Valuing Iowa forests

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 30, 2019

Billy Beck is looking forward to seeing you out in the woods. He’s our new extension forestry specialist and wants to help all Iowans understand the value and potential of our forests. Woodlands provide wildlife habitat and can be a sustainable source of income for a farm enterprise, but that’s not all they do. Did you know?

  • Whether he’s educating landowners in his extension role or teaching ISU students as an assistant professor, Billy combines the hydrology and water quality benefits of trees with the overall benefits of a healthy forest. His research shows that trees play an important role in water quality, whether they’re along streams and rivers acting as riparian buffers, in separate woodlands or in urban locations.
  • He will be out meeting Iowans at six forestry field days in October. These statewide events will cover water quality, wildlife and the aesthetic value of trees, as well as how to manage a forest for profit. Participants will learn about forest establishment, tree protection and invasive species control, herbicide use, forest products, portable sawmills, timber marketing and the legal aspects of forestry.

Extension forestry programs provide Iowans with knowledge and resources to see the value and discover the potential of their trees, woodlands and forests. Learn more from the ISU Extension and Outreach Natural Resource Stewardship website.

More notes

  • Congratulations to the extension professionals honored during the university’s annual awards ceremony.
  • The National Association of County Agricultural Agents will hold their Annual Meeting/Professional Improvement Conference in Des Moines Aug. 13-17, 2023. This will be the first time that Iowa will host the event. For more information contact Kapil Aurora, pbtiger@iastate.edu.
  • All ISU professional and scientific employees will have a new job title structure in place when UHR’s classification and compensation review is completed. The goal is to improve Iowa State’s ability to attract and retain P&S employees. Learn more from a recent Inside Iowa State article, the Classification and Compensation website or Chris Johnsen, johnsen@iastate.edu, a P&S Council extension representative who is part of the advisory team. Chris also can submit anonymous questions or comments to UHR on your behalf.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach’s 5th annual United Way fundraiser picnic is Friday, Oct. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Extension 4-H Building’s patio. All are welcome. The event includes a $5 walking taco lunch, silent auction, and games with prizes. United Way pledge envelopes can be returned at the picnic as well.

FYI: Goodbye … and welcome

With our Improved Service Delivery human resources staff on board and as we adjust to HR processes in Workday, we are bringing back our monthly list of people who have left or joined ISU Extension and Outreach. Over the past three months, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Laura Johnson, Woodbury County, 4-H youth worker and nutrition educator.
  • Nancy Eichmann, Polk County, Master Gardener coordinator.
  • Kelli Steinlage, Howard County, youth coordinator.
  • Meghan Gray, Montgomery County, youth coordinator.
  • Julie Mayhew, Floyd County, food and nutrition program assistant.
  • Jaclyn Tweeten, Chickasaw County, youth coordinator.
  • Heather Miller, Scott County, families program assistant.
  • Angela Strohman, Palo Alto County, program educator.
  • Sophia Coker-Gunnink, Wapello County, Food Corps service member.
  • Pamela Jacobsen, Shelby County, office coordinator.
  • Sean Murphy, Wayne County, youth coordinator.
  • Leann Baumhover, Buena Vista County, office assistant.
  • Melanie McMann, Adams County, office assistant/youth coordinator.
  • Ashley Sherrets, Buchanan County, horticulture program coordinator.
  • Taylor Trudell, Jefferson County, youth coordinator.
  • Mackenzie Wagner, Lyon County, program coordinator/office assistant.
  • Debra Swanson, Page County, youth coordinator.
  • Katharine Beason, Bremer County, program coordinator.
  • Aracely Martinez, Muscatine County, program coordinator.
  • Grant Theesfeld, Sac County, Clover Kids program coordinator.
  • Robin Hoffman, Johnson County, 4-H/BBBS mentoring grant coordinator.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Diane Rinner, Washington County, youth outreach educator.
  • Tina Gress, Crawford County, program coordinator.
  • Samantha Jamison, Louisa County, program coordinator.
  • Susan Strock, Polk County, office assistant.
  • Wendy Richter, Cass County, P2S project coordinator.
  • Dawn Henderson, Lyon County, program coordinator.
  • Sonya Peck, Lee County, bookkeeper.
  • Dee Dino, Page County, office assistant.
  • Amanda Crow, Clinton County, youth coordinator.
  • Abby Sorensen, Mills County, extension director.
  • Sidney Riemenschneider, Emmett County, youth coordinator.
  • Maddie Mardesen, Dallas County, extension educator.
  • Syerra Niday, Wayne County, office assistant.
  • Kathleen Owens, Polk County, office assistant.
  • Tanner Messerli, Story County, program coordinator.
  • Chris Shepard, Wapello County, Food Corps service member.
  • Jennifer Zamora, Muscatine County, Latino outreach coordinator.
  • Eleni Parsons, Chickasaw County, youth coordinator.
  • Clint Mercer, Jefferson County, youth outreach educator.
  • Sara Nelson, STEM program specialist, 4-H.
  • Danielle Day, field specialist II, Human Sciences.
  • Molly Hewitt, regional director, County Services.
  • Mae McCarty, field specialist II, Human Sciences.
  • Deb Nistler, state program leader, 4-H.
  • Sara Mohr, field specialist III, 4-H.
  • Sarah Larkin, customer relations specialist I, Extension Store.
  • Mica Redenius, administrative specialist III, Office of Vice President for Extension and Outreach.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

