May 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Two new video series are helping gardeners grow their skills, along with fresh produce. The Sow, Grow, Eat, and Keep series will be produced weekly and packages information about the garden, food preparation or food preservation. The series is a combined effort of ANR and Human Sciences, involving horticulture specialists and nutrition and wellness specialists. The Gardening While Isolated series is shown weekly on the ISU Extension and Outreach Facebook page and is produced by ISU Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists.
  • Safe mushroom foraging workshops are being offered online for anyone interested in learning more about identifying and foraging local mushrooms. The first workshop was May 5; the second will be held in the fall. Participants in this virtual workshop will discuss proper identification traits, foraging safety, distinguishing between edible and non-edible varieties, and best harvesting practices including how to avoid any potential post-harvest contamination.
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact agricultural markets and supply chains, ISU Extension and Outreach has resources that can help farmers manage their finances. A full listing of resources can be found through ISU Extension and Outreach, and includes farm financial associates, Ag Decision Maker, and members of the farm management team.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. It guides communities in considering options that ensure existing and potential residents can find safe, secure, and quality housing that meets their needs and fits within their budgets. The assessment checklists aid in creating a local housing policy that is appropriate for the needs and desires of a community. CED specialists have developed a way to deliver the program virtually, and Abbie Gaffey will conduct Workshop 1 for Ida Grove on May 20. Workshop 1 will be conducted for Keokuk sometime in May as well.
  • Goal setting, strategic planning, and facilitation are more important than ever for nonprofits and local governments. CED has moved this type of programming to a virtual format. Kam Middlebrooks and Himar Hernández will facilitate an online goal-setting session with CoSI (Community in Support of Immigrants) in Grinnell sometime in May.
  • More CED virtual offerings: CED local government specialists created a virtual version of the Introduction to Planning and Zoning for local officials and offered the training in late April and early May. CED specialists will deliver Leading Communities virtually for Mount Pleasant (Henry County) and for Centerville (Appanoose County) in May. CED specialists will present a virtual version of Grant Writing 101 for Madison County on May 21. A session for Linn County and a statewide workshop also are planned.

Human Sciences

  • Iowa Department of Public Health reached out to AnswerLine’s Beth Marrs and asked for suggestions on reaching Latino communities in Iowa to share information regarding COVID-19. In response, Dr. Kim Greder, family life state specialist, asked several extension program specialists to share with IDPH what they know is happening in specific Latino populations. This sharing will help IDPH build a plan to reach these populations.
  • Virtual education has begun for SNAP-Ed and EFNEP educators. So far, 15 lessons have been delivered to date to individuals as well as co-residing groups. Staff are using phone calls and video chat to deliver lessons.
  • The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team has mobilized a response to the concerns COVID-19 has raised for families, including:
    — Two Facebook Live events per week (one individual exercise opportunity on Wednesdays at noon and a family activity every Friday at 10 a.m.).
    — A cooking or food prep video every Monday.
    — Building a library of video content to release over social media in the coming weeks. Videos include simple recipes, kitchen organization/management ideas, cooking with youth, and tours of the website.
    — A revised blog schedule. Bloggers are highlighting skills that are useful during this time through personal blogs about their own meal planning and cooking.

4-H Youth Development

  • The Iowa 4-H At Home Learning webpage offers online educational opportunities for youth created by Iowa 4-H professionals. The webpage has received approximately 8,500 views over the past month.
  • Registration is open for the 2020 Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition on July 30 for youth in grades 7-12. An in-person competition is planned. If state guidelines do not allow in-person meetings by July 30, it will be an interactive distance competition. The planning team is creating a list of strategies for how youth teams can study and engage with materials over the summer while practicing appropriate social distancing.
  • A new online STEAM academy has been created through a partnership between Iowa 4-H and the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. Each week a new STEAM challenge for youth in grades 4-12 is released online. These challenges also showcase a tie to NASA work and STEM professions.

April 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • A collection of online educational resources for K-12 youth audiences is available on the 4-H At Home Learning Resources webpage. These engaging educational resources from the local, state and national 4-H program are available for all youth and their families to further explore project area learning virtually. 4-H Youth Development also will provide new educational content online on a focused topic of learning each week to further engage youth. In addition, many county 4-H programs are providing interactive, online learning opportunities for youth.
  • In March, 125 youth participated in State 4-H Recognition Day interviews. The interviews were conducted using video teleconferencing as a result of social distancing recommendations from Iowa State University due to COVID-19. State 4-H Recognition is the process in which 4-H members in grades 9-12 can apply to be selected for special statewide opportunities such as State 4-H Project Awards, State 4-H Council, Shooting Sports Ambassadors and Iowa 4-H Reporters, and to attend National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. 4-H youth complete written applications and participate in interviews with a panel of adult evaluators. The event was made possible with the support of 150 adult volunteers from across Iowa who reviewed and scored 4-H award applications, as well as interviewed the youth participants virtually using one or more new technology platforms.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Linn and Marshall County Master Gardeners received Search for Excellence honors for their commitment to food and nutrition for their local communities. Master Gardener volunteers from both counties worked to educate and empower adults and youth to grow and consume fresh healthy produce in 2019. Learn more about the projects in both counties.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has waived the deadline for pesticide applicators to meet recertification requirements. The waiver allows Iowa pesticide applicators who were certified as of Dec. 31, 2019, to retain their status through Dec. 31, 2020, and temporarily allows commercial certified pesticide applicators to continue to operate under a current company license without having to immediately submit proof of training or testing. Learn more about the pesticide applicator training requirements.
  • With field days and in-person gatherings currently canceled, Iowa Learning Farms is supplementing its regular monthly webinar series with additional webinars each Wednesday. These additional webinars will allow timely education on issues related to water, soil, wildlife and other conservation topics. ILF webinars can be found here: www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

