Week 4 in Region 1

Can YOU Name that Produce?

This week’s PoP Club activity was “Name That Produce”. Participants had to close their eyes while they stuck their hand in the box. They then used their sense of touch to name the produce. Some of the mystery items we featured were an apple, kiwi, peach, broccoli, jalapeno, potato, and a cucumber. The children did a very good job guessing correctly! Some adults participated in the game and a few were stumped and couldn’t guess the right produce.        
Our featured vegetable for this week was radishes. For most children it was their first time trying them. They either loved it or spit it out.

Ready, Set, Grow!

On Tuesday, we started our morning in Lyon County helping with the garden club. The garden club is comprised of 4th-6th graders and their main goal this summer is to tend to their own plots. They have planted a variety of plants including carrots, tomatoes, beans, peppers, and flowers. This week their activity was to create a label for all their plants and continue caring for their plots. Each week they do a garden-themed activity to grow their knowledge in the area. This group is very independent and excited to learn. 

Fruit Kebabs with Dayhab

For the DayHab programs in Sibley and Orange City, we just wrapped up on our fruit lesson by making fruit kebabs. For this lesson, we began by discussing the importance of washing your hands and produce as well as knife safety. The fruit that we put on the skewers were strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and grapes. They were also given the option to dip them in yogurt. Everyone really enjoyed doing this activity and it was a great way to introduce a healthy snack to them. They all received another $2 token to use at Sibley Super Foods or at the area Farmers’ Market. 

The Garden is Growing 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. 

Joke of the Week

What vegetable loves rollercoasters?


Week Four in Region 6

Here is our week four highlights on this humid, hot week!

Monona Demonstration Garden

On Monday, with a high of 103 degrees, Nathan and Alex headed over to Monona to help weed their demonstration garden, and lay down newspaper and mulch for ground cover. After three to four hours spent outside, a break in the air conditioning was well deserved!

Livestock Day

On Tuesday, Alex headed back to Monona to help lead an activity for Livestock Day. The students spent the day doing activities that include labeling parts of livestock animals, washing and moving pigs, handling chickens, and a quiz bowl! Swine expert, Dave Stender, emphasized the importance of biosecurity in agriculture and used the glow-germ activity to show how quickly diseases can spread.

Clover Kids Camp

Tuesday and Wednesday in Plymouth County was loads of fun for 4-H Clover Kids and Rising Stars! The day was packed full of crafts including decorating wind chimes and flower pots, planting marigolds, making bird feeders, and pom pom caterpillars. Kids also listened to special guest, Victoria De Vos, who taught an interactive activity about plant growth. The day ended with ice cream and swimming!

Project Camp

Nathan, Gabrielle, and Alex headed over to Onowa for Project Camp! The kids made cinnamon rolls, sewed pillowcases, constructed squirrel feeders, and made a few art pieces. A lot of these projects will be presented at the county fair this summer!

This week was action packed with lots of activities and fun! Check back every week to see what Gabrielle, Nathan, and Alex are up to!

Week 4 in Region 18 | Agriculture (and meetings) Everyday

Hello! We started this week by working diligently on our project presentation in Newton. I worked on the design and made a few section drawings to help the viewer understand more about the site while Kaylee researched some materials such as lighting, bricks, concrete, rocks, soil, and many other materials! We then met the Jasper County Extension and Outreach Council and showed them our progress with the project so far; meeting such a great group of people was nice!

On Tuesday, Kaylee and I prepared for our Agriculture Everyday Camp. I also refined some more details in the design and put them into the presentation. We then drove to Newton to show our progress to the Master Gardeners. We also watched a presentation on how to graft roses before we presented. We received positive feedback with lots of helpful critiques! After working a 12-hour workday, we decided that getting Mcdonald’s would be the best way to end the day.

On Wednesday, Kaylee and I made the necessary changes to our design and ensured it met the Master Gardeners requirements.

On Thursday, we had our Agriculture Everyday Camp in Pella, Iowa. Since we had a larger group than usual, Max, an intern for the Marion County Extension and Outreach office, came to help teach the camp! This was Max’s first camp, and we think he did a really good job helping us out! We enjoyed teaching the kids about animal safety, insects, and crops! Being from a suburb of Chicago, I am not very fond of agricultural knowledge, so I also learned a lot from the camp.

