February 2013 -- From Cathann Kress
A drought is different from other disasters. It occurs in super slow motion and over time. As other news takes over the headlines, people start to forget there’s a drought. If you get a good rain as we have recently, people quickly assume the drought must be over. But a drought doesn’t end that easily. It may take two or three years to recover from a deep drought like we experienced in 2012.
In January I had the opportunity to speak to the Iowa House and Senate Appropriations Committees. I assured them and I assure you that as we head into spring and summer, our faculty and specialists already are planning additional webinars that will be tailored to the time of year and the drought-related issues we anticipate will be of concern to Iowans. Iowa State University’s research and extension programs provide the innovation and science-based foundation needed to make decisions for our future.
One of the best things we can do from Iowa State and Extension and Outreach is to make sure you have the data you need to make good decisions when it comes to water usage and water resources. Iowa State University will continue to provide research that helps Iowans understand their options and better manage their own situation. We will continue to evaluate our state’s vulnerabilities and identify actions that could reduce the impacts from future droughts. We’ll be monitoring the drought and offering educational programs and resources across all of our priority areas to meet the needs of our citizens.
When looking for leadership in economic development, Iowa cities and counties are turning to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The Cedar County Economic Development Commission, in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach and the Cedar County Agricultural Extension District, has hired Shelise Parsley to serve as an ISU Extension community development specialist and economic development director for Cedar County. Parsley holds the latest in a growing number of shared community and economic development positions in ISU Extension and Outreach.
“Increasing interest in eating locally has some folks wondering how they could grow more of their own food,” says small farms specialist Andy Larson. He coordinates Homegrown Lifestyle, an ISU Extension and Outreach short course focusing on fundamental, scale-appropriate food production techniques and conservation strategies that small landholders and modern homesteaders can quickly put to use. The 12-week course will be offered at several Iowa locations beginning March 14. Registration is open now.
The North Central Hub of the Iowa Regional STEM Network is developing a new website as a clearinghouse of information on STEM activities, events and resources in the region and throughout the state. Six regional hubs are charged with promoting and implementing quality science, technology, engineering and math programming for K-12 youth. Last May, Iowa State University was named the North Central Hub through a competitive application process. This is part of the first major initiative of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
Researchers with ISU Extension and Outreach recently published findings from a two-year study regarding Iowa’s Latino immigrant families’ ability to understand their new food environments and children’s eating practices.
“We’re connecting with Latina immigrant mothers to learn what is important to them and what they want for their families, and then applying that knowledge and adapting resources to meet their needs,” said extension specialist Kimberly Greder. The study is continuing in 2013-2014.