A wonder league for Iowa’s future

John Lawrence’s message from May 14, 2019

Teach kids to code today – and make it fun – and before you know it, they’ll be the computer programmers, scientists and engineers of tomorrow. That’s the premise supporting Wonder League, a global robotics program that 4-H Youth Development offers for youth in grades K-3. The youth develop problem-solving and creativity skills while they build meaningful relationships with their peers. Did you know?

  • Over the past year, 21 Iowa Clover Kids teams participated in Wonder League. The theme was oceanography, leading teams through five, story-based missions under the sea.
  • In April, 17 Clover Kids from four counties participated in the Iowa 4-H Wonder League Robotics Exposition on campus. Teams programmed robots to return a sea creature to its natural habitat and launch sea turtle eggs into a nest.
  • Mahaska County has nine Wonder League teams and held its own expo last week. Additional expos will be held throughout the state.
  • Youth teams also may participate in a Clover Kids robotics experience Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Iowa State Fair.

Providing 4-H STEM activities for K-3 youth builds their school and career readiness skills, such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking. 4-H is creating a wonder league of learners and leaders for Iowa’s future.

Goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Brianne Johnson, Clinton County youth coordinator.
  • Margaret Murphy, Lyon County horticulture educator/regional food coordinator.
  • Sherry McGill, Region 5 director.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Hilary Lanman, Wapello County program coordinator.
  • Kyler Waddle, Louisa County office manager.
  • Ashtyn Danker, East Pottawattamie County office assistant.
  • Kelli Anders, Wapello County local foods program coordinator.
  • Emily Belvel, Keokuk County program coordinator.
  • Jenna Koenigsfeld, Hardin County office assistant.
  • Erin Parker, Johnson County program coordinator.
  • Abby Boysen, Louisa County program assistant.
  • Alycne Boban, Mills County youth coordinator.
  • Chris Kick, communications specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Jill Goldsmith, clerk III, Extension Information Technology.
  • Prashant Jha, associate professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources/Agronomy.

Award recipients

Congratulations to the following ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff who will be honored during the university’s annual awards ceremony in September:

  • Regents Award for Staff Excellence: Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Inclusive Excellence: Angela Shaw, associate professor of food science and human nutrition.
  • Inclusive Excellence: Barbara Woods, special projects manager, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.
  • Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa: Mark Edelman, professor of economics.
  • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award: Mackenzie Johnson, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach: Kim Brantner, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Anna Johnson, professor of animal science.
  • Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Shelley Oltmans, community development specialist.
  • R.K. Bliss Extension Award: Gene Mohling, Region 15 director.

One more note: The Office Professionals Conference is set for Oct. 8 on campus. Save the date!

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Holiday greetings from Beardshear Hall

John Lawrence’s message from Dec. 17, 2018

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I want to thank all of you who have made 2018 a good year for ISU Extension and Outreach and for me personally. It has been a busy year with listening sessions, centennial celebrations and county fairs, along with day-to-day operations and long-range planning.

county map of Iowa.While the map in my office shows the places I have visited in the 21 months since I started this role, it doesn’t capture the hundreds of people I have met and discussions I have had. It also doesn’t reflect the dedication and passion of our staff and faculty, nor the appreciation Iowans have for the work you do. That would be a topographic map showing a mountain range. Thank you for all you do for Iowa State and Iowans.

