August 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • The Human Sciences Extension and Outreach team serving regions 4 and 9 has developed a partnership with Gunderson Palmer Lutheran Hospital. First, the team delivered the “What About Me? My Wellbeing” series at the hospital earlier this year. As a result, additional programming was scheduled and delivered. The team presented “Caregiving Relationships: Conversations on Aging” to hospital staff. The two, one-hour sessions introduce the topic of caregiving, the changes families face and the skills individuals can use when facing later life situations. The sessions also build interest in the “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” series.
  • Carl Weems, professor and chair, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, provided insights on childhood trauma in the Science of Parenting blog, July 2, 2018.
  • A new “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” cohort began July 9: Abigail Spiegel, Dubuque County (new unit); Athena Speller, Black Hawk County; and Jamie Nyugen, Linn County.
  • The human sciences team in regions 1 and 5, along with the program’s creative projects specialist, created “Do. Plan. Promote!” to assist county partners. The document provides a list of educational offerings that can be planned for, offered and promoted within Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.
  • The ISU SNAP-Ed team underwent a management evaluation from the USDA regional office in July. The reviewers complimented our programming and partnerships. A full report of findings will be available by early September.

4-H Youth Development

  • Individual enrollments of underserved youth into the Iowa 4-H program have nearly doubled since the 2013-2014 program year. Now 1,485 youth of color are participating in learning communities and clubs.
  • From February through August, 60 Monarchs on the Move events will have been held at 40 locations in 30 counties, reaching more than 1,000 youth across the state.
  • Thirty-nine young leaders have begun their terms on the 2018-2019 State 4-H Council. They will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program throughout the state and in their local counties.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Master Gardener registration is now available for 2018 training sessions. The trainings will take place in 43 locations across Iowa and are open to anyone who is passionate about volunteering and gardening. Training sessions will begin in August or September, depending on location, and the training locations are listed online. Iowa Master Gardeners donated more than 115,000 volunteer hours during 2017, providing the equivalent of $2.7 million in labor to help beautify Iowa and address ongoing food security issues.
  • Farmland leasing meetings are being held across Iowa. The annual meetings address questions that landowners, tenants or other interested individuals have about leasing farmland. The 2018 meetings will focus on farmland ownership and tenure in Iowa, the latest on the economics of cover crop research, implementing conservation practices in leases, land values and cash rent trends, cost of production, methods for determining a fair rental rate, and legal updates that impact farm leases and land ownership. ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialists will lead the meetings. More information is available through the Ag Decision Maker website.
  • Managing Farmland Drainage workshops will be held on Aug. 7 in Mason City and Aug. 15 in Fort Dodge. The workshops are geared toward women landowners and will provide opportunities to discuss drainage issues that exist on Iowa farmland. The workshops also will cover different styles of drainage systems and how to address drainage water quality within the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program is in the design stage. Steering committees are reviewing preliminary community design concepts and design teams are presenting final concepts to the public. During August, design reviews will be conducted in Plymouth and Wapello. Public presentations will be held in Corning, Glidden, Peterson, Coon Rapids and Forest City.
  • During August CED specialist Brian Perry will be meeting with several communities to discuss the Leading Communities program. He will meet with regional director Kraig Tweed and community development specialist Scott Timm in Decorah, regional director Paul Mariman in Dubuque and regional director Jeff Macomber in Tipton. The program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative and features the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital.
  • Susan Erickson, Lisa Bates and Diane Van Wyngarden will be attending the Iowa Downtown Conference Aug. 28-30 and providing an ISU Extension and Outreach CED presence as an exhibitor in Waterloo. The Iowa Downtown Conference is the premier statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved in preservation-based downtown revitalization in Iowa and neighboring states.

July 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program is in the design stage during which steering committees are reviewing preliminary community design concepts. During July, design review meetings will be conducted in Peterson, Moville, Graettinger and Forest City.
  • Cindy Kendall, Cindy Stuve and Elizabeth Gartin will host the 43rd Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy July 16–27 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. This is a targeted training for more than 200 city clerks, finance officers and other city staff to further professionalism, knowledge and efficiency in Iowa cities. All training in this venue qualifies for certification in the International Institute of Municipal Clerks as well as the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association certification program.

Human Sciences

  • Military couples have needs similar to other couples, but also deal with challenges such as frequent relocations, deployments and separations. Military leaders can benefit by being able to reinforce healthy couple and family functioning with those they supervise and command. That is why Human Sciences Extension and Outreach offered Healthy Relationship Education Training for Iowa State’s Army ROTC cadets in April. Anthony Santiago, college projects specialist, and David Brown, human sciences specialist in family life, facilitated the program for 21 Army ROTC senior cadets in collaboration with the Department of Military Science. Evaluation results showed greater understanding of many aspects of relationships: 94 percent of the cadets have a greater knowledge of stress reduction, communication and healthy conflict management; and 100 percent of the cadets are confident they can help individuals and couples support healthy living choices. As one participant stated, “I now have the tools to help future soldiers.”
  • Elizabeth Stegemöller, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and a Human Sciences Extension and Outreach summer faculty fellowship recipient, and David Brown, a human sciences specialist in family life, will offer A Journey through Parkinson’s Disease facilitator training for human sciences specialists on Aug. 16. This train-the trainer workshop will enable human sciences specialists from any discipline to provide this educational offering in their communities. The training will review the causes and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and how treatments work. The training also will cover therapeutic activities that can be completed in the home by those who have the disease.
  • Sanjuana Graves, a “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” educator in Scott County, received the Helping Us Grow (HUG) award from the Davenport Community School District for outstanding service. Her work is primarily with pregnant and parenting students at Mid-City High School. The school provides an electric skillet or slow cooker to every student who graduates from “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.”
  • Grisel Chavez and Norma Dorado-Robles presented at the Cambio de Colores conference June 7 in Kansas City. Grisel is a “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” educator in Marshall County and Norma is a current 4-H staff member and former BELH educator. They discussed the work they completed with Mid-Iowa Community Action to provide nutrition education to a group of parents while their children engaged in 4-H activities. The parents’ group consisted of 16 Burmese participants.

