Week 6 in Region 18

Hello! Kaylee and I had a very busy week this week! We started the week by going to Ames for the Career Exploration Day! We got a tour of the Iowa State Research Farm and then went to the Memorial Union to discuss other careers that Extension offers. Kaylee and I had no idea that Extension had so many varieties of job opportunities! After Career Exploration Day, Sherry Ford took us to the Extension shop, and we got a tour of the building.

On Tuesday, Kaylee and I prepared for our Seeds, Sun, and Soil camp on Thursday. We went over lesson plans and made sure we had everything ready.

On Wednesday, we finalized our design for the Pollinator Garden and roped off and killed the grass on the site. I also put the new design into RealTime Landscape Architect and showed off how inspiring the garden will be!

We hosted our Seeds, Sun, and Soil Camp on Thursday in Pella. It was fun teaching kids about the process of plants! We had the kids dissect different types of seeds and taught them the difference between dicots and monocots and how the sun affects the growth pattern of plants.

On Friday, we reflected on the week and finalized designs. We also did estimates on how much soil we will need for the construction of the Inspiration Garden!

Thanks for reading about our week. Happy 4th of July!
-Jake Guthrie

Life is Sweet in Region 4

Greetings from Region 4! As June comes to a close, the Rising Star Interns in North Central Iowa are gearing up for the final month of their internship. The team is starting to see a few fruits of their hard work and planning, which has been very rewarding! 

On Monday, the team traveled to Ames to participate in the Rising Star Career Exploration Day on campus. There they received a tour of the Horticulture Research Farm (very impressive) and they learned about apple production and even got to step onto the turf grass grown for ISU Athletics. Throughout the rest of the day the interns heard from Extension professionals working in different fields, including Ag and Natural Resources, Community and Economic Development, and Human Sciences. It was a great experience and the team learned a lot about the many career options available through ISU Extension and Outreach. 

On Tuesday the interns got their hands dirty as they worked in the Cerro Gordo Growing Together Iowa garden. Along with county director Sarah DeBour, the interns worked alongside a master gardener and enjoyed spending a few hours weeding and mulching.

Wednesday kept the Rising Stars very busy as they went to 3 different meetings to further discuss their project progress. The morning started off with a meeting at Lincoln Intermediate school, where the team updated administration on the project objectives. There they met with the new vice principal and he was very excited about the greenhouse and the plans to incorporate it into the curriculum. In the afternoon, the interns met with Mitchell county director Darla Olson to further discuss the community gardens in Osage. The team also met with 2 Osage Park and Rec employees who will be continuing on the community gardens project next spring, and got their input and feedback. The interns were sure to beat the heat by stopping at a local drive-in for ice cream on their way out of town. 

Finally, for their last meeting of the day, they traveled to Charles City in Floyd county to meet with the Charles City Farmers Market vendors. The team is hoping to help them rebrand their social media pages by creating a logo and posting templates. It was great to get their feedback as to how they would like their market to be promoted. 

The rest of the week flew by with independent project work and a trip to Central Gardens in Clear Lake for Aleyda to capture images of plants and flowers for the Central Gardens handbook she is working on. 

The interns are glad for the upcoming long holiday weekend, but are excited to continue their work on their projects. Bring on week 8! 

Week Six in Region Six!

Read all about our fun-filled week’s highlights below!

Ames Career Day

All of the Rising Stars met in Ames on Monday for a career day presented by the staff working on Iowa State’s campus. The day began by touring the research farm; there were acres of apple trees, grape vines, and a vegetable garden researching the benefit of having chickens within the plot. We also learned about the turf grass being grown that will be put into the Jack Trice Stadium and practice fields! The day ended with listening to speakers about their careers and life in Extension. We sure missed the view of Campanile!


Nathan spent Tuesday Astrocamp! Kids got to learn all about what it’s like to be an astronaut with crafts, activities, and trying some of the food they eat in space. They got to build a mars rovers out of cardboard, make rock salt ice cream, create their own stomp rockets and mission patch. They ended the day by making s’mores out of solar ovens! Check the Sioux City newspaper next week to see all the kids interviews!

Nebowa Overnight Camp

Alex and Nathan headed over to the Nebowa Camp with 4-H campers! The entire day and night was filled with games, crafts, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Everyone learned about solar power doing crafts with lanterns and water fountains! Campers and counselors are sun-kissed and tired!

PoP Club

This week was the week for all POP clubs to kick into high gear, as Moville and Sioux City got to have kids plant seeds in egg cartons! They enjoyed picking from the wide selection of seeds offered to them to bring home. Meanwhile in Akron, kids got to go on a scavenger hunt and look for certain items at the market. It was windy all day, but the kids loved it nonetheless!

