4-H & Youth Development

4-H and youth programs in NRES offer youth the opportunity to explore various aspects of horticulture, forestry, and the environment through school programs, group activities, individualized projects, and national competitions. Youth gain knowledge in specific subject areas but also develop important life skills including communicating with others, making decisions, planning and organizing, and developing leadership. Career exploration is an important facet of 4-H programs. Getting involved in a 4-H activity is a great way to learn about career opportunities that exist in the Green Industry.


The UI Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research, and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Located on the campus of the University of Illinois, it was developed in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and is currently 57 acres.


The Extension Forestry program, located in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, provides forestry and natural resources education, technical assistance, programming, and awareness to a diverse audience including an estimated 169,000 private forest landowners who own 82% (3.6 million acres) of all forest land in the great state of Illinois. Extension Forestry also administers the Illinois Big Tree Program and the recently developed Citizen Big Tree Inspector initiative.

Natural Resources

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences is involved in helping clientele responsibly manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Extension programs in forestry, wildlife, fisheries, and water resources are directed at a healthy natural environment, managed to protect soil resources, improve air quality, protect wetlands, and provide habitat for wildlife.

Sustainable Agriculture

A sustainable agricultural system is based on the prudent use of renewable and/or recyclable resources. It is an approach that protects the integrity of natural systems so that natural resources are continually regenerated. It also improves the quality of life of individuals and communities and is profitable for farmers. All parts are important because they contribute to the whole. This ethic strives to protect the health of the land community and its capacity for self-renewal.

Urban Programs

University of Illinois Extension works wherever there are educational needs in urban, suburban, and rural locations. The urban programs resource network is your link to information on horticulture, family life, nutrition, community development, teacher resources, consumerism, volunteerism, and the environment.