AMES, Iowa – The first priority in Iowa State University Extension’s Region 19 continues to be education for agriculture, families, youth, communities, and business and industry. So when Sue Henderson became the new region’s director last August, she immediately brought together the region’s 72 elected county extension council members for program planning.
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Region 19 includes Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Lucas, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne counties. Henderson divided the council members into program groups, rather than by county, so their ideas could stretch beyond county lines.
Henderson 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. Henderson 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.
Region 19’s program planning groups identified a list of issues to address, Henderson said, including beginning farmer, environment and agricultural fiscal and management issues; family housing; parenting; decision making and problem solving in youth; obesity in youth and adults; and issues related to job loss and starting new businesses.
For example, to address obesity, Lucas, Monroe and Appanoose counties expanded the Pick a Better Snack program to an additional 45 classrooms this past year. The program will expand into 65 more classrooms in the next year, Henderson said.
“We’re starting a nutrition coalition in the region to try and bring together providers, agencies and organizations that will help tackle the environmental-type issues within restaurants and businesses that have vending machines,” she added.
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact Henderson at 641-682-5491 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/.
Natasha Forsythe, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-494-9225, email@example.com