4-H Youth Development

  • Fifty Iowa 4-H members received 2018 state 4-H project awards. They were recognized for exhibiting exceptional leadership, communication and civic engagement within their project area. The awards are given to 4-H’ers who have displayed mastery, leadership, communication and service in a specific project area. Each youth recipient also was granted a $100 award from Glen and Mary Jo Mente of Ames and the Iowa 4-H Foundation.
  • About 700 youth packaged 50,000 meals as their Meals from the Heartland service project at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Their service learning continued with a culture fair on central campus. The youth learned dances, made crafts and learned about the history of different cultures in Iowa, including Swedish, African American, Asian, Czech, Latino and more. They also heard from Iowa 4-H alumni who shared their 4-H stories and described how community service and volunteerism has played a role in their lives within their communities and careers. Panelists included Kyle Munson, Senator Dan Zumbach, Rachel Wall, Charlene Watkin, Don McDowell and Cheri Doane.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • A new approach to using social media is helping researchers map the spread of southern corn rust. Research published by the American Phytopathological Society examines the usefulness and feasibility of using social media as a method of disease and pest data sharing among crop scouts, industry agronomists and university extension specialists across the country. Two Twitter accounts, @corndisease and @soydisease, were created to track the appearance of disease in corn and soybeans fields across the country. The project was successfully able to track the movement of southern rust northward, providing advance notice for targeted crop scouting efforts. ISU Extension and Outreach specialists Daren Mueller, Adam Sisson and Rachel Kempker contributed to the publication. Read more about the project.
  • Dave Baker has been named director of the ISU Extension and Outreach Beginning Farmer Center. Baker has been with the center since 2006 and had been serving as interim director since January 2018. Created by the Iowa Legislature in 1994, the Beginning Farmer Center assists in facilitating the transition of farming operations from established farmers to beginning farmers.
  • The Pocahontas and Webster County Master Gardeners received the 2018 Search for Excellence award for their work in their communities. The winning project in Pocahontas County involved Master Gardeners’ work with the annual Garden Extravaganza, where they led classes on gardening topics while also overseeing an expo that saw 30 venders showcase plants, artwork, tools and supplies related to gardening. Webster County’s award came in the youth garden category, in which they partnered with local 4-H clubs to tend to the historic Frontier Garden at the Fort Museum in Fort Dodge.

June 2018 program update

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.

Human Sciences

  • 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.

May 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • Contestants from Boone, Adair and Kossuth counties earned championships during the inaugural 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl held at Iowa State in March. A quiz bowl round consists of 28 questions relating to the beef, goat, sheep and swine industries, as well as current event questions. Teams competed in a double-elimination style contest, with a senior division for youth ages 14-19 and a mixed division for teams with youth of all ages. This is the first year that Iowa 4-H has hosted the event. The winning senior team will represent Iowa at the National 4-H contest held during AKSARBEN this fall in Grand Island, Neb.
  • Nearly 140 youth attended the Maize Retreat, April 13-15 at Clover Woods. This culturally based youth leadership accelerator offers youth the opportunity to experience 4-H programs through a Latino and Native American perspective. Iowa 4-H received positive feedback from both youth and chaperones about the quality of the workshops they attended.
  • Twenty school staff from five schools in Sioux City and Ida County participated in the School Garden 101 training in Sioux City during February and March. During the training, Brenda Welch, 4-H program specialist, introduced the teachers to the Connecting Learning and Living curriculum available through Iowa 4-H Youth Development. She also offered tips for tweaking the lessons to reach more of the Iowa Core Standards.
  • Nearly 200 high school aged youth attended the Northwest Iowa GRiT conferences at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake and Northwestern College in Orange City. GRiT stands for Getting Real Together through leadership and is a partnership of 4-H Youth Development, Human Sciences, and the local colleges. The conference goals are to make connections with underrepresented populations and help them develop leadership skills, as well as show them opportunities for future personal development through 4-H and post-secondary learning. The youth participated in leadership challenges, toured the campus and experienced college-classroom learning from college faculty in STEM, healthy living, leadership and civic engagement, communication and the arts. They also heard a keynote about overcoming challenges and made a showcase video about their day.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Trade issues have emerged between the United States and China, with tariffs already impacting pork exports from Iowa. There is concern that an escalation of tariffs between the two countries could affect soybean exports, as well. These concerns, as well as a detailed look at previous Chinese responses to U.S. tariffs, are contained in a policy brief from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. China typically responds to U.S. tariffs by posting tariffs of their own against goods they can easily purchase from another country or substitute with another product.
  • Mammals of Iowa” is available from the Extension Store. This first-of-its-kind, comprehensive field guide is a collaborative project between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The 132-page booklet contains full species accounts for 57 mammal species found in Iowa, as well as supplemental material about extirpated or rare species, living alongside mammals, and scaled comparisons highlighting the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the state’s mammals. Each species account features photos, range maps that highlight county distributions in the state, and information on the identification, habitats, breeding behavior and diets of each species.
  • Improving water quality – through practices such as wetlands, woodchip bioreactors, controlled drainage, saturated buffers, reduced drainage intensity and winter forage or cover crops – was discussed during a water quality improvement workshop held in Fort Dodge. Twenty-four participants attended the workshop, learning about the design of water quality improvement practices and gaining information essential for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program assessment process is completed and local steering committees are reviewing the assessment data provided by the Iowa State research team. In addition, steering committees will meet with local transportation officials. In May, assessment reviews will be conducted in Glidden, Decorah, Peterson, Plymouth, Graettinger and Forest City. Glidden, Forest City and Plymouth also will meet with transportation officials. In addition, Glidden, Decorah and Coon Rapids will be conducting design workshops. The public may attend these workshops and provide input on preliminary transportation enhancement goals.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness, Brian Perry and Jon Wolseth will be presenting Leading Communities in Storm Lake on Thursdays in May. This CED leadership program is made possible in part by a VPEO initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital.
  • CED is now offering Marketing Hometown America to help communities focus on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. On May 14, Jane Goeken will be in Primghar to discuss the program with O’Brien County Extension.
  • On May 29, Jane Goeken and Diane Van Wyngarden will be in Riceville teaching a Customer Service Workshop. These workshops are two-hour, interactive classes. The first half of the class focuses on community-level tourism as a form of economic development. The second half focuses on skills in customer service, such as complaint resolution, dealing with negative online reviews and providing exceptional customer service.

