Monday Update: IECA activities and other news

February 15, 2021

About 100 Iowa youth in grades 8-12 will join extension council members and staff for the Iowa Legislative Insider on February 17. Did you know? During this virtual event they’ll get an inside look at the legislative process. They’ll meet Iowa’s lieutenant governor, learn about the life of a legislative page, hear from legislators, and explore the role a lobbyist plays in crafting legislation. In addition, the World Food Prize will present an in-depth look at global food policy.

The Iowa Extension Council Association originated this event several years ago to connect with legislators and encourage support for ISU Extension and Outreach. Three years ago, IECA added 4-H to the event. IECA executive director Jennifer Vit says the legislative event is a good way for extension council members to model for 4-H’ers. Although the virtual event this year will be smaller in scale than previous events, Jennifer says it’s a valuable learning opportunity for council members, 4-H youth, and government officials.

In other IECA news, registration is open for the virtual IECA Conference, March 13 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It's a new year and the association board of directors is challenging county extension council members and extension staff to re-focus for success in 2021. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required to receive a link to join the conference.

Open for Iowa

As COVID vaccinations begin, kids return to school buildings, and local conditions continue to change, Open for Iowa continues to mean different things in different places. Although we must continue to adapt for changing situations, we still have to plan for programming, because extension education doesn’t happen on its own.

  • Decisions about when to offer in-person education are best made at the county level in accordance with the most current federal, state, local, and university COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Deciding on when requires that everyone communicate and not make assumptions or demands. What do your participants want? Are they ready to resume in-person education? Be aware that staff may have alternate work arrangements, different individual situations related to the pandemic, and varying comfort levels with in-person education.
  • But whenever when arrives, we must be ready. Begin planning now for how to safely offer in-person education in your county. Likewise, continue to have alternative plans ready if your situation changes and in-person education isn’t an option. I encourage you to review the Guidance and Expectations for In-Person Education and Business (updated January 29, 2021). You’ll find the guidance and additional information on the Open for Iowa website.

Learn about OLLI

Iowa State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute organizes classes in a variety of topics for people age 50+ who want to expand their knowledge, but without tests and grades. Join the OLLI at ISU spring 2021 instructors on Thursday, February 18, at 1:30 p.m. as they talk about the lifelong learning classes that will be offered virtually during the spring session. The Zoom “room” will be open by 1:15 p.m. Online registration for classes begins Friday, February 19 at 8:30 a.m., and ISU Extension and Outreach will have opportunities to help promote OLLI programs. Questions can be directed to If you know people in this age group that love to learn or you want another way to bring ISU to your community, OLLI is a great opportunity and worth considering.  

More notes

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach