Good Things Come in 4s!

The 4 Rising Star interns Region 4 interns had a very busy week working on 4 of their seven projects! We are so excited to be working with so many partners in extension and within the North Iowa area. 

Starting with Monday – we began our week by meeting with Sarah DeBour and Bryan Whaley to discuss our progress on the projects and gather their input and feedback. We really enjoy these meetings because it gives us the chance to share where we are with everything, and we always appreciate the feedback our supervisors have for us. Soon after the meeting, the interns split up – Sarah and Rebecca traveled over to Osage to meet with high school LEAD students who have started the community garden project in Osage. Meeting with the students helped us to understand the original goals and objectives of the garden. There were good conversations about the plans for our project and how we wanted to make sure that the students were involved and that we were receiving their feedback.


[ Sarah and Rebecca measuring the community garden in Osage ] 

Aleyda and Cooper headed west to Clear Lake to meet with the Central Gardens board of directors. This was a follow up meeting to last Thursday, Aleyda had created a Table of Contents of what the volunteers handbook should include; from this, she was able to receive feedback.  We have plans to meet with them again in a couple of weeks to share updates! 

On Tuesday, we woke up bright and early to head to Northwood for a meeting with Steve Hansen and Dennis Johnson. We were finally able to meet with Steve Hansen – a Northwood native who is working to convert his family farm into an artists retreat destination center. The task we have is to create designs for landscaping, gardens, and butterfly gardens. It was so cool to hear Steve’s vision for the farm and the passion he has for revitalizing his hometown. Further meetings with Dennis Johnson helped us to figure out what our next steps for the project are. We saw the 4-H gardens on the fairgrounds, and received a tour from Dennis Johnson and his wife Janelle; it was so cool to learn about the fairgrounds and the beautification efforts to keep it such a lovely space in the Northwood community. 

Keep an eye out for our bright red polos at the Worth County Fair! Rising Stars will be at the fair one day next week promoting the Art Farm and trying out all the fair food! 

[ From left to right: Dennis Johnson (Worth County Extension Director), Cooper Frakes, Stephen Hansen, Aleyda Ramirez, and Sarah Nelson. Listening to a presentation about the Art Farm and plans moving forward. ] 

Our day was far from over! In the evening, we took a road trip down to Hampton to meet with Karen and Tony from the Hampton Farmer’s Market – one of the projects is to continue what the 2021 interns did with social media and marketing. We hope to continue helping farmers markets by introducing the resources created and helping them utilize social media more. 

Wednesday was a busy day from start to finish with our main objective being to clear out the garden in Hampton so it is ready for planting. This seemed slightly daunting at first because the weeds were overgrown, new compost and mulch were needed, and several of the beds in need of serious repair. Our team met with the Franklin County master gardener, other extension staff and some additional help from staff and kids at La Luz in Hampton. WIth so many helping hands, the work flew by! It was really crazy to see the difference within just a few hours – the beds were able to be fixed, and so almost all of them will be used by families from La Luz to plant their own gardens. 

[ after the garden has been weeded, new compost put down, mulched, and beds repaired ]

[ Rising Stars working to clear out the garden! ] 

Rising Stars with the finished product!

And finally, Thursday – the team traveled over to Nashua to see the Northeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm. We will be back on June 22nd to attend their field day and to gather some footage for the video project. It was really cool to learn more about the Borlaug Research Center and get a small tour of the farm. We are looking forward to the rest of this project!