October 2012 -- From Cathann Kress
Thank you to everyone who participated in our town hall meetings during August and September. Our partners and constituents had much to tell us. They are excited about our focus on the signature issues we identified during our program development needs assessment, particularly in STEM education and economic development. Many feel more connected to Extension and Outreach and to Iowa State. However, we also heard some ongoing concerns, particularly related to the expectations on extension council members and how we maintain local connections.
Later this month we will be bringing together Extension and Outreach staff and faculty from campus and throughout the state for our annual conference. We’ll be taking a closer look at what we learned during the town halls and our signature issues of economic development, food and the environment, health and well-being and K-12 youth outreach. We plan to do our part to meet President Leath’s goal: that Iowa State will become the university that best serves its state.
Oct. 7-13 is National 4-H Week. About one in five school-age youth participates in Iowa State University’s 4-H Youth Development programs. Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who give their energy and talents to 4-H clubs, after-school activities and other K-12 youth outreach opportunities. You are making a difference for Iowa’s young citizens.
Engineering Services and Products Company (ESAPCO) markets and sells high-quality products to the agricultural community. What began as an Iowa distribution center for the Connecticut-based company has grown over 20 years into an enterprise with design and manufacturing comprising 60 percent of the business. That’s why the company called on CIRAS for tools, education and facilitation to design and implement a process for generating ongoing business improvement and, ultimately, greater profitability.
Sean Galleger oversees CIRAS’ work with ESAPCO, and is impressed with the company’s vision for the future. “They are constantly learning and use CIRAS as a resource to help them check things out. They are aggressive, but are being very strategic about their growth.”
As the new Iowa Master Gardener coordinator, Denny Schrock provides statewide leadership and training opportunities for Master Gardener volunteers. He also teaches students on campus and serves as co-director for the Homegrown Lifestyle program.
Schrock’s previous positions include garden group editor with Meredith Corporation, state Master Gardener coordinator and home horticulture extension specialist for the University of Illinois and University of Missouri, and field horticulture specialist in Minnesota and Colorado. “I look forward to offering training opportunities that keep our volunteers motivated and relevant volunteer experiences that will keep them on staff,” he said.
Governor Branstad’s new initiative, Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service, asks Iowans to volunteer at least 50 hours each year. One way Iowa volunteers can increase their community service, while adding service-learning to their efforts, is by partnering with 4-H Service-Learning from ISU Extension and Outreach.
“Service-learning integrates community needs, intentional learning objectives and structured opportunities for reflection, demonstration and celebration. Service-learning projects take community service or volunteer projects to the next level by empowering youth to identify needs in their community and plan service projects themselves. This creates a more meaningful experience for youth,” said Judy Levings, 4-H Youth Development assistant director.
Partnering with the Northeast Iowa Farm to School Chapter, ISU Extension and Outreach is assisting school food service staff across six counties in networking and developing a market base with local producers for the purchase of local foods. Extension and Outreach specialists share the nutritional benefits of using local foods and educate food service staff on preparing and serving specific local produce, as well as provide food safety training. The Farm to School program also engages high school students as farm-to-school educators in the classroom.
ISU’s Regional Economic and Community Analysis Program website has been redesigned to take advantage of recent advances in information technology. Now called the Iowa Community Indicators Program, the site continues to provide data and research on local demographic, social and economic trends in Iowa.
The available data include city and county census profiles, recent and historical retail trade analyses, and agricultural land values. ICIP also has interactive, thematic maps showing geographic patterns of community indicators such as economic, demographic and social data. ICIP, at www.icip.iastate.edu, is funded and overseen by multiple ISU academic and Extension and Outreach units.