Building value and building trust

John Lawrence’s message from April 6, 2020

When we implement Structured for Success July 1, it will be a new beginning. To continue the preparation, Andrea Nelson met with our county and regional directors in late March. The event was called Building Value and Building Trust. A committee of county and regional directors has been meeting and discussing that topic since last fall. I want to thank RaeAnn Gordan, Adriane Carlson, Carter Oliver, Rich Wrage, Cindy Gannon, Sherry Ford, Donovan Olson and Katharinna Bain for working with Andrea for all of us and for our system.

My wife often accuses me of selective hearing, but I heard three important messages in Andrea’s opening comments about building value and trust. Did you know?

  • First, County Services is a large unit, with 900 council members, 484 county staff, 19 regional directors and two accountants. It accounts for 40% of the nearly 1,200 faculty and staff who are part of ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Second, the success of the County Services unit and, for that matter, our entire organization, depends on the success of all our people.
  • And, third, we have to stop creating silos. Whether part of County Services or the rest of our organization who create content and support operations, we are all on the same team.

Each of us plays a different position, but we all wear the same jersey: ISU Extension and Outreach. Let’s pull together as a team to make our transition successful. Look upon this new beginning as a chance to refresh existing relationships with teammates and look for new ways to grow as individuals and as an organization. (And if your “jersey” is a bit worn, you can order new extension apparel from http://www.ISUExtApparel.com. You also can access the site through My Extension. The new site is not part of the Extension Store.)

I am extremely proud of our team. We have a legacy of service to Iowans, not just during a crisis, but every day. We provide research-based information, we are embedded in the communities and we are here for the long haul. We will help Iowans solve today’s problems and prepare for a thriving future.

Defining our success

How we define success varies across the span of our careers and as our accomplishments accumulate. In this video from Annual Conference some of our colleagues share their perspectives on success and how it is defined.

More notes

  • A recording of Our Virtual Annual Conference and several of the resources are available from MyExtension.
  • President Wintersteen’s April 3 COVID-19 update discusses planning for reduced campus operations and impact on frontline staff.
  • The Rising Star Internship program for summer 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will announce plans for the summer 2021 program this fall.
  • Please review the April program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
  • Our next Second Monday Live is 10 a.m., April 13 at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isueo/. David Brown, behavioral health state specialist, will discuss managing stress and mental health – because working remotely can be stressful. The isolation, lack of work/home boundaries, and simple anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can impact our wellness. This short program will review tips and tools to manage stress and help improve our wellbeing in a remote working environment.
  • The archive of the April 1 county benefits webinar is available: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/pc8iszgj6i71/.
  • The county website transition committee has announced the first three counties to transition to the new website platform. You’ll understand why they won the contest when you watch the videos from Shelby County (first), Dallas County (second) and Linn County (third). We’d like to thank all the counties who entered the contest, and we look forward to seeing all the new county websites.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

April 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • A collection of online educational resources for K-12 youth audiences is available on the 4-H At Home Learning Resources webpage. These engaging educational resources from the local, state and national 4-H program are available for all youth and their families to further explore project area learning virtually. 4-H Youth Development also will provide new educational content online on a focused topic of learning each week to further engage youth. In addition, many county 4-H programs are providing interactive, online learning opportunities for youth.
  • In March, 125 youth participated in State 4-H Recognition Day interviews. The interviews were conducted using video teleconferencing as a result of social distancing recommendations from Iowa State University due to COVID-19. State 4-H Recognition is the process in which 4-H members in grades 9-12 can apply to be selected for special statewide opportunities such as State 4-H Project Awards, State 4-H Council, Shooting Sports Ambassadors and Iowa 4-H Reporters, and to attend National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. 4-H youth complete written applications and participate in interviews with a panel of adult evaluators. The event was made possible with the support of 150 adult volunteers from across Iowa who reviewed and scored 4-H award applications, as well as interviewed the youth participants virtually using one or more new technology platforms.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Linn and Marshall County Master Gardeners received Search for Excellence honors for their commitment to food and nutrition for their local communities. Master Gardener volunteers from both counties worked to educate and empower adults and youth to grow and consume fresh healthy produce in 2019. Learn more about the projects in both counties.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has waived the deadline for pesticide applicators to meet recertification requirements. The waiver allows Iowa pesticide applicators who were certified as of Dec. 31, 2019, to retain their status through Dec. 31, 2020, and temporarily allows commercial certified pesticide applicators to continue to operate under a current company license without having to immediately submit proof of training or testing. Learn more about the pesticide applicator training requirements.
  • With field days and in-person gatherings currently canceled, Iowa Learning Farms is supplementing its regular monthly webinar series with additional webinars each Wednesday. These additional webinars will allow timely education on issues related to water, soil, wildlife and other conservation topics. ILF webinars can be found here: www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

