AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension’s Region 17 is moving beyond county lines to provide educational programming, according to director Alan Ladd. Region 17 includes seven ISU Extension districts: Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, East Pottawattamie and West Pottawattamie counties.
“We know we have to work beyond county lines,” Ladd said. “County lines are just a line on a map … we’re trying to get more people interested in working together.”
Extension council members are seeing the need to involve multiple counties in programming, he added.
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Ladd is one of 20 regional extension education directors. The positions were created a year ago as part of ISU Extension’s restructuring plan to facilitate an issue-based approach to delivering ISU Extension programming and resources. Ladd works directly with county extension council members to meet their legal obligations as an elected body. Together they are identifying new ways to work across county borders, provide educational programming that addresses significant issues and evaluate the results of multi-county and regional efforts.
To build camaraderie, this past winter a region-wide group representing 4-H and 4-H families went to a hockey game in Omaha, Ladd said. More than 300 youth and their families participated, made donations to their local 4-H foundations and were recognized as a group at the game.
A region-wide meeting for 4-H shooting sports brought together trainers, 4-H leaders, and volunteers and generated a lot of excitement among youth, Ladd said.
Ladd expects 15 to 20 farm women who are interested in growing aronia berries to participate in Annie’s Project, an educational program that strengthens women’s roles in modern farm enterprises.
Other groups in Region 17 are working on local foods projects. Several counties are targeting the Council Bluffs area, as well as crossing over to the Atlantic area in Region 18, Ladd said.
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact Ladd at 712-769-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/.