Monthly Archives: June 2021

Fun at the Fairs

Week 6

This week was spent taking part in all things fair related as we headed off to the Linn and Benton County Fairs.

Monday and Tuesday we worked in both Linn and Benton counties to help with the Static Judging Day at each fair. Static judging is where 4-H and FFA members have the opportunity to enter exhibits that are not livestock for judging. Some of the categories include food and nutrition, home improvement, clothing and fashion, photography, and woodworking. Exhibitors then met with a judge one-on-one to discuss their goal-sheet and project. The judges reviewed their notes and awarded each project a ribbon based on how well the project met each standard. A judge could hold back projects of exhibitors 5th grade and above to be considered to move onto State Fair judging if they feel the project exceeded expectations. We helped to check kids in as well as make sure each of their projects were ready to go for judging. After judging had taken place, we also helped to hand out the various ribbons that were awarded to each exhibitor. It is always a fun time seeing all of the creative projects as the kids check them in and also how proud they are of their completed projects.

We arrived to the Benton County Fairgrounds early on Wednesday to help set up the exhibit for the static projects that had been selected for State Fair. The Static Building was filled with so much joy this day as many exhibitors filtered through to find out their project had been selected to move on to State Fair. During our downtime, we were also able to participate in the working exhibits that some of the exhibitors were putting on. We used our creativity to make ice cream cones out of foam and paper plates and stress balls out of cornstarch and balloons. The stress balls will definitely come in handy when we return to classes in the fall. Our afternoon was spent helping with livestock check in and walking through the barns to see all of the different animals. Of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try out the ice cream from the Dairy Producers food booth. The soft serve ice cream and chocolate shakes were definitely a 10/10. 

Projects advancing to the State Fair in Benton County.

On Thursday, we were back in Linn to help out at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Booth. We had a fun time meeting with all of the kids and their families during kids day at the fair. The kids loved having the chance to spin the prize wheel and answer questions for the chance to get a prize and an ISU balloon. 

Food insecurity display set up at the Linn County Fair.

We ended our week at the Linn County Fair helping with the Ag Commodity Carnival booth. Children and adults gained financial literacy skills by “raising” a pretend steer. They incurred different costs associated with raising livestock such as health and nutrition costs, facility and wages costs, and transportation and energy costs. These were represented as marbles which went into a plastic egg that represented our steer. The last cost we explained was feed costs. Participants were able to fill their egg with how much feed they thought their steer would need. We then weighed the egg and handed out different discs that corresponded to the weight of the egg. Each disc showed the price per pound it would take to raise their steer. Lastly, they had the chance to take their steer to market, through a game of Plinko. They dropped their disc into different prices at the bottom of the Plinko board. They could then see if their steer would lose money, breakeven, or make money compared to the cost of raising their steer. 
We also used this day at the fair to showcase our display about food insecurity in Linn County. We have spent the past couple of weeks updating the display to be able to better inform the public about food insecurity in their area. 

Tatum handing disc showing price per pound of the “steer”.

Overall, both fairs were a success and it was a great to be able to help out! We are excited to have some “normalcy” again as we continue to complete youth programming over the next few weeks. 

– Tatum & Maelyn

Region 6 Updates: Woodbury, Plymouth, and Monona County

Summer Camps…

Woodbury, Plymouth, and Monona Counties have been keeping me busy! I have been doing a lot of traveling over the last two weeks from county to county. I was finally able to assist Lujean Faber, who is Woodbury Counties Lead 4-H Staff Member/Enhanced Youth Development Educator. I have had the pleasure of knowing Lujean for a long time. I’m not sure when I met her, but it was sometime before I started 4-H when I was a 4th grader. The camp that we worked on together was the Colors in the Garden Camp. This camp took place on June 18th and was offered to 1st – 3rd graders. Our camp was small, but mighty as we had 7 kiddos participate in the camp. Throughout the morning the kids learned all about seeds and plants. We had several seeds from different trees that grow in Iowa for them to identify.

All of the kids were very excited to make whirlybirds, as this was a craft to represent seeds from a Maple tree and how they fall to the ground after falling off of the tree. They were also very excited to get a tour of the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden here at the Woodbury County Office. After the tour, we made greenhouses out of recycled plastic water bottles and the kids got to choose from a selection of vegetable seeds as to what they wanted to plant in their greenhouse. Lujean led a lesson on transplanting plants and the kids even got the opportunity to transplant different flowers into the teaching garden. Before the kiddos left for the day they got to make parachutes and they really enjoyed getting to throw them up in the air. The Colors in the Garden Camp was so much fun and I enjoyed getting to watch the kids learn throughout the day!