Human Sciences

  • Cindy Fletcher, professor and resource management extension state specialist, in partnership with the State Library of Iowa and with support from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, launched the first phase of financial capability workshops. The blended course, “Small Change: Building Financial Security,” offers an initial face-to-face workshop followed by game-based online modules. Library staff will complete the course with a webinar in May. The course will be offered to two other targeted groups of public employees over the next year: K-12 employees, and municipal and county employees.
  • The ServSafe® Training Grant from Department of Human Services was renewed. This is the sixth year of the partnership. Beginning in July, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach will have scholarships for 50 child care providers from facilities working on or toward Quality Rating Scales to attend the class and become Certified Food Protection Managers. The anticipated impact is lowering the risk of children acquiring a foodborne illness. Cathy Strohbehn, extension specialist and adjunct professor, and Barb Fuller, human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, are co-PIs on the grant.
  • In summer 2016, Nevada Extension contacted Human Sciences Extension and Outreach to assess interest in working on a multi-state, early-childhood literacy research project. Human sciences specialists piloted a four-session series with 15 early childhood professionals from Jasper, Montgomery, Taylor and Union counties in 2017. Based on pre-post knowledge outcomes, participants with less education, those with fewer years of experience, and family child care providers learned more about oral language than did other participants. Those with less education and family child care providers learned more about phonological awareness. Participants who taught preschoolers or mixed age groups learned more about dialogic reading. The project work continues with interviews and additional assessment of the multi-state results. The overall goal is to train and coach teachers to implement strong literacy practices in the early childhood classroom to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills.
  • Katy Moscoso and Christine Hradek, with “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy,” attended the National Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Conference. Moscoso delivered two sessions on using “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” as a technology companion during direct education sessions with clients.

April 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

Brenda Schmitt, a human sciences specialist in family finance, works with the Family Alliance of Veterans of America. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach supports Brenda’s efforts to teach finance classes, help veterans with personal finances, and provide materials. Staff are taught financial coaching so they can assist veterans with budgeting. Brenda typically works one-on-one with about a dozen families and individuals in the program. The training for staff usually reaches another dozen people. The impact is significant. Here are two examples:

  • After several meetings with one veteran and building trust, the individual revealed current efforts to earn money via a specific website and that he had sent several checks to this website. Brenda was able to steer him to reliable, vetted local resources to assist him and ensure he was safe from fraud.
  • Another veteran was the victim of a scam, sending thousands of dollars to a fraudulent entity. This individual searched for assistance to recoup the lost funds, eventually finding Brenda, who assisted with the needed process. While in Brenda’s office, the individual received a call from a creditor. Brenda was able to provide coaching related to information that should and should not be provided over the phone and helped the individual create a budget for paying the creditor.

