Author Archives: tomcoon

A Full Heart

Michigan State Spartan pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

Michigan State Spartan pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

My time at Michigan State University is nearing an end, and nothing made that clearer than the wonderful reception held for Rhonda Coon and me at the MSU Livestock Pavilion yesterday. Our hearts are full of gratitude – for the event and the many people who worked to make it special (see the enormous pies made for the occasion by Grand Traverse Pie Company), for the many messages we’ve received, for the opportunities we have had at MSU over the years, and for the many, many friends we have here. It’s hard to say anything more profound than that our hearts are full.

Oklahoma State Pistol Pete pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

Oklahoma State Pistol Pete pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

As a fisheries scientist, I’ve worked with a lot of different pumps over the years – in the lab, stream-side or lake-side. One of the first things you need to know about getting a pump to work is that you have to prime the pump, which means you have to get liquid into the pump chamber before it can do its job. The human heart is a pump and it needs to be primed as well. In fact, as a pump run by muscle tissues, it not only needs fluid in the chamber to be able to do its job, but it also needs to be filled so full that it stretches in order to trigger the muscle contractions that will cause the chamber to constrict and move the blood forward.

So a full heart is the starting point to getting work done. And with the fullness our hearts have from the life experiences we’ve had at MSU and from the many farewell greetings we’ve been given, there’s a lot of work we can do as we make our move to Oklahoma.

I’m not done here. I’ll be working for MSU through my last day on June 27, before I leave for a week’s vacation. You’ll still hear from me on Thursdays through MSU Extension Spotlight, and you’ll still hear from me on next Monday’s MSU Extension Update Webinar. Steve Lovejoy and I will still represent the MSUE Director’s Office in all official capacities through that date. I appreciate the opportunity to see and hear from so many of my colleagues during these final few weeks of my time at MSU. It fills and stretches my heart. Thank you for that.

Comments Off on A Full Heart

Filed under Uncategorized

Michigan House adopts centennial resolution

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, May 8 marked the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service (and with it, the Michigan Cooperative Extension Service, now known as Michigan State University Extension).

Last Thursday, the Michigan Senate adopted Senate Resolution 143, recognizing the significance of the Smith-Lever Act to the establishment of Cooperative Extension nationwide and encouraging people to observe and celebrate the centennial with a focus on launching an innovative and sustainable future for Cooperative Extension. Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker was the lead sponsor of the resolution in the Michigan Senate.

Rep. Roger Victory was the lead sponsor on a similar resolution in the House of Representatives, House Resolution 362, which House members voted to adopt on Tuesday. Co-sponsors included Reps. Terry L. Brown, Gretchen Driskell, Martin Howrylak, Eileen Kowall and Bill LaVoy.

Thanks to all in both the Senate and the House who contributed to getting these resolutions passed.

Comments Off on Michigan House adopts centennial resolution

Filed under Uncategorized

What does MSU Extension mean to you?

For 100 years, Michigan State University Extension has been focusing on delivering programs to help people improve their lives. We help families, farms, communities and businesses ‒ each made up of individuals. And each individual has a unique story to tell about what MSU Extension has meant to him or her.

During this centennial year, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications is producing videos that highlight these individual stories. The series is titled “What Does MSU Extension Mean to You?” The first one features MSU student Danielle Bott who talks about her 4-H experience. You can watch it here:

Watch for subsequent postings on Facebook and YouTube.

Thanks to Danielle for sharing her story. Thanks also to ANR Communications social media manager Paula Sheynerman who is producing the videos.

Comments Off on What does MSU Extension mean to you?

Filed under Media

Spring-cleaning? University Archives may help

Some of us celebrate spring by taking a stroll, basking in the sun or enjoying the beauty of nature in bloom. Others take a more practical approach and opt to do a little spring-cleaning. If you’re of the latter variety, you may be pulling out the old files and weeding through the bookcases in your offices. In doing so, you may come across some outdated Michigan State UniversityExtension bulletins. What to do?

The University Archives & Historical Collections can help.

Jennie Russell, assistant records archivist, said, “The best thing that Extension staff can do is make a list of the bulletins that they have, so we can compare and see if we have a copy or not.”

The list should include the following details about each bulletin: the title, the volume and issue number, and the date. Send the list to the Archives at archives@msu.edu. After an Archives staff member reviews it, he or she will contact you with further instructions.

“There are so many different Extension bulletins that we need all of that information to make an informed decision. If there are issues we want, we will have them fill out a transmittal sheet and have them delivered to us,” said Jennie.