  • Top right photo: camper looking at a Maple seed
  • Bottom left photo: kiddos getting to add soil to their greenhouse
  • Right-hand side photo: youth looking at the herbs in the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden

I spent my day at the Plymouth County Office in Lemars on Tuesday, June 22nd of this week. Kristen Heimgartner, who is Plymouth County’s intern this summer, and I got to lead the Mad Science Camp. The YMCA is right next door to the office in Plymouth County, so 23 summer camp kiddos were able to walk right over for our camp. Kristen and I decided to teach them something simple about science because they ranged in age from TK – 5th grade. The take home experiment that the kids got to make and take home was a lava lamp. Kristen and I also decided to give them goggles to wear because kids love to look like a scientist!

They each got their own see-through bottle which was filled ¾ of the way full with vegetable oil prior to them taking it due to the messiness of oil. We supplied them each with water and they were given directions to fill the rest of their bottle with water, but not to fill it to full because it would overflow. Kristen and I then walked around with different colors of food coloring and asked what color they would like their lava lamp to be. The most popular color of the camp was red, GO CYCLONES!! Once all the camp kiddos had the food coloring in, it was time for them to add a small piece of the Alka Seltzer tablet into their bottle. The kids’ faces were amazed at the reaction that was happening. Kristen, the YMCA staff, and I each went around and tied a list of ingredients to make the lava lamp and a baggie of extra tablets for them to try again at home. I enjoyed my time at the Mad Science Camp and we will be doing it again on July 19th with a new group of YMCA kiddos! 

  • 1st Photo: Camper watching the magic happen!
  • 2nd Photo: Me talking to the campers about what color of food coloring they wanted
  • 3rd Photo: Camper adding water to create her lava lamp

Looking Ahead..

I also had a meeting with the Monona County Staff earlier this week to discuss their county fair, which is July 13 – 17. It is looking like it will be a very busy week spent at the Monona County Fair. I am very excited to get to help with their static exhibit judging day and with all of their livestock shows! I met with the Plymouth County staff as well this week to discuss ways that I will be able to help at the Plymouth County Fair, which is July 28 – August 1. I will also be assisting with all of the livestock shows at their fair! I am also really excited to be getting to help at their Bucket Calf Show on Wednesday evening. If you read my previous post, I made several friends at the Clover Kids Camp earlier this month and I made a promise to my new friends that I would be there to watch them show their bucket calves.

Woodbury County staff and I have yet to discuss what I will be doing at the Woodbury County Fair, which is August 4 – 8. The Woodbury County Fair is my home away from home, as this is where I grew up and showed cattle ever since I can remember. I will be seeing the fair from a different point of view this year, as I will no longer be in the showring showing, but I will be helping wherever I am needed! You may be noticing a trend that I will be helping with livestock shows at each county fair and this is because I have a lot of experience with livestock. I give my credit to the Woodbury County Fair, as this is where I fell in love with the livestock industry and why I decided to become a veterinarian! I also have a few summer camps left on my schedule this summer and PoP Club! I will be running the PoP Club in both Moville, which is in Woodbury County, and Arkon, which is in Plymouth County. I have several dates set in July that I will be at and I am very excited to get to teach all of the kiddos new and exciting things! 

Stay tuned for more exciting things happening this summer in Region 6!

Autumn Weaver, Region 6 Rising Star Intern

North Central Iowa Weeks 5 & 6 | Region 4

Weeks 5 & 6 Summary

Week 5

Week 5 was an exciting week! We spent our week preparing for the Worth County Fair, met with the Farmers’ Market Vendors at their monthly meeting, and met with the Peace Park Council in Hampton to review designs. Friday was a busy day. We took off to Clear Lake bright and early at 5:30 a.m. in order to attend their Quarterly Coffee. Afterwards, we made our way the the Worth County Fair. At the Fair we had several tasks: surveying the community about their thoughts on community gardens and advertising a Lawns and Gardens event that will take place in August. Overall it was an eventful week!

Week 6

Compared to last week, we had much less traveling throughout the counties. On Tuesday we met with the Principal of Lincoln Intermediate to discuss some of our ideas for the greenhouse. We were met with great enthusiasm which has motivated us to keep working hard to ensure the greenhouse becomes a part of every child’s Lincoln Intermediate career. Throughout the rest of the week, we primarily worked remotely on tasks for the greenhouse, the Hampton Farmers’ Market, and more proposals for Peace Park.

See below for the progress made in our three projects over the last couple of weeks!

Summer Project Updates

Lincoln Intermediate Greenhouse

Mason city, IA

We will be working with Lincoln Intermediate staff and community to integrate the use of their recently built greenhouse into their classroom curriculum, particularly math and science. Throughout the summer we will: initiate the use of the hydroponics system, develop lesson plans, and create a sustainable growth & maintenance plan for the greenhouse.