Renee Sweers, a human sciences specialist in Nutrition and Wellness, completed a Stay Independent series at an independent living center for approximately 12–14 people. These residents, along with a center staff member, engaged in discussions throughout the series regarding needed changes at the center. A few examples include removing donuts from the breakfast menu and replacing them with hard boiled eggs, replacing desserts with yogurt parfaits or fruit smoothies, and implementing a new exercise program.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H in the news: The Des Moines Register recognized Iowa 4-H for efforts in civility (Leadership and Civic Engagement, a 2018 priority area). USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture bulletin featured Iowa’s culturally based leadership accelerators as a national success story.
  • The SWITCH program is reaching fourth and fifth grade classrooms in 25 Iowa schools, totaling more than 1,000 youth. Schools are half way through the program and have been sharing their success with integrating wellness — including youth-led initiatives, activity breaks in the classroom, more physical activity and outdoor lessons incorporated throughout school day, taste tests in the cafeteria, and new lessons incorporated in physical education classes. During “Try Day Friday,” youth at Sacred Heart School in Boone taste tested mushrooms, figs and dates and then voted on if they tried it, liked it or loved it.
  • 4-H is halfway through the Healthy Living Club Challenge, with 125 clubs submitting monthly trackers to earn miles as they Race Across Iowa. The goal is to reach 1,400 miles by the end of June, when top earning clubs will be recognized at Healthy Living Day at the Iowa State Fair. 4-H youth are practicing healthy habits at club meetings: offering water, fruits and vegetables as meeting snacks, and coordinating time for physical activity. In January and February, clubs completed a team building activity to earn bonus miles. In March and April, the bonus challenge focuses on activities that improve brain health.
  • In 2018-19, Iowa 4-H will be expanding work with underserved, underrepresented and vulnerable youth as part of the ongoing “from inclusion to belonging” initiative. Iowa 4-H is currently forming teams of “champions” to help to move our work forward with children with disabilities, disconnected youth, immigrant and refugee youth, incarcerated youth, LGBTQ youth, youth affected by mental illness, youth of color, youth experiencing homelessness, youth in foster care and youth with limited English proficiency.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll addressed dealing with herbicide-resistant weeds. The poll surveyed farmers to learn about their perspectives on the potential effectiveness of several hypothetical approaches to addressing herbicide-resistant weeds. The two highest rated options were “quick fix” approaches using new technology. Private company discovery and development of new herbicides, and private company discovery and development of new herbicide-tolerant crops, received 69 and 68 percent likely or very likely responses, respectively. Land grant university discovery and development was close behind with 62 percent.
  • An overall decrease of 5.6 percent for custom work can be expected in 2018, according to a study conducted by Alejandro Plastina. While labor costs rose by 4.6 percent from a year ago, all other categories saw declines. The cost for harvesting and hauling grain dropped 9.4 percent, while preharvest operations, harvesting forages, and bin and machinery rental fell by more than 4 percent. The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2018, including fuel and labor. The average price of diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.95 per gallon.
  • The Master Gardener program is seeking volunteers – people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. Registration is now open at ISU Extension and Outreach county offices. No previous garden knowledge is required, as the program equips participants to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices. New to the training program this year is the flipped classroom, in which participants can view the course information online and then attend classes for hands-on instruction. Nearly 2,000 Master Gardeners were active across Iowa in 2017.
  • An Iowa State University study shows that return on investment may be the biggest hurdle to overcome for widespread adoption of cover crops, despite farmers’ positive perceptions about cover crops and the availability of cost-share programs to incentivize their use. Through focus groups and survey methods, researchers compared each farmer’s costs and revenues from fields where they used cover crops and from fields without cover crops. Overall, the researchers found substantial variability in net returns, driven by the costs of planting and terminating cover crops, feed cost savings from grazing cover crops, cost-share program payments, and the difference in yields obtained in fields with and without cover crops.

Community and Economic Development

  • Community and Economic Development is now able to offer the Marketing Hometown America program that has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota to help communities home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. Abbie Gaffey will be in Mapleton on Tuesdays during April to facilitate Marketing Hometown America study circles for Monona County.
  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program will be conducting a series of transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in 10 communities. The transportation assets and barriers workshop is part of the assessment process that the program conducts in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. During April, workshops will be conducted in Decorah, Forest City, Graettinger, Moville, Plymouth and Wapello. CED specialists Abbie Gaffey, Eric Christianson and Scott Timm will assist in facilitating the focus groups.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness, Brian Perry and Jon Wolseth will be presenting Leading Communities in Storm Lake on Thursdays in April. This leadership program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital. Himar Hernández and Shelley Oltmans will be presenting session six of Leading Communities in Henry County on April 11.
  • In April, Introduction to Planning and Zoning workshops will be conducted in Ankeny, Clear Lake, Creston, Decorah and Oskaloosa.

March 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program will be conducting a series of transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in 10 communities. The series is part of the assessment process that the program conducts in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. In March, transportation assets and barriers workshops will be conducted in Coon Rapids, Peterson, Glidden, Decorah and Corning. CED specialists Abbie Gaffey, Eric Christianson and Scott Timm will assist in facilitating the focus groups.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness and Jon Wolseth will be presenting an overview of the new CED leadership program, Leading Communities, in Storm Lake on March 8, in advance of starting the program in April. This Leading Communities program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital. On March 14, Himar Hernández, Shelley Oltmans and Jon Wolseth will deliver the Leading Communities program in Mount Pleasant.
  • CED specialists Scott Timm and Jill Sokness will coordinate energy-efficiency evaluations for local, Latino-owned businesses in Sioux City through MidAmerican Energy March 14–16. Sokness is connecting local businesses to this service and Timm is the liaison to the energy company and will serve as Spanish-language interpreter on the days of the evaluations.
  • Extension CED staff will be conducting a Navigating Difference© training workshop in West Des Moines on March 13.

Human Sciences

  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach specialists Malisa Rader, Brenda Schmitt, Barbara Dunn Swanson and Vera Stokes attended the National Land-Grant Diversity Conference in Kentucky. They shared Human Sciences Extension and Outreach efforts with diversity and inclusion. They also learned much from their counterparts across the country, including the concept of equitable civic engagement and the role privilege plays in diversity. The conference provided a good reminder to make sure our target audiences are at the table, identifying what they need, and also to have the community help us design, deliver and evaluate programs.
  • Growing Together Iowa funding awards were announced in February. The 26 funded projects are in the following counties: Black Hawk, Bremer, Boone, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Cass, Cherokee, Clayton, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Monona, Muscatine, O’Brien, Osceola, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, West Pottawattamie and Woodbury.
  • Suzanne Bartholomae, family finance state specialist, and co-authors Maria Pippidis from University of Delaware and Elizabeth Kiss from Kansas State University have released “Cooperative Extension’s Capacity to Demonstrate Impact in Financial Capability and Well-Being: A Briefing Paper.” They build the case for creating one system for reporting Cooperative Extension’s family resource management impact nationally and sharing Extension’s story with a broader audience, whether stakeholders, funders or the research community.

