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!

Week 9 in Region 18 | Poultry, Parades, and Pollinators

Hello again! This week has been pretty crazy for Jake and I here in Region 18. Between County Fair season and our garden project truly starting to take root (sorry for the pun), we have been keeping ourselves very busy. Last Friday, Jake got his very first county fair experience! He was able to help with Goat Check-In at the Marion County fair while I got to use my brand-new Pullorum Typhoid testing certification to help blood test at the Poultry Check-In. The next day, we were back at the Marion County Fairgrounds to host the county’s very first Skillathon! In this event, teams are split into age divisions (K-3, 4-12, and Adult) and are able to compete various components of Poultry Evaluation. The different stations that each team had to compete at were Body Part Identification, Meat Cut Identification, Comb Type Identification, Breed Identification, In-Shell Egg Grading, Egg Type Hen Placement, and Brooder Issue Identification, with a tie-breaker of Carcass Grading. We were thrilled with the turnout, and had plenty of people let us know that they learned a lot when competing and still had fun. First place teams received certificates, custom bag chairs, and $25 while second place teams received certificates and custom livestock buckets! Pictured below are the first place winners from each age division, along as the flyer used to advertise the event.

On Sunday, Jake was able to help out with Barnyard Olympics at the Marion County fair. I wasn’t able to be there, but it sounded like a lot of fun! Monday rolled around, and I took the morning to PT test poultry at the Mahaska County Fair and then met Jake in Colfax at the Jasper County Fair. While we were there, we got to host a craft booth to teach people about pollination. Participants were able to make their very own bees, and got to “pollinate” paper flowers with chalk dust! We were even able to see what bees see with the “bug eyes”. It was a lot of fun, and we got to meet some very nice people. Jake and I got the chance to walk around the fairgrounds, and he pet a sheep and a hog for the very first time. That night, we were able to walk in the parade, and we were shocked with the amount of people who were there! It was amazing to see the community come together in that way.

Tuesday was another busy day, as we hosted our “Planting Event” at DMACC Newton campus. It was an amazing turnout, and we cannot thank the people that showed up enough. At this event, we were able to install the first section of the Inspiration Garden! The Native Pollinator Garden consists of five 6’x10′ beds that are full of native pollinator plants. We were able to do this through the generosity of the Keep Iowa Beautiful grant, sponsored by Alliant energy. Members of the community from all age ranges as well as representatives from various organizations including Plant.Grow.Fly. at Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium were present. The members of the Jasper County Master Gardeners led the planting and were able to teach younger volunteers how to properly plant. Not only did volunteers work to put plants into the soil, but there were also educational opportunities. The importance of native plants and pollinators was discussed, and we even had a few live Monarch caterpillars and butterflies! Of course, we had information about the rest of the Inspiration Garden up as well. We were able to make a difference in the community, educate the volunteers, and meet so many great people. All in all, it was a truly amazing day.

Wednesday was spent in Newton at the Marion County Fairgrounds, helping with static project check-outs. In the morning Jake was able to run the Bucket of Flower sales and pick-up, and in the evening I got to watch the parade of champions, Senior and Clover Kid Graduate Recognition, and the Bucket of Junk auction. Thursday was spent in the Jasper county office catching up on things that we had missed while we were at the fairs, and because we worked over the weekend we got Friday off. So many memories were made this week, and we want to say a huge thank you to everybody who worked to make it all possible.

That’s it for me, have a great weekend! -Kaylee

The Final Countdown! | Week 9 in Region 4

It was a busy, busy week for the Region 4 Rising Stars! We started right out of the gate on Monday with a meeting to update on our projects and got some guidance on our final presentation and final reports – which are due in a couple of weeks!!

We are at a point in the summer where the projects are beginning to wide down – we are focusing on finishing up with our deliverables for the counties and other partners, as well as shifting more attention to the final reports and putting together the presentation. Because of this, our days are more mellow and filled with lots of individual work time! Following our project update meeting on Monday, we headed over to Cabin Coffee Co. to power through on our projects and reports.

