August 2013 -- From Cathann Kress
This year it’s easier to connect with Iowa State University and Extension and Outreach at the Iowa State Fair. For example, each category of youth exhibits in the 4-H Exhibits Building aligns with Iowa State research and education. (Be sure to look for the photos of Cy.) The Iowa State exhibit at the Varied Industries Building has the theme “Framing the Future of Iowa” and showcases Extension and Outreach photos and videos (via iPads and large monitors) that visitors can scroll through and view at their leisure.
Extension and Outreach staff, faculty and resources also are present at the Discovery Garden outside the Agriculture Building and at the Wine Experience by Grandfather’s Barn. (We even had Cy stomp grapes under the guidance of ISU Extension and Outreach viticulture specialist Mike White.) In partnership with the Des Moines Register, we again are promoting the Iowa State Fair Food Finder App as a way for Iowans to find healthy alternatives at the fair and become more aware of the food choices they make. And to add to the fun, we are hosting a scavenger hunt for the second year in a row to help fair visitors discover ISU Extension and Outreach at the fair.
They say nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair. But for ISU Extension and Outreach, nothing compares to making a difference for Iowans.
The Greater Keokuk Young Professionals organization is alive and well, thanks to the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce, ISU Extension and Outreach, and young local leaders. This partnership is equipping the community to “grow its own” leadership capacity instead of importing talent from outside.
In its first year, the organization grew to more than 60 members, obtained corporate sponsors, set up a Facebook page, and organized social events and leadership development opportunities.
Increased demand for locally grown fruit and vegetables has attracted many new growers in Iowa. Ajay Nair, vegetable production specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, is sharing information to help them adopt sustainable production practices and improve their bottom line and the environment.
“Knowing what will work best in Iowa, given our climate, soils and growing season, is critical. This research can create opportunities for growers to lower their input costs, improve crop and soil health, and influence cropping system efficiency,” Nair said.
Eleven Johnson County youth involved in the 4-H Big Brothers Big Sisters program visited Washington, D.C., in July as part of the National 4-H Mentoring Capstone. The participants spent a day on Capitol Hill and met members of Iowa’s congressional delegation including Sen. Chuck Grassley.
“This is an incredible leadership and citizenship experience for these 4-H’ers,” said Janet Martin, an urban 4-H youth program specialist in Johnson County. With a special emphasis on mentoring, the 4-H’ers learned civic leadership and the tools to bring about positive change in their communities.
Early one morning in Corning, Iowa, nine older adults made their way to the wellness center for an hour of LIFE — Living (well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise. Younger trainers introduce older adults to exergaming, video games that integrate game play with physical activity, in this Extension and Outreach program.
“We bring the research of the university to the people in a fun, interactive atmosphere, with physical activity and socialization. And it’s a great opportunity for rural Iowa to participate,” said extension specialist Barb Fuller. Watch the video.