4-H Youth Development

  • State 4-H Recognition Day is March 24 on campus. 4-H’ers will be interviewed for opportunities including the National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Congress, State 4-H Council, State Project Awards and the State 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador Program.
  • The 2018 4-H Maize Retreat is April 13-15. Through this culturally based youth leadership accelerator, youth in grades 8-12 explore 4-H and Iowa State University. Youth participants from across Iowa will gather to experience 4-H healthy living, STEM, civic engagement, leadership, and communication and the arts programs through a Latino and Native American perspective.
  • The 2018 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference is June 26-28. This year’s theme is “Your Passport to Adventure.” Registration is planned to open mid-March.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa State University faculty and staff provided education for pork producers at the Iowa Pork Congress in January. Extension specialists were present both days of the event and offered training opportunities for pork quality assurance and transport quality assurance. Also presented at the event was “How NOT to fail an Audit: Euthanasia and other considerations.” Euthanasia is a critical part of the Common Swine Industry Audit; this session was designed to improve participants’ confidence in their ability to recognize compromised pigs and talk through the euthanasia process. The Iowa Pork Industry Center is taking the lead on an industry-wide project on sow mortality. Meetings with farm owners and allied partners began in November 2017 and are scheduled to June 2018.
  • Boots in the Barn, a new program for women dairy producers, was developed and delivered in a three-part series during January and February. The program was held in Dyersville to serve the needs of women dairy farmers in Clayton, Delaware and Dubuque counties. These three counties have strong dairy operations and represent 25 percent of Iowa’s dairy herds. Topics for the first two sessions were milk quality and udder health, and feed quality. The third session was led by Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine staff. The session provided participants the simulated opportunity to deliver a fully jointed, life-size calf, using a model, and also to practice difficult deliveries.
  • Seventy individuals attended the third Iowa Small Farms Conference on Feb. 10 at the Scheman Building in Ames. Nine breakout sessions were held; three were hands-on sessions. When conference attendees were asked what changes they would make after attending the conference, 34 percent indicated they would be making some changes or modifications to their small farm based on the information they received. The most intended changes included adding bees, using enterprise budgets, installing drip irrigation, harvesting maple syrup and growing mushrooms.

February 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program distributed 15 mini-grants courtesy of Iowa State University’s SNAP-Education. The mini-grants were awarded to 15 counties and six demonstration gardens at Iowa State research farms as part of the Growing Together initiative. More than 231 Master Gardeners were involved in the projects. Together they were able to grow 74,841 pounds of produce that was donated to 75 food pantries and food banks, producing nearly 225,000 servings of fruits and vegetables to Iowans with low income.
  • Master Gardener volunteers — 1,923 of them to be exact – donated 115,055 hours to grow food, fight food insecurity and help beautify the state of Iowa throughout 2017. That equals 60 hours worked per volunteer, significantly more than the 20 hours Master Gardener volunteers are required to complete each year. The volunteer time Master Gardeners spent is the equivalent of more than $2.7 million. The volunteers completed a variety of projects, such as growing fresh produce for food pantries, helping three other states launch similar programs to fight food insecurity, and planting milkweed plugs and other plants that attract pollinators.
  • Social media continues to be an influential platform for the agricultural industry as a whole and the trend holds true in Iowa. Many producers are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture community and ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation. The ANR Social Media Directory captures 127 social media accounts across seven social media platforms posting on behalf of ANR. To date, those ANR social media accounts reach 70,895 followers and subscribers, up 8,058 in the last six months. Notably, Twitter is the most influential platform with 53,906 followers looking for ANR information, followed by Facebook with 13,205 page likes. ANR continues to impact and influence the agriculture and natural resources industry in Iowa.

Community and Economic Development

  • Community and Economic Development is now offering the Marketing Hometown America program that has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota to help communities home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. Monona and Harrison counties currently are participating in the first round of Marketing Hometown America in Iowa.
  • CED staff will be conducting Navigating Difference© training workshops for West Des Moines department heads/supervisors on Feb. 13 and 27. Ross Wilburn will be teaching Navigating Difference© Module 1 with Ames employees on Feb. 14, 15 and 20.

