Category Archives: Publications

A National Framework for Urban Extension

Photo of a city street looking through a small window.

The Journal of Extension published “A National Framework for Urban Extension,” co-authored by Michigan State University Extension educator Marie Ruemenapp. The framework was created out of a collaboration by the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) group that Marie co-founded and in which she serves as the vice chair. NUEL was formed after a group of mid-level managers and administrators from Extension in urban cities met together over breakfast and began conversations about commonalities in their work, and the opportunities and obstacles faced in urban and metropolitan areas. The group decided to continue the conversations and to meet regularly. They began to draft a framework for urban Extension.

Marie said, “(Our goal is) to elevate the conversation around what Extension should be doing in urban environments to a national discussion, and to begin to collaborate and network around that, so that state Extension systems can be more effective in urban and metropolitan environments.

“Eighty percent (of people) in Michigan live in five metro centers around the state. About a third of the state’s population lives in one of 26 cities. So Michigan really is a metropolitan and urban state. And that’s true across the country. Even nationally, about 80 percent of the population live in urban or metropolitan centers. We need to work where our clients are and make sure we’re relevant to meet their needs in ways that work for them.”

To craft the framework, NUEL members conducted an extensive literature review and collected information and experiences from Extension staff members working in urban centers around the nation. They identified four areas of historical development and opportunity for urban Extension: positioning, personnel, programs and partnerships.

To condense the framework and recommendations to make it more accessible, Marie worked with fellow NUEL members Julie Fox, associate professor, Ohio State University Extension; Patrick Proden, metro regional administrator, Division of Outreach and Engagement, Oregon State University; and Brad Gaolach, director, Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension, Washington State University Extension; to author the journal article. Read the journal article at https://joe.org/joe/2017october/a2.php.

At the end of 2015, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy identified that they were going to put a priority on urban Extension, and they asked NUEL to give leadership to their efforts. As a result, the group planned the National Urban Extension Conference in 2017. They plan to sponsor this conference every two years.

NUEL is also in the process of organizing a regional collaborative networking group for staff members who work in urban Extension and are interested in talking to other staff. This is a great opportunity to get involved. If you are interested in joining this network, email Marie at ruemenap@anr.msu.edu. She will connect you.

Further information on urban Extension:

A National Framework for Urban Extension: A Report from the National Urban Extension Leaders (full report)

Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, Special Issue: Urban Extension – June 2017

Also, you can find many helpful resources on the NUEL website.

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Filed under Accomplishments, communication, Publications, Urban Collaborators, Urban Extension

MSU Extension teams up with MDARD over baby chicks

Two baby chicks huddle together.I recently saw a T-shirt that made me chuckle. It read, “Chickens are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” Each spring, customers flock to farm supply stores across the country for Chick Days, where live chicks are available for purchase. The adorable baby birds are tiny and cute, but many people do not know that the chicks also carry dangerous germs such as Salmonella. With a rise in salmonella cases in 2016, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension decided to work together to improve educational efforts around salmonella prevention with chick buyers in 2017. Extension educator Katie Ockert and Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson from our communications team worked closely with MDARD on collaborative efforts that resulted in “Chick Bags.” Each bag contains a series of informative rack cards, disinfectant and cleaning brushes. More than 1,000 free bags will be distributed to chick buyers at 10 Family Farm and Home stores. In addition to helping chick buyers understand ways to prevent Salmonella contamination, the cards also provide new owners with valuable information on caring for their animals and preventing the spread of disease among their birds.

These are great guides that are worth taking a look at and sharing with any chick buyers you might know. You can find them on the MSU Extension website and at the sites below.

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Filed under Agriculture, Animal Science, communication, health, Health and Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications

Michigan Fresh helps residents navigate local farmers markets

Entering its second year, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s Discover Michigan Fresh farmers market tours help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)‒eligible residents become familiar with their local farmers markets and explore Michigan-grown produce.

Our nutrition education staff members meet tour participants at the farmers market where they are escorted on a guided tour, meet farmers and exchange ideas for preparing new and familiar farm-fresh products. Participants are encouraged to consider how they might use items purchased at the market to fill a nutritious MyPlate. (MyPlate is a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative to promote healthy eating by simply filling your plate with the right mix of healthy foods.)

