Region 1: Final Countdown

The summer has finally come to an end. We still can’t believe that the internship is already over, as we only have 3 days left in Region 1. These last few days are full of goodbyes. We are very sad to end all of our programs but have enjoyed our internship very dearly. It was amazing watching the children we impacted grow in both knowledge and experience. We will surely look back on this summer and cherish the memories made with both the children and all of the Region 1 extension staff. Here are some of the highlights from our summer as Rising Star Interns.  

We asked Bright Beginnings Daycare in Sibley to describe our Beginner Gardeners program. Here are some of the words they used to describe our program.

We have enjoyed our time at all of the extension offices in Region 1. Thank you to all of the offices for their help throughout this past summer. We couldn’t have done it without them!


Region 1 Rising Star Interns, Alyssa Rosenbaum, Madeline Robinson, and Natalee Dippel

Region 1: Coming to a Close

Wow! I can’t believe it is our final full week as Rising Star Interns. It seems like yesterday we were just moving into our apartment at NCC. As the internship draws to a close, I look back on my time with great pride. These past few months have been full of positive, creative energy where no two days are alike. I have been able to further develop and grow not only as a person but also as a future agriculture educator.

One of my most favorite parts about the internship throughout the summer has been getting to know the kids at each of the daycare programs. If anyone knows me, they know that I love both working and being around kids. They have such authentic and curious minds. When telling the daycares that it is our final time coming, you could see the children’s sad body language. It made me realize that we really did make a positive impact on them just as they made an impact on me. Although I may not be completely ready to leave them, knowing that I made a difference makes parting a little bit more bearable.

I also benefited tremendously from getting to network with so many people not only in extension but from everyday occurrences. Whether it was extension specialist, county staff, master gardeners, or community members, getting to build relationships with them throughout the summer was vital to my career growth.

I will remember all the people through extension that have inspired me as I strive to carry that inspiration to others. Thank you Iowa State University Extension for an incredible and memorable summer!

-Signing off

Natalee Dippel, Region 1 ISU Extension & Outreach Rising Star Intern

A Busy Week for Region 1!

This week had been jam-packed. We have had so many new activities along with our normal routine. Although it has been jam-packed, it has also been a lot of fun. The weeks are slowly dwindling down, as we now only have 2 weeks left. I am starting to feel sad about leaving, as I will miss working with my co-workers, teaching kids, and gaining new experiences.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

As I mentioned, we had a lot of activities out of our norm this past week. On Saturday, we had another food demonstration at the Lakes Area Farmer’s Market in Spirit Lake. This was our second and final food demonstration. We sampled a crunchy cabbage salad, which consisted of cabbage, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and onions, all purchased at the farmers’ market, topped with a light ranch dressing. The food demonstrations have been one of my favorite programs of this internship. I love testing out recipes and sharing them with others. I even taught Maddie and Natalee new ways to cut vegetables.

On Monday morning, we helped at static judging for the Osceola County Fair. Our job was to write comments for the judges. I was never involved in 4-H, so it was a whole new experience for me. I enjoyed listening to the kids share their projects. You could tell they were really passionate and proud of their work, and they had a right to be! After judging, we jumped back into our usual Monday routine. We headed over to the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden and weeded. Then, later in the day, Natalee and Maddie stayed in Rock Rapids to run PoP Club, while I headed back to Sheldon to do the same at the Farmers’ Market. This week, the kids’ activity was matching plant seeds to their corresponding plant. The vegetables taste-tested were green beans and cucumbers.

The next day, Tuesday, we stuck to our normal routine. We helped weed the Sanborn Donation Garden and even experienced our first harvest of the season, swiss chard and spinach. Harvesting is my favorite part of gardening, and I am happy we were able to experience a little bit of it before we are done working for extension. Later, we had a program at the YMCA in Spencer. This week we taught the kids about different types of gardens.

Osceola County 4-H BBQ

As for Wednesday, we had another kids’ program but this time at Bright Beginnings Daycare in Sibley. Here we taught them about the five food groups and the importance of each one. We also helped out at the Osceola County Fair 4-H BBQ. Our job was to shuck and butter corn. It was fun getting to interact with the community. On Thursday we gave a presentation over PoP Club in Rock Rapids.

Then to wrap up our very eventful week, tomorrow, Friday, we will be at the Sioux County Fair with a kids’ craft. We will be having them make animal masks. I am looking forward to working with the kids here!

Keep following our blogs, as we will only have two more for the summer!