Community and Economic Development

The CED office closed on March 17 and will remain closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Community development specialists on campus and in the field are working from home and providing assistance to clients by phone, email and virtually when possible. Meanwhile, CED staff are exploring options to deliver programming virtually.

  • The 2020 Community Visioning Program canceled the transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in five communities. Visioning program staff will use data collected through a mailed transportation survey to assess transportation in these five communities. ISU program staff and Trees Forever field coordinators will be discussing options for delivering the program remotely in April and May. ISU program staff also will meet virtually with landscape architects contracted to provide services in visioning communities to explore options for providing design services remotely.
  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshops have been canceled and CED local government specialists are exploring options to offer the training virtually.
  • Certified Professional Guide Training workshops that were scheduled in three Iowa locations have been canceled.
  • CED and the Iowa League of Cities will deliver Part III of the Municipal Leadership Academy scheduled for April and May 2020 using a virtual format.

Human Sciences

Human Sciences response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes:

  • Human Sciences is updating the Finding Answers Now webpage to reflect the current situation.
  • Iowa Concern Hotline has increased staffing and trained three human sciences specialists in family life to answer 2-1-1 calls related to COVID-19
  • Iowa has been approved to deliver the 90-minute Powerful Tools for Caregivers program online. Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist in family life, has been asked by the national organization to assist in providing virtual training for class leaders across the nation.
  • Iowa has received approval from program owners to shift the existing Question. Persuade. Refer. program (suicide prevention training) to online delivery.

Working differently, inspiring each other

John Lawrence’s message from March 30, 2020

Welcome to week 3 of working remotely. As we continue to adapt to an ever-changing situation, we continue to engage Iowans with research, education and extension experiences. However, did you know? We also inspire each other.

“We’re working differently,” says Janet Smith, director of Region 20. “I couldn’t be more excited and proud of the innovative, virtual education that our staff are trying, social media posts, the professional development that’s occurring and the virtual meetings. I couldn’t be prouder of the innovative, can-do spirit that’s going on. Staff are playing with the cards they were dealt, and even staff who have been hesitant to try new technology are jumping in. We really are ‘open’ for business — but in a different way.”

I agree with Janet 100 percent! I am inspired by every example of extension professionals finding new ways to serve Iowans during this pandemic. A friend and colleague in North Dakota shared a Charles Darwin quote and said that he thought it also applies to extension: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” I agree. Our people are adapting and taking care of ongoing business, innovating to solve problems and creating new ways to engage and educating Iowans.

Only the doors are closed on our offices. ISU Extension and Outreach is open for business, just a bit differently. By the way, Advancement has posted some new sign templates on MyExtension so everyone understands that we are continuing to serve Iowans.

Internal Communications update:

Last week we launched a new homepage in MyExtension where you will find what you need to know about issues affecting our organization. This is in response to a recommendation from the Internal Communications Task Force. The task force recommended we develop a centralized (internal) website or “front page” for leadership communications. Here you will find links to my daily updates, announcements, other news for staff, newsletters, and (coming soon) meeting agendas and notes from the Leadership Team.

More notes

  • County staff who are considering ISU benefits programs should review the new County Extension Benefits webpage for more information. There also will be an optional benefits webcast 1 p.m., April 1 for interested county staff.
  • April 15 is the last day you can order computers and have them billed for this fiscal year. This allows EIT time to receive the computer from Dell, set it up and complete the billing. You can still order a computer after April 15, but EIT cannot promise that it will be billed this fiscal year.
  • Advancement is launching a new Did You Know? staff training video series. Three videos are now available on MyExtension, and more will be added in the coming weeks. Advancement also will offer a webinar for all staff at 10 a.m., April 3 on Did You Know? Creating Videos for Facebook. It’s a deeper dive into the lessons in one of the new videos, and will include suggestions for additional tools and equipment, as well as Q&A. The link for the webinar is https://iastate.zoom.us/j/344060951.