Community and Economic Development

The CED office closed on March 17 and will remain closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Community development specialists on campus and in the field are working from home and providing assistance to clients by phone, email and virtually when possible. Meanwhile, CED staff are exploring options to deliver programming virtually.

  • The 2020 Community Visioning Program canceled the transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in five communities. Visioning program staff will use data collected through a mailed transportation survey to assess transportation in these five communities. ISU program staff and Trees Forever field coordinators will be discussing options for delivering the program remotely in April and May. ISU program staff also will meet virtually with landscape architects contracted to provide services in visioning communities to explore options for providing design services remotely.
  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshops have been canceled and CED local government specialists are exploring options to offer the training virtually.
  • Certified Professional Guide Training workshops that were scheduled in three Iowa locations have been canceled.
  • CED and the Iowa League of Cities will deliver Part III of the Municipal Leadership Academy scheduled for April and May 2020 using a virtual format.

Human Sciences

Human Sciences response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes:

  • Human Sciences is updating the Finding Answers Now webpage to reflect the current situation.
  • Iowa Concern Hotline has increased staffing and trained three human sciences specialists in family life to answer 2-1-1 calls related to COVID-19
  • Iowa has been approved to deliver the 90-minute Powerful Tools for Caregivers program online. Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist in family life, has been asked by the national organization to assist in providing virtual training for class leaders across the nation.
  • Iowa has received approval from program owners to shift the existing Question. Persuade. Refer. program (suicide prevention training) to online delivery.

March 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences + Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Twenty-nine projects involving 30 counties across Iowa will receive Growing Together Mini-Grants through ISU Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education. This is the fifth year mini-grant funds have been made available to Master Gardener volunteers, resulting in more than 300,000 pounds of produce being donated in communities across the state. The projects are focused on increasing food security and promoting healthy food access. See the full list of projects awarded.

More Human Sciences

  • During federal fiscal year 2019, Kids in the Kitchen had the following reach and results:
    – Served 1,194 youth in EFNEP-funded counties (Black Hawk, Boone and Polk). This is the highest youth reach since implementation began.
    – 69% of K-2-age children improved knowledge in choosing foods consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
    – 90% of children in grades 3-5 improved knowledge in choosing foods consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • David Brown, behavioral health state specialist, provided farm stress related programs recently at the Iowa Farmers Union Annual Conference, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Winter Meetings, the Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference, and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Conference.
  • Christine Hradek, program manager, and Nicole Leidal, Family Nutrition Program assistant, presented at Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Grand Rounds in January. They highlighted ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition education programs and the opportunities to partner with physicians to support positive patient outcomes when lifestyle changes are indicated.

More Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Team created a new toolkit to help small farmers and specialty crop producers better track their marketing costs. The Market-Based Enterprise Budgets Toolkit contains sample marketing budgets for 10 crops or enterprises and allows producers to enter and track their numbers. Currently vegetable, flower and herb transplants; asparagus; high tunnel mixed greens, greenhouse basil; greenhouse butterhead; high tunnel tomato; green beans; sweet pepper; scallions and carrots are available as downloadable Excel workbooks, which allows producers to enter and track their numbers.
  • ANR specialists are making an impact through social media, which continues to be an influential platform for the agricultural industry as a whole and here in Iowa. Many Iowans are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with others in their industry and community. ANR extension specialists and teams have showed up and people have noticed. Overall, the 121 ANR accounts have 91,932 followers, collectively, on these platforms: Twitter, 63,207; Facebook, 19,481; Instagram, 4,067; YouTube/Vimeo, 4,480; and Pinterest, 697.

4-H Youth Development

  • Current Enrollment in the 2020 4-H Camera Corps is 174 youth representing 68 counties. Iowa 4-H sent eight youth participants to the National 4-H Photography Summit in late February. 4-H youth are invited to participate in the Professional Photographers of Iowa Winter Convention on March 29 in Cedar Rapids. Youth attendees will learn about college and career opportunities in photography as well as participate in workshops on competitions, tradeshows, lighting, action photography and posing for senior and wedding/couple photography.
  • Ten Healthy Living teen ambassadors and five adult chaperones recently returned from the National 4-H Youth Summit on Healthy Living. During the experience, youth leaders engage with other youth and adult partners from across the country, take in the latest information and resources regarding healthy living curriculum and youth led initiatives, and leave with an impactful experience and motivation to lead initiatives back at home to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for local communities. The Iowa youth are developing a project to address the issue of vaping; raising awareness and providing education to help teens and families make healthier decisions.