Worth County Fair Booth

Northwood, IA

The Worth County Fair is fast approaching! The Rising Star Interns will be hosting a booth on Friday, June 18th. At the booth, we will be conducting a community survey to research the community’s outlook on community gardening and their knowledge and interest in the Master Gardener program. We will also be advertising a gardening event that will take place on August 5th.

Peace Park Transformation

Hampton, Ia

The decision on a final design for the Hampton IA downtown park is expected very soon! Since the revisions that were suggested last week have been taken into account, a final design is expected by the end of week 6, and will be proposed to Hampton community officials during week 7.

Activities and Accomplishments

Our team will be working together on each project to accomplish the objectives and goals. Together we have developed weekly tasks, schedules, and internal deadlines to meet the desired outcomes. These will be updated weekly to reflect our progress.
  • Created agendas and attachments for a meeting with Lincoln Intermediate’s principal.
  • Prepared workshop activities brainstorm list, including descriptions and benefits
  • presented list of activities to Lincoln Intermediate’s principal, and discussed logistics of holding learning workshops in the greenhouse at the end of July!
  • Developed a step by step guide for various processes within the greenhouse that will be compiled into a growing handbook for the greenhouse
  • Met with Dennis Johnson to tour the fairgrounds and local all the necessary items for the fair booth
  • Finished the flyers and posters for the August 5th lawns and gardens lecture
  • Printed informational posters about Master Gardener
  • Put together a poster to advertise the goody bags for survey participation
  • Finished the community garden survey and received ISU approval
  • Attended the fair and spoke to fair attendees about Master Gardener, our survey, and the August 5th event
  • Determined what specific materials will be purchased and used for construction
  • Determined what local design/build firm will take on the construction of this project
  • Began technical/utility plans with regards to the specific site
  • Refined final design concepts after meeting with Hampton city officials as well as the project donor.
  • Finished up final design plans that will be presented to Hampton city officials during week 7
Rough draft of a growing timeline we will finalize and share with faculty as part of the final report. Teachers can use this for lesson planning in relation to the greenhouse
Here’s a graphic that was designed to advertise the prizes being given out as a reward for taking the survey.
Visualization of potential purposes/designs that can be applied to the empty lot in order to transform the site into useable green space.

Region 4 | Weeks 7/4 to 7/18

Week(s) 7/4 to 7/18 Summary

Week 5

Interns of region 4 spent the first few days of the week working from their homes, in Ames. We focused on sorting through information that had been collected the week before, figuring out what information was relevant towards our goals. We analyzed the data from the Worth county fair in order to determine our marketing plan for the county at large, in an attempt to gain more community participation. r

Week 6

Week 6 was a week defined by progress. The final concept for the “Pocket Park” in Hampton, IA was completed. This final concept will be presented using a brochure that will visualize the concept for the greater community. In addition, promotional systems/advertising has been implemented for the Hampton Farmers Market, thanks to the participation of the local Hardee’s restaurant (located adjacent to the market site). As for the Mason city project, the systems in the greenhouse have been set up/tested in order to ensure their working condition.

See below for the progress made in our three projects over the last couple of weeks!

Summer Project Updates

Lincoln Intermediate Greenhouse

Mason city, IA

We will be working with Lincoln Intermediate staff and community to integrate the use of their recently built greenhouse into their classroom curriculum, particularly math and science. Throughout the summer we will: initiate the use of the hydroponics system, develop lesson plans, and create a sustainable growth & maintenance plan for the greenhouse.

Worth County Community Gardens

Northwood, IA

In order to expand the community garden program in Northwood, IA, we researched similar community garden programs that have proved to be successful (such as Clear Lake, IA). In addition, we met with community organizers charged with the oversight of the Mason City Community Gardens. We believe Northwood’s community garden can thrive if we implement advertising and active recruitment.

Peace Park Transformation

Hampton, Ia

The decision on a final design for the Hampton IA downtown park has been decided, and the final renderings have been completed. The donor accepted one of the concepts that was presented, and now we are working to create brochures for the community at large, so they too can visualize what this plot of land will look like in less than a years time. This visualization will not only improve public perception on the project, but also draw out potential ideas/elements that can be included in this project.

