In spring, cool-season grasses play an important role in providing habitat and food sources as they emerge, grow and flower. Learn to identify the wide variety of grasses in a free online webinar by University of Illinois Extension. 

"Grass identification doesn't have to be overwhelming," says Erin Garrett, Illinois Extension energy and environmental stewardship educator. "By learning what characteristics to look for, you can start to demystify the bunches of grass you see on your next hike."

The one-hour course will review both native and non-native grasses in Illinois, though lawn grasses are not the focus of this specific webinar. 

Registration is required for the 2 p.m. April 30 webinar. Join live and ask questions directly of Extension experts or listen to the recording any time after the webinar on Extension's YouTube channel. Participants needing an accommodation to participate should email Erin Garrett at emedvecz@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Meet the speaker

Erin Garrett draws on her own field experiences of identifying grasses across the Midwest to offer tips and tricks to finding out which species you are trying to identify. 

Erin is the Energy and Environmental Stewardship Extension educator for University of Illinois Extension in the southernmost five counties in Illinois: Alexander, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski and Union counties. In this role, Erin develops and delivers high impact programming to local and statewide audiences to help them develop an appreciation for natural resources and to empower them to make small changes to positively impact the environment.

Erin earned her master’s degree in plant biology from Southern Illinois University in 2017, where her research focused on the interactions of an invasive legume with native forbs, grasses, and legumes. She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the College of Saint Benedict in 2015. She currently serves as a board member for the Southern Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society. The Illinois Extension Smart Grid Outreach Team was awarded the Interdisciplinary State Team Excellence Award from University of Illinois Extension in November 2019.

Prior to her time with Extension, Erin was a conservation education representative at the Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center for Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and worked three consecutive summers as a grassland restoration / monitoring technician for The Nature Conservancy.