I hope you will take time during the holidays for friends and family, to appreciate the blessings we each enjoy and to catch your breath before diving into 2019. My break will be different this year. My daughter is getting married Dec. 29. She, my son-in-law-to-be and some of his family from Germany will be joining us for Christmas. Then the wagon train of people and decorations will move to the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska, for the wedding. Think of a destination wedding with a beautiful venue, but without the beach. It also is near where Kathy and I grew up and our families.

Thus far, the wedding plans are going well, considering the groom didn’t have a visa to enter the country a week ago. The bride and mother-of-the-bride have only occasional moments of panic, thinking of things left to do. I tend to focus on the things NOT to do, like don’t ask how much something cost or don’t think about the emotions of walking Caitlin down the aisle. Father issues aside, I am really excited about the holidays and the wedding.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year!

Goodbye … and welcome

In November, we said goodbye to the following individuals:

  • Renae Kadolph, account clerk, Extension Store.
  • Elizabeth Kurt, program coordinator II, Conference Planning and Management.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Lynnae Smits, Sioux County Clover Kids program assistant.
  • Tenysa Handrock, Clarke County office assistant.
  • Debbie Van Horn, Davis County office assistant.
  • Erin Greazel, Story County program coordinator.
  • Angela Ayala, Dallas County education program assistant.
  • Hilary Pierce, extension program specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Leslie Stonehocker, program coordinator II, 4-H Youth Development.
  • Brian Dougherty, field specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

More notes

  • Nearly 30 Extension professionals from ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County and K-State Research and Extension from Johnson and Wyandotte counties participated in the 2018 Urban Extension Exchange Nov. 28 in Olathe, Kansas. Extension professionals from the three similarly sized county extension offices met to learn about internal operations, expand their professional network, facilitate idea sharing and highlight best practices. For more information, contact Paul Gibbins, Polk County executive director, pgibbins@iastate.edu.
  • Many Iowa State offices and departments will operate at reduced levels Monday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Jan. 1, as part of the annual partial campus closing during the winter break. Many building thermostats can be adjusted during this time, resulting in significant energy savings for the university. Campus offices are to include their reduced office hours and emergency contact information in voice messages and on websites.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Awards nomination deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms.
  • The Excellence in Extension grants submissions deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. Individual grant information and application instructions are online.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Leadership based on place

John Lawrence’s message from Dec. 3, 2018

Iowans care about the places where they live and work, whether small towns, big cities or somewhere in between. Our state’s communities are diverse and have varying needs. That’s why our Community and Economic Development program offers “Leading Communities: A Place-Based Leadership Program.” ISU Extension and Outreach and University of Wisconsin-Extension developed the program based on cutting-edge community leadership research. Our CED specialists are rolling it out across Iowa to revive community engagement and participation. Did you know?

  • Our specialists teach a specific curriculum, but clients organize the program at the local level – bringing together a steering committee, identifying participants and handling local logistics.
  • The program typically takes place over six months, with one three-hour training session each month. Educational materials are learner-centered and structured to create a collaborative learning environment.
  • Participants learn about the importance of community leadership. They build skills and core competencies so they can address local issues and opportunities.
  • Some places opt to include a community project or a local networking opportunity during the process. In these cases, an approved ISU educator delivers the program and works with a local partner to offer the additional components.

Leading Communities helps Iowans develop social relationships, social capital, shared understandings and collaborative efforts. Iowa State research has shown that these community characteristics are critical for economic development and quality of life in our state. CED specialists are currently delivering the program in Henry and Lee counties. They’ve also taught it in Buena Vista and Kossuth counties. To learn more, contact Deborah Tootle, dmtootle@iastate.edu, or Brian Perry, bmperry@iastate.edu.

