Week 1 in Region 13

This summer, we will be working in both Crawford and Shelby Counties. We had a busy but successful first week! We started meeting with the office staff from Crawford and Shelby County Extension Offices on Monday and Tuesday. We spent Tuesday up in Denison at the Crawford County office. In Denison, we learned about the basics of produce and how to properly preserve food. We ended our week on Friday by going over to the Shelby County Fairgrounds to help the masters gardeners with their junior gardeners’ event. Kids could come and plant their own container garden of tomatoes and peppers.

Week 1 in Region 1

This week started with the rescue of 500 chicks from the post office, which we helped deliver to 4H participants. We then had the opportunity to visit the Day Hab groups in Orange City and Lyon County. We presented a “Getting to Know You” PowerPoint presentation to the Orange City Day Hab group. This was a fun and interactive way to get to know everyone in the group. We also had the opportunity to check out the Hull Museum in Hull City and learn more about the history of Extension and Outreach in Iowa and where it all started.

Week 2 in Region 17

Research Round-Up

To start the week strong, our team traveled around town to gather information regarding the cost breakdown of a square-foot garden for one of our three projects. Our research was insightful, and we discovered that creating a square-foot garden can be affordable and accessible.

Donation Garden

Like last week, our team had the opportunity to support the Beloit Donation Garden again. We weeded, hilled potatoes, planted marigolds, and mulched strawberries. A few things we learned throughout our garden experience are: hilling potatoes prevents them from turning green. This green color is because the potatoes react with light and produce chlorophyll. The chemical reaction that occurs is not good for human ingestion. After learning this information, we made sure to cover them well! As we were hilling them, we had to watch out for pests hiding on the leaves of the potato plants. Some of these we had to squish with our fingers, but to prevent them in the future, we created a patch of marigolds. Marigolds keep away pesky fritters and attract those helpful pollinators. Being able to connect with the other community members and learn more about gardening through them was a highlight of our Tuesday.

Cultivating Hope Farms

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to visit Cultivation Hope Farms, which is right outside of the City of Ames. Cultivating Hope Farms is an organization that supports the growth of individuals with autism and other abilities by developing life skills and knowledge using animals and agriculture. The event the Rising Stars helped run involved flower and bird recognition. We hid feathers and flowers in hay bales and around the farm…some even ended up hidden in the turkeys. Once all the hidden items were collected, we asked our guests some questions about the color of the feathers, and then they painted with various sensory items. Along with the new friends we made through the activity, we were introduced to many of the fan-favorite animals on the farm. One is a black cat named Draco, and another is a newly born Calf named Deb! 

Week 1 in Region 17

Donation Garden Visit

This week we had the opportunity to visit the Beloit Donation garden. Our team got down and dirty helping out the regular volunteers with transplants and mulching. The garden consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables each with different species. The main master gardeners, Kent and Susan, focus on optimizing yield from the garden through planting varieties. On the outskirts of the fenced garden is a fruit orchard with a variety of trees. It was amazing to see what a successful donation garden looks like. Susan and Kent clearly put a lot of effort to get food on the tables of people experiencing food insecurity. Although they are doing a great job, the garden does still have its problems. Right now, Beloit Garden relies on Bethesda Lutheran Church for their water source and their land is borrowed rather than owned. As we look into helping the Beloit Garden and potentially building another in Story County, we are taking into consideration the very real struggles faced by Susan and Kent. We hope to alleviate some of their stressors. 

Fairground Tour

Our Region 17 team took a trip to Nevada to tour the Story County fairgrounds. We were able to see the buildings where 4H shows their livestock as well as some of the playing fields. Our little road trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the Historic Downtown of Nevada! Our team stopped in a few shops and explored all the various activities downtown had to offer. It was a successful trip overall. 