Community and Economic Development

  • In March the 2020 Community Visioning Program is conducting transportation assets and barriers workshops in Elkader, Lost Nation, Avoca, Bedford and Treynor. Bioregional assessment meetings will take place in Fairfax and Wellsburg.
  • Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshops introduce basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. During March workshops will be conducted in Iowa City, Clear Lake, Sioux City, Ankeny and Okoboji.
  • Certified Professional Guide Training was created by CED staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s cities and tourism attractions, including museums, nature areas, agritourism and historic sites. The one-day workshop features methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors. The next workshop takes place March 25 at Honey Creek Resort near Moravia.
  • During March Leading Communities programs will take place in Mount Pleasant, Chickasaw County, and Sac County.
  • CED specialist Kameron Middlebrooks will be in Des Moines for Master Business Bootcamp graduation, overseeing the graduation of 18 participants from the spring 2020 cohort in partnership with the Evelyn K. Davis Center and the Financial Empowerment Network. Master Business Bootcamp is a six-week course that reinforces essential skills necessary to own, manage, grow and operate small businesses. The free program targets minority populations with low-to-moderate income; however, it is open to any small-business owners.

February 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2020 Community Visioning Program will be conducting a series of transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in February. These workshops are 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. Transportation assets and barriers workshops will be conducted in Mingo, Mount Pleasant, Wellsburg and Polk City. CED specialists Aimee Viniard-Weideman, Eric Christianson and Scott Timm will assist in facilitating the focus groups. Trees Forever field coordinators will also be presenting bioregional assessments prepared by ISU program staff to steering committees in Avoca, Madrid, Reinbeck and Lost Nation.
  • In February, CED specialists will be facilitating the Business Model Canvas in Ames and Mount Pleasant. Business Model Canvas Is a strategic management tool created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
  • Also in February, CED specialists will be facilitating Leading Communities in Appanoose County, Cresco, and Chickasaw County. This Leading Communities program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative.

Human Sciences

  • During federal FY 2019, the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app was installed on 6,200 new mobile devices. The website had 148,374 users, an increase of 30,000 users over federal FY 2018. The vast majority of users access the website in English. However, 906 utilized the live translation feature, with 525 accessing it in Portuguese, 128 in French and 253 in Spanish. Fifty-two percent of users now access the site via a mobile device. According to a user survey in September 2019, 49% of users access the site or app weekly or daily. When asked about behavior changes made with the help of Spend Smart. Eat Smart., users reported they cook healthy recipes, eat more fruits and vegetables, and try new foods.
  • During 2019, human sciences specialists in family finance, usually with support from county extension offices, provided direct leadership in 11 counties in recruiting, training and supporting volunteer tax preparers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program of the Internal Revenue Service. In many communities additional local partner organizations also support VITA efforts. Modest funding, provided through the Iowa Center for Economic Success, covers cost of equipment, supplies, training, outreach, coordination, volunteer appreciation and travel reimbursement for volunteers and staff. Extension staff recruit and support additional volunteers and partners who assist with scheduling appointments and tax clinic operation.
    — In the 2018-19 tax season, 37 volunteers prepared 1,163 tax returns for households with low and moderate incomes at 13 sites in the 11 counties.
    — The programs assisted 68 additional households that did not need to file or for some other reason elected not to complete returns.
    — Approximately 265 of these households were eligible for the Earned Income Credit.
    — Tax refunds claimed through extension-supported VITA sites totaled nearly $1.7 million.
    — The VITA program saved the participants about $175,000 in tax preparation fees (estimated at $150 per return).
    — A new site in Waterloo served immigrants in the community and included immigrants as volunteer preparers.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H is revising the 12 seasonal Clover Kids lessons that were piloted during the past year and is developing the second set of 12 seasonal agendas. These 24 lessons will make up the next K-3 curriculum, STEAM’n through the Seasons. This innovative K-3 program will include engaging, hands-on experiences that incorporate STEM, literacy and the arts. In addition, 14 Clover Kids teams are kicking off the Wonder League Robotics season. Through a series of story-based missions, the team members develop problem-solving, growth mindset and creativity skills while learning to code the robot duo, Dash and Dot. This year, Wonder League has partnered with the Cartoon Network show, Craig of the Creek, to develop five theme-based missions that take Dash and Dot on adventures through the wilderness. At the end of the season, Iowa 4-H will host a Clover Kids (K-3) Wonder League Robotics expo on the Iowa State campus. The tentative date is Saturday, April 25.
  • In January Maya Hayslett led a team of 10 teens and four other adults at the 2020 4-H National Summit on Agri-science in Washington, D.C. The team participated in a variety of workshops and presentations about agriculture. Hayslett presented a session on the new set of Crops Feed the World lessons. Youth participants also were able to visit Smithsonian Museums and national monuments.
  • 4-H is revising the 10-year-old Ricochet curriculum. Updates include activities, photos, accessibility, the website and more. The team has seven facilitator trainings scheduled for 2020 for staff to either get a refresher in Ricochet facilitation or learn how to use it for the first time. The Ricochet revision process is scheduled to be complete by mid-February.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Jay Harmon was named the director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and associate dean for extension and outreach programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State on Jan. 1. Harmon, a professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension livestock housing specialist, has served as interim since April 2017 and has been a member of Iowa State’s faculty since 1993.
  • The 64th annual Iowa State University Shade Tree Short Course will be held Feb. 25-27 in Ames and will focus on both using and reusing trees with a purpose. General information sessions, workshops covering specific topics and a trade show are all included, with ISU Extension and Outreach specialists joining experts from across the country in providing instruction. Registration is available online. Private pesticide applicator certification is also available during the course.
  • The Iowa State University Master Gardener program winter webcasts in county extension offices around the state begin in February. Topics for the series were chosen based on current issues and Master Gardener volunteer interest and include Iowa weather, bringing kids to the garden, and exploring the Ada Hayden Herbarium. More information is available on the Master Gardener website.

