Horticulture, Programming, Uncategorized

Extension’s Many Resources

Often times people might only directly experience one or two faucets of extension and not be aware of the multitude of other programming extension provides, some of which indirectly impacts people. One such example is the training extension provides crop consultants; while a farmer might not directly call the extension office, more than likely that crop consultant has either attended training conducted by extension or used research done by extension. Another example that impacts everyone is the ServSafe program which is a program that food-service workers attend and learn how to safely prepare food. If you eat at a restaurant, it is likely that server has learned from Extension programs through the ServSafe program. This month is no different; Extension will be offering two unique and very different programs.

Emerald Ash Borer UpdateEAB

In 2016, Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed in Nebraska resulting in many homeowners being concerned about their trees. There are two upcoming workshops planned in Clay Center and Geneva. Both of these workshops will provide information about the emerald ash borer, what to look for in your ash trees, and management decisions for homeowners to consider.

In Clay Center on Thursday, March 30th from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Clay County Fairgrounds there will be a program with a light supper. Please RSVP to (402) 762-3644 for planning purposes.

If you can’t make that work for your schedule, there will be a similar program on April 11th at 6:00 p.m. at the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva that will include an emerald ash borer update in addition to an update on ice storm damage from this winter. A $5 registration fee includes a meal and handouts; please register to (402) 759-3712 by April 10th for planning purposes.

I am Moving, I am Learning Childcare Workshop

The development of the brain in a I am moving picchild’s first five years of life clearly shapes the learning capacity they have for the rest of their life. Leanne Manning, Extension Educator in Saline County will be presenting the session “Moving with the Brain in Mind” from the I Am Moving, I Am Learning series at a workshop in Geneva at the University of Nebraska Extension Office, 1340 G Street, on Tuesday, April 18th. Participants will learn how the brain structure and functioning can be enhanced through movement and physical activity. The session will follow with “Making the Most of Your Music” as moving to music is a fun and healthy way to encourage movement and physical activity. This workshop helps early childhood programs and parents understand how music helps with physical development and ways to incorporate new vocabulary and actions into children’s music.

There is a fee for the workshop which begins at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. Registration should be turned in by Friday, March 31, to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Saline County. Please contact our office for more information at 402-821-2151 or view details at http://go.unl.edu/imil. Space is limited.


Extension’s Help with Resolutions

ExtBrochurePic.pngAs stated in my previous post, almost half of resolutions made include education or self-improvement. If you need any educational resources or materials on nearly any subject, Extension has resources. Whether it is information on a website, talking with an extension professional, utilizing an app from your smart-phone, attending a face-to-face program, participation in a webinar or many other avenues, Extension works to solve complex problems for clients. If you haven’t been to Extension’s website recently, I encourage you to go to extension.unl.edu. There you will find an abundance of resources on topics such as food, nutrition and health, cropping & water systems, community vitality, community environment, learning child, beef systems and 4-H youth development. Consider attending a program or utilizing a resource to help you achieve a resolution or goal you may have.

For a list of extension programs in the area, visit our website or call our office at (402) 759-3712.

Programming, Uncategorized

Extension’s Robust Programming

Last week I briefly highlighted areas Nebraska Extension is involved. This week’s article will touch on some of the key issues Extension focuses, based on stakeholder input. Nebraska faces critical issues we must address to make our world a better place. Many of these issues are complex, multidisciplinary, and challenging, yet they present us with great opportunities to help shape a future that is promising for our state and nation (NE Extension, 2016).” With this in mind, in order for Extension to help clients be successful, Extension faculty and staff are highly focused on specific issues in interdisciplinary teams, called Issue Teams.

IssueTeamThis list will continue to evolve over time as issues change, but currently consist of: Insect ecosystems (including pollinators), healthy lifestyles for children and youth, resistant & invasive pests, Nebraska leaders, college & career success, engaging underserved youth, climate variation, consumer confidence in food, children learning experiences, emerging technology for agriculture, efficient water use, ag producer economic viability, livable communities, STEM careers, water & soil protection, youth entrepreneurship food access and diversified ag production.