Region 1 Internship Hacks

For the blog this week I have decided to write down some things I have found helpful throughout the summer. This is my first internship and will be the last one I complete before graduating from Iowa State in December. While I have had jobs in the past that have given me great experiences, there is something unique about internships and how they allow you to fully immerse yourself in the workplace. Here I have put together a list of things I have found helpful to ensure I get the most out of the Rising Star Internship program this summer!

1.) Have an open mind

As much as you plan ahead of time, there is always a chance that things may go off course. For example, when planning the curriculum for the Orange City and Sibley daycares there are times when we have extra time that we did not plan for. Having simple games in the back of your head is helpful so you don’t panic when there is extra time at the end of a lesson. Having an open mind allows you to not beat yourself up when something does not go as planned, and instead turn it into a learning experience. By having an open mind I was able to learn how to improvise and not become frustrated when plans don’t go as planned.

2.) Get to know the people you work with

At previous jobs I have only worked part-time because I was attending school. Moving to a different town for an internship and being fully immersed in the job comes with stronger work relationships. I have had more time to develop relationships and get to know the other interns and employees at extension. Putting in the effort to talk and get to know the other employees pays off because of the support system that you develop.

3.) Have a routine activity or hobby outside of work

While moving to a new town for work has many benefits, sometimes it can be hard to find activities outside of work to focus on. Having an activity separate from work is important for self-care and developing a routine. When we get back from long work days, I take the time to walk the trail near the dorm or go to the gym. Even just a quick trip to the grocery store gives my mind something else to focus on besides work. Having this time is important for self-care, so you can come back to work and feel ready to go again.

4.) Save time for reflection

With all the new connections and networking skills I have gained this summer, it is important to take time to understand how I will use this to benefit my future career. At the end of the day take an experience whether it is good or bad from the day and reflect on what you learned. For example, we planned a way to measure the success of the Beginner Gardener and PoP club programs by collecting data from participants. The ability to gather data and measure the success of a program is essential for any future project I will undertake. By reflecting on how I can use this skill set, I was able to gather ways that I can use this new information in my future. Taking this time to reflect is so important to get the most out of the internship experience!

Thanks for reading!


Half way done for Region 1!

It seems like just yesterday, we were arriving to Sheldon, moving into our little apartment, and getting to know one another. Somehow, it is already the halfway point of our internship. Over the past few weeks, I have gained some of the most valuable experiences of my life. I have learned so many new skills and ideas that will be very beneficial in my everyday life and future career. Now, not all of the things I have learned have been “educational”. Over the past few weeks, traveling from county to county, I have developed favorite places to stop. Here is the official top 5 list of the best places to go (more like eat) in the Northwestern part of Iowa from Region 1 interns.

Number 1, Sheldon: If you’re from around Sheldon, you have probably heard of Dairy Dandy. Natalee and I enjoy late night drives for turtle sundaes. We definitely recommend the ice cream from here. Hmm… typing about makes me want to go eat some.

Number 2, Rock Rapids: The best place we have eaten at is by far Slade’s Drive In. They have the best bacon cheeseburger. If you have passed by without eating it, you should be ashamed and make a trip next time you are nearby.

Number 3, Orange City: Now this one is my ultimate favorite. Orange City’s Town Square Coffee House. They have a seasonal hibiscus lemonade that is amazing. Every time we drive by, I tell Maddie and Natalee we should stop for one.

Number 4, Okoboji: We haven’t spent much time in Okoboji, but a few weekends ago after Bike-N-Bite, we stopped by Tropical Sno for snow cones. Tropical Sno melts in your mouth. My favorite flavor is lemon-lime. This weekend, we will be at the Lakes Area Farmers’ Market in Spirit Lake, which means we might even have to stop again.

Number 5, Spencer: Just like Okoboji, we haven’t stopped much while in Spencer. However, we recently ate at Chens Garden, and the sesame chicken and crab rangoons were so good. We only have half of our summer left to explore more of Spencer.

As a Culinary Food Science major, my brain is always on food, but I can promise you we haven’t only been eating. This week has been another busy one. We had PoP club on Monday, Orange City Area Daycare and Spencer’s YMCA garden lessons on Tuesday followed by Bright Beginnings Daycare garden lessons and Sibley Donation Garden on Wednesday. This past week, we educated the kids on flowers and plant parts. Thursday was suppose to be spent in the Sanborn Donation Garden, but we got stormed out! Friday we will continue to plan for our Saturday’s food demonstration at Lakes Area Farmers Market where we will be serving a Summer Bounty Salad. We will also continue planning an educational program for adults called Bite By the Barn for the Clay County Fair.