MSU Extension staff members also assist participants in understanding how food assistance benefits are used in their market. The tours encourage participants to use their farmers market as a source of nutritious, delicious, affordable food while keeping local dollars in the community. Also we hand out our own Michigan Fresh fact sheets are used as a reference. Participants also receive a participant booklet that contains information ranging from market shopping tips, to produce storage and preservation tips, to recipes. Our tours can be offered as the nutrition education component in concert with other community programs such as Market FRESH and Hoophouses for Health.

Last year was the pilot year with tours taking place in eight counties (from Alger to Monroe), in eight districts, reaching over 180 participants. Farmers and vendors report that they appreciate the opportunity to chat with participants. We’ve received positive feedback from participants, including these quotes from last season’s attendees:

“I liked the tour because healthy food is good for my soul as well as my heart.”

“I learned about Hoophouses for Health and I learned that a lot of vendors accept EBT, Project FRESH and Double Up Food Bucks.”

“I personally thought the tour of the farmers market was well needed. This was a great experience.”

“I had a great time on the tour. We visited a lot of Michigan-made vendors and that was the best to support our own people.”

This year, tours are being considered or are already planned in 13 districts and staff have even more options for materials. New this season: Materials are currently being completed for use with senior audiences and Discover Michigan Fresh Junior is in the works.

The Discover Michigan Fresh team developed a new booklet for use with seniors with some additional information, such as tips for shopping for one and small-quantity recipes. The senior tours are a great piece for our staff to be able to offer to local Area Agencies on Aging as the nutrition education piece during Market FRESH coupon distribution.

When complete, Discover Michigan Fresh Junior will consist of fun lessons for kids in grades K‒5, focusing on produce found in Michigan farmers markets and encouraging guest farmer Q&A’s. The lessons can be used at the market or offsite (for example, during summer camp) with a field trip to the market.

Find Michigan Fresh fact sheets, recipes, and recipe videos here: www.michiganfresh.msue.msu.edu

If you are wondering how a Discover Michigan Fresh tour might look in action, watch this video, produced by ANR Creative, by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfzxNEG_VnQ

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Filed under Food, health, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Publications, Resources

Getting the word out to Flint families

On Tuesday, April 26, MSU Extension participated in the Flint Farmers Market event held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and attended by representatives from state and local agencies, the media and the public. The event raised awareness about the nutrition assistance programs and guidance resources available to Flint residents.

During the press conference, speakers from many organizations and programs such as the Fair Food Network, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan joined USDA speakers to share about nutrition and program information. Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator, spoke at the press conference, highlighting MSU Extension resources and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ‒ Education (SNAP‒Ed).

After the press conference, participants interacted with program staff during activities and demonstrations, and at informational booths. Our MSU Extension team provided a cooking demonstration, a Cooking Matters class and a Discover Michigan Fresh tour. They also set up a “fender blender” bike for participants to ride to create a healthy smoothie and taste the results of their efforts. The MSU Extension booth showcased our nutrition education curricula, fight lead brochures and class fliers.

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The event provided accurate information, brought partners together who support the efforts in Flint and delivered a cohesive message. The USDA took sounds bites and video footage to develop public service announcements for future use to reach out and educate more of the public about the important resources available.

Thank you, Dawn Contreras, Deanna East, Erin Powell, Lynette Kaiser, Rich Ashley and his son Gabe, Liz Josaitis, Maha Khrais, Shane Jackson, Nancy Latham, Becky Henne and Tom Cummins for your efforts to provide meaningful activities and content, and for representing MSU Extension at this successful event.

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Filed under Children and Youth, communication, Events, Flint Water, Food, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications, Resources

JOE: Opportunity to share knowledge, programming

The Journal of Extension (JOE) is the official refereed journal of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System. The acceptance rate for articles is 27.8 percent. Most submissions undergo double-blind review. Contributing to JOE is a great way for Extension staff to engage in scholarly publication.

I’m proud of the fact that Michigan State University Extension boasts two articles in the August 2015 issue.

The Case for a Paradigm Shift in Extension From Information-Centric to Community-Centric Programming” was written by Emma Strong, graduate research assistant; Jason Rowntree, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science; Kable Thurlow, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute; and Matt R. Raven, professor in the Department of Community Sustainability. In the article, the authors assert that the current Extension paradigm of information-centric programming is no longer adequate and Extension should move toward one that is community centric.

College Transition Study Shows 4-H Helps Youth Prepare for and Succeed in College” was written by Judy Ratkos, senior program leader (now retired), and former research assistant Lauren Knollenberg. The article gives the results of a study that showed 4-H alumni rated significantly higher than the comparison group on six life skills constructs.