Horse Workshop

Thursday night, Alex headed over to the Woodbury County Fairgrounds to observe a halter and showmanship workshop. Kids learned about how to move around their horse as the judge moves, how to read and walk a pattern, and proper confirmation! Fair is coming right around the corner, so these kids are working hard to prepare.

Week Six in Region 1

Career Exploration Day in Ames

This Monday was not a typical Monday for us. We traveled down to campus in Ames for a career exploration day for Iowa State Extension and Outreach. We started our day at the ISU horticulture research farm, where we heard from different research extension staff about their duties at the research farm. We were able to look at apple trees, turf grass, specialized gardening practices, and grape vines. Inside, we heard from a beef specialist, a water quality program manager, and an agronomist. Then we went back to the MU on campus and had lunch with the Vice President of Extension and Outreach, John Lawerence. After lunch, we heard from the Policy, Systems, and Environment Change Coordinator in the Human Sciences department about food insecurity in Iowa. Our final presentation was from the Community and Economic Development/Design group about projects they have completed. We ended the night with a fun 3 ½ hour drive from Ames to Sheldon. 

Buckets of Fun with Garden Camp

With 4-H State Conference being held this week, the County Youth Coordinator of Lyon County asked us to lead her garden camp on Tuesday. We have attended a couple of their camps in previous weeks and were excited to lead this week. The kids started by weeding and watering their plots and then harvesting a few vegetables and herbs. Our main activity was decorating water buckets for them to use in their garden. They had lots of fun being creative with their buckets and making them their own. We then had a snack and played a fun game of carrot, carrot, corn (similar to duck, duck, goose). 

Tossing it Up in Dayhab

This week for DayHab was our second cooking week of the summer. Since we discussed vegetables last week, we decided to make a salad this week. We split the large group into about 4-5 smaller groups. Each group was able to be in charge of preparing one ingredient. The ingredients we used included lettuce, cucumber, tomato, ham and hard-boiled eggs. The groups would work together following  step-by-step, photo instructions to cut the ingredients. We then combined the ingredients together and the large groups were able to eat a tasty and nutritious salad that they made together!

“Winds”day at George Daycare

Wednesday morning we started off by heading to the George Daycare. This week for our outside activities, they watered their garden, sang a banana song, and played produce themed “Would you Rather” and “Who Am I.” Inside they continued to learn about MyPlate by doing a couple of fun activities and also played the same “Name that Produce” game that we did at PoP Club. The children really loved being able to touch the produce and then guess what it was. Inside we also talked about the different parts of a plant by doing a fun narrative lesson. The children started by being seeds on the ground and grew to be beautiful plants. This was a fun way to introduce that plants have different parts such as the roots, stem, or leaves. 

Blown Away with PoP Club

Rock Valley was our only PoP Club this week 🙁  Although it was hot and windy we still had a decent crowd for our activity. Like the daycare, we focused this week on the wind. We decided since it was so windy to create take-home baggies with all of the supplies needed to create the pinwheels. Everyone seemed really excited to have their own pinwheel and see it blow in the wind. Our featured produce this week was cherry tomatoes. Almost all of the kids liked eating them!

Joke of the Week

We had a good salad joke to put here but we decided to toss it.

Things we Hear/ Say as Rising Star Interns

Week 5 in Region 4

Hello from Region 4! 

Our team was reunited this week as our teammate Rebecca came back from Europe, we’re so happy she’s back! 

We started off our week by going to Osage and  meeting with Darla from Mitchell County where we caught her up on our projects and from there we met with Cindy about our overall reports. That was a big help!

On Tuesday we worked hard throughout the day on our projects and then traveled to Hampton to meet with the vendors of the Hampton Farmers market in the evening. We were able to sit in their monthly vendors meeting where we were able to learn more about what they are envisioning for their social media platform. 

The interns filming for the video

Wednesday was a full day for us in one of the research farms. One of our projects for this summer consists of creating a video for the Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm in Nashua, Iowa, so we spent the day there while they had their field day. We were able to tour the farm and  learn a lot about some really cool stuff not only from the specialists that presented but from others that we interviewed! We also got some nice footage and pictures for the video, we’re excited to be able to start putting it together within the next weeks!

The interns at Thursdays at Main

Thursday was another busy day for us. We started off the day by meeting with La Luz about their handbook for their community garden where we were able to discuss what the handbook would entail and receive any feedback of what else we could include. In the afternoon we went to Clear Lake to meet with the  Central Garden’s board of directors about their handbook. We showed them the progress we have made on their handbook and they were quite impressed with the work! We stayed in Clear Lake for the afternoon where we worked from a coffee shop, explored the lake and went to an intern event hosted there. Afterwards us interns went to explore Thursdays on Main in Clear lake where we found some cute things to purchase!