This summer – as you have seen through our blog posts – the Region 4 interns are working on seven (7) different projects throughout the five counties in the region. At the start of the summer, the four of us picked different projects to take the lead on and focus on. So, while we are not always able to work on the same project, we rely on each other for feedback when it comes to the projects. This is one of my favorite parts of working in an interdisciplinary team – there are three other perspectives I might not have considered; but, because of my teammates, I have a new way of thinking and approaching problems and concerns when they come up. Our individual work time is valuable, not only because we can work on the projects individually, but because we can also work together to come up with solutions and find ways to make the projects even better.

On Monday, the interns were able to meet with administrators at Lincoln Intermediate School in Mason City to continue discussion about the greenhouse project. One of the main concerns the teachers had was effectively incorporating the greenhouse into the existing curriculum, and being able to manage a classroom of students in the greenhouse. Rising Star Sarah Nelson heard their concerns and has been working diligently to create lesson plans aligned with the curriculum for teachers; Cooper and Sarah have also created plans for a classroom to be set up in the greenhouse! This way, when teachers and students want to do a lesson involving the greenhouse, they can be out there the entirety of the class period, which will save on time getting from the classroom to the greenhouse to do different activities.

The administrators – including the principal, vice-principal, and instructional coach – were really excited to see what has been created off of the project from 2021. During the meeting, we began discussion of what needs to happen next concerning teacher training so they feel prepared and ready to go into the greenhouse this coming fall.

Finishing off Monday strong – the Rising Stars traveled over to Osage to present plans for the community garden to the Osage City Council. During this meeting, we were able to answer questions anyone in attendance or those on the council may have. Oftentimes, when there is a big project – like the community garden – it can be hard to garner support from organizations like the city council. However, that is not the case in Osage! This is something that several people within the City, Parks and Rec, and Extension are excited about and ready to see come together this summer and be ready to go next spring!

Tuesday and Wednesday were nice, relaxing days after a busy Monday. We spent more time working on our projects, sending emails, and scheduling wrap up meetings. As mentioned before, the individual work time is nice because we are able to talk about the projects with each other and receive feedback, as well as talk through and make plans for the upcoming days and week. This time was also spent preparing to go to the Floyd County Fair on Friday, and the Franklin County Fair on Saturday.

Thursday we headed over to the Cerro Gordo Extension Office to put together our display for the Floyd County Fair. We were able to set up in the Convention Center on the fairgrounds with our display talking about the Rising Star Internship and highlighting our projects in Floyd County. For reference, those include:
1) Free Veggies – Floyd County: a public Facebook group to promote the produce and vegetable donation site in Charles City.
2) Social media marketing and promotion for the Charles City Farmers Market.
3) A promotional video for the Northeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm.
We finished off Thursday with a Zoom meeting about the Iowa Art Farm. Cooper continued to share his designs for the landscape, and what natives plants could be planted around the farm with Steve.

On Friday, we met with Sarah DeBour (Cerro Gordo County Extension Director) to go over a rough draft of our presentation and share our progress. Because of our seven (7) projects, we want to make sure we are adequately sharing what we accomplished and what we have learned with the other Rising Stars – without taking up too much time! Having feedback meetings with the county directors is really good, because we are able to use that feedback to improve our presentation, our projects, and ultimately our future work because of what we are learning from them and from each other. I think one of the our favorite parts of the internship so far has been all of the coffee shops (and ice cream shops) we have been able to explore! So of course, before heading to the Floyd County Fair, we had to make a coffee stop at Cabin Coffee Co. in Mason City. While we waited for our drinks, Cooper looked super cool on the saddle seat.

On Saturday morning, the Rising Stars woke up bright and early to travel down to Hampton for the Franklin County Fair! We presented our project with the La Luz Community Garden to the Extension Council and shared about our other projects and the internship. Afterwards, we were able to explore around the county fair for a while.

It is hard to believe that we are in the last few weeks of our internship! I know all four of us have really enjoyed being in North Central Iowa and have loved working with and learning so much from the county directors. We are looking forward to finishing up our projects and presenting our the finals drafts to the counties and other partners we have worked with.

