Cathie Hutcheson


Having earned a Master Banding Permit from the US Bird Banding Laboratory, Cathie has been banding hummingbirds since the year 2000.  She has banded 80,000 so far.  Her extensive work in the field has made her a resident expert.  Ms. Hutcheson will present a slide show of her work along with discussion of the banking program.  Learn more about one of our favorite passerines, the hummingbird!  Ms Hutcheson will present a slide show of her work along with discussion of the banding program.

Jim Barker

Jim Barker’s pickup truck bounced slowly across a field on his Hamilton County farm. 


Without saying a word, Barker stepped on the brake and gazed out the window at acres of wild bergamot, purple coneflowers and blazing star. Rather than planting set-aside land in fescue, Barker has transformed his property into small patches of prairie that resemble what Hamilton County would have looked like before modern agriculture.

Amazingly, the idea of turning his farm into a floral wonderland was born of the state’s financial crisis.

“When the state ran out of money and quit moing, a lot of flowers popped out,” he said.  “I thought, ‘I’d like to have some of those.’ That’s ow I got started.  That was probably 2010, somewhere in there.”

In the intervening years, about 50 acres have been transformed into an artist’s alette of color, ranging from the golden yellow of  back-eyed Susans, the deep reds of Cardinal plants and rich oranges of butterfly milkweed.

Bernard Family Farm


We are a fiber farm. Our focus is Alpaca fiber however we also raise Babydoll Southdown sheep and English Angora rabbits.

Dr. Douglas B. Jones

Dr. Douglas B. Jones came to Bayer Crop Science from the University of Illinois Extension where he served as the IPM specialist for southern Illinois. He also worked for the National Soybean Research Laboratory, served on the Illinois Structural Pest Control Commission and the Illinois Master Gardener Advisory Committee.  Dr. Jones earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Oklahoma State University.  His past research includes imported fire ant control, Integrated Pest Management of small grain aphids in wheat, Japanese beetle feeding on soybean, School Integrated Pest Management, aphid parasitoids and many other smaller projects. 


Currently Dr. Jones serves as a Seed and Traits Technology Development Representative for Nebraska, and is an Adjunct Professor of Entomology at the University of Nebraska. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Dr. Jones is conducting multiple research and management projects on corn rootworm, soybean stemborer and western bean cutworm.  These range from simple efficacy trials of traits and pesticides to next generation RNAi corn products, to development of an Ipad based application for corn rootworm management decisions.

Robert Rhymes

Robert is the Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at Kaskaskia College. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts.  At Kaskaskia College he is active in student organizations including KC Culinaires and BSA (Black Student Associate), and professional affiliations – National Restaurant Association and American Culinary Federation.

My goal as an educator here at Kaskaskia College is to provide my students with a foundation in the fundamentals of food cookery.  I desire to see each student blossom into a professional culinarian that has an unwavering commitment to quality and excellence.


I teach a large number of non-traditional students and they serve as an inspiration to me.  It takes guts to return to school after life has dealt you some difficult blows.  But seeing each of them arrive each day despite troubled circumstances; that fuels my engine and as made me all the more passionate about the role I play in their education and future.

FarmHouse Harvest Lavender Farm 


Stroll through the beautiful lavender gardens and brick walkways of FarmHouse Harvest Lavender in Benton, Illinois. We live in an 1899 farmhouse situated on 17 acres of land west of Rend Lake.  With the help of our children and their friends, we successfully planted and sowed 1,000 individual lavender plants in April of 2017.  This experience helped create the vision of a “sowlabration,” and we opened in June of 2017.  Our bundles of lavender are available to purchase.  At FarmHouse Harvest Lavender, we have an on-site food truck that provides fresh and delicious picnic lunch. We also have a one-of-a-kind gift cottage full of handmade linen items and lavender body products.   Take a break from work, relax, and unwind in our peaceful countryside setting. If you have any questions regarding our services, you may reach us by phone. We’d love to hear from you.