Activities and Accomplishments

Our team will be working together on each project to accomplish the objectives and goals. Together we have developed weekly tasks, schedules, and internal deadlines to meet the desired outcomes. These will be updated weekly to reflect our progress.
  • Set up/inspected the hydroponics table
  • Researched lesson plans that are congruent with existing lesson plans
  • Ensured that all greenhouse systems were working properly
  • Came up with a list of feasible lesson plans that will engage kids at the intermediate level.
  • Created a budget document with regards to annual spending that will be needed.
  • Toured the community gardens in Clear Lake, IA (great example of a successful community garden)
  • Toured the community gardens in Mason City
  • Talked with individuals involved with the Master Gardener program
  • Began to identify specific elements from the master gardener program that can be helpful with regards to promotional strategies.
  • Implemented the poster to showcase some of the work Master Gardeners do and learn during their training
  • Agreed on a final design concept that will be presented to the Hampton community at large
  • Discussed budgeting with regards to who will construct the project/when.
  • Began designing a brochure that will be distributed to the community at large, showcasing what the space will look like when completed
  • Discussed engineering concerns that may come up during the construction process.
This is an option for how the greenhouse can be arranged when utilized in the fall. Photos below are from our work day on 6/4/21.

This poster was designed this week to go on the board behind us at the Worth County Fair.
Visualization of final design concept in the empty lot in order to transform the site into useable green space.

Outdoor Fun Under the Sun!

Week 5

This week was spent enjoying the gorgeous weather and checking off everything on our to-do lists to get ready for the fairs.

On Saturday, Tatum helped implement Power of Produce (Pop) Club at the Uptown Marion Market. Power of Produce is a fun opportunity to engage 5-12 year old children in the farmer’s market. Each child received 3 “PoP Bucks” that they could spend on fruit or vegetables at the market. Each child also had the opportunity to plant a pot of bush beans to take home and try radishes with homemade ranch. There was a great turnout with over 30 children between the ages of 5 and 12.

We traveled back to the Happy Time Child Development Center to teach the kids about carrots on Monday. We started by reading Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, and then we made some carrots of our own, not creepy, of course, out of pipe cleaners. The kids then had a fun time taste-testing carrots and using their five senses to describe the carrot. We ended with a motion activity, and the kids had a blast pretending they were carrots that were ready to be picked. 

Kids having fun pretending they are carrots.

Tuesday, we set out early to the Jane Boyd Community House to do some programming with Kindergarten-3rd graders. We had fun talking about what a seed needs to grow and then had the opportunity to help the kids plant their garden. We planted various vegetables such as tomatoes, beets, kale, and peppers while talking about what some of our favorite vegetables were to eat. We also talked about the importance of physical activity in addition to eating fruits and vegetables, and each kid had a turn rolling the activity dice. The group then completed the amount and exercise that were on the dice. One of our favorite parts of programming is the taste test and getting to see all of the kids’ different reactions. Today we tried sugar snap peas that we purchased at the Uptown Marion Market. We explained to kids how this particular vegetable is a seed you can eat and showed them how to break off the part connected to the vine, and then gave them the chance to use their five senses to describe it while trying it. The kids then voted on the peas with their thumbs, using the familiar loved it, liked it, tried it voting system. The peas were a hit with many of the kids, and they told us they were going to ask their parents to get some at home, which was awesome to hear. 

Close up of the dry ingredients for the homemade ranch dip.

Wednesday was a busy day as we were in both Linn and Benton counties. We started the morning in Linn county at the College Community School District’s grab-and-go meal program. We had a great time meeting with those taking advantage of this wonderful resource and also took the time to hand out 280 activity sheets and homemade ranch kits for vegetable dipping. We always have a blast getting outside and into the community, especially when the weather is as nice as it has been this week. We had a relaxing lunch break and then set off to Benton county to help with fair prep. The afternoon was spent helping to make different posters and putting our craft skills to the test to make award plaques for livestock class winners. 

Spinach kits we will be handing out at the fairs next week.

Thursday morning we headed out on the road to meet the Rollin’ Rec Mobile at Time Check Park in Cedar Rapids. We were able to hand out some of the Watch Me Grow kits we made at the start of the internship and also had a temporary tattoo station set up for the kids. When it wasn’t busy, we took part in some of the fun activities the Rollin’ Rec Mobile had to offer, and we even took the chance to show off our hula-hooping skills. We decided to get out of the office for lunch and headed down the road to Chick-fil-A to enjoy their always delicious chicken nuggets and fries. We finished out the afternoon completing some tasks around the office and getting the rest of the spinach kits ready to be handed out at upcoming events.

On Friday, the Linn County office was filled with great hustle and bustle as everyone is working on getting all of the last-minute details and tasks finalized and finished for the fair. Much of the morning was spent getting everything packed and loaded into vehicles to be taken to the fairgrounds later in the afternoon. We are super excited to help with the fair this year and have the chance to present the food insecurity project we have been updating as well.
Catch us next week at both the Benton and Linn County Fairs taking place June 22-27 and June 23-27, respectively.

