Category Archives: Children and Youth

Eaton County 4-H highlighted on WKAR

On Thursday, July 12, WKAR, the local NPR affiliate, visited the Eaton County fair and interviewed Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator Kristy Oosterhouse and one of our 4-H’ers, Naomi Saint Amour. The two-minute piece highlighted how 4-H makes a difference in the lives of young people across the state. As many of you already know, Michigan 4-H is the largest youth development program in Michigan, and it provides more than 200,000 young people with experiential learning opportunities to explore new interests and discover their passion.

If you have a free minute or two, you can read or listen to the “4-H Engrains Life Skills in Kids” story online.

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments, Children and Youth, Uncategorized

St. Clair County 4-H highlighted on local news station

On June 25, St. Clair County news station EBW TV interviewed Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H program coordinator Lori Warchuck about 4-H. Lori did a great job telling the story about the work that we do in Extension, especially the variety of our programs. She also shared about 4-H Exploration Days on MSU’s campus and advertised for the 4-H fair in the county.

This is a great example of how we can engage with local media to get the word out about MSU Extension. You can watch Lori’s interview on the EBW TV website.

I love it when our staff members are featured for the great work that they’re doing, and each one of you has an important story to tell.

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth

MSU Extension Spotlight Raise Your Hand for Michigan 4-H!

As you have likely seen, Michigan 4-H is again this year participating in the Raise Your Hand campaign, which seeks to engage 4-H alums and supporters.

With deep roots in our state and across the country, 4-H has been serving youth for more than 100 years. This key program provides kids with the opportunity to learn by doing, grow from failure and develop the skills they need to handle whatever life throws their way. No one knows this better than 4-H friends and alumni who have experienced these programs firsthand. That is why 4-H alums and anyone who supports 4-H are being asked to Raise Your Hand for 4-H.

Whether you are a program alum or not, as part of our Michigan State University Extension family, I know you will all join me in showing your support of 4-H and raising your hand. By doing so, you’ll be paying it forward to the next generation of 4-H’ers and helping to bring the 4-H experience to additional kids in our state. Every friend and alumni hand raised between now and May 15 will count as a vote for the state of your choice (vote for Michigan!), with cash prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 available to the top three states. Even if you have previously raised your hand for 4-H, please do so again this year, as the competition counts each hand raised!

Please join me in empowering kids across Michigan by raising your hand for 4-H and helping to provide youth with 4-H hands-on learning that teaches them responsibility, compassion, respect and the value of hard work. Together we can grow the next generation of true leaders!

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth

MSU Extension educator named Informal Science Educator of the Year

Congratulations to Michigan State University (MSU) 4-H Extension educator Tracy D’Augustino, who received the Informal Science Educator of the Year distinction from the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA). Tracy was recognized because of her unique and extraordinary accomplishments, active leadership, scholarship contributions and direct improvement of nonschool-based science education, reaching over 3,200 youth during her career.

Another point to celebrate is that this is the second year in a row that MSTA has chosen an MSU Extension educator for this award. Read more about Tracy and her award on our website.

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments, Awards, Children and Youth

4-H program coordinator receives rabbit breeders award for service

Headshot of Glenda Weiss.Please join me in congratulating Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H program coordinator Glenda Weiss who received the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) Distinguished Service Award Nov. 27. Glenda received the award because of her years of service and outstanding impact on rabbit and cavy programs as well as the industry.

Glenda has been a member of the ARBA for 20 years and has used many of her skills and abilities to serve. She has:

  • Served 13 years as the Michigan State Rabbit Breeders Youth Association adviser.
  • Served on the State 4-H Rabbit and Cavy Show committee, organizing the scholarship auction for over 10 years, where she raised more than $25,000.
  • Worked with more than 100 youth over 16 years to coach and train them to be ARBA judges and registrars.
  • Served 21 years as a club leader for Lapeer County’s Busy Beavers 4-H Club for which she was the founding leader.
  • Served as the Lapeer County fair’s rabbit superintendent for 19 years.

Josh Humphries, ARBA president, presented the award to Glenda at the Michigan State Rabbit Breeders Association fall show at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. Glenda was delighted that joining him was David Moll, ARBA district director, who was a member of her judging and breed identification teams as a youth. Isn’t it so fulfilling when our work comes full circle?

I’ve only listed a few contributions that she has made – so make sure you congratulate Glenda and take a moment to hear about all the other ways she’s had an impact on youth and the rabbit industry.

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments, Awards, Children and Youth

Grandparents University: Why it’s important and how you can get involved

Have you heard about Grandparents University? It is the largest intergenerational program in the nation, Michigan State University (MSU) alumni are invited to bring their grandchildren to campus for a three-day summer camp where they choose from almost 200 sessions. Each year, Grandparents University serves over 1,300 guests. This year, 632 adults and 678 youth participated in the program, which took place June 27–29.

Grandparents University is an important collaboration and MSU Extension has been involved since the beginning. Grandparents University started 12 years ago when Kathryn Reed, MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources alumni relations director, and Mike Steger, former MSU College of Natural Science faculty member, learned about the program from Oklahoma State University.

“It began because it was a great way to showcase majors and bring alumni back to campus,” Kathryn said. “Extension helped bring in meaningful programming since the beginning.”