The publication is a rich resource of the work being done around the country by our Extension colleagues. If you’re not reading it, you’re missing out. If you’re not publishing in it, you may want to.

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Filed under Publications

MSU Extension Bookstore transition

This week during the Michigan State University Extension webinar update, Doug Brinklow, director of ANR Communications, addressed some of the rumors that have been circulating about the upcoming transition of the MSU Extension Bookstore. No, the bookstore will not be going away, but we are going to be making some improvements.

Later this year, the MSU Extension Bookstore will move from our current platform to shop.msu.edu, which is part of University Stores. University Stores already successfully runs a retail operation through online, phone and face-to-face interactions and also handles product storage and fulfillment with a dedicated staff. They are PCI compliant, which means they maintain a high set of security standards to protect credit card information of purchasers and can make the necessary updates to keep our material easy to purchase or download.

This decision did not come easily. ANR Communications, ANR Technology Services and MSU Extension staff members spent months investigating options to ensure we can retain an easy-to-use system that is positioned for growth. Rather than spending time and money to reinvent the wheel within our current system, the group agreed that the resources available through shop.msu.edu will help us become more efficient.

With this big of a change, there were obviously a few questions for us to clear up. Here are the highlights:

  • The MSU Extension Bookstore will remain open until shortly before the switch to shop.msu.edu.
  • Extension county office discount pricing will be retained.
  • We will still have the ability to publish online-only documents through shop.msu.edu.
  • You will still be able to pick up bookstore items from campus, but they will now be located at Angell Building, 166 Service Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • All stakeholders/customers will be informed of all steps that need to be taken to begin using the bookstore through shop.msu.edu.

Michelle Lavra, who supervises the communication production team and the video/multimedia team in ANR Communications, will maintain the bookstore relationship with shop.msu.edu. We are on track to meet our goal of transitioning by October 1, 2014, and we will provide more details by mid-September.

As with any transition, we know that there will be wrinkles along the way. We appreciate your help in making this transition as smooth as possible by bringing any issues to the attention of ANR Communications so we can iron them out immediately.

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The reptiles return!

The revision of a popular field guide is now ready and available to purchase from the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore. Michigan Turtles and Lizards (E2234), a nontechnical guide, includes color photos of the 10 turtle and two lizard species that make Michigan their home. Michigan Turtles and Lizards

The guide was written by James H. Harding, instructor in the MSU Department of Zoology, and herpetology and zoology outreach specialist in the MSU Museum, and the late J. Alan Holman, curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the MSU Museum and professor emeritus of geology and zoology at MSU. It was edited by Leslie Johnson and designed by graphic artist Alicia Burnell, both of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications.

“Turtles, in particular as a group, are among the world’s most critically endangered vertebrates, due to massive and accelerating human exploitation and habitat destruction. There is less information on lizard populations, but many species are also on the decline,” said Mr. Harding.

You can use this book to identify a turtle or lizard by comparing it to the photographs or by using the simplified identification keys. The guide includes information on the anatomy, fossil history, distribution, habitats, behavior, captive care and conservation of these animals. It also contains a glossary of selected words and a list of recommended resources. This revision has updated taxonomy and some new text material with additional photos to enhance the text. The range maps have been revised to reflect the latest information on turtle and lizard distribution and there’s a new page on introduced species.

Michigan Forest Communities This guide makes a great gift for the young and the not so young. Most of Michigan’s native species of turtles and lizards can be found in adjoining portions of Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and even Ontario so you don’t have to limit your gift giving to friends and relatives in Michigan.

“People working in wildlife research, education or conservation may wish to obtain the revised version; however, ‘nonprofessional’ people who already own the old version need not feel compelled to throw them out and get the new one!” said Mr. Harding.

“I hope that our book will help people in this state to become familiar with the species here, and to understand our local conservation challenges with these ancient (but evolutionarily successful) reptiles,” he said.

Order the book from the MSU Extension Bookstore at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins2/product/michigan-turtles-lizards-418.cfm.

While shopping the MSU Extension Bookstore website, you will run across some treasures. One of them is Michigan Forest Communities: A Field Guide and Reference (E3000) by Donald Dickmann, professor emeritus in the MSU Department of Forestry, now retired. Books that describe tree species abound. But this book provides information about how trees grow together in communities. The book covers the 23 distinct forest communities found across Michigan. Each community is illustrated with photographs and maps. Take this guide with you as you explore Michigan forests for an up-close session in forest natural history. While you’re there, you may spot a turtle!

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Filed under Publications