– Tatum and Maelyn 

Grooves and Guac | Week 5 in Region 1

Things are starting to fall into a rhythm here in Northwest Iowa. This week focused on PoP Club, recording and editing more videos, and community development events.

Peel the Avocado……1

Does anyone else remember the viral song about guacamole from 2010? It sort of became the theme song for PoP Club this week because they got to try “Guacamole. Guac-Guacamole”1. As I mentioned last week, I am attempting to propagate an avocado for the kids. The kids can then have the opportunity to see how a seed grows into a plant, and avocado trees are fun since we don’t commonly grow them here in Iowa. Many kids told me last week that they had never tried avocados before. So, I made it a goal to have the kids try them sometime this summer. Well, it happened to be this week that they got to try them since it fit into our lesson.

At PoP Club this week, the kids had to create a rainbow using fruits and vegetables. They had to come up with a minimum of 5 different vegetables that were 5 different colors. They could choose to draw the fruits and vegetables or use stickers that they could use. The kids enjoyed this activity and discovered all of the colors they can eat every day (or week *insert shrug emoji*). The parents also enjoyed it because it kept the kids busy while they shopped at the farmers’ market.

After they completed their activity, the kids got to try Rainbow Guacamole! This was my take on traditional guacamole. It is called Rainbow Guacamole because it contains ingredients that are many different colors! Avocados and limes made up the color green, yellow was represented by yellow bell peppers, tomatoes were added to incorporate red, and red onions were used to include purple. Out of the 50 kids that tried it, only 8 did not like it. So, I would say that guacamole was a success! I was surprised that most of the kids enjoyed the guacamole since that is a food that I wouldn’t eat at that age. I even received messages from parents after the fact, telling me that their kids are begging them to make the Rainbow Guacamole! These were kids that wouldn’t eat it before.

  1. Reference:

Project Updates


This week I recorded my last Extension Specialist Video. These are videos that will be used to inform the public about the work that our Extension Specialists do and the resources they provide. I am now in the process of editing the videos. They will be available for public viewing within the next couple of weeks! I have learned about more of the Specialists’ resources, and I got to meet some cool people along the way.

Additionally, I recorded another Extension Council Member video. These videos will be used to recruit new members for the Extension Councils and in new Extension Council member training.


The StoryWalk is starting to come together! I am currently working on the signs that will be posted along with the pages. These signs contain fun facts about the species the participants are about to see, how to be safe around that species, and fun activities that families can do together along the way. I was originally going to create a QR Code that could be scanned to see these signs, but now I am leaning towards having them printed and hung up.

Leading Communities

Lastly, I attended another Leading Communities event in Osceola County this past week. The topic was how to deal with conflict, as well as understanding difficulties that others may face. These are two important things to know when it comes to working in committees and organizations.

So, as you may be noticing, it seems to me that I am blogging about some of the same things week after week. This shows that I have gotten into the groove of things and have a fluid schedule going on. I continue to work on all of my projects week after week, and I hope you still stay with me each week. I might try to shake things up a little bit in my blog post for next week, so stay tuned for that!

Have a great weekend everybody, and don’t forget to tell all the dads in your life how much you appreciate them this weekend!
– Alex

Summer Camps in Region 6 (Western Iowa) Have Begun!

Monday, June 7th

Here in Region 6 our summer camps finally began! I started the week in Woodbury County (Sioux City) on Monday. I was able to help lead our Cooking Around the World Camp with Alesha Roll. Alesha is Woodbury County’s INN Grant Director and the 4-H Program Assistant. We had 10 kids, ranging in age from 4th grade to 8th grade. The Cooking Around the World Camp was so much fun! We split the group of 10 in half so I had 5 kids in my group. I was assisted by Woodbury County’s dietetic intern Katelynn. I enjoyed getting to teach a skill or direction and then watch the youth execute what I had explained to them. The first dish that we made came from Sweden. The kids learned how to make fondue. They also learned proper knife skills and were able to cut vegetables, fruit, and bread to dip into their fondue. My group was a little nervous to try the fondue because they had never tried it before, but they all ended up trying it and seemed to like it. The vegetables didn’t seem to get used as much with the fondue, but the bread was a hit! The second dish that we made was Three Sister Soup from the Native American tribes the Navajo and the Iroquois. This one took a little while longer to prepare compared to the fondue, but they still enjoyed getting to cut and mix in all the ingredients. A takeaway that the youth had from the Cooking Around the World Camp, was to cut the vegetables into smaller pieces so they would cook easier and not take so long. Another takeaway that they had was to not be afraid to try new food! It may look a little scary at first, but if you give it a try you may end up liking it more than you think.  All in all, the camp was a success and I think all of the youth that were involved enjoyed getting to be the chefs for once instead of their parents!