Farmers Market

We ended our first week at the Ames Farmers Market on Main Street. While we were there, we celebrated mental health month with a stress ball making activity for the kiddos. The stress balls were made using balloons, Iowa State colors of course, and sand. The kids loved being able to play in the sand, and luckily for us it kept their parents around long enough for us to give them some information about our 4-H clubs! The Market was very successful. By the end of the day, we had hardly anything to carry back to the office because we shared so much information. It was amazing to see how excited kids and parents were to get engaged in some summer activities!

Week 10 in Region 6

Woodbury Pre-Fair Splash

Sunday was a beautiful, hot day for 4Hers to have a pre-fair splash! Roughly 15 kids were at the Moville pool, and spent a nice three hours swimming! These kids have been working hard all year on their fair projects, and deserve a break to have fun and be with friends.

Plymouth County Fair

The Rising Stars assisted with lunch at the 4H concession stand, and helping 4H members find their waiting spot for static judging. Gabrielle lead an activity on Friday at the round barn to educate the public.

Clover Kids Camp

The Rising Stars headed to Monona County for the last time and assisted at the Clover Camp. This camp consisted of activities in the garden, making french toast, making craft bees, playing with HexBugs, and lots of games!

Horse Camp

This week’s activity at horse camp at the Woodbury County Fairgrounds was open riding. Before the storm rolled in, participants were able to ride their horses, and work on anything they needed more practice doing! Some of these activities included pole bending, barrel racing, flag race, showmanship, and horsemanship.

PoP Club

For our last POP Club, we decided this week’s activity would be thank you cards. The kids wrote their favorite local producer a thank you card, colored it, and gave it to them to earn their wooden token. Every single vendor received a thank you, and the kids loved the fresh produce they received!

Week 10 in Region 1

Thanking PoP Club Members and Venders

For our final week with all four PoP Clubs, we wanted to do something special for the vendors. Thus, we decided to have all the PoP Club members make a thank you card for a vendor. The kids could decorate their thank you however they wanted, but we challenged them to draw a fruit or vegetable that they had bought this summer or one they tried. The kids all really enjoyed making the cards and the vendors liked getting the cards even more. This week our featured produce item was peppers. Like always most of the kids liked trying these but some did not. 

Watermelon Salsa

We started our Tuesday by attending garden camp in Rock Rapids. This week was super fun because the kids were able to harvest some of their produce and some of the surplus was donated to the Rock Rapids community. After harvesting, we all had fun making watermelon salsa and eating sweet corn. This was a good refreshing snack, that was super easy to make and tasted really good. We are excited to see what we are going to be doing in garden camp next week!

Pizza Party with Dayhab

On Tuesday and Thursday, it was our final time meeting with the Sibley and Orange City DayHab groups. We wanted to have as much fun as possible so we had a pizza party! Each participant got to create their own pizza. With our recipe, we were able to use an ingredient from each food group.

We decided to do this since this has been our main focus all summer. For vegetables we used spinach, this week we considered tomato sauce as the fruit, pepperoni for the protein, and an English muffin for the base. While the pizza was cooking we got moving by doing some stretches.

We also had time to review the food groups by playing the game “Who Am I” where the player gives clues about a food by sharing the food group, color, etc and the other players try to guess who they are. Everybody really enjoyed creating and eating their own pizza. For the groups to remember us and their lessons we gave them a laminated paper with the MyPlate reference sheet on the front and a 5-day meal planning sheet on the back. We want the participants to utilize this to make sure they are eating healthy balanced meals and snacks even after our program is over!

This has been our favorite program this summer and going to miss seeing the smiling faces every week! Shoutout to both groups for giving each of us Thank You cards! It was so sweet and brought tears to our eyes.

The Great Garden Taste Test

This week was our final day with the George daycare kids. Our inside activity this week was reading the book, “Eat a Rainbow: Healthy Food” and then trying cherry tomatoes and cauliflower since that is what we have growing in the garden. After reading the book, we reviewed a lot of what we talked about throughout the summer including MyPlate, parts of the plant, what plants need to grow, and other topics. This was a good way for us to review what we have learned this summer. Outside, the kids watered their garden and observed all of the new growth that has been occurring. A couple of fun garden games were also played. Going to the George daycare has been lots of fun and a great learning experience. Working with 20 kids ages 3-9 has been a challenge at times but always rewarding to hear them repeat what you have taught them. 