Week 8 in Region 6

Here is our highlight reel from our busy week!

Monona County Fair

The Monona Fair was a great first experience for the Rising Stars to learn the behind the scenes work that goes behind fairs. We learned how to do livestock weigh-ins, result entries, planning barn charts, and so much more! It was a hot and humid week, but everyone in the community stepped up to help each other out. Activities that happened at the Monona County Fair include: livestock shows, dog shows, static shows, teen night, tractor pull, and interviews! Scroll through the photos below to see some of the fun!

PoP Club

The kids this week in PoP Club got to a scavenger hunt and a craft making insects and flowers! At the farmer’s markets there are normally lots of adults, kids, and dogs….but this week we saw a bottle goat wearing a tutu!

Saturday was the long-awaited Bike and Bite event! The rising star interns as well as Madi and lots of others have helped to set up this bike event with the Sioux City Farmers Market. We had over 50 people come out and ride around Sioux City, stopping at different locations to try all the local flavors the vendors had to offer. We even got to bring the blender bike out to make fruit smoothies to promote local foods and healthy eating! It was a super busy week for the Region 6 interns but full of lots of fun and tons of new experiences!

Week 8 in Region 1

Hitting Hydration Home with PoP Club

After a couple of weeks of not doing Monday PoP Clubs, we were finally reunited with our Sheldon and Rock Rapids participants. This week our focus was water; thus we decided to do infused water. We had samples of cucumber lemon water for the kids to try and they were also able to take a fruit and vegetable coloring sheet with them. Lots of the kids liked trying the water and some said it kind of tasted like lemonade. Many of them even said they wanted to make some at home. With such a successful activity and great turnout this week, we had a record number of children spending their PoP tokens; even during fair season!

Pretty Plots with Garden Camp

We started our morning by going to garden camp in Lyon county. With fair starting next week, we lead the activities for the morning. Our main goal for the day was to get everyone’s plots looking very nice. During the Lyon county fair there is the garden tour where the regional horticulture intern gives a tour of the donation garden and all of the garden camp kids are able to show off their plots. Lots of weeds had grown over the past few weeks so weeding took quite a bit of our time. However, we made sure to save enough time to enjoy a snack of cherries, cotton candy grapes, and rice crispies and play a game.

Veggie Scrambles with Dayhab

This week in dayhab was another cooking week! Our focus was on protein and a little bit of dairy. We talked about different sources of protein and how meat is just one source. Our main ingredient this week was eggs, so we decided to make a veggie scramble. The ingredients used were eggs, spinach, red bell pepper, ham, and cheese. This was a great teamwork activity since everyone had to work together to get all of the ingredients ready to be scrambled. This was a huge hit among all of the dayhab clients. One of our favorite parts was when the Orange City dayhab clients requested to finish the leftover spinach!

Farming Innovations

On Wednesdaymorning, we split up to attend two different events. Erin went to the Northwest Iowa Research Field Day while Morgan and Camilla ran the weekly Daycare Garden Program. At the field day, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists presented their projects from the past year to a group of farmers to help them understand how they can change their practices for the better. Topics presented on included crop economics, nitrogen measurement methods for field crops, and tar spot, amongst others. Erin had a great time and learned a lot about Northwest Iowa Crop raising and how extension helps local farmers.

Learning Local Foods with George Daycare

Over at the George Daycare, Morgan and Camilla had a fun time with the preschool-age kids. Our first activity was talking about farmer’s markets and how some farmers take their produce there to sell. We read the book Tractor Mac Farmer’s Market, which the kids really liked. This book really emphasized the importance of eating healthy and not just junk food. After the book, we traveled outside to check on the garden and try another piece of kale. After checking the garden, we all played a fun game of red pepper, green pepper (red light, green light). 

Sioux County Fair Finale

Speaking of fair season, Thursday was the last day of the Sioux County Fair. It marks the end of our first fair in region one. We had the opportunity to attend three times. During our time there, we were assistant judges to static exhibits, judged working exhibits, and judged herdsmanship. We also got to enjoy some great fair food!

Joke of the Week

I love watching water run on the internet.

It’s a live stream