2017 Stakeholder Report

Woodbury County Extension

2017 Stakeholder Report

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach connects the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources. We are working with the people of Woodbury County for what we all want: a strong Iowa.


Woodbury County Extension Council

Every Iowa county has an elected extension council that guides local educational programming by partnering with staff. From needs assessment through program implementation and evaluation of outcomes, the council represents the issues and people of the county.

We have identified these local issues as priority topics for current and future programming:
  • Community and Economic Development
  • Food and the Environment
  • Latino Outreach
  • K-12 Youth Outreach

Extension Council Members

We are pleased to have a beautiful new building that has surpassed our expectations in regards to increased access to the public and increased programming for Woodbury County residents. We are proud to have the many teaching components of the building being utilized regularly including Cargill Classroom, our learning kitchen, and onsite teaching garden.

Woodbury County Agricultural Extension District Council Members (left to right): Denise Wright, Carol Nelson, Alan Ralston, Lane Tabke (council chair), Barb Hansen, Don Wiese, Mary Bertram, Erin Small, Tom Ullrich

Community and Economic Development

A focus on Community and Economic Development in large and small communities has been a high priority for programming in Woodbury County. Programs like the Nonprofit Management Alliance and the annual Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference allow us to reach wide audiences with varied topics that expose area communities and businesses to tactics and techniques that will help them succeed. On top of these direct education opportunities, engaging in partnerships with area agencies allows us to contribute to, and benefit from, the web of cooperation among educational and service agencies that helps to make our communities stronger.

The Nonprofit Management Alliance, a partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach – Woodbury County, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Siouxland, is still going strong as we finish up the second year of workshops. In 2017 there have been four workshops, reaching over 75 professionals from area nonprofits on the topics of working with your nonprofit’s governing board, collaboration between partners in the nonprofit world, and updated nonprofit accounting standards. These workshops are taught by area experts in the subject matter, and have a consistent audience eager to enhance their skills.

The Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference is an annual conference bringing together community and business leaders, elected officials, development groups, chambers of commerce and community volunteers to learn from presentations on real-world successes in communities within the tri-state area. The 2017 Midstates Conference brought keynote speaker Deb Brown of the website SaveYour.Town and twelve presenters from throughout Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota to an audience of 160, a significant increase in attendance from recent years. The 2018 Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference is currently in the planning stages and is slated to be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Our partnerships with other area agencies range from providing curriculum, education and materials, to sharing information with the public and having a presence on local committees. Active involvement and mutual support in local communities is the cornerstone of building a #STRONGIOWA, and we make it a priority to be as involved as time and resources allow.

Event Spotlight: Celebrating 100 Years of Extension in Woodbury County

This year we celebrated 100 years of Extension in Woodbury County, with a tailgate celebration on July 20. Woodbury County Cattlemen's Association grilled burgers for all attendees, and we had a Siouxland Chamber Rush Hour Connect, a dedication for the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden and a prize drawing for an autographed ISU football and two tickets to an ISU game! It was a great night, spending time with people who have supported Woodbury County Extension for years and those who help us do everything we do today. 

Food and the Environment

From planting the seeds to making healthy eating choices, there are educational opportunities and priorities for Extension all along the route from farm to table. The safe and smart production and consumption of food and the intersection of food and the environment has been a fixture of Extension programming throughout the entire history of Extension, and it is reflected in programming from Local Foods and Master Gardeners to Pesticide Safety Education and nutrition education.

Woodbury County has had a Master Gardener program for 31 years, with more than 600 people taking the course in that time. Currently, there are more than 80 Master Gardeners actively volunteering around the area, bringing horticulture service and education to the people of Woodbury County and beyond. 2016 saw 5,831 volunteer hours logged by Master Gardeners in Woodbury County, a value of $129,742 given back to the community!

Supported by vendors and the volunteer work of Master Gardeners and others, the Siouxland Garden Show continues as a showcase of horticulture education, bringing experts from all over to a crowd of more than 3,000 people annually. A joint project of ISU Extension and Outreach – Woodbury County, Nebraska Extension – Dakota County and a committee of community volunteers, planning is underway for the 2018 Siouxland Garden Show on April 6 and 7 of next year.

Flavors of Northwest Iowa, a regional project connecting local food producers and consumers throughout northwestern Iowa counties, wrapped up a successful summer of Local Food Road Show programming. Producer education, local food-infused meals, cooking demonstrations, food gardening workshops and more made up the slate of programs offered in 2017. Sioux City saw a successful Siouxland Bike-N-Bite family event with over 90 cyclists touring restaurants and shops throughout the city to sample locally grown and prepared foods.

Other programming offered this year on Food and the Environment included Student Farmer’s Markets at local schools, a farmer’s market food regulations workshop in partnership with Siouxland District Health Department, ServSafe food safety testing, a Preserve the Taste of Summer Salsa Making and Freezing workshop, Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training, a workshop on the spread of Emerald Ash Borer throughout Iowa, continuing education and testing as part of the Pesticide Safety Education Program, healthy food and lifestyle education for all ages with the Pick a Better Snack (which serves over 3,000 students monthly) and Buy, Eat, Live Healthy programs, and the nutrition education and horticulture components of our Grow With Us youth camp.