I look forward to “seeing” you at our virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Time for good news

John Lawrence’s message from March 23, 2020

Because we all could use some good news in these trying times, I’m sharing some examples from our 2019 county stakeholder reports. Did you know?

  • Calhoun County’s Beginning Farmer Peer group set a goal to meet three times per year to discuss emerging issues, technology trends and farming practices. One participant stated, “Knowing that others have the same questions I have, gives me a sense of not being alone.”
  • Buchanan County staff are members of ICE-T (Independence Community Enhancement Team) and Cedar Valley Regional Food and Farm Network, and are part of the City of Independence’s visioning project.
  • In Warren County, 27 professionals maintained their licenses by achieving certification, including a childcare nutrition workshop and ServSafe courses. Twenty youth learned about food safety in BBQ School.

Take a look at the rest of the stakeholder reports and you’ll find more good news. Although I don’t know exactly what will be included in the 2020 reports, I do know this: ISU Extension and Outreach will report how we found new ways to serve Iowans through challenging times, because that’s what we do!

More good news: New Apparel Vendor and Website

ISU Extension and Outreach has contracted with a new vendor and has a new website for all our branded apparel. Effective immediately, Sigler Companies Inc. will handle and fulfill apparel orders for extension professionals and council members. Sigler will offer the same full line of extension apparel at a significant cost savings. To order extension apparel, go to the new apparel website, http://www.ISUExtApparel.com. You also can access the site through My Extension. The new site is not part of the Extension Store.

Apparel is now more affordable, but there are some trade-offs. Sigler will accept credit and debit cards, but not checks, and will offer refunds only for an order error or product defect. You can have your order shipped directly to your home or office (and pay the shipping cost). After the Extension Store’s Distribution Center resumes normal face-to-face operations, you also will have the option to avoid shipping costs and pick up your order from the store. For the time being, on-campus employees can choose to have their items delivered through campus mail via EDC for no charge.

Polo shirts will continue to be the “go to” item for most situations, such as working with partners or providing education. However, due to popular demand, we also will now offer T-shirts. T-shirts may be appropriate when working outdoors at fairs or field days, in potentially messy situations (such as 4-H craft projects), or for other uses determined by your supervisor or council. Keep in mind, T-shirts may need to be replaced more frequently due to wear.

Advancement will have a “sample closet” of extension styles and sizes in the future when normal services resume. For more information about the samples or for answers to other apparel questions, contact your advancement specialist.

Although we won’t be meeting with the public face-to-face for awhile, you still can wear your branded apparel for webinars and online events. This may be a good time for many of us to reassess our wardrobes and add some new branded apparel. I will be visiting the new apparel website soon, and I encourage you to check it out as well. No one is required to wear extension branded apparel. But no matter where you are or what you do, as an extension professional or council member, it’s easy for you to be properly branded when working with the public in an official capacity.

More notes

  • The Annual Conference website has been updated with current information about our online conference. You can still register, at https://www.regcytes.extension.iastate.edu/eac/. Remember to cancel any conference-related hotel reservations you may have made.
  • Our Professional Development team will be posting online learning opportunities and resources on the Professional Development website as available. Plan to check the site regularly for updates.
  • County staff who are considering ISU benefits programs should review the new County Extension Benefits webpage for more information. There also will be an optional benefits webcast April 1 at 1 p.m. for interested county staff. If you have specific questions you would like answered during the webcast, email those questions to Mica Redenius, redenius@iastate.edu, by March 30.
  • Be sure to check MyExtension and review EIT’s technical notes for working remotely.
  • Check my COVID-19 Information for ISU Extension and Outreach page for my daily updates, answers to questions we receive, and other information for council members, staff and faculty.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Animal U for youth-directed learning

John Lawrence’s message from March 16, 2020

COVID-19 updates

  • Continue to check the campus safety page for updated information about the COVID-19 outbreak and Iowa State’s response. We’ve also added the link to our Disaster Recovery page, accessible from the ISU Extension and Outreach homepage.
  • Our Annual Conference will be virtual on April 1. See my message from March 11. Also, please remember to cancel your hotel reservations. Council members and staff who haven’t previously registered: Do consider registering for the virtual conference. Information will be added to the conference website as details are confirmed.
  • My recent COVID-19 updates for all staff, faculty and council members have been archived on the Office of the Vice President website. Topics include ISU student use of Wi-Fi, employee leave, instate travel and cancellations. Continue watching for updates from me.