Friday was our least busy day, we had our weekly intern meeting where we caught each other up on what we have done throughout the week and made our agenda for this week. 

We look forward to catching you up with our adventures from this upcoming week! 

Week 5 in Region 1

The Great Produce Hunt

This week’s PoP club activity was a farmers market scavenger hunt. We decided to do this activity because we wanted the participants to interact with the different vendors. Our scavenger hunt included strawberries, lettuce, bread, honey, cut flowers, radish, and jam. Once the participant found all of the items they could come back to try our featured produce item. This week our featured items included strawberries and snow peas. The children had such a fun time walking around the farmers market and trying to find everything. 

The Veggie Hokey Pokey

In Dayhab, we focused on the vegetable food group. We introduced the veggie flash cards which included bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes. Another activity we did was our MyPlate review and continuing to build meals with all the food groups. A fun activity we did this week was the vegetable hokey pokey. This was a great way for the clients to be active and have a twist on a dance they already knew. The plants we planted at the beginning of the summer are already growing so much but we decided they needed some more water with all of the hot days we’ve had so watering was another fun activity we did. This week the clients had the opporuniy to taste-test cherry tomatoes or broccoli. The Sibley Dayhab really loved the cherry tomatoes and the Orange City clients were a bit weary of the broccoli but most of them really enjoyed it.

New Growth in George

On Wednesday, we started our day at the George Daycare. This week, our outside activity was watering their garden and observing all of the growth that has occurred in the past few weeks. We also talked to them about the difference between a garden and a field. For the garden we split the group into different vegetables and they showed us how that vegetable grew and that gardens are smaller and have more variety. Whereas the field was all the same and much larger. Inside, we read the Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and played a would you rather game focused on fruits and vegetables. It is always fun to spend time at the daycare, educating the children about gardening and nutrition.

Joke of the Week

Why were the strawberries so upset?

Because they were in a JAM

Week Five in Region Six

Mad Science Camp

Tuesday and Wednesday was the Clover Kids Mad Science Camp in Plymouth County. Nathan and Alex got to spend the day doing tons of fun experiments including strawberry DNA extraction, homemade lava lamps, fizzy painting, and lots more! The morning focused all about chemistry and biology, and the afternoon was spent learning about physics and energy while building egg drop contraptions and bridges out of paper. The day ended with enjoying homemade ice cream the kids had made that morning, as well as learning to make bubbles while playing at the park.

Salsa Party

On Tuesday, Alex and Madi spent the day with four lovely kids who wanted to learn more about canning! Using fresh tomatoes, peppers, and onions, they learned chopping skills, safe food handling processes, and the process of hot pack canning. Human Science Specialist, Renee Sweers, taught research-based information and used live examples to support her discussion. Everyone will be able to pick up their homeade, canned salsa by the end of the week!

PoP Club

Wednesday night was the kick off to our PoP Club events this summer! The Rising Stars went to the Akron Farmer’s Market and the activity of the night was egg carton seeds. PoP Club is an event we put on to educate young children about agriculture, and encourage them to eat local, healthy produce. After the kids do the activity, they earn a token worth $2. They have the choice to save it for future events or spend it on any piece of fresh produce at the market that day.

Cooking Camp

Gabrielle spent Wednesday and Thursday helping lead a cooking camp at the Woodbury Office! Children signed up to learn to how to make a variety of healthy, easy recipes. Some of these recipes include banana pancakes, cottage pie, and a charcuterie board! The kids designed their own boards, picking from options like kale chips, crostini crackers, feta dip, edible chickpea cookie dough, and chocolate avocado mousse. All recipes were a massive success, and the kids loved trying new things!

Week 5 in Region 18 | Fun with Bots and in the Garden!

Hello again! This week was jam-packed for Jake and I, but we loved every minute of it. We started things off in the Jasper county office, where we had some time to work on the designs and research for the Inspiration Garden. Jake was able to get to know a new program, RealTime Landscaping Architect. Right now, he’s still getting used to it but the things that he’s done so far look really promising! We’re hoping that with the new program he’ll be able to design sketches that can be used in the advertisement and promotion of this garden for years to come.

