Issue 6, June 5, 2017

Phil Nixon Retires

In 1980, Phil Nixon joined the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service (the name back then), and worked as an Area Extension Entomologist in the Oak Brook office covering the nine northeastern Illinois counties until 1987. Phil then moved to Urbana and became an Extension Entomologist, housed in various buildings throughout the campus in the intervening years, but as an integral part of the Pesticide Applicator Training (P.A.T., the name back then) Program. Over the next 30 years, Phil has provided leadership to the Pesticide Safety Education Program (the current PSEP).

Phil retired at the end of May, 2017.

During the past 37 years, Phil has provided statewide leadership in pesticide education training, being part of the first group of extension advisers creating two-day workshops in the Chicagoland area. When he moved to campus, he worked with other specialists in creating a statewide system to provide pesticide education training for commercial applicators and operators, setting up programs, handling registrations, and creating, writing and editing manuals and workbooks for the many training subjects from Turfgrass to Ornamentals to Aquatics to Mosquitoes and most of the others. Phil helped to create the first separate Private and General Standards Manuals.

Throughout the state, Phil is noted for his vast knowledge of turfgrass and ornamental insects, providing leadership to the professional industry, Extension educators, and training more than 1000 Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists. He has received eight University of Illinois awards and one EPA award in recognition of his achievements.

For the past 25 years, Phil has been the lead editor on the weekly Home, Yard and Garden newsletter, as well as the coordinator and contributor to the IL Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Guide and the various incarnations of the Pest Management for Home Landscape guide.

When asked about the changes he's noticed over the last three-plus decades, Phil has responded about the change in technology and the use of computers in daily life. He's seen pesticides come and go, including diazinon, chlordane, and many of the organo-phosphates and chlorinated hydrocarbons. He's seen the introduction of various insects into the state including Gypsy moth, Asian Longhorn beetle, emerald ash borer, German yellowjacket, and marmorated stinkbug. On the other hand, "killer bees" never materialized in the state.

Readers of this newsletter need not worry. Phil has graciously agreed to continue to write for the newsletter through the end of this year's issues

We wish Phil years of enjoyment with his fish, dinosaurs, bonsai, and other hobbies in his retirement. (David Robson)

David Robson

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