Did you know?

Whether at home, in the barn or even out in the pasture, 4-H youth can log on to Animal U and become better caretakers for animals. Through this online gaming platform, youth direct their own learning to gain knowledge and skills that apply to their livestock projects. Did you know?

  • ISU Extension and Outreach and the Department of Animal Science developed Animal U, a program that is intended for use nationwide. Amy Powell, extension youth animal science specialist, manages the project, which is a collaboration of extension subject matter experts, faculty members, commodity groups and industry partners.
  • Animal U is designed to connect more young people to animal agriculture, whether they have or don’t have an animal of their own. They learn about the relationship between animal agriculture and the science and technology that supports it in everyday life. In addition, they learn about potential careers associated with food production.
  • Animal U is open to everyone now. After May 1 it will be available to Iowa 4-H at no cost and to other states by subscription. The long-term goal is to extend it nationwide to 4-H partners and schools across the country. For more information, contact Amy Powell, ampowell@iastate.edu.

Internal Communications update

In 2019, our Internal Communications Task Force recommended that we develop a method for crisis communications. In addition, Iowa State did an internal audit of our processes, which recommended we establish a social media crisis communications plan. (Our previous crisis communications plan – yes, we did have one – was established in 2017 but did not reference social media.)

No two situations are alike, and it would be impossible for us to anticipate every situation. However, our new crisis communications plan will help staff recognize a crisis situation or event, take the first steps in the process and bring together the appropriate people as the crisis management team. The plan leaves room to investigate the individual crisis and determine the best course of action. You can find the plan on MyExtension under the Advancement tab, then navigate to “Guidelines and How-Tos.”

More notes

  • Please review the March program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
  • Goodbye … and welcome, February 2020: Please review this list of individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach in the past month, as well as those who have joined our organization.
  • The March 9 Second Monday Live archive is available. The session covered Annual Conference, our new crisis communication plan, a webinar on Human Sciences’ new block map and Animal U.
  • If you want to be the first county to transition to the new website platform, enter the contest by March 27. (EIT has extended the deadline.) The winner will be announced at our virtual Annual Conference, April 1. Featured publications will feed into specific pages in the new platform and county content editors will be able to choose which publications to feature on their own sites. The new platform also will make it easier to share news articles between counties and the ISU Extension and Outreach homepage.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

February 2020 goodbye … and welcome

In February, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Summer Beery, Sioux County K-3 program coordinator.
  • Katlyn Fell, Winnebago County youth coordinator.
  • Tina Gress, Crawford County program coordinator.
  • Melanie Jacobs, Buchanan County youth coordinator.
  • Kristine Labertew, Warren County office assistant.
  • Linda Severson, Winnebago County office assistant.
  • Sarah Zwiefel, Wright County outreach and marketing coordinator.
  • Darwin Miller, Hardin County extension administrator (retirement).
  • John Flickinger, budget officer I, Office of the Vice President (retirement).

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Riley Bodley, Allamakee County summer program assistant.
  • Olivia Brcka, Cerro Gordo youth program assistant.
  • Alexis Hooper, Boone County director.
  • Lisa Jones, West Pottawattamie receptionist.
  • Annemarie Litterer, Floyd County program coordinator.
  • Josey Nolan, Howard County youth coordinator.
  • Kevin Pottebaum, Woodbury County public relations and communications coordinator.
  • Kaleena Middendorf, program assistant II, Conference Planning and Management.

March 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences + Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Twenty-nine projects involving 30 counties across Iowa will receive Growing Together Mini-Grants through ISU Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education. This is the fifth year mini-grant funds have been made available to Master Gardener volunteers, resulting in more than 300,000 pounds of produce being donated in communities across the state. The projects are focused on increasing food security and promoting healthy food access. See the full list of projects awarded.