The 2020 Census matters to us

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 27, 2020

In a few weeks, Iowans will be receiving their invitations to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census. An accurate count of Iowa’s population will provide key demographic information to help us understand who and where our clients are. But did you know? 2020 Census data also will:

  • guide planning and decisions in Iowa communities,
  • determine how many representatives Iowa has in the U.S. Congress, and
  • impact federal funding for many services and programs.

Our state receives nearly $9 billion in federal funds every year. If Iowa’s population is undercounted, our state’s federal funding could be in jeopardy. An undercount of even 0.1% could mean losing $89.6 million from 2020-2030. An undercount of 1% would equal 10 times as much – $896 million.

In the coming months you may get questions about the Census or you may have the opportunity to educate people about it. Learn what you need to know about the 2020 Census during a live webinar Tuesday, Feb. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/census/. Sociologist Sandra Burke will discuss how Census data benefits communities, why it’s important to get an accurate count, and how extension professionals may be able to help. In addition, GIS specialist Bailey Hanson will demonstrate finding Census information on the updated Indicators website. There also will be plenty of time to ask questions.

Let’s do our best to ensure all Iowans are counted in the 2020 Census.

Justice statement update

Beginning Feb. 1, the updated justice statement (also known as the non-discrimination statement) must be included on all departmental publications and county-produced materials offered by ISU Extension and Outreach. This new process is based on USDA guidance and is required by federal regulation. The purpose is to make clear to prospective applicants or participants that the university is committed to equal opportunity employment and equal access to its programs and activities. We are used to putting the statement on printed materials and displaying posters that include the statement. Now, PowerPoint presentations, videos and podcasts must include the statement, as well.

Please review the Justice Statement Usage Guidelines for specific information regarding when to use the long and short versions of the statement. Templates on MyExtension will gradually be updated. In the meantime, please follow the guidelines as you create or reprint materials.

More notes

  • Nominations for ISU 2020 Extension and Outreach Awards are due Feb. 10 at noon. There are categories for faculty and staff (university and county paid), as well as volunteers, councils and support units. Please nominate your colleagues for their work to build a strong Iowa. The awards will be presented at our Awards Ceremony, March 31, 4-6:30 p.m. at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center.
  • Please join us for budget officer John Flickinger’s retirement celebration, 2-4 p.m., Feb. 6 in the Campanile Room at the Memorial Union. John is retiring on Feb. 7. He joined ISU Extension and Outreach in 1993 and has been with the university since 1987.

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

January 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources + Community and Economic Development

Participants will learn about food entrepreneurship and inclusive partnerships during the Community Food Systems Annual Event, Jan. 9-10 in West Des Moines. The conference will feature nine breakout sessions on topics related to specialty crop and garden production, business development, farm to school, food systems and USDA programming. Local Food Leader and Business Model Canvas workshops will be held in advance of the conference.

More from Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Farmland values rose for just the second time in the last six years in 2019, climbing 2.3% according to the latest Land Value Survey released on Dec. 11. The statewide value of an acre of farmland is now estimated to be $7,432, with the jump driven by favorable interest rates, strong yields and limited land supply. The full 2019 Land Value Survey can be found on the ISU Extension Store.
  • The annual Returning to the Farm Seminar will be held Jan. 10-11 and Feb. 14-15, providing information to farm families who are beginning to think about farmland succession. Led by a group of ISU Extension and Outreach specialists, Iowa State University professionals and experienced farmers, the seminar is intended to help families make succession plans, learn to communicate better and answer critical questions.