On Friday, we are wrapping up the week and reflecting on what went well and what we can improve for future weeks. We also ended our day early because we worked overtime on Monday and Tuesday. With all this extra time, Kaylee is going home to Fairbank, and I am going home to Naperville, IL, to celebrate Father’s Day with our families.

We can’t wait to refine our design and present it at the City of Newton Council meeting on Monday, June 20th, at 6 pm!

See you all next week, Happy Father’s Day!


This Week In Region 11

Power of Produce

On Saturday Jenny and Shay had the opportunity to lead the PoP club at the Marion Farmers market. The main activity we did this week was a vegetable taste testing. There were radishes, snap peas, carrots, and asparagus. Not to much surprise the carrots and snap peas were the kids favorite, however many kids were surprised on how good the asparagus tasted. The least popular and got the most negative reviews were the radishes; however the kids were eager to try them and thought they were “little apples”. If the kids tasted at least one veggie they were rewarded with a three dollar coupon to use at any vendor that sold produce. We look forward for more PoP at different farmers markets in the future.

Linn County

Linn County has been busy busy busy this week with all sorts of fun activities. On Monday I hopped over to Benton to meet with representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to discuss their Women Land and Legacy Program and Women in Ag programming efforts. Then Tuesday I was switching gears and helping with our Art Investigators day camp in Marion where we learned about primary and secondary colors through a series of art activities. Wednesday we were off to Mt Vernon for another day camp, this time on the Science of Flight. We didn’t let the weather get us down as we launched paper airplanes and made paper helicopters. By Thursday we got a quick break to prepare for our visit to the Hiawatha Summer Camp and the Power of Produce stand the following few days. When we visited Hiawatha we made ice cream! We read books about ice cream and how it’s made before making some of our own before the rain came. While the rain stopped our fun in Hiawatha it did not stop our late lunch in Stone City with staff from Linn, Benton, and Jones. We visited a local restaurant and got to chat about how the last few weeks have gone and get to know staff members we don’t work with on a regular basis better.

Jones County

This was an exciting week in Jones County as we had our first week of Summer Science Discovery. Our classes for the week took place in Wyoming at the community’s Calkins Barn and in Cascade split between the City Hall and the Community Park. We had a couple days of rain which had us doing more a couple more inside activities than were planned but there were lots of fun lessons that the kids enjoyed. They were very excited to finally get outside and enjoy the weather and play some outdoor games. The curriculum planned was a success and we are looking forward to the rest of the classes in Jones County this month!

Thank you!!

Jenny, Shay, and Tyson

Week 3 in Region 1

Popping off PoP Club

This week, we had our first Power of Produce (PoP) Clubs in Sheldon, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Orange City. For PoP Club we attend Farmers’ Markets and have an activity for children ages 3-12 to complete, after completing the activity they have the opportunity to try a fresh produce item that can be found at the market. After completing both of these, they receive a $2 PoP token that can be used to purchase fresh produce at the farmers market. Our goal is to get children excited to try new produce items and learn more about healthy living. 

This week the produced themed activity was planting a vegetable seed in an egg carton for the children to take home and grow. They also had the opportunity to try spinach, most of the kids really enjoyed and some bought lettuce or kale with their token!

We had fun getting to know the vendors and the children who participated. Combining all four markets we had over 100 kids participate. At the Sheldon Farmers’ Market, Morgan and Erin got the chance to taste asparagus guacamole from a vendor and it was absolutely delicious. We have attached a photo of the recipe below. Camilla was at the Rock Rapids Farmers’ Market on Monday. Last year the highest number of children participating was 15 and this year we started strong with 17 at the first one. This year was the first year of POP Club at the Rock Valley Farmers’ Market, it was a hit with over 30 children participating. On Saturday was the Orange City Farmers Market. At this market on the second Saturday of each month is the Kids Market where kids have their own booth and are able to sell things they created. Some of the items included baked goods, crafts, and produce. 

     We are looking forward to seeing the numbers grow over the summer! 

Swinging by Sibley Dayhab

On Tuesday we traveled to Sibley to lead a healthy living program with Hope Haven DayHab clients. We introduced MyPlate and were able to practice making a healthy balanced meal. Then we started our new project for the summer. We are making food group flashcards, this week focusing on fruits. The fruits we included were bananas, apples, grapes, and strawberries. The flashcards include the name of the fruit, serving size, and nutrients they provide. Our goal is that the clients will utilize these flashcards when shopping, to encourage them to make healthier choices. Another activity was participants had the opportunity to plant their own vegetable seed and are excited to watch their plants grow throughout the summer. They also taste tested grapes and received a $2 token to use at Sibley Super Foods. Participants were very eager to learn and were asking questions the entire time. We are excited to come back every Tuesday and have fun lessons about healthy living!