This year, we had five colleagues from MSU Extension host sessions, and here are their experiences:

2017 was the sixth year the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching & Research Center participated in Grandparents University. Daniel Buskirk, MSU associate professor and beef Extension specialist, led the session on beef cattle.

“We begin with an ‘entrance exam’ and then explore the MSU Beef Center in search of answers,” Daniel said. “The kids love learning about what cows eat, what a bull weighs and seeing young calves. The grandparents like learning about the science involved in beef production, animal care and the origin of beef cuts.”

Georgia Peterson, MSU Extension specialist, took students to MSU’s Sanford Natural Area, located along the Red Cedar River for her Exploring Our Forests session.

“We discussed the most common tree species found there, along with other plants and animals that call it home,” Georgia said. “As we walked the trails of this forest, the kids were especially interested in finding plants (including trees) that have special features, like the sassafras with its ‘mitten’ leaves and fragrant stems.”

Laurie Rivetto, MSU Extension educator, led two sessions of Spartan Dollars and Cents where 28 youth and 24 grandparents engaged in several activities such as Needs vs. Wants, the Allowance Game and M&M Budgeting. At the end of each 90-minute session, youth created a Spend/Save/Share/Invest bank.

“It was a great group, and youth and adults commented on how interactive and fun the sessions were and how much they learned,” Laurie said. “The program really encouraged conversation between the grandparents and youth. The participants were involved in engaging in a needs and wants continuum where they stand on a line based on how much they feel an item is a need or a want. Having two different generations participate leads to some different perspectives on what needs and wants are.”

Visit the Grandparents University website to see the recap video from 2017 that features Laurie’s Needs vs. Wants activity toward the end of the video.

Michelle Neff, MSU Extension educator, has been involved with Grandparents University for the past three years. This year, she led a new yoga and mindfulness session for youth and grandparents.

“I really enjoy teaching this audience because the grandparents and students are very eager to learn. It is also cool to see youth and adults come from all over the country and state to attend this event,” said Michelle.

Dixie Sandborn, MSU Extension specialist, shared that during her Chocolate Culture and Creativity session, grandparents and grandchildren sample chocolates from around the world and make their own chocolate treats.

“Participants loved how hands-on and interactive it was. They also learn interesting facts and the science behind chocolate,” Dixie said. “For example, 200 cacao beans could once buy a turkey. During World War II, the Germans created an exploding, chocolate-covered, thin steel bomb, designed to blow up 7 seconds after a piece was broken off. People who eat chocolate one to three times per month live longer. The flowers of the cacao tree are only pollinated by tiny gnats.”

Amy Carnahan, director of Grandparents University as well as of the President’s Graduate Receptions, spoke to us about the importance of having Extension staff members host sessions.

“We love having new classes every year and we usually hope for 20 percent of classes that are new and different,” Amy said. “I’ve found that Extension has been amazing for us.”

Are you interested in hosting a few sessions at Grandparents University next year? The 2018 event is scheduled for June 26–28. The MSU Alumni Association will cover travel expenses for your participation and will also provide $10 per participant for supplies for your session. If you have any questions or want to learn more about hosting sessions, contact Amy at carnah10@msu.edu.

Don’t need any more information and are ready to sign up? Visit the Grandparents University Instructor Registration page.

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Filed under Children and Youth, Partnerships

Pumpkin everything

Giant wooden bins filled with pumpkins, trees in the background.

You can tell it’s fall when you start seeing pumpkin everything: pumpkin lattes, pie, muffins, soups, cookies, cakes, coffee creamer, ice cream and Cheerios – what? Today, I thought I’d point out some great resources that our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educators have created to help us get into the pumpkin spirit.

First, we’ll need to know how to pick the perfect pumpkin. Good thing we have the “How to Choose the Right Pumpkin” resource by MSU Extension educator Jeannie Nichols with information on finding fully mature and delicious pumpkins.

Once we’ve found the right pumpkin, we turn to MSU Extension educator Lisa Treiber who prepared a great Michigan Fresh bulletin on using, storing and preserving pumpkins with detailed instructions and recommendations.

In case you’d like to dive deeper into pumpkin preservation, MSU Extension educator Stephanie Ostrenga has some important information in her “Pumpkin Preservation Safety Tips” article.

MSU Extension educator Stephanie Marino also has great advice on “Incorporating Pumpkin Into Your Diet This Season” with recipes included.

To fully immerse ourselves in all things pumpkin, the MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center in Novi is hosting their annual Pumpkinfest Oct.7–8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. that draws about 6,000 visitors. This will be a fantastic event for the whole family with a children’s straw maze, educational exhibits, music, pumpkin bowling, antique tractors, the MSU Bug House and more. On Sept. 27, we received MSU Extension educator Alan Jaros’ email encouraging us all to attend, represent our program areas at the event and bring interactive elements to engage the crowd. This is a great opportunity to show off what we do and celebrate all things pumpkin. If you have questions or if you would like to sign up, contact Aba Holmes at holme146@anr.msu.edu. Hope you can make it.

Happy pumpkin season, everyone!

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Filed under Children and Youth, Events, Food, Food safety, Health and Nutrition, Horticulture, Nutrition, Resources