Human Sciences

  • Nature Explore® is a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. It focuses on increasing and enhancing children and families’ access to nature-based experiences to foster a sense of wonder and overall well-being. Opportunities with Nature Explore® include early childhood professional development workshops, downloadable family support materials, nature-based resources and materials, and outdoor classroom certification. In January 2017, ISU Extension and Outreach and other partners from six counties in Northeast Iowa (Howard, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Chickasaw, Fayette and Clayton) came together to discuss the potential to bring Nature Explore® to local communities. The project is gaining momentum, additional partners and support. Three of the county extension councils have committed dollars to the program, and the Northeast Iowa Funders Network awarded the team a two-year grant of $15,000. This project demonstrates the success of a committed effort for program sustainability.
  • Although program evaluation is ongoing, initial results for the Essentials Online Child Care Preservice Program demonstrate impact. Participants were asked what they liked most about the program. Of the 1,855 who responded, 81 percent liked having the ability to stop and come back and complete a lesson; 73 percent liked having 24/7 access; 67 percent liked being able to retake a quiz; and 60 percent liked being able to print a certificate upon completing the course. Participants also were asked what improvements they would make to the training. Responses included: “Nothing! I really enjoyed the layout and easy access of this course and would take it again if necessary.” “This course was a very great way of teaching and understanding children and my duties as a provider.” “I’ve learned so much and I am excited about using these tools and knowledge I have gained to make my daycare much more safe, enjoyable and run smoother.”
  • Lesia Oesterreich, an extension state specialist in family life and adjunct assistant professor in human development and family studies, is representing Iowa State University and the state of Iowa on the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance Peer Learning Team. The goals are to explore effective technical assistance systems in Quality Rating Improvement systems and develop state specific goals for sustainability.
  • Human sciences staff Christine Hradek, Justine Hoover and Jody Gatewood delivered a nationwide webcast Jan. 23, 2018, for the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior. They focused on “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” online resources as a companion to nutrition education initiatives.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H is developing one-day educational summer programs that can be implemented in any county. Programs can be combined to serve youth in afterschool or in-school activities, camps, clubs/learning communities or events. These programs include: See the Light, Play with the Shadows (Grades 4-8); Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship (Grades 6-8); Get in on the Act! (Grades 4-8); Expand My World – Your Passport to Adventure! (youth who have completed Grades K-3); The Science of BBQ (Grades 4-8); Monarchs on the Move (Grades 4-8); and Quest to Be Your Best (Grades 4-8).
  • Iowa 4-H is looking to invest around $100,000 in ag educational product development in 2018. 4-H held a product development advisory meeting, bringing together 4-H staff, ANR faculty and staff, and several ag industry representatives; then followed up with surveys of youth and others. As a result, some new projects under development include a challenge in which youth work in groups with experts to solve an agricultural issue, an ag literacy educational module about where food comes from, lessons using virtual reality to educate youth on ag topics, and lessons on drones and biotechnology.
  • Camera Corps enrollment has increased to 250 team members for 2017-2018, representing 86 counties. This is a 49 percent increase in enrollment over last year.

January 2018 Program Update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • The North Central Iowa Youth Beef Conference, “Making the Grade,” is Jan. 27 at the Ellsworth Community College Ag and Renewable Energy Center. The conference is for Iowa youth who want to learn more about beef production. Youth participants will be certified for YQCA (Youth for the Quality Care of Animals).
  • State, field, and county staff in youth-serving roles are planning to attend the Cultural Conversations Retreat, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Clover Woods Camp. This retreat will provide experiential learning for 4-H staff through in-depth conversations on reaching new audiences throughout the state – sharing successes, providing networking opportunities and learning from experts.
  • 4-H Youth Development is seeking educational workshop proposals for the 2018 Maize Retreat, April 13-15. Maize is a culturally-based youth leadership accelerator. Workshops will relate to healthy living, STEM, citizenship and leadership, and communication and the arts, and often will provide a Latino or Native American perspective.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Pesticide Applicator Training for spring 2018 will involve several programs offered at the county level, including private applicators, commercial ag, certified handlers, ornamental and turfgrass, and seed treatment. Training also will be held in conjunction with organization meetings including Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Aerial Applicators, Crop Advantage Series, Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Shade Tree Short Course and Weed Commissioners. These programs will impact an anticipated 18,000+ pesticide applicators across Iowa during the spring programming season.
  • The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll summary report has been released. The 2017 survey collected data on farmers’ experiences with and management of herbicide resistant weeds, actions taken to improve soil health, perspectives on extended crop rotations, and influence of key agricultural stakeholders on crop production and soil and water conservation. The poll was established in 1982 and is the longest running survey of its kind.
  • The Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management Conference brings together a diverse range of topics, expert presenters and results of current university research. Participants receive practical, take-home information on current issues and best management practices. The November 2017 conference featured 81 hours of educational programming through 14 concurrent sessions. The 923 participants represented 10 states; 54 percent were below age 46; 63 percent identified as ag retail, industry representative, ag sales or crop consulting, and 10 percent were actively farming. In addition:
    –94 percent of those who had attended previous ICM Conferences stated the information was useful for making management decisions on their own or their customers’ operations.
    –64 percent of participants estimated this information increased profits by $5 or more per acre.
    –509 participants received Certified Crop Adviser CEUs, and 151 received commercial pesticide applicator recertification.

Community and Economic Development

  • The fourth annual Community Food Systems Event, Jan. 12 in Ames, highlights best practices across all areas of community food systems from around the region. The Community Food Systems program, developed in partnership with the ISU Community Design Lab, is based on community engagement practices of public interest design, strategic doing and collective impact. It is a multi-phased, multi-year program within the ISU Extension and Outreach local foods and community and economic development programs.
  • On Jan. 16, Himar Hernandez, Jill Sokness, Victory Oyervides and Jon Wolseth will be meeting with our partners from Iowa Department of Public Health to plan for this year’s Shop Healthy Iowa initiative in Des Moines, Storm Lake and Denison.
  • Extension CED staff will be conducting Navigating Difference training workshops in West Des Moines (Jan. 16, 20 and 30) and Ames (Jan. 31).
  • Extension CED specialist Eric Christianson will be conducting Introduction to Planning and Zoning workshops in Pocahontas (Jan. 16) and West Liberty (Jan. 23).