With my background in agricultural education, I will be moving towards more youth development programming related to crops and agricultural education. I am able to reciprocate youth crop/ag programming with my colleagues, as they provide programming in their expertise area in Fillmore County. This week I’d like to introduce you to my Extension colleagues serving Fillmore County and their respective regions.

Food, Nutrition & Health – Kayla Colgrove, Gage County
Beef (& Livestock) Systems – Duane Lienemann, Webster County
The Learning Child – Leanne Manning, Saline County
Community Environment (Horticulture) – Nicole Stoner, Gage County
Crops & Water – Me as I transition into more youth development; it will be the new educator in Clay County when hired.
4-H Youth Development – Me! I will also serve Clay County as I move towards more youth programming.

You might wonder how this will impact the service you receive, when in fact Extension always has had a network of faculty in these disciplines. The biggest advantage with this structure change is that faculty is more focused in their respective disciplines, thus providing clients better service and programs. It also helps clientele establish improved relationships with Extension faculty as we serve our accountability regions. Even if you do not physically go into an Extension office or use our web tools, apps or publications, it is likely the information a farmer received from a crop consultant or salesman came from UNL research or Extension programming. Food handlers at restaurants were probably trained by Nebraska Extension’s Serve Safe program and parents going through a divorce take a course taught by, you guessed it – Nebraska Extension faculty! We are sometimes referred to as the ‘best kept secret’ which is why I’m taking some time this week to share just a couple examples of programs you might not be familiar.

As it says on our Extension website, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is a nationally respected educational leader. We work in a rapidly changing world, yet one familiar phrase seems most appropriate for Extension’s future: “The future is what we choose to make.” We have a responsibility to our clientele and colleagues to maintain high quality educational programs and a relevant and responsive organization.

Crops, Programming, Youth

Does Science & Research Even Matter?

What is science? What is research? Why does science and research matter? Do they even matter anymore? According to Merriam-Webster, science is defined as, “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.” It also goes on to say, “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding” or “knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” Merriam-Webster defines research as, “careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something” or “the activity of getting information about a subject.”apple

In this article, I’ve decided to write a two-part series focusing on concerns regarding how decisions of large companies and even consumer decisions are made. First of all, I do not claim to be a scientist or researcher, but my role in Extension requires me to provide clientele research-based, scientific driven information. This is one of the great things about all Extension systems! We do not get paid from companies, so we are non-biased and have access to some of the best researchers in their field who are working on cutting-edge research. When a client calls and needs information, I have access to a whole network of researchers or others with higher education in that particular subject. I can provide my client with solid, data-driven information so he/she can make the best decision possible to solve their problem.

For example, if a client has a horticultural question, I might know the answer based on experience of the topic, but if not, I have a network of horticulturists who have been trained in that area to answer the question. If a client has a question related to food safety, we have a great website with reliable information I can direct them or again, a network of educators focused in nutrition and food-science to refer them. The United States is the envy of many countries for having such a system!

You might be wondering where I am going with this and how does this relate to my definition of science and research at the beginning of this article. The point is, University and even industry scientists have an important role in solving important issues ahead of us such as feeding the growing population and dealing with climate variability and weather extremes. According to Anastasiya Borys in an article from the Harvard Political Review, the decline in the United States’ position as the global leader in science could not only diminish U.S. economic growth, but our national security. In 2014, China graduated more English-speaking engineers than the United States and America’s share of high-tech exports fell from 21 to 14 percent, while China’s rose from seven to 20 percent. There are efforts to improve youth’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math underway in the United States, of which Extension and 4-H are involved.

The above facts are evidence that somewhere along the way, the average American lost a firm grasp of basic scientific facts and concepts. In 2004, the National Science Board published information supporting that “scientific literacy in the United States (and in other countries) is fairly low. Scientific literacy is defined as knowing basic facts and concepts about science and having an understanding of how science works.” Michigan State University Professor, Jon Miller reported that “over recent decades, the number of public policy controversies that require some scientific or technical knowledge for effective participation has been increasing…. (including) any number of issues, such as the siting of nuclear power plants…. and the need for an informed citizenry in the formation of public policy.” Miller, who wrote this article in 2007 pointed out, “Having a basic knowledge of scientific principles is no longer a luxury but, in today’s complex world, a necessity.”

Next week, I’ll explain how this relates to the agricultural industry.