March 2022 program update

Human Sciences

  • The Mental Health First Aid team, led by David Brown and Demi Johnson, receive frequent requests to offer private Adult or Youth Mental Health First Aid classes to local organizations and groups. So far this fiscal year, classes have been offered to the Polk County Jail, Iowa Childcare Resource and Referral, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, Hawkeye Community College, ISU Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education, and Polk County/Regional fire and police dispatchers. As a result, 168 participants are newly certified in Mental Health First Aid and are better prepared to respond to individuals struggling with mental health or substance use issues.
  • Dawn Dunnegan, family wellbeing specialist in southeast Iowa, provides Question, Persuade, Refer training for multiple audiences and reports two recent successes. Fourteen individuals with the Washington County Police Department were trained. While several indicated their knowledge of facts concerning suicide and local resources as “low” before the training, all reported their knowledge as “medium” or “high” after the training. ISU Extension and Outreach Jefferson County staff found a supporter to help fund their training, with 27 individuals from Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, and Davis counties in attendance. The participants included teachers, faith-based leaders, health care workers, courthouse employees, 4-H volunteers, Boy Scout volunteers, law enforcement, licensed therapists, and parents.

4-H Youth Development

  • Junior and senior high-school students from across the state will compete for prizes, awards, and scholarships during the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on March 24-25. The event is the largest STEM competition for youth in grades 6-12 and will be hosted in person at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. Participants learn about science and engineering processes, problem solving, and the importance of being able to communicate and defend those findings to others. They prepare a research poster detailing their findings and the data collected. Students, teachers, families, and members of the public are invited to view the exhibits and ask the youth questions about their projects. This year’s competition will see the return of youth-led educational seminars.
  • Staff from across the state have been participating in “Real Money. Real World.” trainings, gaining tools to use this financial literacy curriculum with youth in grades 7-12 in their communities. The program includes four classroom lessons to prepare students to assume the role of a 27-year-old adult who is the primary income provider for a family. They receive an occupation, monthly salary, and number of children they are raising. Youth participants learn to subtract savings, taxes, and other deductions from their monthly income. Their balance will then prepare them for spending decisions during the simulation phase of the program.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • In a recent episode of the Small Farm Sustainability Podcast, Yuko Sato, ISU Extension and Outreach poultry veterinarian and associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses how good biosecurity practices can help prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry. If farmers suspect an outbreak within their poultry, the first step is to contact the state veterinarian or USDA. Early detection is key to controlling outbreaks, so farmers should not hesitate to reach out. The second step is to isolate to prevent further infection. ISU Extension and Outreach has a variety of resources available to poultry farmers regarding avian influenza and biosecurity.
  • Upcoming in-person classes through ISU Extension and Outreach will teach those hoping to sell wild-harvested mushrooms in the state to distinguish safe mushrooms from potentially poisonous lookalikes. To legally sell wild harvested mushrooms in the state, mushroom harvesters must complete a certification workshop every three years.
  • Research trials have documented that viruses relevant to the swine industry can survive in feed ingredients and complete feed for transcontinental (23 day) and transoceanic (30 and 37 day) shipping. As biosecurity awareness and protocols have increased for animals, people, and equipment, feed and feed ingredients may also be routes of virus transmission to be managed. A new fact sheet from Iowa Pork Industry Center, “Feed Additives to Mitigate the Risk of Virus-contaminated Feed,” focuses on three research papers that evaluated compounds to mitigate virus-contaminated feed.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2022 Community Visioning Program includes a transportation assets and barriers workshop in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. In March, transportation assets and barriers workshops are set for Dunlap, Logan, and West Branch.
  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment guides communities in considering options that ensure existing and potential residents can find safe, secure, and quality housing that meets their needs and fits within their budgets. The assessment checklists aid in the creation of local housing policy that is appropriate for the needs and desires of a community. During March, CED specialists will be conducting RHRA workshops in Centerville, Knoxville, Sibley, Ocheyedan, Keota, Columbus Junction, and Ashton.
  • 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 March CED specialists will conduct strategic planning for the Black Hawk County Fair Board, St. Luke Lutheran Home Skilled Nursing Home in Spencer, the Oneota Community Co-op Board in Decorah, and the Greenfield Chamber and Economic Development Corporation.

February 2022 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Haylea England, Clinton County programming assistant
  • Michele Smith, Black Hawk County director
  • Meho Clark, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Kayla Willms, Greene County youth coordinator
  • Lindsay Fernandez, Henry County after-school program coordinator
  • Kelly Bergman, North Central Iowa STEM Manager, Vice President for Extension and Outreach
  • Mary Lyon, event planner I, Conference Planning and Management

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Brooke McKibban, Webster County youth coordinator
  • Larry Wendt Jr., Shelby County director
  • Dawn Derochie, Plymouth County office assistant
  • Leila Rush, Polk County marketing and office assistant
  • Karen Hostetler, Bremer County office assistant
  • Lori Miller, Cedar County youth coordinator
  • Karie Foster, education extension specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Hailey Burgher, education extension specialist I, Human Sciences

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