Continue to follow us weekly on our blog, as we approach the final downhill slide!

– Alyssa

Region 1-Busy, Exciting, & Successful

Busy, exciting, and successful—those are the three words I would use to describe this week! On Saturday we were up and on the road by 6:30 am to head on over to Dickinson County for the 2nd Annual Okoboji Bike-N-Bite but of course, we had to stop and get our coffee kick at Starbucks before we were ready to take on the day. The sun was shining and a total of 285 riders enjoyed biking the trails through the lakes area tasting delicious bites of local foods from the amazing sponsors! Afterward, we set out to pick up the signs along the route and let’s just say we got the full experience of summer Boji traffic. Once we were finally finished, we treated ourselves to some shaved ice from Tropical Sno.

Alyssa and I with our Tropical Sno.

After a very quick turnaround, we were back at it Monday morning working in the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden putting up fencing and setting up the irrigation system. That night we helped set up for PoP club and had the ladies from the Lyon county office cover for us, (THANKS LADIES!!) so we could make it to the Osceola County Extension Council meeting while Maddie ran the Sheldon PoP Club.

Tuesday afternoon we were at the Spencer YMCA teaching the Kids Club about the butterfly life cycle. We had them identify the differences between a male and female and then arrange life cycle cards in the correct order. At the end, they got to make their own life cycle to take home with them.

Butterfly Life Cycle Activity


Wednesday and Thursday, we spent our time at the Bight Beginning Daycare in Sibley as well as the Orange City Daycare planting our garden beds. The garden theme is a rainbow so each week we are talking about the health benefits of eating each color. This week we focused on the color red which benefits heart health and helps fight off illnesses.

Group selfie at the Sibley Daycare

To finish off the week, we will focus on planning Bite by the Barn, an event that will go on during the Clay County Fair in September that focuses on educating adults who are interested in learning more about basic agriculture.

As you can see, we have been quite busy but very successful. I am excited to continue moving forward with each of our projects, especially getting to know the kids a bit better each week. Be sure to stay tuned to keep up with what we are doing!

Until next time, Natalee

Week 4 Region 20 Interns- Mooo’ving into June!

Another busy week has come and gone for Region 20 Rising Star Interns. This week was fun filled with many activities and events. Starting Monday, we traveled to Burlington and spent our morning pulling weeds and planting a variety of vegetables at a Master Gardener’s Donation Garden. Once finished at the garden, we went back to the Des Moines County office to prepare for a library program and sampling later in the afternoon. The vegetable we were doing samples for was one many have never tried, pea shoots!! We prepared a lesson, prepped materials, and created “grow your own” kits for the participants to take home. We then headed to the Danville Library for our library program where we had eight participants ranging from 7-85 years old! Everyone who participated had a blast learning about a pea’s life cycle, different types of peas, and how to grow pea shoots. We gave all of the participants frozen peas, snap peas, and pea shoots to try, and all but one loved the pea shoot so we call that a success! Once the tastings were over, all participants were able to take their own “grow your own” kit of pea shoots home so they could have more for themselves. We had a blast at our first library program, and look forward to more programs every Monday in Danville and every Thursday in Mount Pleasant for the month of June.

Tuesday started off with us heading to Hinterland Dairy in Donnellson, Iowa to celebrate dairy month. We will be working on a blog and a few videos to promote some dairy farms within Southeast Iowa since June is dairy month! While touring Hinterland dairy, we were able to see all the adorable calves, cows, barns, and even the new cheesemaking facility that will soon be up and running! They plan to start making cheddar cheese curds and quark, and the public will be able to purchase this fresh, locally made cheese very soon. We are so excited to go back and try! Tuesday afternoon we headed over to Montrose to do a food sampling at the Montrose Farmer’s Market. While at the market, we had so many people come to our booth and taste the roasted asparagus sample we made. Many people enjoyed it and for some, it was their first time trying asparagus. We loved having conversations with the people at the market about local foods and getting people to try new foods!


