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Iowa State University Extension

June 2012 -- From Cathann Kress

“Think anew and act anew.”

These wise words of Abraham Lincoln inspired our nation 150 years ago when the Morrill Act became law, establishing the land-grant university system. That inspiration continues today in the research, teaching and extension and outreach of Iowa State. Some of the ways we think anew and act anew will be showcased at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., June 27 through July 1 and July 4-8.

Iowa State’s Smithsonian exhibit highlights the central role of design in the land-grant mission, and extension’s past, present and future impact on communities. From advanced, interactive technology to old-fashioned, personal conversation, the exhibit shows how the College of Design and ISU Extension and Outreach apply creative problem solving to society’s complex challenges.

If you can’t make it to D.C., you can catch the exhibit at the Iowa State Fair or the Farm Progress Show in August. We are people advancing people -- and putting research into action -- proving that Lincoln’s charge to “think anew, and act anew” still makes sense today.

-- Cathann

CIRAS helps Iowa Spring improve productivity, increase profitability

Iowa Spring

Iowa Spring engineers, produces and delivers springs for various agricultural equipment, construction machinery, overhead garage doors and appliance industries worldwide. The Adel manufacturer first called the Center for Industrial Research and Service several years ago, seeking help with the plant layout of a new manufacturing facility at a second location.

CIRAS developed plant layout simulations that helped the company improve material handling processes. Since that success, CIRAS has been assisting Iowa Spring with many other facets of the business.

Youth may experience Immersion in Wellness at the Iowa 4-H Center

youth campers

Some campers at the Iowa 4-H Center this summer have the opportunity to experience Immersion in Wellness. Iowa State University faculty in food science and human nutrition are conducting this new research study targeted toward lowering childhood obesity. The study is receiving funding from the Wellmark Foundation Healthy Communities Grant Program.

Participating youth will be immersed in nutrition education, gardening, culinary skills, physical activity and a health-promoting environment, said Ruth Litchfield, associate professor and state nutrition extension specialist. “The immersion experiences will develop youths’ skills and abilities so they can succeed, and transfer the positive health behaviors they experience at camp to their home and community.”

Ron Prescott is new retail and small business specialist

Ron Prescott

Ron Prescott wants Iowans to know that Iowa State is a great source of research on retail trade. As the new retail and small business specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, Prescott is building relationships with Iowa communities and their small businesses. Communities interested in receiving assistance in interpreting and using retail trade analysis data can contact Prescott at 515-294-5862 or

Prescott also will be working with the Community Vitality Center on the creation of food hubs. He will be developing and then implementing a model in which locally grown food is packaged and distributed to larger markets without sacrificing quality.

4-H helps youth add inquiry to STEM

youth with robots

When it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Iowa’s inquiring young minds need to know — so they’re ready for future education and careers. But the first step is getting them to want to know about STEM. ISU Extension and Outreach is helping young Iowans take that first step.

From building robots to experimenting with electricity and extracting DNA from bananas, kids and teens explore hands-on, scientific inquiry through 4-H clubs and out-of-school experiences. Inquiry meets the needs of young learners, because youth learn best when they can “do,” said Jay Staker, director of Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET) youth initiative.

Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) has new coordinator

Josh Dunn

The Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) began the 2012 growing and training session with new activities coordinator Joshua (Josh) Dunn. Dunn is responsible for coordinating demonstration plots and scheduling training events at the 43-acre ISU Extension and Outreach facility.

“I’m looking forward to extension and outreach work — where I can talk about the trials and demonstrations we are conducting and help farmers apply our findings,” said Dunn.