Keeping the bulletins in the archives ensures that we won’t lose them and we can refer to them for historical reference.

Archives needs only one copy of the bulletin. If you have multiple copies, recycle the rest.

If you have questions, contact the University Archives & Historical Collections at archives@msu.edu.

Comments Off on Spring-cleaning? University Archives may help

Filed under Bulletins

Do your part at Ag Expo

Ag Expo, Michigan’s largest outdoor farm show, runs July 22‒24 on the Michigan State University campus. It’s a great opportunity to educate the public about the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and MSU Extension.

Why not take the opportunity to be part of the action? We hope that many of you will be involved in delivering educational programs at the Expo. Whether you are teaching or not, you can participate as a volunteer in helping to make this unique event a success. Consider signing up to volunteer, and now is a great time to add your name to the list of workers. You can help with youth activities in the CANR Tent, staff the on-site information stations, count cars or serve as a safety monitor for demonstrations. Besides having a great time, you’ll receive a free T-shirt and meal ticket.

Volunteers must be 15 years old or older. You may have a high school student at home who by mid-July may be looking for a way to spend time. This would be a fantastic opportunity for him or her to serve the community and practice leadership skills.

Choose from two shifts on each day of the event:

Tuesday, July 22

7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

11:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 23

7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

11:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 24

7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

11:15 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Interested? Contact Jennifer DeClerg at declergj@anr.msu.edu by July 14. Include your T-shirt size, cell phone number, shift(s) you would like to work, and the area you would like to volunteer in. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request.

Comments Off on Do your part at Ag Expo

Filed under ag expo

Michigan Legislature honors MSU Extension

Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service (and with it, the Michigan Cooperative Extension Service, now known as Michigan State University Extension). U.S. Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia and U.S. Rep. A. F. Lever of South Carolina authored the Smith-Lever Act to expand the “vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America” by bringing the research-based knowledge of the land-grant universities to people where they live and work.

Our Michigan Legislature is expected to adopt two resolutions that honor MSU Extension. Yesterday, May 8, the Michigan Senate adopted Senate Resolution 143. It recognizes the significance of the Smith-Lever Act to the establishment of Cooperative Extension nationwide and encourages people to observe and celebrate the centennial with a focus on launching an innovative and sustainable future for Cooperative Extension. Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker was the lead sponsor of the resolution in the Michigan Senate, and was joined by co-sponsors Darwin Booher, Jack Brandenburg, Michael Green, Goeffrey Hanson, Michael Kowall, John Pappageorge and John Proos.

Rep. Roger Victory is the lead sponsor on a similar resolution in the House of Representatives, and the House members are expected to vote on the resolution next week. I’m grateful for the support we receive from our Legislature as well as from Michigan residents.

We’ve spent 100 years delivering programs to help people improve their lives, and you as educators, specialists, support staff, volunteers – whatever your contribution ‒ have been a part of that history. We will continue to extend university-based research and knowledge to Michigan residents. You can be proud of our past, our present and the future that MSU Extension will create.

Comments Off on Michigan Legislature honors MSU Extension

Filed under Uncategorized

Volunteer to promote literacy

There’s a terrific project that gets kids excited about reading through their natural love of animals. The Horse Tales Literacy Project (formerly the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation) pairs little readers up with horses. The kids read Walter Farley’s Little Black, A Pony to horses at the Michigan State University Horse Teaching and Research Center on Forest Road near the MSU campus.

In addition, the kids visit interactive activity stations where they learn about various horse-related subjects such as horse nutrition, and tack and equipment.

If you’re free Tuesday, May 20 from 8:30 to 11, you can volunteer for an opportunity to be a part of this event. Volunteers will either hold horses as the kids read to them or they will help coordinate the activity stations.

Karen Waite, senior academic specialist in the MSU Department of Animal Science and the Extension Children and Youth Institute, coordinates the Horse Tales Literacy Project at MSU. Karen works closely with farm manager Paula Hitzler and the Friends of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center to make the magic happen.

Karen said, “This is a great way to spend part of a day. The young people are very excited about reading to the horses, and for many it is the first time they have ever been on a farm. It is fun for all involved, yet educational as well.”

You can get a good idea of the kids’ reaction to the project by watching this video and this slide show both produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. They document the time in 2010 when 135 first graders from Discovery Elementary in Williamston took part in the program. Kids from Discovery will be back again this year as they have every year.

If you think this is something you’d like to be a part of, contact Karen at kwaite@msu.edu. Just a few hours of your day will make a difference in a child’s life.

Comments Off on Volunteer to promote literacy

Filed under Equine