Category Archives: Media

Videos tell our story

One of the things that I’ve been impressed with in coming back is the astounding jump Michigan State University Extension has made in technology. Facebook and YouTube are now included in the many methods we use to promote Extension and to do our job of educating.

During Extension’s centennial year, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications is producing videos that highlight the individual stories of people who have a unique story to tell about Extension. (Dr. Coon mentioned this in a previous blog “What Does MSU Extension Mean to You?” in which he gave the link to the testimonial of MSU student Danielle Bott.)

In case you missed them, three new videos are up. In one video, Doug Lewis,a Washtenaw County 4-H volunteer, talks about the impact Michigan 4-H Youth Development has on our youth. I watched this one over the weekend, and my heart was literally pounding with emotion!

In addition, listen to MSU Extension nutrition and food safety educator Joyce McGarry, talk about the importance Extension had throughout her life, culminating in her becoming an Extension staff member.

And finally, Rep. Roger Victory: when he isn’t representing the 88th District in Michigan’s House of Representatives, he runs Victory Farms in Ottawa County. With the guidance of MSU Extension agents, he started his farm at a very young age, and has since then worked with MSU Extension to facilitate the guidance of other farmers to keep our farm economy thriving.

Watch all four videos by going to the MSU Extension YouTube page.

Check Facebook and YouTube for additional videos as well as the latest information from Extension.

Thanks to ANR Communications social media manager Paula Sheynerman for producing the videos as well as her colleagues Jamie Wilson and Dave Ellis who assisted.

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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.

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Greening Mid-Michigan video reaches tens of thousands

Dr. Chuck Nelson, associate professor in the Michigan State UniversityDepartment of Community Sustainability, and Scott Allman, Clearwater Media Partners video producer formerly of MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications, created the video “Greening Mid-Michigan: A Vision for Green Infrastructure.” The two collaborated in the past on five other videos, including “Restoring Wetlands,” which received a Michigan Emmy. (See my June 17, 2010, Spotlight article.)

The documentary was shown on WKAR and other stations across Michigan for multiple showings grouped around Earth Day 2014. Funding was provided through MSU Extension and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission using a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Sustainability.

The video reached tens of thousands of Michigan residents and visitors.

“It is an evergreen piece and will have years of good life,” said Dr. Nelson.

The film is available for viewing at It’s divided into four segments: “Mid-Michigan Farms and Markets: Healthy and Local” highlights the importance of sustainable farming practices. “Protecting Mid-Michigan’s Waterways” highlights rain gardens, rain barrels and other strategies that can be used by everyone to cleanse rainwater run-off of local pollutants before it reaches our waterways. “Get Active in Mid-Michigan” highlights Mid-Michigan’s parks, rivers and trails, and “Jewels of Mid-Michigan: Our County Parks” highlights how three of our larger successful county parks were created from industrial sites.

The film had great visibility and reach. Thanks for your leadership, Chuck!

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News segments raise awareness of Extension and the work we do

As I mentioned in several articles in this Spotlight, the MSU Extension website continues to be an effective medium to get the word out to folks about our great programs. Another avenue excels at communicating about our organization and the fantastic work we do. ANR Communications is producing two-minute news segments focusing on our programs, research and major initiatives. Marketed under a series titled “Did You Know?” the segments began airing last month, directly before Tim Skubick’s public affairs program “Off the Record” on WKAR Channel 23.

The video segments were developed to raise the public’s awareness of Extension and all it does. In addition to appearing along with “Off the Record,” they are also posted online, providing us with additional exposure and opportunities for sharing.

ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans said, “We’ve strategically placed these videos ahead of ‘Off the Record’ because we believe key decision makers and those in major agencies in multiple areas of government watch the show.”

The videos have focused on Firewise, which offers resources in home and community fire protection, and Stepping Stones, a program that provides urban youngsters with outdoor education experiences. Another video featured Extension educator Marilyn Thelen discussing the 2012 drought. Future videos will spotlight 4-H Discovery Camp and 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp. Another will highlight senior Extension educator Dennis Pennington discussing the feasibility of using marginal lands for energy crop production.

Steve co-produces the videos with video producer and director Kraig Ehm. If you have a story you’d like to submit for consideration, send your ideas to Steve at or Kraig at

View the videos here.

Another venue that features work of MSUE colleagues is the Greening of the Great Lakes, a website and radio feature hosted by retired MSU Professor Kirk Heinze. Kirk recently hosted Rick Foster, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Food, Society and Sustainability and former director of MSUE’s Greening Michigan Institute. You can read and hear the interview with Rick on the MSU initiative to foster development of the metropolitan food system and related industries in Detroit.

Kirk’s radio productions are broadcast on Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR. He often highlights innovations underway by MSUE scientists and educators.

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County educator uses technology to train on nutrition

Our Extension educators are always thinking of creative ways of using technology and Michigan State University Kent County Extension Educator Monica Smith is one of them. Monica, who works in the EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) and SNAP-ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education) programs, has been presenting a monthly Lunch-and-Learn since last May. She targets local agencies that work with clients who are living in a low-income situation. These agencies include many local pantries, senior housing, the Kent County Health Department, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Spectrum Health and more. Monica does a one-hour lecture on a nutrition topic of importance to them. The lecture is videotaped by a staff person from the Grand Rapids Community College communications department. The video is then posted on YouTube and played on the local educational channel, GRTV. You can view the videos and download related handouts at the Kent County Nutrition Connection site at Click on “Lunch and Learn Video.” For more information, e-mail Monica at

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People are talking …

We’ve received some great press lately from reporters interested in learning how the governor’s budget proposal could affect MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

Read how people in southeast Michigan feels about the prospect of losing Extension feel about us in today’s Detroit Free Press. And inside that same paper, you’ll find a wonderful article about Living with Less, a great program that helps people deal with a sudden financial loss.

A Flint Journal reporter credits the Master Gardener Volunteer Program for helping people learn how to grow food in urban areas. Read more here.

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Filed under 4-H, Agriculture, Budget, Farming, Food, Funding, Media, Resources, Uncategorized, Youth development