2018 Stakeholder Report

Woodbury County Extension

2018 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.

Happy Holidays!

Thanks to generous people like you, we are closing in on our fundraising goal of $300,000. Please consider an online gift to the ISU Extension and Outreach - Woodbury County Building Fund before December 31st to help us reach our goal! Your tax-deductible gift will ensure that more programming can be offered throughout the county, often free of charge, to those in search of educational programming and resources.

Please read through our 2018 stakeholder report below to learn about the vast impact of ISU Extension and Outreach in Woodbury County this past year.  
Best Wishes!

Molly Hewitt
County Director

Make a Gift Today!

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
  • Human Sciences
  • K-12 Youth Outreach

Extension Council Members

Our new building continues to surpass 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

The Nonprofit Management Alliance, a partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach – Woodbury County, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Siouxland, held four workshops in 2018, reaching over 100 professionals from area nonprofits and businesses. The workshops focused on Employee Recruitment and Retention, Public Relations and Marketing, Advanced Grant Writing, and Social Work Ethics.

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 2018 Midstates Conference brought keynote speaker Brent Comstock of BCom Solutions and twelve presentations from organizations throughout Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota to an audience of over 150. The 2019 Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference is currently in the planning stages and is slated to be held in the fall of 2019.

Event Spotlight: Master Gardener Trainee Graduation

A celebration dinner and program was held on November 13 for the seventeen trainees who completed this year's first-ever flipped classroom style course. Course work and on-site learning covered topics such as herbaceous ornamentals, sustainable home landscape design, and plant propagation. Those completing the course will now work toward their official Master Gardener title by completing 40 hours of volunteer community service and 20 hours of continuing education. Congratulations to all!

Food and the Environment

The Woodbury County Master Gardener program saw a new class of seventeen Master Gardeners utilize a flipped classroom approach to the Master Gardener training, allowing more flexibility for the students to view class materials from home while freeing up classroom time to accommodate more hands-on training and field trips. 2017 saw 3,778 volunteer hours logged by Master Gardeners in Woodbury County, a value of $91,196 given back to the community.

The 2018 Siouxland Garden Show was held in a new venue, the Hilton Garden Inn. Supported by vendors and the volunteer work of Master Gardeners and others, the Siouxland Garden Show is a showcase of horticulture education, bringing experts from all over, to a crowd of more than 3,000 people annually. The Siouxland Garden Show is 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 2019 Siouxland Garden Show on April 5 and 6 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 foods programming. Producer education, local food-infused meals, cooking demonstrations and more made up the slate of programs in 2018. 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. The Bike-N-Bite model created in Woodbury County was successfully exported to the Iowa Great Lakes area with the first ever Okoboji Bike-N-Bite. 

We continue to teach monthly Pick a Better Snack lessons to nearly 130 classrooms each month. Students in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade learn about a fresh fruit or vegetable each month, where it is grown, how it can be prepared, and how it tastes. Physical activity components and family learning concepts are also shared in each class.  A highlight of each year is the student farmer's market events held at two elementary schools giving kids the opportunity to purchase their own locally grown produce from vendors on-site at the school. 

Other food and environment highlights for 2018 included School Garden 101, a five week training course for local teachers on how to run a school garden, the installation of raised beds at a low-income senior housing area with the Master Gardener Mini Grant, and the Marilyn Engle Teaching Garden producing 338 pounds of produce which was used in programs and donated. We currently have eight school gardens in schools throughout Woodbury County.

Program Spotlight: Pig Pals

Pigs Pals was started when 4-H leader, swine superintendent and 4-H dad Lonnie Ploeger reached out to Woodbury County 4-H with the idea to donate pigs to 4-H’ers who do not have access to having swine on their own property. Thanks to Lonnie’s generous donation in partnership with Seaboard Triumph Foods, we were able to give eight 4-H’ers the opportunity to learn more about the swine industry. 4-H’ers attended four meetings throughout the summer where they learned, worked with their swine project and even visited Lonnie’s farm.

Human Sciences

In 2018, we began offering the What About Me? My Wellbeing program in Woodbury County, with our first sessions at iHeartRadio and the Siouxland Center for Active Generations. What About Me? My Wellbeing is a program designed to enhance adult individual wellbeing and quality of life in ways that are personally meaningful to participants. The program teaches participants an understanding of wellbeing, and covers the areas of social and emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing, and physical wellbeing. Over 30 people took the four-session 45 minute lessons to increase wellbeing. 

The 2018 Centering on Centers Conference focused on building positive social-emotional skills for young children through classroom practices.  Nearly 400 attendees took part in the 2-day professional development opportunity for early childcare providers and educators. The 2019 conference is set for January 25 and 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

A staff retreat was held in September of this year that included staff professional development around wellness and communication styles. Staff members enjoyed the REAL Colors personality and communication testing and application as well as a presentation on the Foundations of an Energizing Work Environment. Strategies were shared around building a supportive work culture and visioning our work now and in the future to best serve our community.  

The “Juntos – Together for a Better Education” program is a college-preparedness and school success program for Latino 8th graders and their families. We have held four Juntos series over three years in Woodbury County. The program includes five two-hour classes for both students and parents that focuses on preparing middle schoolers for high school and beyond. In 2018, seven families participated in the program. North High School student council provided volunteers to help with the childcare and youth activities for the younger children of participants, under the supervision of our youth activities coordinator. 18 student volunteers provided 54 hours of volunteer time over seven nights for Juntos Information Night (for recruiting families), the five nights of Juntos, and a special event at WITCC for the families to learn more about what programs are offered there. 

Staff Spotlight: Rising Star Interns

Rising Star Interns Ebere Agwuncha, Rebecca Wallace and Joi Latson 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 was the fourth 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 summer camp lineup included Grow With Us and Kids in the Kitchen returning for their second year, providing early childhood education about healthy choices. A standout of 2018’s camp series was the ability to hold two camps further out in Woodbury County, with a Grow With Us session in Anthon and a Water Rocks camp in Moville.

Woodbury County 4-H had 510 enrollments (and 104 Clover Kids) for the 2017-2018 4-H year, making us #2 in the state for enrollment numbers. 4-H outreach has been a big focus in 2018, with a billboard campaign, radio and multi-county television campaign, and increased online engagement with 4-H’ers such as Facebook Live videos, the 4-H Scene newsletter going to an online-only format, and continued use of the Woodbury County 4-H Android and iOS app. Our Midtown Family Community Center 4-H staff also provided 4-H outreach with a chili cookoff fundraiser and a 4-H carnival event.

This year saw the introduction of the Sunday Funday Club, a 4-H club that meets the first Sunday afternoon of every month with a variety of topics and activities to choose from. We currently have afterschool 4-H clubs running in five Sioux City schools. In 2018, ten $500 scholarships were awarded to Woodbury County students by the Woodbury County 4-H Foundation. 528 youth were served by camps and Science Enrichment programs in the 2017-2018 4-H year.

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
INN Grant Director/4-H Program Assistant

Jill Sokness
Community and Economic Development Field Specialist

Katelyn Brinkerhoff
Horticulture Educator
Beth Stockfleth

Kristi Van Zanten
Office Assistant

Brenda Welch
4-H Youth Program Specialist

Christine Craig-Beyerink
Youth Outreach Coordinator

Cordell Schemmer
Leann Smith
Alona Zermeno-Lechleidner

AmeriCorps Youth Workers

Kathi Backus
Sonia Davila
Susan Iverson

Buy Eat Live Healthy Program Assistants

Virgil Clay
Mary Hamilton
Carrie Rustin

Senior Aides
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