More notes

  • Congratulations to Julie Weeks, who has been named the Ames Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year. Julie serves as president and CEO of Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau and ISU Extension and Outreach Conference Planning and Management. Julie and her team build relationships and provide quality service as they promote Ames and Iowa State as “the destination” for group tours, conferences, meetings and events. Their efforts result in many thousands of people visiting Ames and Iowa State each year.
  • I will be visiting with campus-based extension staff and faculty on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 3-4:30 p.m. in 3228 Memorial Union. The purpose is to listen and learn, and gather input to inform our needs assessment and help us carry out our strategic plan.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshop is Dec. 10 on campus. Registration is open.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Awards nomination deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible, as are volunteers and extension councils. The awards will be presented during annual conference.
  • The Excellence in Extension grants submissions deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible. Individual grant information and application instructions are online. If you have questions about the grants or application, contact Alison Boelman, aboelman@iastate.edu.
  • Interactive training sessions for extension council members will be hosted at several sites across Iowa beginning Dec. 8, with additional dates in December and January. All dates and locations feature the same training. All newly elected council members, current council members and county extension staff are invited to attend. Registration is open.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

WOW: Our building, councils, awards and EIE grants

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 5, 2018

It’s always a good idea to remember your anniversary. So I want to make sure you’re all aware that Nov. 8 is the 15th anniversary of the Extension 4-H Building, home of the WOW Center. Did you know?

  • WOW stands for “Why Opportunity Works.” The WOW Center was designed as an interactive area to interest youth in STEM and other fields in higher education.
  • In the WOW Center you’ll find two additions to Iowa State’s Art on Campus program: terrazzo floors by artists Carolyn Braaksma and Brad Kaspari, and a bronze casting of Christian Petersen’s “4-H Calf.” (Depending on the day, you also might find a “STEM Lit to Go!” or other 4-H materials assembly line or a meeting, workshop or other activity taking place.)
  • ISU Extension and Outreach broke ground for the building on June 27, 2002. 4-H youth, ISU and extension administrators, and representatives from the Iowa 4-H Foundation and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation participated.
  • The building was completely funded by $4.7 million in private contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation provided $1 million to help build the new facility. Pioneer Hi-Bred International also contributed to the project.
  • When the building was dedicated Nov. 8, 2003, it was heralded as a gateway to Iowa State University and a welcoming place for Iowa youth and their families.

Also remember to thank our extension council members, who “wow” us with their support for ISU Extension and Outreach every day. They bring their understanding of local issues to important decisions about extension educational opportunities. They must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars as they bring significant programs to their county to help people solve critical issues affecting their lives.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Iowa voters in every county have the opportunity to elect five members to their county council. Depending on the county, candidates on this year’s ballot include Iowans who are running for the first time as well as incumbents seeking another term. Beginning in December, we’ll be providing orientation training for these new and returning council members.

Here are two more “wows” to acknowledge the great work you all do.

  • It’s time to submit nominations for ISU Extension and Outreach Awards. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms. The awards nomination deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. The deadline is earlier this year because our annual conference is Feb. 28, earlier than in previous years. The awards will be presented during annual conference. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible, as are volunteers and extension councils.
  • Apply now for Excellence in Extension grants to improve and enrich the quality of ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible. Up to $17,000 will be awarded in 2019 for professional development and continuing education, program innovation and program improvement. Individual grant information and application instructions are online. The grants submissions deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. If you have questions about the grants or application, contact Alison Boelman, aboelman@iastate.edu.

More notes

  • The Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, and ISU Extension and Outreach will award three $80,000 grants ($40,000 per year for two years) to eligible ISU Extension and Outreach county offices to participate in “PROSPERing Step-by-Step, State-by-State” (P2S). The primary goal of the P2S project is to address opioid misuse in rural counties through the delivery of programs that are evidence-based or reviewed and endorsed by the National Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup. The funding is provided for an educator’s time on the project and to implement required activities. Nov. 30 is the deadline for completing a P2S Readiness/Capacity Assessment form, an initial step in the county grant selection process. For more information about this opportunity check the website, http://helpingkidsprosper.org/p2s.
  • Check the November program update from the leadership team.
  • Structured for Success – Please provide the committee your input through Structured for Success Survey 1 on two important questions: 1) What are the essential functions for ISU Extension and Outreach to successfully educate and serve Iowans and 2) What questions would you ask of other states to better understand how their extension system is organized. You may also leave other feedback for the committee through this anonymous survey. If you have an extension colleague in another state and would like to help us collect information on how that state is organized, please let me know.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshops are Nov. 13 and 14 at the Mills County office in Malvern. Registration is open.
  • Please do not have clients send soil samples to the Soil and Plant Analysis Lab in Agronomy. The lab is closed and no longer is processing samples. Discussions are underway about modernizing and reopening the lab, but if and when it happens will be well into the future. Check with your field agronomist or horticulture specialists for the name and addresses of private labs that will process soil samples.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

For better communication

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 17, 2018

Sometimes we have trouble communicating with each other in our complex organization, and the challenge cuts across all our programs. That’s why in spring 2018 I appointed an internal communications task force, led by Deb Sellers and Ross Wilburn, to determine how we could improve communication within all of ISU Extension and Outreach.

