October 2021 program update

Community and Economic Development

  • Professional Guide Certification was created for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s cities and tourism attractions, including museums, nature areas, agritourism, city tours, and historic sites. The one-day workshop features methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors. During October, CED specialists will be conducting guide certification training in Jefferson County; Spencer – for Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, and Palo Alto counties; Fayette County; Mahaska County; Appanoose County; Madison County; Marion County; Hamilton County; Jasper County; Dallas and Story counties; and Polk County.
  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the 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. CED specialists will be conducting P&Z workshops in Sioux City and virtually to the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool in Johnston. In addition, Luke Seaberg and Gary Taylor will present Iowa Planning Law Updates at the Iowa American Planning Association’s annual conference in Des Moines.

Human Sciences

  • Two pilots are underway for a new two-part training for child care professionals called Building Resilience with Storybooks. The training is designed to build interactive reading skills in the providers, who then apply these skills focused on supporting resilience in children. The project, in development for the last year, received the Innovative Program Grant through Excellence in Extension. Cindy Thompson led the first pilot in northeast Iowa with 12 professionals. Cheryl Clark is leading the second pilot in Des Moines with 16 childcare professionals registered. Cindy and Cheryl are family wellbeing specialists.
  • After teaching virtually during the 2020-2021 school year, EFNEP Kids in the Kitchen educators were able to engage in face-to-face classes this summer. Michelle Schubert in Cerro Gordo County taught seven groups reaching 136 youth. Forty-three youth graduated, which includes attending at least five of the seven sessions and completing a pre- and post- survey. In Black Hawk County, Sarah Tanis collaborated with the YMCA and taught four groups. She had 31 graduates. In Polk County, Cassie Odland taught five groups reaching 57 youth. Twenty of the participants were graduates.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been awarded a $500,000 grant to expand farmer mental health support programs in Iowa. IDALS will partner with ISU Extension and Outreach to help raise awareness about mental health and wellness resources and help make them more accessible to farmers and rural communities. Through this grant, extension staff will offer community outreach and programming to individuals involved in agriculture and those who support them. ISU Extension and Outreach will also conduct facilitator training for programs focused on strengthening families. Farmer resource packets will be available with information on how to access stress assistance, wellness, and family finance programming.

4-H Youth Development

  • The 4-H Reporters this year created 546 video clips and 367 photographs at the State Fair. All that video footage was edited down into 13 finished videos that are shared on the Iowa 4-H YouTube channel. 4-H Reporters will continue their experience by covering a few upcoming events and county fairs next summer.
  • The Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program hires and manages the gleaning coordinators for the Iowa Gleaning Network. which received the Outstanding Volunteer or National Service Program Award at the 2021 Iowa Nonprofit Summit Oct. 7. The Iowa Gleaning Network was established in April 2020 to help Iowa’s hunger relief organizations fill gaps in existing gleaning programs and assist with organizational needs illuminated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The gleaning coordinators lead volunteers to harvest from local farmers and gardeners, then distribute that food to local organizations who serve their communities in more than 29 counties, including all metropolitan areas in Iowa.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team has been proactive in bringing education to Spanish-speaking employees in the agricultural industry over the past several years. This has included on-farm training, videos, and resources for working in dairies. While sharing these resources, the team found that a focus on life skills in Spanish was also needed to help the two cultures understand and prosper in these changing times. Now the team and partners across the communities are joining together to provide a bi-monthly newsletter in Spanish to bring timely and topical information to employees and their families.

September 2021 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Cicely Lawrence, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Tara Simpson, Humboldt County office manager
  • Tamara Sutfin, Poweshiek County program assistant
  • Jo Engel, Clay County program coordinator
  • Jordon Oellerich, Keokuk County director
  • Aubrey Robertson, event planner II, Conference Planning and Management
  • Laurie Nowatzke, data analyst I, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Casey Wenstrand, education extension specialist II, 4-H Youth Development

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Jill Berkland, Osceola County youth coordinator
  • Lisa Clark, Henry County family support specialist
  • Terri Raasch, Adair County youth coordinator
  • Jessica Haro Ponce, Henry County family support specialist
  • Dawn Foss, Linn County nutrition educator
  • Jacqueline Montoya, Linn County PEC program manager
  • Isabella Sexton, Woodbury County 4-H youth development coordinator
  • Sara Sims, Mahaska County office assistant
  • Virginia Atwell, Polk County youth nutrition associate educator
  • Nadine Fogt, Marshall County office assistant
  • Irais Lopez, Henry County youth assistant
  • Leah Brooke, education extension specialist I, Human Sciences
  • Kerry Aistrope, Region 21 director, County Services
  • Alexa Groff, program specialist I, 4-H Youth Development
  • Michelle Galvan, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Fallon Reicks, program specialist I, 4-H Youth Development
  • Ryan Stuart, education extension specialist I, Human Sciences

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