Cooking Around the World Camp: Picture #1, youth stirring the fondue continuously in order to make sure it doesn’t burn. Picture #2, youth peeling a carrot for the Three Sisters Soup.

Tuesday, June 8th and Wednesday, June 9th

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Plymouth County in Le Mars. I was able to help with the Clover Kid Day Camp. I think these two days were my favorite part of my week! The Clover Kids were so excited to be back together again after not being able to see each other for a year due to the pandemic.The Clover Kids ranged from 1st grade to 4th grade. Both days we had a different group of Clover Kids and we taught the same thing both days. We started the morning with breakfast. They were able to choose from pancakes, doughnuts, or cereal. The pancakes seemed to be a hit! After they finished eating breakfast, we played an ice breaker game. We threw an inflatable ball around the circle and got to tell everyone a little bit about ourselves. Next we divided the group in half and got to make two different projects for the fair. The first station was perler beads. At this station the kids got to make whatever design they wanted, making an emoji face seemed to be the biggest hit. One of my little friends that I met at day one of the camp was Miley and she talked me into making a perler bead! We both made an emoji face and had so much fun doing it. The second station seemed to be the favorite out of the two. Here, they were able to learn how to sew and make an emoji face pillow. The kids seemed to love getting to put their own twist on the face that they chose to put onto their pillow. A mixture of the projects that they made will be put on display at the Plymouth County Fair at the end of July in their Clover Kid booth. They also got to design their own rocks for the ISU Plymouth County rock bed and also got the option to take them home if they chose too.

First picture: Alaina with her decorated rocks to go in the rock bed outside the front door! Second picture: Miley and I’s finished perler beads. Last picture: Lane said, “Autumn take a picture of me! I want to make this face out of perler beads.”

After they were finished with making their projects we took them on a walk to the Extension Garden. They were very eager to guess which plant was which. Once we got back from the walk to the garden Jodi Fisher, Plymouth Counties Program Assistant, talked to the kids about STEM and what it meant. The Clover Kids got to use Dash and Dot and program them with a tablet. The younger kids seemed to struggle a little bit in the beginning but with some guidance they caught on really quickly! After going through some of the task cards for about 45 minutes, their next task was to figure out how to program Dash to win a race. All of the Clover Kids got really excited about getting to race their robots and their competitive sides came out. The races were a hit! The winners for the races were then asked to explain to the others exactly how they programmed their dash. It was a great learning experience for all of the kids. The majority of the Clover Kids asked me multiple times if they could go back and get to experiment with Dash and Dot some more. After Dash and Dot were put away it was time for lunch. The kids who were sitting next to me had a lot of different stories to tell me and seemed to ask me so many different questions, but I didn’t mind. I enjoy getting to work with kids and teach them different things.

Programming, experimenting, and racing Dash and Dot!

Once lunch was over, we took the kids on a walk to the park for them to get some of their energy out. On the second day of the camp I made a handful of new friends with a group of girls. They told me all about their projects for the fair and their bucket calves. By the end of the trip to the park they started to call me their best friend, which makes me laugh writing about it now! The girls were definitely sad when I told them I wouldn’t get to see them again after the day was over, but I promised them that I would come watch them show their bucket calves at the Plymouth County Fair, so they would get to see me one more time before I completed my internship. One of the girls whose name is Savannah said to me, “Autumn the fair is only 49 days away!” Our trip to the park wasn’t long due to the extreme heat, but they got an ice cream treat from Blue Bunny upon our return back to the office. We all took a short break and enjoyed our ice cream treat and to cool off, but then it was back outside to get to enjoy the slip n’ slide! In previous years the Clover Kids were able to go to the pool across the street, but this year the pool is still not open due to maintenance. The kids were definitely bummed, but that didn’t stop them from having fun! I enjoyed the Clover Kids Camp and wish there could be another one, but I was glad that I was able to help with this one! 

