Week 5 in Story County Region 17

This week in Story County, we had a blast enjoying the hot weather and wearing our red polos proudly. We started off the week with Rising Star Intern Jasmine Williams, Story County Extension Staff, and Master Gardeners providing an educational program at the Ames Farmer’s Market. They got to share knowledge about the amount of fruits🍎 and vegetables 🥦we should have daily by creating an activity that allowed people to choose what they would eat in a day. We then discussed if the right amount was achieved and made recommendations. Our Master Gardeners also answered questions about gardening/insects and led an activity on planting a flower of your choice. 

On Sunday, Emily Plagman got the chance to work with Cultivating Hope 4H Club to get feedback on what a future club leader should look like and how they want to shape their club to benefit the youth as best as possible. 

We welcomed Camp Blastoff and team Neutrino/volunteers on Monday as it was their first day of a hands-on robotic and logo camp. As we move through the week, all the Rising Star Interns got the chance to harvest cherries🍒, carrots🥕, kale, and broccoli🥦 at the Beloit Donation Garden. We closed the week with an Agriculture and Nutrition Wellness Program at Cultivating Hope Farms. Iowa State Extension and Outreach and Cultivating Hope Farms partnered to have a hands-on and inclusive program for families to learn about nutrition and livestock husbandry. Jasmine and Emily really enjoyed working with the youth as they got the chance to learn about the food they put in their bodies, where it comes from, and how what they don’t eat can be fed to the animals. The youth got to listen to a story, do a hands-on farmer’s market activity, learn about nutrition through the food items they picked, enjoy watermelon, and feed the skin of the watermelon/potatoes to the farm animals. Also, on Thursday, Colter got the opportunity to meet with representatives from the fair board to discuss the fair details. Thanks for tuning in with the Rising Star interns this week; check back next week for more!

Week 5 in Region 4: Worth County Fair!

The Worth County Fair was full of excitement for the Rising Stars in Region 4, Taylor and Lauren. We spent the beginning of the week preparing display boards to showcase Iowa State Extension on Wednesday. With this board, we interacted with fairgoers answering questions about extension and Iowa State University. The board hit the four education areas, 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Community and Economic Development, and Human Sciences. The display also highlighted subtopics within them. We had a coloring sheet as an activity for the youth to encourage them to engage in the display, as well.

After displaying our ISU Extension and Outreach board, we headed to the Pet Show where we assisted taking photos and Lauren served as the judge. On Thursday, we spent our morning at Art Farm Iowa constructing a bike rack, planting new flowers, and weeding our garden. In the afternoon, we collected judging cards and took photos of the Livestock Judging Contest. Friday’s display showcased the Iowa State University Rising Star Program and Art Farm Iowa. We communicated what the program is and what projects we are working on with emphasis on Art Farm Iowa projects. In addition to the display, we demonstrated how to make an origami butterfly. Art Farm Iowa plans to make a community exhibit for the butterflies to be showcased and plant a milkweed seed for every butterfly created for the program!

In Cerro Gordo County, we gathered more supplies for the upcoming Show Stock Buddies workshop and scheduled more Fresh on Friday dates! We worked on perfecting the craft and team builder activity for the upcoming buddies workshop. We made plans for activities for Fresh on Fridays! We decided, to compliment the Fresh on Fridays garden theme, “Eat a Rainbow,” by creating a cookbook utilizing Spend Smart Eat Smart recipes!

Week 5 in Region 13

Last week was a busy one for the Rising Star Interns in Audubon, Crawford and Shelby Counties. We started out our week in Shelby County where we put up our first composting bin at the community garden. We will work on starting the compost sometime in the coming week. 

We had two recycling day camps in Audubon County this week: one at the Launch Kids Club and the other at the Audubon Public Library. Our program worked great for the statewide library summer reading program theme this year of Read, Renew, Repeat. Over the two days we had around 90 kids who learned about what recycling is, what can and cannot be recycled, got to play a game to practice their recycling skills, and make bird feeders from recycled milk jugs. 

We will work next week to build the composting bins in the other counties and get those up and running!

Week 4 in Region 17

We spread our wings this week in Story County. During our visit to Cultivating Hope Farms, we learned the importance of pollinators through Colter and Emily, who demonstrated their significance by acting as pollinators. Gina Perkins showed us how her education programs typically run, so we will have the chance to lead a program of our own! Beyond the education program, Gina took us on a farm tour where we had the opportunity to feed the livestock with Gina.

At the Beloit Donation Garden, we got to work on various tasks. Colter took up weeding the onions, Emily planted squash, and Jasmine got to harvest strawberries and take them to Food at First. We ended the day with some nice cold iced tea and visited with the Master Gardeners.

Overall, a great week, and we can’t believe it is week four already!

Week 3 in Region 11

This week was an eventful one for Linn County and Benton County.   