Program Spotlight: The Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden

The Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden was given its official unveiling this year, and it has been a big year for programming focused on the garden. From teaching youth about gardening and healthy foods, to providing fresh produce to our nutrition programming, to hosting a pollinator garden that helps encourage a larger pollinator population in the area, the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden has had a great first year. Special thanks go out to Marilyn and Dick Engle, and to the Master Gardeners who have put so much time and effort into designing, creating and maintaining the garden.

Latino Outreach

We pride ourselves on the mixture of people and cultures that exist in our community and work to serve diverse populations, most recently through our Latino Outreach efforts that focus on economic development, continuing education, and youth development.

Shop Healthy Iowa is an Iowa Department of Public Health project in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa. In Woodbury County, two Latino grocery stores in Sioux City (La Piñata and El Michoacano) took part in this effort to increase the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables, thereby increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in the community. Store owners were provided with lessons on such subjects as how to make fresh produce last longer and ways to market fruits and vegetables. The grant allowed for the purchase of displays for each store as well as promotional materials.

The “Juntos – Together for a Better Education” program, now in its second year, is a college-preparedness and school success program for Latino 8th graders and their families. The program includes five two-hour classes for both students and parents that focuses on preparing middle schoolers for high school and beyond. Community partners for Juntos included Sioux City Community Schools, Girls Inc. and the Mary J. Treglia Community House. In 2017, 16 families including 22 youth participated in the program. Four families from the spring 2017 Juntos group toured the Woodbury County Fair to see the types of projects available in 4-H, and five youth from the Juntos program also attended the Maize Retreat, a weekend of cultural celebration of Latino and Native American heritage, learning and leadership experiences held on Iowa State University campus and at the Iowa 4-H Center.

In April, youth from the Juntos program and the Latinx Unidos 4-H club attended a theater workshop with Lorenzo Sandoval, Dimmit Fellow for Morningside College, where Sandoval taught theater exercises and talked with youth about growing up Latino in Iowa. The Latinx Unidos club was founded in 2015 by 4-H leader and ISU graduate Gerardo Garcia to create a unique space in 4-H for Latino youth in Woodbury County.

Staff Spotlight: Rising Star Interns

We were lucky to have three Rising Star Interns join us this year in Woodbury County. Madison Hemer, Emily Bormann and Izzy Worrall worked with us throughout the summer on local foods programming, including healthy recipe demonstrations in area communities, kids' cooking camps, and Siouxland Bike-N-Bite. This is the third year for Rising Star Interns in Woodbury County, and it has been a rewarding program to take part in. We can't wait to meet next year's group of Rising Stars!

K-12 Youth Outreach

Our programming around youth development is aimed to prepare our youth to be successful, contributing members of society while reaching their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences. We continue to reach new audiences and find new educational opportunities to utilize each teaching aspect of our new building.

Grow With Us, a day camp to teach kids about healthy eating, gardening and fitness, and Kids in the Kitchen, a camp series teaching youth how to prepare healthy foods, were a big success and a lot of fun, using the increased space and teaching facilities of our new offices and bringing together our 4-H, horticulture, local foods and Rising Star Internship programs. By combining the efforts of multiple program areas and taking full advantage of the resources they gave us, we were able to offer hands-on early childhood education to help set kids on a healthy path.

Woodbury County 4-H had 538 enrollments (and 153 Clover Kids!) for the 2016-2017 4-H year, making us #2 in the state for enrollment numbers.
Woodbury County 4-H is involved in science enrichment programs at Unity, Spalding Park, Morningside and Leeds Elementary schools in Sioux City. Extension staff has been in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms doing enrichment activities on plants, the food chain, static electricity, and rocks and erosion. We have provided more than 25 hours in classrooms for enrichment in 2017, providing lessons or experiments on a science standard as requested by the teacher. Other STEM programming included the Hour of Code workshop and summer camp programming within Extension and through community partners that included topics such as robotics and a viewing of the 2017 solar eclipse. 2017 also saw additions to our Makerspace programming and equipment library, creating opportunities for increased STEM education in the years ahead.

County Extension Staff

Molly Hewitt
County Director

Sherry McGill
Region 5 Regional Director

Cheryl Connot
Youth Program Specialist

Renee Sweers
Human Sciences Specialist, Nutrition and Wellness

Lujean Faber
Enhanced Youth Development Educator

Steven Hardina
Marketing Coordinator

Laura Johnson
4-H Youth Worker & Nutrition Educator

Jill Sokness
Latino Outreach Specialist

Kellie Solberg
Master Gardener & Regional Foods Coordinator

Beth Stockfleth

Kristi Van Zanten
Office Assistant

Brenda Welch
4-H Youth Program Specialist

Valerie Willers
Youth Outreach Coordinator

Gary Wright
Farm Management Specialist

Cindy Zortman
INN School Grant Director/Educator

Kelsey Cheever
Christine Craig-Beyerink
Yareli Flores
Maria Ortiz Tapia

AmeriCorps Youth Workers

Kathi Backus
Sonia Davila
Susan Iverson

Buy Eat Live Healthy Program Assistants

Mary Hamilton
Carrie Rustin

Senior Aides

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