Joke of the Week

What does a nosey pepper do?

Gets jalapeño business

Week 10 in Region 18 – Thanks for an Awesome Summer!

Over the past week, Kaylee and I have been in disbelief about how fast this summer has gone. It feels like yesterday when we first got acquainted with our new internships; we are so sad that it is over!

Over the past week, we wrapped up our internships with a final meeting with the Master Gardeners on Tuesday night. During the meeting, we reviewed all the design information with the Master Gardeners, clarified any final questions, and said our goodbyes.

On Wednesday, we wrapped up everything in Marion County by cleaning up our day camp kits and organizing surveys that we asked the parents of the kids that attended our camps. Our bosses, Sherry and Ashtin, even took us out to lunch! So nice of them. We wrapped up our day at Smash Park in Pella, where we played pickleball, bags, and Jenga. It was so hard to say bye to everyone!

On Thursday, we went to see the Allendan seed operation in Winterset. We saw how seeds were extracted, dried, germinated, and planted. We then ate lunch at a nearby park and reminisced about the fun we had during the internship. We ended our trip by exploring a maze in the park.

Overall, Kaylee and I had lots of fun during our internship, and we are sad to see it end. Thank you to those who have made our internship such an enjoyable experience; we could not have done it without you.
Have a good summer!

Week 10 in Region 4!

Hello from region 4! 

We have been hard at work this week with plenty of workdays and some meetings thrown in there. We are making progress on our reports, which are due next week. We can’t believe that we only have about two more weeks left until our final presentation, and we can not wait to present all about our seven projects on August 4th, in Morrill Hall, we hope to see you there! 

Our week started off with a productive workday. We were all hard at work, working on our part of the report and wrapping things up on some of the projects! Since we didn’t have any meetings scheduled on Monday we were able to leave Mason City in the evening to do some reading at the lake in Clear Lake and soak up the sun. 

We started off Tuesday with working more on our reports and had two meetings for our projects. We met with La Luz and Missy Crawford, where Rebecca presented them the handbook she created for their community garden. The girls went on to get pictures of the La Luz community garden and then went to get some sweet treats to cool off from the hot summer day! Later on in the day we met with Steve Hansen about the Art Farm project where Cooper showed him the landscaping plans. 

Wednesday was a busy, busy day for the interns. We started our morning with a meeting with Bryan Whaley to go over a rough draft of our presentation where he gave us some great feedback. From there we met Cindy Gannon to clarify some questions we had over our report. We are appreciating all the help that we’re getting! We later on traveled to Floyd county to meet with Lesley Milius and Susan Jacobs to talk to them about what and how they should use the Facebook group: Free Veggies – Floyd County. We then went over to Central Park to meet with the farmers market vendors to show them the logo Sarah designed along with some example posts for their social media. 

We winded down on Thursday and started off with another workday at the Cerro Gordo Extension Office where we all worked on formatting our report and getting some more things done for our projects. After leaving we went to Lincoln Intermediate to take some pictures of the greenhouse for the report! We then went to Central Gardens in Clear Lake for our final meeting where I presented the final layout and design of the handbooks! During the meeting with the board of directors, they discussed that we should try out The Viking (an ice cream shop nearby), we were told that the sizes were huge and it did not take a lot of convincing as we went there right after because these interns believe in sweet treat o’clock! We had been wanting to try out mini golf since the beginning of our internship so while we were in Clear Lake we stopped by (look at the pictures below to see who won)! 

Friday we caught up as a team and worked on our schedule for the upcoming week as well as a super secret mission, stayed tuned for the upcoming weeks to see what it is!