More from Community and Economic Development

  • As the 2020 Community Visioning Program kicks off, Elkader and Wellsburg will be conducting their first meetings in January. Bioregional assessments will take place in Mingo and Polk City. ISU program staff will be conducting transportation surveys and focus groups with high school students in Reinbeck, Mount Pleasant and Elkader. ISU program staff will conduct training on transportation assets and barriers workshops (focus groups) for Trees Forever field coordinators on Jan. 29 in Ames. CED specialists Scott Timm, Abbie Gaffey, and Eric Christianson facilitate focus groups for these workshops.
  • CED specialists Steve Adams and Victor Oyervides created a guidebook for the Business Model Canvas, a strategic management tool created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. At its most basic level, it is a canvas divided into nine individual rectangles representing the building blocks of all small businesses and nonprofits: 1. Customer Segments, 2. Value Propositions, 3. Channels, 4. Customer Relationships, 5. Revenue Streams, 6. Key Resources, 7. Key Activities, 8. Key Partnerships, and 9. Cost Structure. Using the Business Model Canvas, an entrepreneur will organize, analyze, adjust and implement premises on a feasible business concept. The nine building blocks will guide a person on the pathway to understanding how the business concept will create value for value in return (money). In January CED specialists will be presenting the Business Model Canvas in West Des Moines at the Community Food Systems Annual Event and in West Liberty.
  • During January, CED specialists will be facilitating Leading Communities in Atlantic, Mount Pleasant, Sac County, Centerville and Elma. This Leading Communities program is made possible in part by a vice president for extension and outreach initiative.

Human Sciences

  • The following data represent both SNAP-Ed and EFNEP-funded direct education work, which includes both “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” and “Plan, Shop, Save and Cook”:
    — 1,089 total participants. This is 130 more participants than FY 2018.
    — 91% female, with most under the age of 40.
    — 47% self-identify as part of an underserved racial or ethnic group.
    — 63% of participants have income at or below 100% of the federal poverty level, and more than 75% receive public assistance.
    — 94% of participants improved diet quality.
    — 83% increased their physical activity.
    — 78% improved food safety practices.
    — 49% reported increased food security.
    — 80% reported improved food resource management.
  • Cathy Hockaday was accepted into the University of Utah’s Grant Writing Coaching Research Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund. Participants will experience a four to six-month intensive writing and feedback process with skilled coaches via a combination of in-person and virtual meetings. Mack Shelley, chair of the Department of Political Science, will serve as the on-campus scientific advisor for Cathy as she develops an NIH proposal. Cathy will travel to University of Utah in January to begin the mentoring process.
  • Connie Beecher presented at the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association Convention the results of a comparison study of the Small Talk program. She and her team compared a group of parents who regularly attend the library with an equivalent group who completed the Small Talk program. Small Talk is a program that helps parents learn how to create an enriching home language environment for their child and how they can help their child’s brain development. The intervention group outperformed the comparison group (adult words, conversational turns and child vocalizations). Not only did the intervention group have statistically significant growth, but effect sizes range from .55- .85 and there was also a significant increase of parent knowledge of child development.

4-H Youth Development

  • Thirty-four youth from eighteen counties participated in Beef Blast in December. Quotes from the youth participants include: “Sometimes antibiotics are not the best option for treating baby calves.”; “Enjoyed making connections with other beef producers.”; “The nutrient requirements for cows and heifers are different.”; “How to cull in a herd, very helpful.”
  • State 4-H Council members participated in their annual Youth-Adult Partnership training in December. Youth-adult partnership is the practice of youth and adults working together in a democratic way, through shared work, over a sustained period of time-to strengthen their organization and/or community. Council members identified and brought a caring adult with them to learn and participate in programming centered around positive youth-adult partnerships. Topics included barriers and benefits, leadership styles, stress management and well-being, learning to give and receive feedback, and developing an action plan for your school, club, community, etc.
  • In October, schools attended the SWITCH School Wellness Conference in preparation for the 2020 implementation of SWITCH in over 50 schools across the state. School and extension staff learned ways they can integrate more physical activity and opportunities for nutrition throughout the school day and also how to engage with parents. ISU psychology professor Doug Gentile shared his research and best practices for screen time and youth. Six schools brought youth teams who will be ambassadors for SWITCH in their schools. Youth ambassador teams created promotional videos for their school social media pages and determined ideas of how they can help leverage the message for switching what they do, view and chew and influence their peers to jump on board with making simple health behavior changes.

December 2019 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources

Master Gardener volunteers with ISU Extension and Outreach continue to improve the lives and communities of Iowa, using more than $50,000 awarded this year in Growing Together Iowa Mini-Grants and growing approximately 115,000 pounds of produce to be donated to local food pantries. Twenty-two counties in Iowa received the grants, which are funded by federal SNAP-Education and are focused on increasing food security and promoting healthy food access.

  • The produce that was harvested equals nearly 345,000 servings of fruits and vegetables. This is the largest donation to date, which is particularly impressive given the weather challenges this growing season.
  • 100,579 Iowans visited pantries where Growing Together Iowa produce was donated.
  • 277 Master Gardener volunteers contributed to Growing Together Iowa this growing season.
  • 662 community volunteers who are not Master Gardeners contributed to Growing Together Iowa projects.
  • 1,012 people with low income engaged in food gardening education through Growing Together Iowa this year.
  • 100% of counties with mini grants agree that the project built their community’s capacity to work on issues of healthy food access.