While he was busy inside, I was able to help Carol and some community members outside. They have been working on expanding their already-existing Donation Garden for awhile now, but realized the ground they want to work with wasn’t exactly flat. They were able to smooth it out and install some raised beds that were built by DMACC students. There was a donation of soil by a member of the community, and with plenty of help, that project is just awaiting some plants! I was also able to spend some time weeding the existing area with a few Master Gardeners. That night, we were able to go to a Newton City Council meeting with Carol, where we presented the ideas we had for the Inspiration Garden and what work we had done so far. Spreading the word and gaining support is essential to the success of the garden, and we really hope that the Council enjoyed the presentation.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Marion County. Fun with Bots had a great turnout, with 10 participants in Knoxville (pictured above) and 13 in Pella (pictured below). Because there were quite a few signed up for the Pella camp we had Max, the summer intern for Marion County Extension and Outreach, help us out. We appreciate it more than he knows! Kids were able to learn about robots, why they are designed, how they work, and where engineers get their ideas for the robots. We were able to program and explore BeeBots and some special robots named Dash and Dot. Snack time was extra special, as we got to eat “Robot Snacks”. Bolts, nuts, washers, and miscellaneous metal pieces were on the menu. The photo shown doesn’t do much justice, but it was a mix of cereals, pretzels, and chocolate chips covered with edible silver glitter. By the time snack time was over with, we were all turning into robots with our fingers and lips colored silver.

While we didn’t have time nor the budget to create our own functioning robots(to the disappointment of a few kids), we were able to make our own play dough robots to bring home with us. We had so many creative ideas! All sorts of different shapes and abilities. There were robots that would pick up trash, make food, wash dishes, fly, babysit, act as body guards, and all sorts of other cool things.

Once the kids all went home and the camps were over with, Jake and I spent the rest of the week in Newton. We had a few meetings, but after that we were able to get back to planning and designing. Jake did a lot more work with his new program, and I was able to create a promotional brochure for the garden. While this more than likely isn’t the final design, I’m happy with how it turned out! We also did some planning for a kid’s day in the garden for next week, where they will be able to learn about plants and the importance of pollinators. All in all, week 5 was pretty great.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading! -Kaylee

This Week in Region 11

Where did we travel this week?

Hiawatha Summer Camp

Shay and Jenny participate in Hiawatha summer camp every Friday for an hour. The topics we try to cover include urban agriculture and how food comes to tables. This week our lesson was about farmers’ markets and the struggles farmers have. They played a mock farmers’ market where there were producers and consumers. The food we brought was mostly foods you would see at a market. The producers sold the fruits and vegetables at their market, but as a consumer would buy the product, the producer took away a set amount of land and water. Explaining that to have produced, you lose resources as well. On the flip side, the consumers were given $12 to spend on the product; they could spend it all in the first round or save the money for the next round. Most choose to spend the money right away rather than save the money. 

Old School Produce Partners

This week has been another crazy week in the garden. The struggle of this week was all of the green onions that needed to be harvested and sprayed. Jenny spends lots of time weeding and thinning out the onions to be sent out to local food pantries in Benton country. Not only were onions going crazy, so were the tomatoes. The tomatoes are growing exponentially in the past week, they are now due to be hung over and trimmed. 

Women in Agriculture

This past week Shay got the chance to sit in on the Washington County Women in Ag meeting. It was incredibly helpful and interesting to see how Washington County’s program operates and the level of community involvement and care was incredibly inspiring. Beyond meeting the Washington County Women in Ag Advisory Board, we continued to reach out and meet with other organizations committed to empowering women in agriculture.

A County Fair WORTH Attending


Greetings from North Central Iowa! The Rising Star Interns from Region 4 had a productive week with lots of time to work on our projects together. This week our team member Rebecca was in Europe on vacation, we sure missed her!

On Monday morning we had our weekly meeting with Sarah DeBour and we updated her with the status of our projects. We always appreciate getting her feedback and hearing her ideas. 

On Tuesday, the interns spent time individually working on their different projects. Aleyda made great progress in her work with Central Gardens in Clear Lake and the handbook she is helping create for them. Cooper worked diligently to draft plans for buildings and landscapes at the Art Farm, located near Northwood. Sarah continued to work on drafting lesson plans that align with the Lincoln Intermediate School science curriculum, as well as continue to work towards the objectives set for the project. 

On Wednesday, Sarah and Aleyda made the trip to CAL public school in Latimer, Iowa to meet with Jill Craighton, the greenhouse manager there. They got a tour of their facilities and also learned more about the greenhouse manager role. This helped the team better identify what a greenhouse management position could look like at Lincoln Intermediate. 

Cooper also met with Jed Findlay, an Extension marketing specialist to discuss our project at the Northeast Research Farm. Check back next week to hear about the Field Day at the Research Farm! 

Thursday, Sarah and Aleyda traveled to Charles City to have a work day in the Floyd County Extension office. there the team prepared agendas and confirmed their meeting schedule for next week. 

Sarah and Aleyda working on their projects in Floyd County

On Friday, team members Aleyda, Cooper, and Sarah headed to Northwood to take part in the Worth County Fair. The team set up a booth to highlight the Art Farm to fair-goers, and many seemed very interested in the Art Farm. It was a fun day at the Worth County Fair! 

Aleyda, Sarah and Cooper at the Worth County Fair with their Art Farm display