Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team
4-H Youth Development
- Contestants from Boone, Adair and Kossuth counties earned championships during the inaugural 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl held at Iowa State in March. A quiz bowl round consists of 28 questions relating to the beef, goat, sheep and swine industries, as well as current event questions. Teams competed in a double-elimination style contest, with a senior division for youth ages 14-19 and a mixed division for teams with youth of all ages. This is the first year that Iowa 4-H has hosted the event. The winning senior team will represent Iowa at the National 4-H contest held during AKSARBEN this fall in Grand Island, Neb.
- Nearly 140 youth attended the Maize Retreat, April 13-15 at Clover Woods. This culturally based youth leadership accelerator offers youth the opportunity to experience 4-H programs through a Latino and Native American perspective. Iowa 4-H received positive feedback from both youth and chaperones about the quality of the workshops they attended.
- Twenty school staff from five schools in Sioux City and Ida County participated in the School Garden 101 training in Sioux City during February and March. During the training, Brenda Welch, 4-H program specialist, introduced the teachers to the Connecting Learning and Living curriculum available through Iowa 4-H Youth Development. She also offered tips for tweaking the lessons to reach more of the Iowa Core Standards.
- Nearly 200 high school aged youth attended the Northwest Iowa GRiT conferences at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake and Northwestern College in Orange City. GRiT stands for Getting Real Together through leadership and is a partnership of 4-H Youth Development, Human Sciences, and the local colleges. The conference goals are to make connections with underrepresented populations and help them develop leadership skills, as well as show them opportunities for future personal development through 4-H and post-secondary learning. The youth participated in leadership challenges, toured the campus and experienced college-classroom learning from college faculty in STEM, healthy living, leadership and civic engagement, communication and the arts. They also heard a keynote about overcoming challenges and made a showcase video about their day.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Trade issues have emerged between the United States and China, with tariffs already impacting pork exports from Iowa. There is concern that an escalation of tariffs between the two countries could affect soybean exports, as well. These concerns, as well as a detailed look at previous Chinese responses to U.S. tariffs, are contained in a policy brief from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. China typically responds to U.S. tariffs by posting tariffs of their own against goods they can easily purchase from another country or substitute with another product.
- “Mammals of Iowa” is available from the Extension Store. This first-of-its-kind, comprehensive field guide is a collaborative project between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The 132-page booklet contains full species accounts for 57 mammal species found in Iowa, as well as supplemental material about extirpated or rare species, living alongside mammals, and scaled comparisons highlighting the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the state’s mammals. Each species account features photos, range maps that highlight county distributions in the state, and information on the identification, habitats, breeding behavior and diets of each species.
- Improving water quality – through practices such as wetlands, woodchip bioreactors, controlled drainage, saturated buffers, reduced drainage intensity and winter forage or cover crops – was discussed during a water quality improvement workshop held in Fort Dodge. Twenty-four participants attended the workshop, learning about the design of water quality improvement practices and gaining information essential for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Community and Economic Development
- The 2018 Community Visioning Program assessment process is completed and local steering committees are reviewing the assessment data provided by the Iowa State research team. In addition, steering committees will meet with local transportation officials. In May, assessment reviews will be conducted in Glidden, Decorah, Peterson, Plymouth, Graettinger and Forest City. Glidden, Forest City and Plymouth also will meet with transportation officials. In addition, Glidden, Decorah and Coon Rapids will be conducting design workshops. The public may attend these workshops and provide input on preliminary transportation enhancement goals.
- CED specialists Jill Sokness, Brian Perry and Jon Wolseth will be presenting Leading Communities in Storm Lake on Thursdays in May. This CED leadership program is made possible in part by a VPEO initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital.
- CED is now offering Marketing Hometown America to help communities focus on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. On May 14, Jane Goeken will be in Primghar to discuss the program with O’Brien County Extension.
- On May 29, Jane Goeken and Diane Van Wyngarden will be in Riceville teaching a Customer Service Workshop. These workshops are two-hour, interactive classes. The first half of the class focuses on community-level tourism as a form of economic development. The second half focuses on skills in customer service, such as complaint resolution, dealing with negative online reviews and providing exceptional customer service.
- Cindy Fletcher, professor and resource management extension state specialist, in partnership with the State Library of Iowa and with support from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, launched the first phase of financial capability workshops. The blended course, “Small Change: Building Financial Security,” offers an initial face-to-face workshop followed by game-based online modules. Library staff will complete the course with a webinar in May. The course will be offered to two other targeted groups of public employees over the next year: K-12 employees, and municipal and county employees.
- The ServSafe® Training Grant from Department of Human Services was renewed. This is the sixth year of the partnership. Beginning in July, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach will have scholarships for 50 child care providers from facilities working on or toward Quality Rating Scales to attend the class and become Certified Food Protection Managers. The anticipated impact is lowering the risk of children acquiring a foodborne illness. Cathy Strohbehn, extension specialist and adjunct professor, and Barb Fuller, human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, are co-PIs on the grant.
- In summer 2016, Nevada Extension contacted Human Sciences Extension and Outreach to assess interest in working on a multi-state, early-childhood literacy research project. Human sciences specialists piloted a four-session series with 15 early childhood professionals from Jasper, Montgomery, Taylor and Union counties in 2017. Based on pre-post knowledge outcomes, participants with less education, those with fewer years of experience, and family child care providers learned more about oral language than did other participants. Those with less education and family child care providers learned more about phonological awareness. Participants who taught preschoolers or mixed age groups learned more about dialogic reading. The project work continues with interviews and additional assessment of the multi-state results. The overall goal is to train and coach teachers to implement strong literacy practices in the early childhood classroom to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills.
- Katy Moscoso and Christine Hradek, with “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy,” attended the National Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Conference. Moscoso delivered two sessions on using “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” as a technology companion during direct education sessions with clients.