Urban Extension Exchange focused on idea-sharing, best practices, Extension network

Extension Staff take part in Urban Extension Exchange

Altoona, IA (December 6, 2018) –Nearly 30 Extension professionals from Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach, Polk County and K-State Research and Extension, Johnson and Wyandotte Counties participated in the 2018 Urban Extension Exchange held on November 28. Extension professionals from the three county offices met with the aim to connect and engage with other similarly-sized county extensions to learn about internal operations, expand the professional network, facilitate idea sharing and highlight best practices.
 
“ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County is unique among our Iowa county peers where we are one of the largest counties by population serving urban, suburban and rural residents from broad and diverse backgrounds. As our office looks towards the future, it is important for Polk county staff to have opportunities to learn and gain knowledge from other Extension offices with similar reach,” said Paul Gibbins, executive director of ISU Extension, Polk County. “The Urban Extension Exchange provided Polk County staff the opportunity to gain insight and perspective that will help us better serve our residents.”
 
Coordinated by ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County the Urban Extension Exchange was held at K-State Research, Johnson County in Olathe, Kansas. Extension professionals from all three counties participated in breakout sessions by program area and roundtable discussions based on audience and demographics. Areas of special focus included:

  • 4-H and youth development
  • Family and nutrition programming
  • Master gardeners and horticulture
  • Office management and marketing

“As I facilitated the roundtable discussion, it was interesting to hear how all three of our County offices handled some of the same challenges,” said Tara Markley, county extension director and community development agent for K-State Research and Extension, Johnson County. “The Exchange event allowed us to brainstorm potential solutions and gain insight to adapt and overcome some of these challenges.”
 
“My staff enjoyed hearing the varying perspectives of other Extension professionals and agents,” said Dr. Nozella Brown, county extension director for K-State Research, Wyandotte County. “Thoughtful, facilitated discussions like we had at the Urban Extension Exchange allow us to highlight what we’re doing well, learn something new and discover what may translate well into our own respective communities.”
 
ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County office seeks to create similar events and partnerships among other Extension offices throughout the Midwest.
 
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Learn more about Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Polk County, K-State Extension and Research Johnson County and Wyandotte County by visiting the web pages.
 
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About Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Polk County
Since 1916 ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County has served its residents by connecting them to research and resources developed by Iowa State University. Knowledge and programs offered through the ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County office have been specifically tailored to represent, enhance and meet the needs of Polk County residents and community. For 2018 ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County will focus on these local issues: K-12 youth outreach; health, well-being, and nutrition; and community and economic development. ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County is part of a 99-county campus serving all Iowans to create a strong Iowa.

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