More from Human Sciences

On Nov. 2, Sara Sprouse and Kelsey Salow, human sciences specialists in nutrition and wellness, hosted a booth at the Iowa Nurses Association – Southeast Region’s Health Fair in Iowa City. Sara Sprouse also delivered a “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” presentation to 28 attendees during the health fair, which included resources to be used personally or in the clinical work setting. Several individuals downloaded the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” app that day. The specialists used their iPads in navigating one-on-one when questions were asked at the booth. They also promoted Words on Wellness and more than 30% of attendees signed up for the monthly newsletter.

Most attendees were faculty and students from the University of Iowa, Mount Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College. Known counties represented were Benton, Linn, Johnson and Clinton. A faculty member indicated that the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” resources now will be used during a practicum she teaches, where students work with recently incarcerated individuals on meal planning and other nutrition topics.

More from Agriculture and Natural Resources

ISU Extension and Outreach and Iowa State University’s Research and Demonstration Farms partnered once again this year to host field days across the state this summer. Over 15,000 people attended the field days, where they had an opportunity to hear from ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and specialists regarding topics tailored to the current conditions and issues facing farmers in their areas.

4-H Youth Development

  • Eighty-three middle school students from 14 schools in 8 counties participated in Youth Voice in Action, a regional youth summit hosted by Regions 4 and 9 in northeast Iowa this fall. This summit provided youth the opportunity to gain skills in communication and leadership so that they feel empowered to take action and use their voices to create positive change in their communities. Professionals in the areas of STEM, healthy living, leadership and civic engagement, and communication and the arts presented breakout sessions where youth learned about their importance within communities as well as possible careers and education. Youth learned about their leadership style through an interactive workshop and created an action plan with their school team with the guidance of their team’s adult mentor. The summit wrapped up with a large group service project in which youth decorated 450 kindness rocks to place around their communities.
  • Members of the newly formed Drake University Collegiate 4-H club met up with some members of the ISU Collegiate 4-H club at Clover Woods in late October to learn about their clubs. Both clubs are examples of student-run organizations on a college campus and both clubs focus on service projects and leadership development. This Collegiate 4-H meet up consisted of networking, creative idea sharing and a service project.
  • Plans are underway to strengthen Iowa 4-H’s partnership with Iowa Public Television. This collaboration will focus on how we can come together to support STEM education in ways that utilize IPTV’s STEM resources.

Community and Economic Development

  • CED provides goal setting and strategic planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop action plans to accomplish those priorities. In December, Aimee Viniard-Weideman will facilitate strategic planning for the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation, and she and Scott Timm will facilitate strategic planning for Oneota Co-op in Decorah. Viniard-Weideman and Eric Christianson will facilitate goal setting the Cedar Falls City Council.
  • The Municipal Leadership Academy provides elected municipal officials with a curriculum to assist them in effectively meeting the requirements of their office. The program offers a comprehensive overview of Iowa municipal government and is presented by the Iowa League of Cities and CED’s Office of State and Local Government Programs. During December Sara Shonrock will be conducting MLA training in Griswold, Algona and Van Meter.
  • During December CED specialists Lynn Adams and Jon Wolseth will be presenting the CED place-based leadership program, Leading Communities, in Cass County (Atlantic). CED specialist Jane Goeken will be in Orange City to speak to Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon and Osceola county extension council members about the program. CED specialists Aimee Viniard-Weideman and Himar Hernández will be teaching Leading Communities in Mount Pleasant, and CED specialists Jane Goeken and Jill Sokness will facilitate the program in Sac City. Himar Hernández and Shelley Oltmans will teach the program in Centerville. Scott Timm will teach the program in Cresco and with Aimee Viniard-Weideman in Protivin.

November 2019 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • Iowa’s Living Roadways 23rd annual celebration is Nov. 7. Extension CED is the administering unit for the ILR Community Visioning Program. During the event, the 2019 visioning communities will showcase the design projects proposed through the process. In addition, representatives from the 2020 visioning communities will be in attendance to kick off the 2020 program.
  • CED is a sponsor of the Western Iowa Advantage Housing Summit to be held in Carroll on Nov. 13. CED specialist Abbie Gaffey will be speaking; coordinating all the speakers; preparing the agenda, program, marketing materials and press releases; and running all the committee meetings. Jon Wolseth will present the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment. CED staff Julie Robison, Sara Shonrock and Gary Taylor also will be attending the summit.
  • CED provides goal setting and strategic planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities and develop action plans to accomplish those priorities. In November CED specialists are facilitating strategic planning for the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation and for 4-H in Ames, and goal setting for the Cedar Falls City Council.
  • In November, CED specialists Lynn Adams and Jon Wolseth will be presenting the place-based leadership program, Leading Communities, in Cass County (Atlantic). Brian Perry will be meeting with the Chickasaw County Leading Communities planning team. Aimee Viniard-Weideman and Himar Hernández will be teaching Leading Communities in Mount Pleasant. CED specialists also will be teaching the program in Howard County (Lime Springs) and Sac City.