More Human Sciences

  • During federal fiscal year 2019, Kids in the Kitchen had the following reach and results:
    – Served 1,194 youth in EFNEP-funded counties (Black Hawk, Boone and Polk). This is the highest youth reach since implementation began.
    – 69% of K-2-age children improved knowledge in choosing foods consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
    – 90% of children in grades 3-5 improved knowledge in choosing foods consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • David Brown, behavioral health state specialist, provided farm stress related programs recently at the Iowa Farmers Union Annual Conference, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Winter Meetings, the Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference, and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Conference.
  • Christine Hradek, program manager, and Nicole Leidal, Family Nutrition Program assistant, presented at Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Grand Rounds in January. They highlighted ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition education programs and the opportunities to partner with physicians to support positive patient outcomes when lifestyle changes are indicated.

More Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Team created a new toolkit to help small farmers and specialty crop producers better track their marketing costs. The Market-Based Enterprise Budgets Toolkit contains sample marketing budgets for 10 crops or enterprises and allows producers to enter and track their numbers. Currently vegetable, flower and herb transplants; asparagus; high tunnel mixed greens, greenhouse basil; greenhouse butterhead; high tunnel tomato; green beans; sweet pepper; scallions and carrots are available as downloadable Excel workbooks, which allows producers to enter and track their numbers.
  • ANR specialists are making an impact through social media, which continues to be an influential platform for the agricultural industry as a whole and here in Iowa. Many Iowans are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with others in their industry and community. ANR extension specialists and teams have showed up and people have noticed. Overall, the 121 ANR accounts have 91,932 followers, collectively, on these platforms: Twitter, 63,207; Facebook, 19,481; Instagram, 4,067; YouTube/Vimeo, 4,480; and Pinterest, 697.

4-H Youth Development

  • Current Enrollment in the 2020 4-H Camera Corps is 174 youth representing 68 counties. Iowa 4-H sent eight youth participants to the National 4-H Photography Summit in late February. 4-H youth are invited to participate in the Professional Photographers of Iowa Winter Convention on March 29 in Cedar Rapids. Youth attendees will learn about college and career opportunities in photography as well as participate in workshops on competitions, tradeshows, lighting, action photography and posing for senior and wedding/couple photography.
  • Ten Healthy Living teen ambassadors and five adult chaperones recently returned from the National 4-H Youth Summit on Healthy Living. During the experience, youth leaders engage with other youth and adult partners from across the country, take in the latest information and resources regarding healthy living curriculum and youth led initiatives, and leave with an impactful experience and motivation to lead initiatives back at home to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for local communities. The Iowa youth are developing a project to address the issue of vaping; raising awareness and providing education to help teens and families make healthier decisions.

Community and Economic Development

  • In March the 2020 Community Visioning Program is conducting transportation assets and barriers workshops in Elkader, Lost Nation, Avoca, Bedford and Treynor. Bioregional assessment meetings will take place in Fairfax and Wellsburg.
  • Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshops introduce basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. During March workshops will be conducted in Iowa City, Clear Lake, Sioux City, Ankeny and Okoboji.
  • Certified Professional Guide Training was created by CED staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s cities and tourism attractions, including museums, nature areas, agritourism and historic sites. The one-day workshop features methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors. The next workshop takes place March 25 at Honey Creek Resort near Moravia.
  • During March Leading Communities programs will take place in Mount Pleasant, Chickasaw County, and Sac County.
  • CED specialist Kameron Middlebrooks will be in Des Moines for Master Business Bootcamp graduation, overseeing the graduation of 18 participants from the spring 2020 cohort in partnership with the Evelyn K. Davis Center and the Financial Empowerment Network. Master Business Bootcamp is a six-week course that reinforces essential skills necessary to own, manage, grow and operate small businesses. The free program targets minority populations with low-to-moderate income; however, it is open to any small-business owners.

Parenting science rooted in reality

John Lawrence’s message from March 9, 2020

Do you have parenting questions? Science of Parenting has answers based on research and real-life experience. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach has been sharing the Science of Parenting for several years, but starting March 12, they’re adding a new podcast to their collection of resources for helping parents make informed decisions for their families. Did you know?