Huckleberry Hutch


My name is Joyce Durbin Miller.  I have owned and operated The Huckleberry Hutch for 20 years.  My retail gift store offered a variety of country gifts, candles, bears, and wreaths over the years.  Ten years ago I began growing herbs, mainly to use in the making of wreaths in the store.  From there began a love affair with these plants and all of their uses.  I now devote most of my time to reading about herbs, learning about new herbs, developing new ways to use them, making vinegars, jams, hair rinses, bath tub teas, dream pillows, sachets, wreaths, and a multitude of other herbal products.  I developed this site for my customers who want to learn more about herbs and how to use them.

Mike Mc Grath

Mike Mc Grath is the former Editor Organic Gardening, host of “You Bet Your Garden” touted as an hour of “Chemical Free” horticulture Hijinks, a weekly, national known syndicated broadcast produced in the studios of PBS39 in Bethlehem, PA.  Mike is contributing editor and columnist for Green Prints magazine and author of books on Composting, Tomatoes and Kitchen Gardening.  When at Organic Gardening, they became a major exhibitor at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show 1993-1997, garnering the Best of Show 4 consecutive years.  Mike Mc Grath – “Book of Compost”, “Kitchen Garden A to Z” (out of print), latest “The You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes”

Dayempur Herbals

Dayempur Farm is the home of Dayempur Herbals. Located in the rolling hills of Southern Illinois.  Dayempur Farm has always been and remains, free of chemical use in the soil, air and water.

Terry Hickey is general manager of Dayempur Herbals, a regional business located in Carbondale, Illinois that handcrafts all natural herbal remedies. These remedies are located in over 30 natural/health food stores across the Midwest.  Terry has been involved in organic farming and sustainable living for over 20 years. She is active in providing educational workshops on herbal medicine and natural healthcare, is founder of "Women's Health Naturally", a regional expo and workshops annually held in Carbondale, Illinois. Terry is a strong advocate for natural healthcare practices and loves to share her belief in and experience with nature's healing power. 


Anita Brown is a Certified Clinical Thermographer and the Director of Midwest Medical Thermography serving Southern and Central Illinois, Cape Girardeau and Paducah, Kentucky. She has a longstanding interest in natural medicine including homeopathy, herbs and women's health. She is a student in Dr. Aviva Romm's "Herbal Medicine for Women" course. Anita is committed to sharing her passion and knowledge through educational talks on topics ranging from women's health and herbal medicines to medical thermography.  

Nina Peacock

A unique Labyrinth/ meditation path can be created in your yard or garden alongside existing plants, trees and ponds. Also it could be designed and made first with the garden added around it. 

Nina has been a member of Labyrinth society since 2002 when she joined while building a Labyrinth path in her backyard using recycled bricks. When finished in 2003 it was/is almost 50 feet wide classic style with paths 3 feet wide. Visitors and walkers are welcome by appointment. The Labyrinth is listed in "Things to do in Mt. Vernon" and on the Labyrinth Society Global Group.


Voss Pecans


Voss Pecans is Illinois largest and best tasting pecan grower with 148 acres of pecan trees.  This farm family is passionate about pecans. Karen and Ralph Voss of Carlyle, Illinois, have taken it from hobby to business that they love.  It is a diversified crop for them.  Four generations always working together during pecan harvest from 1 ½ to 92 years young – a family bonding time.  We are nuts about nuts!

Diane Brueckman

Diane's first experience with growing roses was 45 years ago in Buffalo, NY where she found 2 old climbers in the back yard. Diane then added two gas station give away roses and she was hooked. When Diane moved back to St. Louis she found the Botanical Garden and started volunteering in the rose garden. The next step was a Horticulture program at Meramec Community College. She completed a degree and came back to volunteer again at the Garden. In 1995, Diane applied for the Rosarian position, was hired and remained until retirement in 2005. Over the years Diane has visited many public and private rose gardens, attended rose conventions, taught classes on growing roses and contributed to articles on roses in various publications. She is currently writing articles for Gateway Gardening on roses. She and her husband have also started a small business selling roses and perennials called Rosey Acres.


 Steve and Regina Garr have spent decades presenting programs on attracting desirable wildlife to almost any setting.  They are co-founders of two state Bluebird societies and Steve is a past president of the North America Bluebird Society. From Hummingbird Research to leading "Owl Prowls", Steve and Regina try to stay involved in all aspects of enjoying wild birds!