Human Sciences

  • Dawn Dunnegan, family life, and Mary Weinand, family finance, delivered various educational offerings at Halcyon House. The wellness director has shared the successes with other WesleyLife colleagues and informed the board of directors that the partnership is one of their most successful. Information about the Powerful Tools for Caregivers series was then shared with community wellness/lifestyle directors during a regularly scheduled meeting. As a result, this educational offering will be offered in partnership with eight communities across the state in 2020.
  • Jill Weber, nutrition and wellness, and Fayette County office manager Deb Kahler and youth coordinator Michele Kelly partnered with Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Community Health to launch the Gundersen Palmer Community Teaching Kitchen in January 2019. An exciting opportunity was the ability to engage people across the geographic area. Educational offerings included Healthy and Homemade, Make Ahead Meals, Growing Herbs, Cooking with Herbs, Preservation 101, Stay Independent, All about Apples, and others. Anticipated reach in the first year alone is more than 400 individuals.
  • ¡Salir Adelante! Caminos a Nuestro Futuro (Pathways for our Future) is a six-session series designed to affirm the strengths of Latinx youth and families to pave the way to post-secondary success. The curriculum assists youth and their families in gaining information and access to resources, developing skills and exploring strategies to create paths for successful futures. The curriculum is currently in the pilot stage at three locations: two in Polk County and one in Muscatine. Feedback from the pilots will inform changes to the draft curriculum with the goal of rolling out the curriculum next fall. The team working on this series includes Kim Greder, Judy Levings, Maria Alcivar, Brenda Allen, Rosa Gonzales, Michelle Schott, Katie Bruna, Norma Dorado-Robles and Aracely Martinez.

4-H Youth Development

  • The 2019 Iowa State Fair 4-H livestock shows set records. More than 4,200 animals were exhibited, with 1,900 4-H exhibitors. Multiple show records were broken in the following species: dairy goats – 37 exhibitors, 115 head (previously, 30 exhibitors, 72 head); meat goats – 146 exhibitors, 288 head (previously, 129 exhibitors, 264 head); and swine – 440 exhibitors, 1,151 head (previously, 422 exhibitors, 1,101 head).
  • Youth across the state have been participating in 4-H National Youth Science Day. Emily Damro shared this example from Black Hawk County. Five 4-H members and two potential future members participated in the NYSD Game Changers Workshop at the Black Hawk County Extension Office Oct. 1. The youth experienced “Hack Your Harvest” and “Pitch Your Passion,” working on challenges of writing efficient programming code for agriculture, as well as developing animation for something they were passionate about. The NYSD kit that was used for this program opportunity was one of 35 donated by the Donaldson Foundation. The remaining 34 kits were distributed through county 4-H staff efforts to Waterloo Schools, La Porte City Elementary, Hudson Elementary, Dunkerton Elementary, four Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley locations, and several home school connections.
  • Sixty-eight schools have enrolled in SWITCH! School core team staff and extension partners gathered for a conference Oct. 30-31 in Ames to learn how to implement SWITCH and take new skills to improve wellness in their districts. Youth are also invited and will be trained to be 4-H SWITCH Ambassadors.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The Integrated Crop Management Conference will be held Dec. 4-5 in Ames, helping farmers prepare for 2020 and beyond by providing information on reducing risk and managing returns. The conference will feature 39 workshops, along with additional presentations. Registration can be completed online, and pre-registration is required.
  • The 2020 Garden Calendar is available through the ISU Extension Store. Developed by Richard Jauron, horticulture specialist, the calendar showcases the beauty of butterflies as they float almost musically through the air. The calendar also provides space to record the progress of a garden, along with monthly tips that provide timely information for fruits and vegetables, lawn care, trees, shrubs and much more.
  • Farmers and landowners who want to increase pollinator habitat while also improving water quality should consider the benefits of saturated riparian buffers enhanced with native wildflowers. Establishing pollinator habitat within riparian zones, where the agricultural value is lower and where the conservation and wildlife benefits are likely high, can be a win-win. “Establishing and Managing Pollinator Habitat on Saturated Riparian Buffers” is now available through the ISU Extension Store. The publication also outlines anticipated costs for establishing pollinator habitat over a buffer.

20 Artists, 20 Parks

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 14, 2019

Jennifer Drinkwater and Clark Colby are artists, extension specialists and faculty members in art and visual culture in Iowa State’s College of Design. They also are participants in 20 Artists, 20 Parks. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Arts Council and Iowa State developed this project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks in 2020. Did you know?

  • Twenty Iowa State faculty and graduate students have been matched with 20 state parks. Their assignment is to create artwork that reflects their particular park and share a program about their park experience. Jennifer has created paintings that connect current images of Pine Lake State Park with stories from its past – showing her view of the park’s assets. Clark has used 360-degree and traditional photography to capture the essence of Stephens State Forest.
  • Jennifer is an extension community arts specialist whose background is in painting and anthropology. She brings an artist’s perspective to her extension work, helping communities see possibilities through art for community and economic development.
  • Clark is the first arts, communication and design specialist for our Iowa 4-H program and may be one of the first in the nation. His background is in architecture, photography and ceramics. He helps 4-H youth realize that when they take time to look deeply and observe details, they can see the wonder and beauty of a place or an event, which they can communicate through art and design.