Thursday, June 10th

Thursday was more laid back as the morning was spent at the Woodbury County office catching up on emails and figuring out my next week’s schedule. I then traveled to the Monona County office in Onawa and started gathering materials for the Livestock Day in Castana, which is tomorrow June 15th. Later on during the day last Thursday, I then traveled to the Iowa State Research Farm in Castana to help with their Breakfast Club. The Monona County Breakfast Club is a program they started a few years ago. Through this opportunity the youth are able to show pigs and this year chickens! The youth who are involved in this live in town and do not have anywhere to house their pigs or chickens or do not have the funds to raise the animals. I think this opportunity that Monona County offers is simply amazing and it would be a great opportunity for other counties to offer to youth! Woodbury County offers a similar program, which is called Pig Pals. At the farm last Thursday a few kids who are a part of the program came out to get to work with their pigs. I was able to help teach them some different showmanship skills and help them get to wash some pigs. The pigs definitely enjoyed getting to be washed due to the heat that day. I am excited to be able to help at the Livestock Day in Castana! I do not know much about pigs because I only show cattle, but I have shown pigs a few times so I am eager to learn more about them myself while also getting to teach the youth more showmanship skills and tips that I have to offer. My week was definitely busy traveling to all three counties, but I enjoyed staying busy and I am excited for the rest of my summer with Monona, Plymouth, and Woodbury County!

Molly Hewitt, the Regional Director of Region 6 and I at the ISU Research Farm in Castana a few weeks ago!

Catch up with you later this week!

-Autumn Weaver

Rising Into the Community

Week 4

Maelyn and Tatum in north central Iowa.

This week was spent keeping busy with programming, traveling with the Rollin’ Rec Mobile, and having the opportunity to tour the HACAP Corporate Office in Hiawatha.

On Monday, we created 200 to-go kits for children to take and grow their own spinach. Each kit included a starter pot, a peat pellet, spinach seeds, and information about growing and harvesting spinach. We took a deeper look into food insecurity in Linn County. We have partnered with Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) to provide education about hunger and the need for food assistance in the area. HACAP is a food bank that serves nine counties in Iowa, including Benton, Dubuque, Delaware, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington. Our role is to update data on informational display boards about the number of food-insecure individuals in Linn County. We will then take that display to farmer’s markets and fairs to raise awareness about food insecurity. We finished the day by preparing lessons for the Jane Boyd Community House that we will begin next week. 

Tuesday was another busy day of programming in Benton. The morning was spent participating in orientation and learning all about Human Sciences extension as well as preparing for our afternoon programs. In the later part of the afternoon, we traveled to Happy Time Childcare at Tilford Elementary to complete programming. The older kids learned about soil and plating seeds. The kids had fun practicing planting by making edible soil cups. The kids used their imagination and planted various M&M “seeds” such as carrots, strawberries, watermelons, and cucumbers. One of the most special moments of the day was when one child came up to us after the activity, thanked us for coming and told us how much they enjoyed making soil cups. The preschoolers had a blast reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and identifying all of the different fruits that the caterpillar ate its way through. They were also very excited to be able to make their own caterpillars with grapes and strawberries at the end while we talked about how fruits help us to build strong bodies. 

One of The Very Hungry Caterpillars that was made.

Wednesday was a busy day in Linn County. We started the morning by getting a tour of the Jane Boyd Community House where we will start doing programming, including Watch Me Grow and Pick a Better Snack, with some of the younger kids next week. Upon returning to the office, we finalized the packaging of our Growing Spinach kits and worked to finish preparing those for future events. We spent our afternoon alongside the Rollin’ Rec Mobile and handed out activity bags to the kids so they could plant their own seed as part of the Watch Me Grow series. We had a bit of downtime before our next event, so we spent some time exploring Marion, IA and stopping for dinner at Zoey’s Pizzeria. We had the taco pizza and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for great Chicago-Deep Dish pizza in the Linn County area. We ended our day with a tour of HACAP. This was a great chance to see one facility that helps fight local food insecurity. It gave more meaning to our research about food insecurity in Linn County. During the tour, we volunteered to package bags for the Backpack Program. HACAP partners with local elementary schools to provide supplemental food for children to take home to their families. 

Handing out Watch Me Grow kits at the Rollin’ Rec Mobile.

Thursday, we started our day by traveling to Shellsburg and meeting with the Creative Kids Company. We got a tour of where we will be doing our programming and met with some staff members. We begin our programming here in July, so be sure to stay tuned for that in later blogs! The rest of the day was spent in the office preparing for all of next week’s programs and preparing different programs and cards for the fair. The Benton County Fair is June 22-June 27, and everyone is hard at work in the extension office to make sure this year’s fair is a success, so be sure to come and check it out. 
Be sure to stay cool out there and we will catch you next week!

– Tatum and Maelyn 

Gaining Momentum | Week 4 in Region 1 (Northwest Iowa)

Things are starting to get busier here in Northwest Iowa as more events start to occur and more projects are initiated!

Peas, Beans, and Seeds, Oh My!

