November 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • As of October 15, the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed teams had delivered 1,028 virtual lessons during the pandemic.
  • According to Buzzsprout, the Science of Parenting has had more than 10,000 podcast downloads.
  • The Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 was held virtually in Polk County with five families.
  • Recent in-person education programs included Actions Speak Louder Than Words childcare training for 13 childcare providers in Howard County, a full day Nature Explore workshop in Marquette for15 early childhood professionals and outdoor educators, and the Powerful Tools for Caregivers series for seven individuals in Vinton.

4-H Youth Development

  • The first Iowa 4-H Robotics monthly challenge is available on the Extension Store. These challenges are designed to advance robotics, coding, and computer science skills for youth in grades 4-12. In addition, career education is highlighted.
  • Iowa 4-H Healthy Living is a recipient of the National 4-H Healthy Habits Grant via the Walmart Foundation. 4-H has been awarded $57,200 toward nutrition education, food access/security initiatives with youth audiences across Iowa for the 2020-2021 program year. An additional $7,500 was awarded to implement the Soccer for Success program in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation. This program utilizes volunteers to serve as coach mentors to youth to help build character through learning basic soccer skills and nutrition education.
  • The National Wildlife Habitat Education Program is a hands-on environmental education program. WHEP also provides youth participants an opportunity to test their wildlife knowledge in a friendly competition, as each state supporting WHEP conducts an annual contest where teams of three to four similarly aged individuals gather. The winning senior (14-19 years of age) WHEP team from each state earns the right to attend the annual National WHEP Contest, typically held the last full week of July. The national contest moves to a different state each year and Iowa hopes to host this event in 2022. Iowa 4-H WHEP is seeking individuals with interest in becoming volunteer coaches.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held virtually this year on Monday, Nov. 23, in keeping with COVID-19 regulations. A half-day of presentations and interactions with industry experts will take the place of the normal meeting.
  • The fourth annual ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference features speakers ready to share leadership knowledge and skills that participants can apply to succeed in farm or agribusiness careers. This year’s virtual conference is Nov. 30, 1-3:30 p.m., and Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The annual Pro Ag Outlook and Management meetings will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 concerns. With a virtual format, participants will be able to hear from five ISU Extension and Outreach economists. There will be one speaker each day from 1-2 p.m. on Dec. 7–11.
  • Iowans can expect next year to be bright and colorful – at least according to the images found within the 2021 Garden Calendar produced by ISU Extension and Outreach. With a theme of Iowa Natives, the new calendar features 12 months of native plants, including bloodroot, bluebells, prairie smoke, bur oak, witch hazel, winterberry, and others.

Community and Economic Development

  • Iowa’s Living Roadways will hold its annual celebration November 12. Because of COVID-19, the event will be held virtually for the first time, and CED specialists will be producing the event. During the event, the 2020 visioning communities will have the opportunity to present and discuss the design projects proposed through the process.
  • CED provides goal setting, strategic planning, and action planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop plans to accomplish those priorities. In November CED specialists will facilitate action planning for extension regions 18, 25 and 26, and ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County. CED specialists also will deliver action plan reports to the Ottumwa Parks Foundation Board and the Mount Pleasant Community Childcare Board, and conduct strategic planning for the Des Moines Partnership, Linn County Child Abuse Prevention Coalition, Iowa 4-H state and county staff, and National 4-H Equity Strategic Planning. In addition, CED specialists will facilitate goal setting in Cedar Falls.
  • The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It is a simplified, visual, open source tool, which is user-friendly, hands-on, and a step-by-step guide for future direction. CED specialists will present the Business Model Canvas in English and Spanish at the Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit on November 21.

October 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Alycne Boban, Mills County youth coordinator
  • Emily Ide, Adair County youth coordinator
  • Angela Shipley, Louisa County economic development
  • Jamie Nguyen, extension program assistant I, Human Sciences
  • Charles Schwab, professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and extension safety specialist, Agriculture and Natural Resources (retirement)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Jeri Crile, Jefferson County office assistant
  • Samantha Hendricks, Monroe County office assistant
  • Sheila Hlas, Benton County youth coordinator
  • Kaitlin Isbell, Winneshiek County youth coordinator
  • Sheila Oswalt, Davis County office assistant
  • Gracie Stallman-Perry, Monroe County youth coordinator
  • Amber Wengert, Story County marketing/office coordinator

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