Watch the video and read the news release about Jennifer and Clark’s experience. Their art will be on display with the 20 Artists, 20 Parks exhibit that will travel to at least three Iowa venues in 2020. The yearlong celebration will highlight the impact our state parks have on Iowa’s quality of life.

More notes

  • The Structured for Success Model 3 video overview and white paper are available for review. Council members may access these materials from the Structured for Success feedback page. Extension staff and faculty may access these materials from MyExtension (use your net ID and password to log in). The deadline for feedback on all three models is Nov. 8.
  • “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” will be featured during today’s Iowa Hunger Summit, part of the annual World Food Prize celebration in Des Moines. All the recipes that will be served at the luncheon are from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. Approximately 400 to 500 people are expected to attend. Christine Hradek, nutrition education program manager with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, will introduce Spend Smart. Eat Smart. in a 1-minute video that will be shown at the beginning of the luncheon.

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

October 2019 Program Update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The 2018 Iowa Farm Costs and Returns analysis shows that despite a slight increase in net farm income, farmers saw another year of tight margins and a decrease in total farm assets and net farm worth. The average accrual net farm income increased by 6% in 2018, while the average value of total farm assets declined 6% and farm net worth fell by 7%. The full report is available in the September issue of Ag Decision Maker.
  • Ever wonder about ANR’s impact on social media? Social media continues to be an influential platform for the agricultural industry as a whole; and that trend continues to hold true here in Iowa. Many Iowans are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture and natural resources community and ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation. Here’s how many people are following the 114 ANR accounts collectively: Twitter – 58,450; Facebook – 18,957; Instagram – 3,685; Youtube/Vimeo – 3,689; Pinterest – 114; and Overall total – 84,812 followers.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program is transitioning to the implementation planning stage during which design teams are presenting feasibility reports and steering committees are meeting to plan project implementation. In October, design teams are presenting feasibility reports to Durant, Coggon and Sumner, and implementation planning meetings will be conducted in Sumner and Coggon.
  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. During October CED specialist Eric Christianson will be conducting workshops in Waterloo, Iowa City and Storm Lake.
  • During October CED staff will be facilitating Navigating Difference cultural competency training in Cedar Rapids and Mount Pleasant.

Human Sciences

  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach is transitioning to Raising School Ready Readers for early literacy efforts. It is a contemporary educational offering based in modern-day research with a variety of families. Literacy development starts at home with parents and caregivers serving as a child’s first teacher. Raising School Ready Readers offers parents fun ways to engage their 3- to 6-year-old children in literacy play. It is a five-week series of 90-minute workshops grounded in the Engaging Families in Children’s Literacy Development Workshop Series created by Scholastic. Sessions focus on developing six core literacy areas that give children a head start on school readiness. Facilitator training for educators was held in June and September. Some participants had facilitated the previous Family Storyteller program, but others were newly engaged in literacy work. Several series have been completed with others in the planning stages.
  • Four human sciences staff members received university awards at the ceremony in September: Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist in family life, Regents Award for Staff Excellence; Barbara Woods, special projects manager, Award for Inclusive Excellence; Mackenzie Johnson, human sciences specialist in family life, Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award; and Kim Brantner, human sciences specialist in family life, Award for Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach.
  • David Brown and Anthony Santiago presented at the Annual National Association for Rural Mental Health Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico in August. Their presentations included “Responding to Behavioral and Mental Needs among Rural Iowans and Farming Communities” and “Cohesive Promotion and Implementation of Healthy Relationship Education in Rural Iowa to Promote Overall Health and Wellness.” This presentation provided an overview of the Healthy Relationship Education Training program and featured work completed by Mackenzie Johnson, human sciences specialist in family life, and Brenda Schmitt, human sciences specialist in family finance.

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa hosted the Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition at the Field Extension Education Lab, in Boone, Iowa. This year’s competition featured nine youth teams representing Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kentucky. The competition is designed to educate students through hands-on interaction in crop fields, through scouting for plant injury and identifying pest and situational problems, culminating in designing their own effective solutions and management strategies. When surveyed, students responded that the competition was fun, and they enjoyed engaging with friendly staff. Team coaches reported that the competition helped students learn concepts of IPM, teamwork skills, and communication skills, and prepare for a future career in agriculture.
  • This year 4-H State Council members can sign up to serve on the Finance, Youth Voice, or Service and Outreach committee. Through these committees, the council members will get to share their voice, come up with county and statewide service projects, or learn about the financial process of the 4-H’ers for 4-H Campaign and budgeting for Youth Conference and other initiatives. State Council members will also continue to serve on one of six Youth Conference committees. At their October retreat they will begin planning for this annual event.
  • 4-H youth who participated in regional chili cook-off competitions this summer were invited to participate in ICS Chili Inc.’s World Championships event Sept. 7-8 in Ankeny. Several youth participated and Clara Damman from Story County 4-H placed 5th in the homestyle division. Iowa 4-H was also able to showcase our program and highlight Healthy Living and making healthy choices count.

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