As I mentioned in my blog last week, PoP Club has started here in Northwest Iowa. Last Saturday was our first PoP Club event in Orange City, IA. We had 26 kids participate in PoP Club, and of those 26 kids, 20 became members of PoP Club! They got to choose between planting carrots, green beans, or lettuce. Carrots were definitely the favorite to plant, with 20 kids planting carrots!

I am trying to propagate this avocado seed throughout the entire summer to grow an avocado tree for the kids. So they can come back every week to watch the tree develop!

On Monday, we had our first PoP Club event at the Sheldon, IA Farmers’ Market! We had 14 kids participate, and 13 kids join PoP Club! This is so exciting! Last year, Sheldon only had 5 PoP Club members, so we are growing! Kids had the choice to plant beans, peas, or both! There was no favorite seed to plant at the Sheldon PoP Club since 10 kids planted beans and 10 kids planted peas! I think the Sheldon PoP Club will continue to grow throughout the rest of the summer as word gets out about it. So many people told me that they were going to bring their grandkids, invite the neighborhood kids, and bring their other friends with kids to PoP Club next week.

This was an enjoyable week at both PoP Clubs! I get to hang out with this very fun and energetic group of kids every week, and I am looking forward to the rest of PoP Club this summer. I can’t wait to do another activity with the kids this week and let them try some new foods! So stay tuned to find out more about that!

Interviews and Inquiries

This week also marked the beginning of another one of my projects. Throughout the next two weeks, I will be conducting interviews with some of the Extension Specialists in Region 1. These interviews are recorded and will be posted on social media and Extension websites to inform the public about what each specialist does and the resources they provide. Over the past week, I met with Dairy Specialist Fred Hall, Human Sciences Specialist Renee Sweers, and Youth Program Specialist Beth Bunkers. I learned a lot from these 3 specialists and gained a greater understanding of Extension through them. I learned about some of the programs that they have created, what a day may look like for them, and I got to know them better.

Editing my Interview with Human Sciences Specialist Renee Sweers

I also conducted an interview with Mark Pottebaum, a chairman of the Sioux County Extension Council. This interview was also recorded but for a different purpose. This video will be used to recruit new members for the Extension Council and be used for new member orientation. I learned more about what the Sioux County Extension Council does, their goals moving forward, and some of the challenges that they have faced. I will be conducting more interviews with Extension Council members of the other 3 counties that I serve.

Continuing Introductions

Tonight, I will be attending the Lyon County Extension Council Meeting to introduce myself and meet their Extension Council Members. I will be sharing my projects and plans for the summer.

This week has gone by so quickly! How am I a third of the way through this internship already?! I am having so much fun meeting new people in Region 1 and developing programs for the kids. If only time could slow down.

– Alex

A Week of Imagination

Week Three in Region 27

Greetings from Region 27 (Southeast Iowa)! It has been another crazy week, but I love it! On Tuesday, I went to Mediapolis City Hall to help Mary Steffener, Des Moines county youth coordinator, to help with the Mediapolis Library Summer Program. The lesson for this week was on mistakes. We showed the kids items that were accidentally made, such as post-it notes, potato chips, slinkies, and more! We then read a book about beautiful mistakes to the kids. Then the children were given time to make their own beautiful masterpieces out of recycled materials. These kids’ imaginations blew me away! We ended the program by giving the kids popsicles which were in fact also made by accident! Fun was had by all! Tuesday afternoon, Morgan Hoenig and I created a fun video demonstration of myself cooking turnips that we bought at the farmers’ market. This was a lot of fun to make and was a new experience for me as I had never tried turnips before. I really enjoyed them! Be on the lookout for my video soon!

Wednesday, I spent the morning at the Henry County Extension office. Children from the Rec Center in Mount Pleasant came for us to do the summer reading program with them. We showed the kids an item that was accidentally made, post-it notes. We then read a book about beautiful mistakes to the kids. Kids were able to make bookmarks that had “mistakes”. Then the children were given time to make their own beautiful masterpieces out of recycled materials. These kids have wild imaginations and are so creative! We then read another book about not letting a pigeon drive a bus. The kids LOVED this book and interacted in this story time a lot. Next, their imaginations were put to the test again as they were given the task of drawing their own towns. Overall, it was a great experience for the kids and I hope that they learned from it! Wednesday afternoon, I did some planning for fun activities to provide at the farmers’ markets in Lee County. I can’t wait to see kids (and adults) having fun!

On Friday, I spent the day at Louisa County’s Fizz, Bubble, Goo camp in Grandview. It was such a fun day! We had numerous experiments teaching the kids about physical and chemical changes. My favorite experiment was blowing up balloons by filling bottles with vinegar and baking soda! It was a great learning experience for the kids and it was a lot of fun too! 

It was a great week! Check back next week to see what I do week 4!