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Illinois Public Media’s Environmental Almanac turns 13

In a time, such as now, where factual and undeniable environmental concerns are under attack, and in an area like Illinois, where the effects of climate change are so evident, it is perhaps now more important than ever to bring environmental issues to the forefront of our awareness. Luckily, Illinois Public Media keeps a very close eye on these things.

Their long-standing podcast, Environmental Almanac, will soon celebrate it’s 13th anniversary this year, spawned by three University of Illinois professors in 2004.

To read more and to listen to episodes, check out the press release below:

Explore your surroundings with Environmental Almanac

In summer 2004, two U of I professors approached Rob Kanter with an idea: would he like to collaborate with them to broaden the public reach of U of I faculty members with interests in environmental topics through a radio show on WILL-AM 580?

The proposition intrigued Kanter, then a part-time lecturer in the English department while also acting as primary caregiver to his two kids. But it was a time of transition, as his youngest just started school, and Kanter was eager to pursue his environmental interests.

They soon had a plan. Kanter would research and write segments about the environmental work of U of I faculty members and voice them himself, creating an efficient process and a consistent product. He also insisted on expanding the topics covered to link the scientific research within a broader suite of environmental concerns. A month later, funding was secured, and thus began Environmental Almanac.

Now on the air for 13 years, Kanter has created approximately 400 original installments of the show for radio and podcast. In spring 2007, segments began running as columns in the Sunday edition of the Champaign News-Gazette, and this is when Kanter began to use his own photography for the segments.

Kanter takes the work seriously, as he provides an important bridge between advanced research by academics to the masses across the state. He’s tagged along with geologists to collect from the Fithian Illite, ridden with students using next-generation, truck-mounted Doppler radar in the field, and called listeners to action to benefit the environment.

But Environmental Almanac’s most important objective is “encouraging people to engage with the natural world, which can sometimes mean just appreciating the plants and animals they might encounter on a daily basis,” said Kanter. His public outreach includes speaking engagements with audiences big and small, kindergarteners and Rotary members. He’s also expanded segments into articles for Illinois Audobon and The Illinois Steward.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have had the support to do this series for so long, and more fortunate still that I have been able to extend the work I do with Environmental Almanac through my teaching in the School of Earth, Society, and Environment.”

You can subscribe to Environmental Almanac at to get the latest episodes.

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