Wednesday was yet another very busy day. In the morning, we went to another dairy in Southeast Iowa called Hilltop Dairy Inc. where we had a blast touring the barns. While touring, we were able to see the calves again (our favorite part), cows, barns, and got a glimpse of what occurs on their operation. We loved getting to see yet another dairy farm and meeting the local producers. After the tour, we were even invited into their house for a yummy home-cooked meal! Our hearts and bellies were full after leaving Hilltop Dairy. After returning to the office, we started to prepare for the Alive After Five city chamber event that was held at the office. This is an event where city chamber members are able to tour one office per month, get to know a little bit more about what that specific office or organization does, and also be provided a meal. There were over 100 people in attendance at this event and we were able provide asparagus samples as we talked about our work as Rising Star Interns to the many people in attendance. We had a great time getting to know more community members and business owners as we promoted local foods and the Rising Star Internship Program


Thursday morning started off with the library program at the Mount Pleasant library where we were still focusing on pea shoots. Due to the fact school was still in session for the kids in Mount Pleasant, we had a much younger age group participating than we expected. There were seven kids at the program who ranged from ages 2-4. They all tried the different types of peas and were able to take their own “grow your own” kits home with them. The kids all loved getting to decorate their take-home kit and enjoyed trying the peas! The rest of Thursday and Friday we spent our time back in the office and worked on upcoming projects and events. Although this week was jam packed and very busy, we had a blast with everything we accomplished in just five days! Stay tuned to see what we will be up to next week!


  • Grace, Rachel, and Katelin

Another Week Down for Region 1!

In a blink of an eye, week three has already come to end, as we completed another busy week. It has been a whirlwind first few weeks. It is only week three, and I already love being a Rising Star. I never realized how many projects were run by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach before starting the Rising Star Internship. A special shout out to all extension offices and your hard work, it has been amazing so far working alongside you and learning from you.

This week was our first week implementing garden related lessons in Spencer, Orange City, and Sibley. My favorite part was seeing the kid’s faces light up, as their hands shot into the air when they made a connection with the information we were teaching them. I loved hearing all of the kid’s former experiences with gardening. I am looking forward to returning each week to continue to get to know all of the kids and broaden their knowledge of gardening!

Maddie and Natalee working at Rock Rapids Farmers’ Market for PoP club.

Another first was PoP club. We ran a booth at both the Sheldon and Rock Rapids Farmers’ Market on Monday. Both locations had the kids taste test spinach. All the kids tasted the spinach, but lets just say not all of them swallowed it. All the kids were eager to start the activity and receive a $2 token to spend on any fresh fruits or vegetables. The activity for the week was bingo that required the kids to interact with not only other kids but vendors too. 

Maddie and Alyssa helping plant in the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden.




This week also included lots of gardening (one of my favorite parts) in the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden and Sanborn’s Donation Garden. It is exciting to return each week to see how the plants are growing and developing. I love gardening, and I am very excited to be able to put my hobby to use by helping the communities around the donation gardens.

To end our week, we will be in Dickinson County on Friday and Saturday to help set up and run Bike-N-Bite. If you haven’t already, check out Dickinson County Facebook page to learn more about Bike-N-Bite and see the promotional videos we personally made for all of participating vendors of Bike-N-Bite. It was great getting to meet and interact with all the vendor’s locations last week. We are looking forward to the actual event!

– Alyssa


Region 20 Week 3 Feels: excited, fulfilled, & ready for what’s next

Week three is complete for Region 20! We hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend that carried on those same feelings through this past week. It was another busy (but exciting) week for us! Tuesday was a day filled with preparation for our local foods presentation and activity that we presented on Wednesday and Thursday for the final days of the SWITCH celebration. The fourth and fifth graders loved the activity of the local food which consisted identifying where the fresh produce came from by looking at food labels and then placing stickers of the food items on a giant world map so everyone could see the origin of their foods. After our presentation and activity, we spent the rest of our Wednesday and Thursday helping out where necessary and taking photographs of students’ excitement as they participated in the SWITCH celebration at the Rec Center. There was a total of 84 students on Wednesday and another 120 students on Thursday, which can probably imply how exhausted we were by Thursday evening.

Although we were tired from all the excitement with the kids, our Thursday was not over yet!  Jamming to some tunes, we pumped ourselves up on our drive over to the Jefferson Street Farmer’s Market in Burlington. We were thrilled to present our sample tasting of local French Breakfast radishes and a veggie dip that we prepared at our first farmers market. The tasting was a huge success and everyone seemed to love it! We even had one girl say “I don’t even like vegetables, but this is so good!” Along with the samples we handed out “locavore” stickers, reusable shopping bags, and produce basic sheets from the “Spend Smart. EatSmart” website. We ended up running out of our food samples, so we would definitely call our first farmers market a success! We were able to share information about ISU Extension and Outreach as well as promote local foods as we connected with the farmers market’s visitors. We look forward to these interactions with the Southeast Iowa community as we present more tastings at upcoming farmers markets.