  • Human sciences specialists Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson, parenting educators who are parents themselves, talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide parenting decisions. Mackenzie DeJong produces the podcast and Barbara Dunn Swanson provides research and writing.
  • The first season of the weekly podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms and releases on Thursdays, March 12 to May 28. Once per month, the podcast hosts will appear on Facebook Live (noon to 12:45 p.m.); viewers can submit questions in advance to Facebook or Twitter @scienceofparent or by email to parenting@iastate.edu.
  • The Science of Parenting website, scienceofparenting.org, also will be relaunching with a new design. Blog posts and resource links provide additional parenting information.

The Science of Parenting continues to address today’s hot topics in parenting and provides research-based information that fits your family.

Annual Conference update

Join us at Annual Conference on Wednesday, April 1, as we look at how our personal success as extension professionals keeps us on track for building a #StrongIowa, where all Iowans benefit. Check out the agenda and register today. Early bird registration ($75) ends March 16 at 5 p.m. Then registration increases to $85.

  • The festivities begin on Tuesday, March 31 with our Awards Ceremony and Reception. Join us from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center to honor our colleagues’ accomplishments and length of service.
  • Our conference day starts April 1 with registration at 8 a.m. at the Scheman Building. We’ll hear from two highly recommended speakers and choose from 11 breakout sessions on a variety of professional development topics.
  • Several high-quality prizes will be raffled off at the end of the day, including two Fitbits, two Fire HD tablets, one set of Apple AirPods, and an iPad. And yes, you must be present to win.
  • After the conference, those interested may attend one of two optional sessions: 1) ISU Benefits as a County Employee and 2) Ready to Retire from ISU? Five Things to Know First (for ISU-paid employees). Registration for these sessions is not required.
  • Annual Conference is open to everyone in ISU Extension and Outreach. Councils, please consider closing your office or having someone fill in for the day so that all ISU Extension and Outreach staff members can attend.

More notes

  • 2020 Census update: The fact sheet “2020 Census: You Count” now is available in both English and Spanish. See the Indicators website for these materials and many other Census-related resources.
  • Applications will be accepted from March 9 until May 15 for the summer 2020 Vice President for Extension and Outreach Tuition Assistance Program. County-paid and ISU-paid extension employees may apply for the program, whether taking credit courses from Iowa State, a community college, a private institution or other accredited public institution.
  • The Iowa Extension Council Association conference, Focus for Success, is March 28 in Ames. Council members and extension professionals are invited, and the early bird registration deadline is March 18. Staff who would like to share their programs and showcase services at the conference’s idea fair should register their displays by March 15.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Harnessing data to improve communities

John Lawrence’s message from March 2, 2020

This summer five Iowa communities, working with Iowa State students and researchers, will be harnessing local data and putting it to work to solve local issues. That’s the goal of Data Science for the Public Good. ISU Extension and Outreach is a partner in this effort, which currently is seeking community proposals that support the public good, rural prosperity and economic mobility. Did you know?

  • Students will lead the projects, which will run from May 18 to July 24 and be headquartered at the Social Analytics Laboratory in the ISU Department of Sociology.
  • The deadline is March 31 for extension specialists to submit proposals on behalf of communities. Proposals must identify a pressing local issue that could be informed by data, as well as the community benefits from solving the issue. Local leaders and/or city managers must be willing to engage in the project.
  • This 2020 effort builds upon results of a 2018 pilot in Marshalltown, which led to a data-driven framework for improving the community’s public transportation system.
  • If you would like to learn more, watch the webinar that describes what Data Science for the Public Good is and how you can apply.

The ISU Extension and Outreach team member is Chris Seeger, professor of landscape architecture and extension specialist. For more information about whether a community project idea qualifies or is suitable, contact the DSPG team at dspg2020@iastate.edu.