Human Sciences

  • Suzanne Bartholomae, family finance state specialist and assistant professor in human development and family studies, and co-presenters shared “Findings in Financial Literacy” at the 2017 Federal Student Aid Training Conference in Orlando, Florida, in November. Nearly 1,000 professionals learned about research on the role that financial capability plays in student success. The presentation highlighted the 2017 Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness and also included an overview of the Cooperative Extension System and highlighted the benefits of partnering with extension educators. Watch the presentation: http://gflec.org/research/?item=12569
  • The multi-state data analysis for Growing Together is complete. During 2017, teams from the four participating universities – Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Purdue – agreed on common metrics for multi-state reporting. The results are in: 497 Master Gardener volunteers contributed their time; 542 community partners and agencies cooperated; 101,873 pounds of fruits and vegetables were supplied to 131 food pantries; and 63,595 people with low income were served. Projects leveraged $56,940 in non-SNAP-Ed funds to support the work, and all four universities will continue with Growing Together during the 2018 growing season.
  • Dawn Dunnegan, a human sciences specialist in family life, started her employment with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach in January 2017 and focused on learning about and delivering priority programs. She attended class leader training for Powerful Tools for Caregivers within her first month of employment, and since then has co-led multiple series. She had previous experience with the Strengthening Families Program 10-14 and arranged for a facilitator training in southeast Iowa. Dawn called on her network of relationships with community partners to find people willing to become facilitators and to secure financial support. Through her grant application to DECAT, Dawn was awarded $4,483 for a series of SFP 10-14 for Louisa County. She submitted a second application for a series of Powerful Tools for Caregivers and this request for $4,480 also was awarded. Dawn has almost $9,000 to support two priority, multi-session programs that are evidence-based.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach has been educating parents and supporting families through the Growing Strong Families program since 1999. The program teaches parents about child development, nutrition, money management, and health and safety, and in 2012 earned the Iowa Family Support Credential from the Iowa Department of Management and Public Health. At that time it was only the 15th Iowa program to earn this distinction and was available in Adair, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Wayne counties. The credential is awarded to programs that go through an external evaluation and are found to substantially adhere to the Iowa Family Support Standards. The credential is valid for five years. Throughout the past year the team worked diligently to become recertified. An onsite review took place in August 2017 after submission of extensive documentation. On Oct. 30, the team received word the program again would be awarded the State of Iowa Family Support Credential, having passed in both policy and in procedures and practice.

December 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • For every $1 invested in the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” program, $2.48 is saved in future health care costs, based on a recent evaluation by Helen Jensen in the ISU Center for Agriculture and Rural Development. “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” is a free program that helps parents learn how to provide nutritious food for their families, leading to healthy children and strong families. Of participants who graduated from the program in 2017: 41 percent improved their whole grain consumption, 45 percent improved their fruit consumption, 46 percent improved their vegetable consumption, and 49 percent improved their dairy consumption. In addition, 58 percent reduced their intake of solid fats and added sugars, 47 percent increased their physical activity, and 68 percent improved their practice of food safety behaviors. Also, 86 percent improved their food resource management skills, including food budgeting and being less likely to run out of food by the end of the month.
  • Ellen McKinney, an assistant professor in apparel, events and hospitality management, and her students shared examples of wearable technology during the 4-H National Youth Science Day event at Franklin Middle School in Cedar Rapids. She also discussed her research on the solar powered jacket, which involved the engineering field as well as textiles. This is an example of our land-grant mission at work and shows how ISU Extension and Outreach plays a part in not only bridging university research/scholarship activities with communities, but also providing Iowa State students with opportunities to engage beyond their classrooms.

4-H Youth Development

  • Photography is one of Iowa 4-H’s fastest growing project areas, with 11,000 Iowa youth participating. Camera Corps alone saw a 49 percent year-over-year increase in 2017 with youth from 85 Iowa counties participating in the program. Iowans can vote for their favorite pictures by liking the Iowa 4-H Facebook page or searching #‎iowa4hcameracorps.‬‬‬
  • 4-H works with schools to promote healthy living. Twenty-five schools from across Iowa are participating in the 2017-2018 SWITCH program, a school wellness program that challenges youth to switch what they do, view and chew. Participating schools attended the SWITCH kickoff conference on the ISU campus in November. The SWITCH program is a partnership between Iowa 4-H and the ISU Department of Kinesiology.
  • All K-12 youth in extension programs are 4-H’ers. According to the federal definition, any youth taking part in programs that are provided as a result of action by extension personnel (professional, paraprofessional and volunteer) are involved in 4-H. This includes youth participating in culturally based youth accelerators, EFNEP, urban gardening and many other programs that might not use the 4-H name and emblem with participants.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • ISU Extension and Outreach has hosted the November Iowa Egg Industry Symposium for more than a decade. This year 165 participants attended the one-day conference, which attracts producers and industry professionals from Iowa and across the country. The event provides practical information and discussion on hot topics pertaining to egg production and layer management. Iowa’s egg farmers produce more than 15 billion eggs per year, placing Iowa as the nation’s leader in egg production.
  • More than 200 producers, industry representatives and academics attended the 17th Annual Iowa Organic Conference on Nov. 20. The event was held in Iowa City near the state’s largest concentration of organic farmers and processors. Participants attended sessions on transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, organic no-till for grain and vegetable crops, and new small grain crops. The conference also included information on soil and water quality research, economic and financial assistance for organic producers and local food system initiatives. The joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country.