The task force members – Deb and Ross along with Ann Torbert, Terry Torneten, Alex Merk, Andrea Nelson, Ben Pullen and Mary Giese – began their work without preconceived notions of the outcome. Instead, this group of our colleagues has been focused on listening. They want to develop strategies we can implement within our system to help us all do a better job of carrying out our mission. Did you know?

  • They are gathering information from across our system on barriers that impede, as well as ways to improve, our internal communication.
  • They want to ensure all voices are heard.
  • They will assess, evaluate and determine the most important issues for our system to address in the short- and long-term.
  • They will provide a final report with recommendations to the leadership team.

We all have a role in this effort. The task force is offering four ways for us to provide our feedback.

  1. Anyone in our system may send comments to ictfcomments@iastate.edu from now until Oct. 29.
  2. Task force members will facilitate four community conversations across the state on Sept. 25, Sept. 28, Oct. 3 and Oct. 8. If you would like to participate in a conversation, please register at http://bit.ly/11131ictf. Six to 12 individuals may participate per session and these conversations will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If more than 12 people would like to participate at any one location, the task force will create a waiting list and determine whether another session can be offered.
  3. Each task force member has set aside one day to be available to meet by phone, Zoom or in-person with anyone in our system who would like to engage in an individual discussion. Please see the list of opportunities and contact the task force member to schedule a time to chat.
  4. Anyone in our system may anonymously complete an electronic survey, which will open in early October and close Oct. 29.

Please take a few minutes and participate, in whichever way works best for you. The more people who participate, the more valuable the task force’s report and recommendations will be for our organization.

Congratulations to our extension colleagues who received university awards on Sept. 14, including:

  • R.K. Bliss Extension Award, Jerry Chizek, Region 7 director.
  • Award for Distinguished Service in Extension, Beth Doran, beef field specialist.
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice, Alison Robertson, professor and extension field pathologist.
  • Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice, Lee Schulz, assistant professor and extension economist.
  • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award, Sara Sprouse, human sciences specialist.
  • Award for Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa, CED Latino Business and Entrepreneurship Team – Lisa Bates, Himar Hernandez, Victor Oyervides, Jill Sokness, Scott Timm and Jon Wolseth.

We also congratulate Ron Cox, director of CIRAS, who received an award for Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa. Many of you may know Ron, since CIRAS had been part of ISU Extension and Outreach before becoming part of the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations.

More notes

  • Wendy Wintersteen will be formally installed as president of Iowa State University Sept. 21 at Stephens Auditorium. Doors will open at 9:15 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10:15 a.m. For those unable to attend in person, the installation will be livestreamed at www.iastate.edu.
  • Congratulations to Madison County, this year’s Cy Day Friday winner. They did a good job with community engagement and social media – check their Facebook page to see for yourself.
  • I’m visiting two regions this week: Sept. 17, Region 10; and Sept. 18, Region 11.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

The ships that 4-H builds

John Lawrence’s message from May 7, 2018

Last week I met with our youth program specialists during their training session on campus. In our short time together, we covered the usual organizational topics, budget updates, my plans for a summer of centennials, visiting sessions around the state and the internal communication committee.

I also shared a little extension history from R.K. Bliss, as I like to do from time to time. In 1952, R.K. compiled and edited “The Spirit and Philosophy of Extension Work.” The book is a collection of significant extension papers, including some written by R.K. himself. In one, he focused on “Ships That 4-H Club Work Builds.” He wrote about workmanship, fellowship, acquaintanceship, friendship, sportsmanship, partnership, salesmanship, leadership, stewardship and citizenship. Workmanship was achieved “through better methods of farming and homemaking.” The remaining ships, as R.K. wrote, “have to do principally with getting along with other people. Learning to live happily as families and with neighbors is one of life’s most important achievements. 4-H Club work is training youth not only how to make a living, but also how to live more successfully.”

Today 4-H is building ships not only through club work, but also through all our youth development programs as we invest in Iowa youth. We call it empowering youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences. Did you know?

