February 2023 program update

Community and Economic Development

  • Community and Economic Development’s Office of State and Local Government Programs held the Municipal Professionals Institute 2023 Winter Session virtually February 8–10. Each year, MPI provides clerks and finance officers from across the state with training that gives them the basic framework of how municipalities function and assists municipal professionals with their day-to-day duties. At this year’s winter session, CED specialists delivered sessions on parliamentary procedures, effective management, and open meetings and records.
  • 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. In February, workshops were held in Oelwein and Storm Lake.

Human Sciences

  • My Wellbeing is an adaptation of the “What About Me? My Wellbeing” program from 2016. This new edition provides content, teaching strategies, and examples designed with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in mind. The main concept is to provide an introductory, interdisciplinary outreach program to enhance adult individual wellbeing and quality of life in ways that are personally meaningful to participants. Two pilots were delivered in November-December 2022 with feedback gathered from participants, community partners, and educators. Revisions based on that feedback were completed, and three additional pilots are taking place through February 2023. The current plan is to complete curriculum revisions and all other aspects needed for program dissemination by July 2023.
  • ServSafe Food Handler classes were held in collaboration with a community partner in Waterloo and 30 food handlers attended one of the sessions. The ServSafe Food Handler class covers topics including the importance of food safety, how food becomes unsafe, controlling time and temperature, cleaning and sanitizing, good personal hygiene, and preventing cross contamination. Following the class, the food handlers completed evaluations and reported food safety practices they will work on due to what they learned during the training. Responses ranged from using different cutting boards to recording temperatures.

4-H Youth Development

  • The State 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl and State 4-H Skillathon contests will be held together on Saturday, April 1, at Iowa State University in Kildee Hall. The top senior team in each contest will represent Iowa in the national contests at the North American International Livestock Exposition.
  • K-12 teachers and other educators are invited to learn about Youth Pollinator Education and Action, a program to educate youth of all ages about pollinator biology, its importance, and conservation. A free training opportunity will be offered Feb. 24-25 in person at Iowa Lakeside Lab in Milford. The learning goals of the program include appreciation of bees and biodiversity, awareness of the importance of pollinators and the threats to pollinators, as well as creating stewards of the environment.
  • The 4-H Nutcracker Ballet + STEM program received the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Seal of Approval in December 2022. This recognition indicates that a program or event officially advances one of the most progressive state STEM initiatives in the country. This unique elementary program showcases STEM in ballet and is designed to support a variety of literacy, art, and STEM standards.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Crop producers must make some important and timely decisions if they want to participate in the Farm Bill programs for 2023. They can learn more about their choices by using resources available on the Ag Decision Maker website. Videos explain the options and tools producers can use to determine which program is best for their own situation. The tools include payment estimators for each program, and historical payment data by Iowa county.
  • Aude Watrelot, assistant professor of enology in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, surveyed Iowa wine consumers to learn more about their habits and preferences – from the time they purchase wines to the time of consumption. All responses are kept anonymous and the information will help improve research and extension and outreach programs on Iowa wine quality. The goal is to learn more about the perception of consumers toward wine quality and improve the Iowa grape and wine industry.

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Human Sciences

Growing Together Mini-Grants will provide fresh produce and nutrition education to pantries in 2023 through ISU Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education program. A total of 30 projects are being funded, with the goal of increasing food security and promoting healthy food access and nutrition education. This year, the Growing Together Iowa project will expand to five new counties.

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