More notes

  • 2020 ISU Day at the Capitol is March 5. ISU Extension and Outreach is a partner in this event that is highlighting opportunities to “Innovate at Iowa State.”
  • Our next Second Monday Live is 10 a.m., March 9 at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isueo/. Topics include brief updates on Annual Conference, our new crisis communication plan, and an upcoming webinar about Human Sciences’ new block map that aligns with the new regions of Structured for Success. In addition, Amy Powell, 4-H animal science program specialist, will discuss the rollout of Animal U. Links to the Second Monday Live archives can be found in MyExtension.
  • Beginning Oct. 1, 4-H Youth Development will realign field teams in response to the new regions of Structured for Success, as shown on this new 4-H field team map in MyExtension. 4-H State Leader Debbie Nistler reports that the new map is the result of listening sessions and reflection with 4-H staff across the state. The new field team assignments are designed to be more geographically balanced and provide more opportunities for teamwork than previous alignments. Currently 4-H has five field program specialist vacancies. Debbie plans to fill three of the vacancies this year and the remaining two in 2021.
  • County offices: Remember to enter the contest to be the first county to transition to the new website platform. The entry deadline is March 18 and the winner will be announced at Annual Conference, April 1. The new county websites will be easy to navigate on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. The new sites also will allow you to feature your county social media accounts, as well as extension-wide social media links.
  • FYI: I am in Washington, D.C., with our Iowa delegates to the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching. Our citizen delegates are sharing Iowa State’s story with Congress. CARET advocates for greater national support and understanding of the land-grant university system’s food and agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs that enhance the quality of life for all people.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Pesticide safety for Iowans

Feb. 24, 2020, message from John Lawrence

ISU Extension and Outreach began offering pesticide safety education in 1976, when legislation first required applicators to be trained in the safe and effective use of pesticides. This program, which used to be delivered to our county offices by huge satellite dishes, now is distributed via Blu-ray discs. Technology isn’t the only thing that changes in our Pesticide Safety Education Program. Each year, the PSEP provides the latest information to keep all Iowa applicators up to date on current pesticide safety and pest management. Did you know?

  • Our PSEP provides Continuing Instruction Course (CIC) recertification programs that cover a variety of topics, including laws and regulations, personal protective equipment, pesticide labels, safe application techniques, storage and handling, protecting sensitive areas such as groundwater, non-target sites and pollinators, and pests and pest management.
  • During the 2018-2019 season, PSEP held 278 programs across Iowa that educated 13,831 private applicators with the help of field agronomists and county extension staff. Last year 11,198 commercial applicators attended a CIC recertification program.

CIC programs are offered throughout the year in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. PSEP also is involved in integrated pest management, worker protection, environmental quality and agricultural health.

More notes

  • Congratulations to 12 extension professionals who will be honored at the ISU 25 Year Club banquet on March 2. Reaching 25 years of continuous service during calendar year 2019 are Patricia Gibler, Patrick O’Malley, Vicki Speake and Richard Wrage. Reaching 35 years are Richard Jauron, Christine Knight-Gipe, Jane Hayes-Johnk, Jerolyne Packer, David Stender, Jill Weber and Jeanne Wiebke. Donna Donald will be honored for reaching 45 years of continuous service this year.
  • The archive of the 2020 Census webinar (from Feb. 11) is available. In the coming months you may get questions about the Census or you may have the opportunity to educate people about it. A video, handouts and other helpful materials are available from the Indicators website.
  • On Feb. 28 from noon-1 p.m. you can join Human Sciences’ Acts of Kindness Celebration on Zoom to share and celebrate all the acts of kindness that were completed during the month. You’ll also find out who wins the grand prize – an assortment of homemade/specialty items from our Human Sciences community. For more information contact hs_wellbeing@iastate.edu.
  • Registration is open for our 2020 Annual Conference, Wednesday, April 1. You’ll find plenty of professional development, inspiration and networking as we celebrate successes and make progress toward our personal and professional goals. Some breakout sessions have attendance caps, so register soon. Annual Conference is open to everyone in ISU Extension and Outreach. Please join us.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach is part of the Extension Disaster Education Network, which focuses on reducing the impact of disasters through education. Extension safety specialist Chuck Schwab is our EDEN contact. EDEN is asking extension professionals to respond to the Extension Disaster Needs Assessment Survey, at http://bit.ly/Extension-Disaster-Needs-Assessment. Please respond by the end of February. Your input will help EDEN draft the request for proposals for their competitive grant program for developing new or updating existing resources.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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