Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- The “Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers” has been updated for the publication’s 20th anniversary. ISU Extension and Outreach specialists from multiple disciplines have updated this comprehensive resource with information on managing pasture plants and livestock, planning for improvements in grazing systems, monitoring and evaluating the grazing system, managing risk in grazing systems and more. Since its first release in 1998, the guide has become one of the most popular and widely read resources available through ISU Extension and Outreach for anyone managing the production of livestock.
- Many field days and workshops have been scheduled for this summer at Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms. Topics include crops and soils, cover crops, nitrogen and water, “Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS)” and demonstration gardens. Most events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule of events is online.
- A new series of publications, “The Iowa Watershed Approach,” is available through the ISU Extension Store. The 10 publications highlight a variety of practices that can be implemented to reduce flooding and improve water quality. Topics include wetlands, farm ponds, water and sediment control basins, grade stabilization structures, oxbow restoration, channel stabilization, terraces, buffers, floodplain restoration and perennial cover. Each publication walks readers through the impact these practices have on flood reduction, water quality, watershed management, wildlife benefits, financial incentives and more.
Community and Economic Development
- Communities participating in the 2018 Community Visioning Program are transitioning from the assessment process to goal setting and design workshops. In June, Graettinger, Moville, Peterson and Wapello will have goal-setting meetings. Communities holding design workshops include Corning, Forest City, Graettinger, Moville, Peterson, Plymouth and Wapello. The public may attend these workshops and provide input on preliminary transportation enhancement plans. Also in June, steering committees in Decorah and Glidden will do preliminary reviews of concept designs.
- CED specialist Jane Goeken developed a Grant Writing 101 workshop because communities had indicated an interest in and a need for grant-writing skills to find financing for community projects. On June 11, Goeken will present Grant Writing 101 for Rising Star interns in Spencer. On June 21, she will present the workshop at the Polk County Extension and Outreach office. On June 22, Goeken and CED specialist Eric Christianson will co-present the workshop in Polk County.
- On June 28, Dave Peters, extension sociologist and assistant professor, will be in Fort Dodge for the Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership. He will present key issues facing rural Iowa related to declines in farm income, rural labor shortage and availability of community services. Following the presentation, Peters will facilitate a discussion of possible solutions in mid and north Iowa to address some of these challenges.
- Program coordinator Courtney Long will be in the Virgin Islands (St. Croix/St. Thomas/St. John) June 2–10 for disaster recovery and food systems development. The Community Food Systems program is working with several different partners including Farm to School, farmers, ISU Extension and Outreach, FEMA and others to understand the conditions of food systems prior to and after the hurricane.
- Specialist Cathy Hockaday and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach Director Debra Sellers attended a two-day meeting in Lima, Peru, to discuss and explore a partnership with the Pan American Health Organization and DEVIDA (Peru’s national drug commission) to combat substance use through the implementation of Familias Fuertes (the Spanish adaptation of Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14). DEVIDA currently delivers the program to more than 20,000 families in Peru every year. Hockaday and Sellers were invited to consult with DEVIDA about the possibility of implementing a randomized control trial of Familias Fuertes in Peru.
- Suzanne Bartholomae, assistant professor in human development and family studies, is representing ISU Extension and Outreach in the newly formed Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition. The coalition is comprised of private and public agencies, including the Iowa Insurance Division, Office of the Attorney General, the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association, and the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. The coalition was established from a U.S. Department of Justice grant to the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance, a nonprofit organization that assists crime victims. The purpose of the coalition is to enable members to assist clients who have been the target of identity theft and to help others avoid identity theft. The members also receive training relative to their mission.
- Jel Lee, assistant professor in human development and family studies, Jan Monahan, human sciences specialist in family finance, and Sue Boettcher, Dickinson County human sciences program coordinator, piloted two lessons of a curriculum related to future care planning for older adults at the Spirit Lake Senior Center. The lessons assist older adults in proactively seeking support and include information related to planning for appointments with physicians, communication strategies, and end of life documents, including advance directives. This educational offering provides opportunities for older Iowans to learn how to be better advocates for their own health care and how to marshal support when needed. The majority of pilot respondents reported satisfaction with the program, and 15 out of 20 reported preparing a tool kit after attending the first lesson. Additional pilot sessions are planned.
4-H Youth Development
- With four months left in the program year, 4-H has already reached last year’s participation numbers. As of May 15, Iowa 4-H had more than 23,000 club/individual enrollments. 4-H has also seen a 7.3 percent growth of Clover Kids (K-3) enrollment from last year. Final numbers will be available in early October 2018.
- SWITCH wrapped up the 2017-2018 program year on April 27. Twenty-five schools from 18 counties completed the 12-week program, building capacity to establish a more wellness focused school environment and offering more than 1,900 fourth and fifth grade students new opportunities to set goals to grow healthy habits. Recruitment and enrollment is underway for the 2018-2019 school year. The goal is to have all 40 elementary spots and all 12 spots in the new middle school pilot filled before June 30. More than 40 youth and adults from four school districts attended the SWITCH Youth Summit Pilot. They were immersed in a variety of healthy living workshops and discussed how their teams could take action to create healthier school environments where all youth have the opportunity to “switch what they do, view and chew.” They learned fun ways to be active (without screen time and their electronic devices) and discovered the science behind why physical activity is important for our bodies. They were challenged to practice mindfulness and be more aware of the present moment, and they put their creativity into practice by creating their own recipe and learning how to conduct a taste test back in their school. This event will be replicated in other regions across the state next year.
- Nicole Hanson and Sara Nelson presented a workshop on the STEM-Lit to Go program at the Iowa Impact After School Conference in April. About 30 out-of-school-time professionals attended this hands-on session to learn how to use the STEM-Lit to Go framework to develop their own high-quality STEM and literacy experiences for young children. In addition, many participants expressed interest in partnering with local ISU Extension and Outreach staff to bring the curriculum to their programs.
- The 2018 Youth Equine Extravaganza, held March 23-25 in Iowa Falls, drew nearly 200 youth and parents. Fifteen volunteers assisted as youth competed in individual and team events including hippology, quiz bowl, horse judging and public speaking, as well as horseless horse categories such as creative writing, photography, drawing, crafts, woodworking, painting and digital storytelling. Youth also experienced a hands-on clinic with a clinician from Texas. The winning senior team, Story County Team #1, qualified to participate in the Western National Roundup, January 2019 in Denver.