  • 4-H experiences are designed to strengthen a young person’s sense of belonging, generosity, independence and mastery.
  • 4-H’s priority areas are STEM, healthy living, leadership and civic engagement, and communication and the arts. These areas fully align with Iowa State University, ISU Extension and Outreach, and 4-H National Headquarters (USDA/NIFA).
  • Local dollars are leveraged by state, federal and grant dollars. In fiscal year 2016-2017, the state 4-H office brought in over $1.25 million in grants and contracts to support youth across Iowa. These funds helped support lower individual costs for youth and their families; lower county costs for high quality educational products and programs; development of new research-based educational products and programs; research and evaluation; and adoption of new technology.

Each year we reach about 100,000 Iowa youth through 4-H Youth Development. (Want the numbers for your county? Download 4-H Data for Decision Makers.) We build skills in Iowa youth to improve their college and career readiness, address achievement or opportunity gaps, and encourage youth to use their skills to shape Iowa’s future. Or, as R.K. said, we help youth learn to make a living and live more successfully.

Congratulations to our extension colleagues who will be receiving university awards, including:

  • R.K. Bliss Extension Award, Jerry Chizek, Region 7 director
  • Award for Distinguished Service in Extension, Beth Doran, beef field specialist
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice, Alison Robertson, professor and extension field pathologist
  • Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice, Lee Schulz, assistant professor and extension economist
  • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award, Sara Sprouse, human sciences specialist
  • Award for Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa, CED Latino Business and Entrepreneurship Team – Lisa Bates, Himar Hernandez, Victor Oyervides, Jill Sokness, Scott Timm and Jon Wolseth
  • Award for Early Achievement in Teaching, Christopher Currey, assistant professor of horticulture
  • International Service Award, Manjit Misra, director, Seed Science Center

One more note: Make sure to review the May program update from the leadership team.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Numbers … and impact

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 22, 2018

There comes a time each year when whoever is at the helm for ISU Extension and Outreach must sign off on the organization’s annual report. Perry Holden’s first extension annual report covered fiscal year 1906-1907, when corn trains stopped at 670 towns and extension professionals gave 1,085 talks and lectures to more than 127,000 people. In that first year, Holden gave 172 lectures, conducted 77 corn judging contests and spent another 28 days in short course work. In home economics, Mary Rausch gave 90 lectures, conducted 41 demonstrations and judged 17 contests. She also led short courses at Iowa State and in Red Oak, Mount Pleasant, Lenox, Spencer and Dows. (Yes, I’ve been reading my R.K. Bliss extension history book again.)

In keeping with tradition, we have numbers in our 2017 annual report as well: More than 1 million people directly benefit from our educational programs every year, and we reach more than 4 million through our digital presence. However, more important than the numbers is the impact. Did you know?

  • We help parents raise healthy kids. For every $1 invested in Buy Eat Live Healthy nutrition education, $2.48 is saved in future health care costs. This free program helps parents learn how to provide nutritious food, leading to healthy children and strong families.
  • Our Iowa Government Finance Initiative provides Iowa’s 945 cities with customized socioeconomic and fiscal information, offering a clear perspective about their financial health and performance.
  • More than 12,000 youth tried virtual reality, 3D prototyping, circuit bending and other emerging design technologies through FLEx, Forward Learning Experience. Practicing 21st century design thinking prepares young people for future careers.
  • We help farmers connect through peer networks to increase the success of Iowa farm operations, improve the equity and management responsibilities of beginning farmers, and help farm businesses pass to a new generation.

You’ll find more examples of our impact in our annual report: read the webpage or download the pdf. I imagine Perry Holden was proud of all he accomplished that first year, and probably grumbled about reporting his numbers to administrators. Some things never change. However, I know that all of us on the leadership team are incredibly proud of the work you all do, which contributes to ISU Extension and Outreach’s impact statewide. Thank you for your service.

One more thing: Speaking of that great work you all do, nominations for ISU Extension and Outreach Awards are due at noon, Feb. 9. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

STEM Lit to Go!

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 21, 2017

The WOW Center in the Extension 4-H Building looked like a warehouse and assembly line a few weeks ago, as our 4-H staff were putting together the pieces for another research-based curriculum, one kit per county. About 2,000 pie tins, 10,000 brown paper bags and 1,200 foam pool noodles cut in half lengthwise, along with stacks of children’s books, cans of Play-Doh and many more interesting items, were being squeezed into 100 plastic tubs. 4-H and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach call it “STEM-Lit to Go!” The program supports the development of STEM and literacy skills for K-3 youth. Did you know?