Community and Economic Development

  • In December Himar Hernandez will be delivering “Abriendo Caminos: Clearing the Path to Hispanic Health” training in Ottumwa. Jon Wolseth will be in Ames participating in the Abriendo Caminos training session for implementation of Round 2 of the pilot project, in conjunction with Human Sciences.
  • Diane Van Wyngarden is conducting group travel itinerary training in Pella and group travel business practices training in Winneshiek County. This work is part of CED’s local economies knowledge team.
  • Abbie Gaffey and Jon Wolseth will be conducting meetings on housing needs assessment in Ogden and Waukee. This work is part of CED’s local economies team.
  • Mary Beth Sprouse will be in Altoona (Zigler CAT) for teaching a session on city finance. She also will conduct a customer service presentation for the staff of Windsor Heights. This work is part of CED’s local governments and nonprofits team.

November 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • During Iowa’s Living Roadways 21st annual celebration (Nov. 9), the 2017 visioning communities will showcase their proposed design projects. Representatives from the 2018 visioning communities also will attend to kick off the 2018 program. Community and Economic Development is the administering unit for the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program.
  • Jon Wolseth will be in Perry in November, assisting with biometric and survey data collection for the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach Abriendo Caminos pilot program. On Nov. 9, Himar Hernandez will co-facilitate the program in Ottumwa.
  • In November the Office of State and Local Government Programs is partnering with the Iowa League of Cities to deliver budget training to local government officials in Mason City, Cherokee and Atlantic, and the Municipal Leadership Academy to municipal professionals in Fairfield, Carroll and Corning. Mary Beth Sprouse is teaching the classes.
  • CED specialist Eric Christianson has been working this semester with an undergraduate planning studio on developing a comprehensive plan for Mitchellville. Christianson will be in Ames Nov.15 when the students will present their draft plan to CED staff, CRP faculty and Mitchellville residents. On Nov. 29, Christianson will be in Mitchellville when the students present their draft plan to the community.

Human Sciences

  • Nature Explore workshops for early childhood professionals help them transform their preschool or child care play spaces into fun, joyful areas to explore nature. In January 2017, human sciences specialists Cindy Thompson and Kristi Cooper began working with Northeast Iowa Community College and Child Care Resource and Referral to develop a vision for training, support and access to a sustainable, model Nature Explore classroom. Since the initial meeting, other agencies have joined the effort: providing grant writing, serving as fiscal agent, sharing expertise, conducting a needs assessment, and pledging money to the project. Conversations about supporting the project are happening in all six counties in ISU Extension and Outreach Region 4.
  • In the news: On Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa (Oct. 13, 2017) Kristi Cooper, human sciences specialist, and author Carol Bodensteiner discussed growing up in Iowa. See the October 2017 issue of Journal of Extension for an article by Dr. Connie Beecher and Lori Hayungs, human sciences specialist, “Getting Your Message Across: Mobile Phone Text Messaging” (JOE ID 16258TOT).
  • During the Iowa Hunger Summit, Christine Hradek, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed coordinator, and Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener program assistant, were part of a panel discussing donation gardening initiatives to improve healthy food access for Iowans experiencing poverty.
  • Several human sciences specialists presented at the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences meeting in Omaha, Neb. Cindy Baumgartner, Jody Gatewood and Jill Weber presented on “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” Kim Brantner, Cindy Thompson and Joy Rouse, along with Kristen Bieret, a naturalist and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach partner, presented “Growing Up WILD: Reaching Child Care Providers through Collaboration with Naturalists.”

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H clubs may apply for spring 2018 DuPont Pioneer seed grants for community improvement projects. Intended to stimulate local 4-H clubs to plan and carry out community improvement activities, the grants are “seed money” to help the projects be successful. Applications are due in ISU Extension and Outreach county offices by Jan. 16, 2018.
  • On Nov. 1, Iowa 4-H clubs could begin a Race Across Iowa. Clubs take part in the challenge by introducing a variety of healthy living practices during club meetings each month and earn “miles” as they race across ISU Extension and Outreach’s 20 regions. The five clubs that log the most miles and complete the route by the end of June will be recognized for their accomplishments at the Iowa State Fair.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • During the 2017 growing season, the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic hosted nine bi-weekly video conference calls with, on average, 19 campus and county personnel who handle consumer horticulture inquiries. Participants shared advice, lessons learned, and ways to meet clientele needs. They also provided updates on topics ranging from high tunnel production and home demonstration gardens to dicamba drift and emerald ash borer.
  • Thirty-three watershed coordinators attended the Iowa Watershed Academy, Oct. 24-25 at the ISU Field Extension Education Lab. ISU Extension and Outreach sponsored the event along with Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa DNR, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Watershed Approach.
  • Chris Rademacher and Jason Ross, Iowa Pork Industry Center, helped interview this year’s nominees for Master Pork Producer and the Master Pork Partner Award. Since 1942, IPPA and Iowa State have co-sponsored the Master Pork Producer program, recognizing producers for their expertise in the production cycle and understanding of current industry issues, quality assurance, animal identification and well-being and production efficiency. The Master Pork Partner Award was created in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry’s We Care ethical principles.
  • Winter programming for crop-related topics will kick off in the upcoming weeks: Ag Chemical Dealer Updates, Nov. 21 and Dec. 13; the Integrated Crop Management Conference, Nov. 29-30; and the Crop Advantage Series at 14 locations during January.

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