Week 9 in Region 1

We guac-ed and rolled at PoP Club

This week for PoP Club, our focus was on trying foods that can be found in gardens. The food we had the kids try this week was rainbow guacamole. This tasting included avocados, red onions, tomatoes, and yellow bell peppers. In addition to having the kids try the guacamole we had a list of fruits and vegetables and they had to guess what they were tasting in the guacamole. This was fun because it made the kids think about what was in the food they were tasting. We had lots of fun making the rainbow guacamole multiple times but buying 12 avocados at the same grocery store multiple times during the week was a bit funny. Some of the participants were very hesitant to try the guacamole; however, once they tried it most of them really liked it. Even parents were very surprised that their kids were trying and liking the guacamole. This week’s activity was a huge success and made us realize how much of an influence we have on what kids are trying. 

Snack Attack at Dayhab

We’ve been cooking up a storm in the past weeks at Sibley and Orange City DayHab. In previous lessons we have focused on making a healthy balanced meal but this week we focused on making a healthy balanced snack! Each person was able to make their own snack which consisted of a protein, fruit, and banana. Everybody really enjoyed their peanut butter banana cracker and couldn’t wait to make it for a healthy snack in the near future. Since this was such an easy and quick snack to make we had to review the food groups and to be active. We used our MyPlate resources to make a balanced meal with the food graphics and then we were able to make a balanced meal using the participants’ lunches. To stay active we did stretches that could be done sitting or standing. Everybody had the chance to contribute a stretch which made this activity extra fun. We had a little time to play the game “Who Am I” where we were able to say which food group we were and describe the food. The clients cheered when they would guess correctly. We had so much this week but us and the participants are sad that next week is our last week.

Garden Tour at Lyon County Fair

Tuesday night we made our way to the Lyon County Fair in Rock Rapids for the garden tour. To help with this event we purchased radishes to put in fun reusable bags with a radish recipe included and made strawberry basil infused water. The garden tour was super fun to watch and hear all about the garden. Growing in the garden is a camp for kindergarten through 3rd graders where they start to learn about plants and gardening. Then the kids from the garden camp that we help out at, talked about their individual plots. Finally, Dustin, the regional horticulture intern, gave a tour of the community donation garden that he has been working on. This was a great event and fun to be able to see the community want to learn more about what is going on in the garden area. After the garden tour, we had fun exploring the Lyon County Fair and enjoying some fair food

Avacados: The Great Debate

This week at the George Daycare we had a few different fun activities. At our outside station, we talked about the look of different plants, watered, and played a few fun garden games. The kids liked learning about why certain plants look certain ways. Inside, we had fun reading the book “Avocado Asks: What Am I?” This was a fun book with trying to figure out if an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable. We also tried rainbow guacamole just like the PoP Club kids. Most of these kids did not like the guacamole but a few did.

Joke of the Week

Why was the avocado followed by the paparazzi?

He was a guac star

Week 9 in Region 6

Read about our week below!

Tech Camp

Tech Camp was held in Woodbury at the Pierce Street location, and six kids came over to learn more about science and technology. With only a half day of camp, the kids were packed full of activities to do like designing three dimensional shapes with Strawbies, making a battery charged sound system, and building a structure out of cardboard and plastic screws!

Salsa Camp

Salsa Camp was held in Woodbury at the Morningside Public Library! This was an opportunity for kids to learn about food safety and enjoy a snack! Kids learned about cross contamination and how to avoid it, proper knife care and safety, and how to make a corn and black bean salsa.


Nathan and Alex spent Thursday morning harvesting the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden at the Woodbury Office. There was an abundance of green beens, leafy greens, peppers, and herbs! Roughly ten pounds of fresh produce was collected, and then donated to the local soup kitchen the same day!

PoP Club

The PoP Club activity this week was “parts of the plant”. It is a worksheet created by Region 6 Rising Stars where children can label five basic parts of a pepper plant. This is a fun way to have kids connect the parts of the plant to the fresh produce they eat!