  • This program integrates inquiry-based STEM activities and carefully selected children’s literature. Through roller coasters, inventions and other engaging topics, children explore key STEM concepts such as the engineering design process and conducting investigations.
  • In each lesson, youth try a hands-on STEM experience and then read, write, speak and listen about that experience.
  • The curriculum draws from resources published by the National Science Teachers Association and the International Literacy Association. It also supports the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.

ISU Extension and Outreach state and county staff piloted “STEM-Lit to Go!” at 11 sites across the state during the summer of 2017. During YouthFest in late October, staff from all 100 county offices picked up a copy of the curriculum and a tub of supplies. Now they’ll start training their Clover Kids leaders to facilitate “STEM-Lit to Go!” for Iowa 4-H Clover Kids groups, day camps and afterschool programs, and through partnerships with local school districts.

A couple more notes

Finally, I want to wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Take time to enjoy family and friends and truly be thankful for those things you hold dear.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

True leaders

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 2, 2017

Happy National 4-H Week! This year the focus is on true leaders, grown by 4-H, who give back to move their community forward. Whether or not we were 4-H’ers ourselves, 4-H Week is the time of year that brings out the clover in all of us in ISU Extension and Outreach. We all can be proud that our 4-H Youth Development program continues to focus on the needs and strengths of youth, their families and communities. Today Iowa 4-H is addressing three growing concerns that impact Iowa’s young people. Did you know?

  • In many rural communities, highly skilled, creative, or well-educated people leave for better pay or conditions elsewhere. As rural communities lose younger Iowans, they also lose their skills and expertise, and see their overall populations decline. 4-H is working to reverse this “brain drain,” encouraging Iowa youth to remain in or return to their communities and use their skills to shape Iowa’s future.
  • 4-H is addressing achievement or opportunity gaps faced by youth with low income, youth of color and English language learners – so all Iowa youth can develop their capacity for academic success.
  • 4-H is building skills in Iowa youth to improve their college and career readiness. Youth are college and career ready when they have gained the knowledge and skills they need to enroll and succeed at postsecondary educational institutions or training programs.

Through our 4-H Youth Development programs we empower Iowa’s young people to reach their full potential and prepare them to be successful, contributing members of society. Sounds like we’re growing true leaders. (Want the numbers for your county? Download 4-H Data for Decision Makers.)

Congratulations to Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following extension professionals honored during Iowa State’s annual awards ceremony Sept. 25:

  • Donna Donald, field operations specialist, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach – Award for Distinguished Service in Extension
  • Russell Euken, beef and swine field specialist – R.K. Bliss Extension Award
  • Bailey Hanson, systems analyst, Community and Economic Development – Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice
  • Elizabeth Juchems, extension program specialist, agricultural and biosystems engineering – Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award
  • Tom Baas, professor of animal science – Regents Award for Faculty Excellence
  • Jay Harmon, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and interim director for Agriculture and Natural Resources – Regents Award for Faculty Excellence
  • Hongwei Xin, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences, assistant dean for research, Iowa Egg Council Endowed Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, professor of animal science – International Service Award

A few more notes

  • National Manufacturing Day is Oct. 6. ISU Extension and Outreach is cooperating with CIRAS and a number of organizations to highlight manufacturing across Iowa on Friday and throughout the month. For example, Keokuk County is partnering with Axmear Fabricating in Thornburg to host tours of the facility. They have invited Indian Hills Career Academy’s machine and welding classes as well as the county’s FFA chapters.
  • If you happen to be in Ames Oct. 10, stop by the Brunnier Art Museum in the Scheman Building from 7-8:30 p.m. to celebrate Rose Frantzen and the 39 portraits included in the Faces of Iowa State exhibition. University Museums Director Lynette Pohlman will make brief remarks at 7:30. Light refreshments will be served.
  • I encourage our office professionals to register for the 2017 Office Professionals Conference. The registration deadline is close of business on Monday, Oct. 16. The conference is a great opportunity for professional development and networking with colleagues from across the state. If you have questions about the conference, contact Director of Professional Development Carol Heaverlo, heaverlo@iastate.edu.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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