In Benton we had the amazing opportunity to represent Benton County Extension and Outreach at LaPorte City’s Festival of Trails doing paper marbling or as the kids were calling it paper tie-dyeing.  

We also got to help with Benton County’s Summer Science Discovery Camp (SSDC) for a few days this week. At SSDC, we had the chance to get our hands dirty, look closer at Earthworms and learn about their impact on the environment. We painted with “worms” (noodles, I assure you no worms were harmed in the creation of art) to make out very own master pieces.  The following day we learned all about the different components of soil, looking at everything closely with a portable microscope. SSDC will continue throughout the summer, and we cannot wait to continue working with youths in the community.  

We got to a library program in Shellsburg centered around the County Fair. We made slime, paper chickens, and even had a little fashion show moment in preparation for Benton County’s fair next week. And we just couldn’t help but give an extra fair touch by having a little snack on a stick (a marshmallow on a toothpick).  

In Linn county, preparations are now underway for the revamping of the Feed Iowa First Wanatee Farm deer fence, materials are being allocated and installation is scheduled to start next week if possible. We are excited to do something that helps the fantastic Iowan farmers of Feed Iowa First’s ELA program. We also toured the Linn County fairgrounds for the first time and were blown away by all the fantastic events planned for our upcoming fair season.  

Through and through this week was a busy one but it was a great week for Region 11. Pray for us because the next 2 weeks are fair weeks.  

Week 3 in Region 17

We started the week off by weeding at the Beloit Donation Garden! Colter got started right away with weeding the blackberries while Emily and Jasmine took out the tarp from around the cabbage. We finished the day by assisting the Master Gardeners with weeding and cleanup. We continued to work on our projects and meet with partners. To round off the week, we got a tour of the Story County Fairground facilities to learn more about Colter’s project of improvements to the grounds. We are excited to work on our projects as the summer continues.

Week 4 in Region 4

Taylor M. and Lauren K. here reflecting on last week in Worth and Cerro Gordo Counties. This week emphasized our green thumbs and creativity. We focused on assisting Art Farm Iowa in Worth County. At the beginning of the week, we painted and prepared their performance stage for outdoor usage, built a display table for the retail space, and weeded our all of the areas with flowers. To display the rocks from last years ISU Rising Star Interns, we placed them in molds to create stepping stones. As the Highway 65 Garage Sales were going to take place soon, we spent Thursday preparing items for the sale. On Friday, we discussed and began planning for projects that will be more interactive for visitors.

In Cerro Gordo County, we attended Fresh on Fridays at Central Gardens in Clear Lake, IA. We walked around and learned about the garden. We discussed our practice show that will take place on July 12th with the Show Stock Buddy program.

Week 4 in Region 13

In Region 13 this week, we had a busy week! We toured the Carroll County Solid Waste Landfill and Recycling Center in Carroll County. They take in and sort all of the recycling from Shelby, Crawford, and Guthrie counties. It was highly informative and the director gave us several resources to hand out.  Later in the week, we had the first of our recycling day camps in Denison. We took our recycling program to a day camp at the elementary school. Around 25 kids were present and it was a big success, and we are looking forward to continuing this program in the following weeks. To round out our week, we met with an experienced colleague to learn about composting and how best to implement composting piles in the community gardens in our counties.

Week 3 in Region 4

Week 3 was a busy one for us! We started the week on Sunday with our second workshop with our Show Stock Buddies. Our youth with differing abilities participated in a fun handprint craft, learned more about each other, and got to meet their animals! We had a blast with the goat and bunnies, and learned all about proper care. There were a whole lot of smiles from the youth! Monday, we started out in Worth County creating a display board for the upcoming county fair. Then, we put some muscle and problem solving in by helping build display shelves for Art Farm Iowa. Tuesday, we even created a sign out of recycled barn wood for our garden at the Art Farm. Wednesday was spent in Ames learning all about the different careers and opportunities that Iowa State University Extension has to offer! We also got to catch up with some of our other Rising Star friends, and compare what we have learned so far. On to another great week!

Week 3 in Region 13

We began week 3 with our final meet and greet in Audubon County, which was followed by a council meeting. There, we were able to meet the members of the council and introduce ourselves and our goals for this summer. On Tuesday, the local Harlan newspaper came to the office to interview us about ourselves and our plans for our upcoming projects. We then attended a Shelby County council meeting later that evening to introduce ourselves. 

We traveled to Ames on Wednesday, along with the other interns of different Regions, for an Exploration and Resource day. They introduced the different opportunities for us to work in extension after graduation. We visited the Beloit Garden, Food at First, the Ames Public Library, and Reiman Gardens throughout the day. 

To wrap up our week, we divided into different counties to attend multiple day camps. We observed how camps are set up and run in hopes of improving how our day camps will be run in the upcoming weeks!