Digging with George Daycare

On Wednesday we returned to the George Daycare. We split the 2 groups up by age, there was the school aged children and the preschool children. The older kids had the opportunity to replant some plants including kale, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and purple flowers. After they were done planting the younger kids were able to water the plants. The children really enjoyed the hands-on activity in the garden. They also had a good time being educated about MyPlate and making healthy choices. The younger children were able to learn about the different food categories by playing matching games. For the older children we challenged them to make one supper balanced meal and one silly balanced meal. We plan on practicing MyPlate and making healthy choices all summer while also doing fun hands-on activities in the garden. 

Seedlings with Orange City Dayhab

Thursday is the day we spend our mornings with the Orange City Dayhab clients. This week our main activity was transplanting their plants that they planted earlier this spring into a raised garden bed. They all loved doing this and are so excited to see their plants continue to grow. Before planting, we went over their MyPlate activity again and challenged them to create a balanced supper. This is one of their favorite activities and we love having them try to create new meals each week. Our featured produce to taste test this week was spinach. Some of the clients really enjoyed trying the spinach and others did not want to try it at all. The participants received a $2 token to use at the Orange City Farmers’ Market. This is one of our favorite times of the week as we all love getting to know everyone. 

Joke of the Week

Which vegetable always shows up in the lost and found?


Week Three in Region 6

Here are our highlights for this week in Region 6!

PoP Club Recipe Testing

Gabrielle spent all day Monday testing recipes for a future PoP Club event featuring rainbow lemonade! Everyone in the office enjoyed being a taste tester for all the different recipes. In an attempt to make multi-colored lemonade, Gabrielle infused different lemonades with oranges, strawberries, blueberries, green apple, and kiwi!

Monona Library Club

On Wednesday, Nathan, Gabrielle, and Alex headed over to the Onowa Public Library to help lead activities for the Monona Library Program. This program is a way for students to get outside, learn about healthy lifestyles, and make friends during their summer break! Some of the activities included making a smoothie on the blender bike, learning about heart rate, the value in eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, and a visualization of how much sugar is in different beverages.

Watch Me Grow- Beyond the Bell

Gabrielle went to Bronson Elementary School today to teach kids about seed dissection. As the summer progresses, students will learn more about plant growth as their own plants develop!

Food Truck Friday

Nathan, Gabrielle, Alex, and Madeline all went to Food Truck Friday to support local businesses. Check back next month to see some of these vendors at our Bike and Bite event!

Week 3 in Region 18 | Fizz, Bubble, Goo!

Hello again! This week, Jake and I got started on our Day Camps in Marion County! We’re very happy that ourselves and the kids all made it out in one piece, but beyond that, we think that everyone had a blast and learned a lot! Fizz, Bubble, Goo was a day camp that focused on the difference between chemical and physical reactions, the three states of matter, surface tension of liquid, and how science can be fun! Tuesday we had seven K-3rd graders attend in Knoxville, while Thursday we had nine K-3rd graders take part in Pella.

The camp is called Fizz, Bubble, Goo for a good reason! There were plenty of fun experiments for the kids(and Jake and I) to take part in. Everybody even got to bring home their very own slime and hydro-dipped artwork! We loved to meet all of these young members of the community, and can’t wait to see some familiar faces at some other day camps we will be hosting later this summer.

For our Jasper county project, I dedicated much of my time to researching various plants that would do well in the garden and compiled them into an excel sheet to present to the master gardeners in the near future. While I was working on that, Jake was busy finishing up the map for the garden on Illustrator. I might be biased, but I think it looks amazing!! More likely than not, this won’t be the final version. We’ll get the inputs from the master gardeners and go from there! As I type this post, Jake is working on making even more drawings for the garden, but these will be perspectives and section drawings that we can use to show people what walking through the garden will look like!

Inspiration Garden Illustrative

When we weren’t prepping, cleaning, researching, designing, or hosting day camps, Jake and I took it upon ourselves to have a bit of fun and explore the communities around us. We walked to the rooftop of the Roe Center in Pella, where they have plants growing. For lunchtime in our Pella camp we took all of the kids over to the Wooden Playground a few blocks down the street to eat and play. Jake tried his best to hula-hoop four at a time while we were picking up, and we stopped at Kone Korner in Knoxville for some ice cream! Needless to say, it was a great week!

