes micro-organisms.  Most were familiar with animals such as the Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Carp and Feral Swine.  Many were also familiar with kudzu and garlic mustard. What most of people don’t know is that there are over 102 invasive plant species that are found in Illinois. 

According to Jason Haupt, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship, beyond the cost both financially and in the loss of native areas, invasive plants also cause a loss of biodiversity.  Invasive plants do not have natural predators. For this reason, many of these plant species are highly aggressive and are able to out-compete their native neighbors.  When you lose a native plant species, you affect the entire ecosystem.  Many species are dependent on a specific family of plants for all or part of their life cycle.  When you lose one link in the chain, it has a ripple effect across the entire ecosystem. The loss of one species or family can cause a loss of many other species within the ecosystem.  Without biodiversity an ecosystem is less able to withstand drought, floods or cycles of native pests.

So now that you know why invasive species are such a threat and why you should care about controlling them, how can you help?  Mr. Haupt suggests geting involved with a nature preserve, park district or other natural area and help them combat these invaders.  In addition try to plant native plants in your gardens.  Many of the plants that were planted in yards and gardens have become invasive species, the Bradford pear is an example. It’s best to stick to what was here originally.  Not only will this limit the spread of invasive species, but they often require less care to maintain.

For more information about invasive plants, contact Jason Haupt ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Additional resources can be found on the Illinois DNR invasive species page (www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/InvasiveSpecies) or at Invasive.org (www.invasive.org).

Source:, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To help them further understand how invasive species can impact the native ecosystem they played a game.  One youth was a carp, while four others represented different native fish species.  The students then had to compete for their specific “food”.  It was quickly clear that the big appetite and adaptability of the Asian Carp posed a threat to species who eat the same types of food.

For more information on 4-H activities, programs, and membership please contact Kassy Scates at the Gallatin County Extension Office located in the Gallatin county Farm Bureau Building.  Hours are Monday through Wednesday 8 am to 4 pm.  You may also call 272-3022 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Upcoming Events

6/7 Arena painting at Fairgrounds

6/11 Gallatin Co. Speed Show volunteering

6/6-9 West Kentucky 4-H Camp

6/24 4-H Night with the Southern Illinois Miners

7/13 4-H Animal Show

7/15 4-H General Show

7/16 4-H Horse Show


Accident Sends 3 Local Men to Hospital

May 22, 2016

On Sunday May 22,2016 at approx 3:05 AM the Gallatin County Sheriff office was summoned to a 1 vehicle rollover on Dailey Rd East of Ridgway.  According to the report, a truck being driven by Stephen Dunk was traveling East on Daily Rd and just past Steele Lane lost control of vehicle and rolled it in a field.  Passengers in the vehicle were Jacob Schou and Daniel Seely. 

The Ridgway Fire Dept was called to setup a landing zone for Lifeflight. Dunk was transported to Evansville via Lifeflight and Schou and Seely were taken to local hospitals.  According to the Sheriff Dept, 1 ticket has been issued and is still under investigation.  The injuries at this time is not known, but we are told they are not life threatening,.

4H News - Help Fight Hunger

Gallatin County youth: L-R Jaden Scherrer, Kelsie Allen, Tiffany Hawkins, Colt Scates, Fallon Scates, Madison Raymer, Mackenzie Lawler, Hannah Doerr, Aundrea Lawler and Katie Fals not pictured Kaelan Kanady.

Adult volunteers not pictured : Rhonda Hawkins, Shawn Kanady, Jim Richey, Mendy Scherrer, and Kassy Scates

I lend my hands to greater service for my club, my community, and my world” is a line from the 4-H Pledge.  On Saturday, April 23 4-H members and volunteers put this line to action.  Volunteers and youth from Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline, and White counties gathered in Harrisburg to package meals for local food pantries through an organization called Illini Fighting Hunger. Gallatin County had 14 4-H and FFA members and adults give up their Saturday morning to help. 

Our group of volunteers from across the counties helped package rice casserole meals. We managed to combine ingredients and package 16,218 meals in a little over 2 hours!  Just as importantly we had fun!  We set up assembly lines of 10 volunteers each to measure and rice, vegetable base, and spice mix to create a package that served 6. Next bags of casserole mix were weighed, sealed, and packaged into cases of 36 bags each. Volunteers smiled and chatted while packaging, and once a case was finished each line would shout a cheer. Cases were divided among food pantries according to the number of families they provided food for per month.  Gallatin County volunteers provided 7 cases, or more than 1,500 servings of casserole to local food pantries. 

Illini Fighting Hunger is a Registered Student Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  It was founded to address hunger issues by making meal packaging events more frequent, more accessible, and more effective. Illini Fighting Hunger is designed to be a facilitating organization.  It provides the equipment and expertise to help organizers provide an incredible volunteer experience for organizations so they can make an impact on food insecurity in their area. Bill Million, University of Illinois Extension 4-H Specialist, for traveled south from Champaign-Urbana to make this event available to our communities.  Statewide University of Illinois Extension Illinois 4-H has had 2,063 volunteers who have packaged 400 lbs. Beans, 309,702 Meals and 2,450 lbs. Rice for food pantries in communities across the state. 

Don’t forget about 4-H Summer Camps and Illini Summer Academies! Registration materials for all events are available at the Gallatin County Extension Office, located in the Gallatin County Farm Bureau Building at 177 S. Murphy, Ridgway, IL.  Additional scholarship forms are available for Illini Summer Academies and 4-H Camp at this time as well. Contact Kassy Scates at the Gallatin County Extension Office at 272-3022 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on the Illini Fighting Hunger Event, 4-H Camp, ISA or any other 4-H program.

Upcoming Events

5/1 Registration  for ALL 4-H Camps due

5/15 Illini Summer Academies Registration Closes

5/18 Night with Southern Illinois Miners orders due

5/21 4-H Day with the St. Louis Cardinals

6/9-12 Clay County 4-H Horse Camp

6/6-9 WKY 4-H Camp

6/9-12 Clay County 4-H Horse Camp

6/11-14 Southern Illinois 4-H Camp

6/24 4-H Night with the Southern Illinois Miners




National Day of Prayer May 5th


   ”WAKE UP, AMERICA!” is the theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th, at noon at the Gazebo on the mall in downtown Shawneetown.  Isaiah 58:1 says, “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.  Raise your voice like a trumpet.”  This is a timely theme for what is happening in our culture today.  You are invited to participate in this event.  In case of rain, the observance will be moved to Shawneetown First Baptist.

Hawk Trot this Saturday

The annual  Athletic Boosters 5K Hawk Trot will be this Saturday, April 30, 2016 with registration and starting at the  Shawneetown Mall

                                                Registration 8:00-9:00 a.m.

                                                Race 9:00 a.m.

Come out and support the Athletic Boosters and have some fun.