Thanks for keeping up with what we’ve been doing here in Region 18! We’ll see you next week.


Good Things Come in 4s!

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

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


[ Sarah and Rebecca measuring the community garden in Osage ] 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ Rising Stars working to clear out the garden! ] 

Rising Stars with the finished product!

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

Region 4 – Week Highlights

Many things have been in motion for Region Four. With all the projects in full swing and a busy week ahead, we would like to share some highlights from last week.

[The team touring Hanson Farm led by Merle Hanson]

The first project highlight in Region Four comes from a project called Art on the Farm. One objective of this project is to collect information about assets. To help accomplish this task, the team took a tour around the farm. Led by Merle Hanson, the team was shown expectations for the final project. The next step for this project is redeveloping a site map that includes building and plant locations. This week we plan to gain a better understanding of what construction expectations will look like.

[Community Gardens in Franklin County]

The second project highlight comes from one of our four community gardens. This project has slowly taken hold within Franklin County. Many groups have planned to work together to rebuild this garden as a community. This week, the team plans to clean up the space. Be on the lookout next week for a before and after picture. We also plan to develop resources and activities for individuals to learn more about garden involvement.

[From left to right: Cooper Frakes, Aleyda Ramirez Reyes]

The third project highlight comes from a project called Central Gardens. This community garden is in Clear Lake, Iowa. After a meeting to set project expectations on creating a volunteer handbook, the team was shown around this magnificent garden. We learned each garden plot is adopted by an individual who then becomes responsible for its upkeep. This layout allows each garden to receive thorough care. With a variety of garden themes along many meandering paths, it is easy to see why so many individuals visit this garden.

[From left to right: Cooper Frakes, Aleyda Ramirez Reyes, Sarah Nelson, Rebecca Crawford]

To end our week off right, we stopped at South Shore Donuts Co. to celebrate National Donut Day. This little donut shop is located in Clear Lake, Iowa. With a variety of choices, it was hard to decide what sweet treat to eat. The donuts were complemented with a nice drive around the lake.

This Week in Region 11

Benton county:

Week three has been a very busy one here in Benton county. Monday kicked off the summer discovery camps, which will last until July. What is summer discovery camp you may ask? Well summer discovery is k-5 summer camp that is 5 consecutive days long centering around STEM learning. Every year around 140 k-5 aged kids sign up from all around Benton county. The camp has a morning and afternoon option touring different towns around the county. This year’s topic is flight, the campers are exploring wind, airplanes, and how flight works. I attended day two in Vinton, IA. This day we made windsocks out of tissue paper, sticks, and lots of tape! The kids learned how to determine which direction the wind is coming from, and how planes and helicopters land with heavy winds.

Not only was summer discovery busy, but green onions were ready to harvest this week. I spend mornings in the garden harvesting around 36 lbs of green onions for different food banks in the area, and this is only the beginning of the produce! Much more to come later in the summer. 

Linn County:

This week in Linn County has been full of meeting new people and learning tons of new things! After enjoying the holiday weekend I got to work Tuesday morning meeting with Madeline Schultz who manages Women in Ag Programming for Iowa State Extension and Outreach. We discussed the different programs offered and different ways to ensure the community’s needs and wants are met. It gave lots of cool ideas to think about and utilize throughout this project! Wednesday I took a break from Women in Ag to go to youth programming orientation day with the other Rising Star Interns and summer staff from other counties. We learned all about different management styles and experiential learning, the model of learning our camps use, and had tons of fun learning how to make our youth programming the best it can be. Then Thursday it was off to the SE Ag Team Meeting near Lisbon. We were hosted at The Lavender Farm at Sutliff and were treated to a tour of their acreage where they grow lavender for essential oil and u-pick opportunities, flowers, berries, and recently planted a variety of fruit trees; they also dabble in a bit of agroforestry and wood production. Their acreage was beautiful and the owners, Nancy and John, had so much interesting information about their farming, conservation, and production practices; be sure to check them out at The Lavender Farm At Sutliff on Instagram and Facebook! After all the excitement of the week, Friday was for managing all the preparations for some of our programs next week, we’ll start visiting the Hiawatha Summer Camp on Friday and take the Power of Produce to the Marion Farmer’s Market on Saturday so stay tuned!