Tag Archives: agriculture and natural resources communications

MSU Extension promotional materials win awards

Two projects from Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications recently received Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) awards. The ACE Critique and Awards program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch 2013-2014 Legislative Report won gold in the Special Report category. This report recounts impact stories, data factoids as well as funding information presented with pie charts and infographics, pulling it all together in an attractive, easy-to-read format that we can share with stakeholders.

The project was managed by Sean Corp, editor with ANR Communications, but also featured the writing, design and editing of Natasha Berryman, James Dau, Jane L. DePriest, Soundarya Sri Raja Kalidindi, Holly Whetstone, Katie Gervasi, Nichole Hersch, Mariah Montenegro, Mindy Maxwell Tape, Paula Sheynerman, Beth Stuever, Jamie Wilson, Patricia Adams and Marian Reiter.

The report received a perfect score, showing just how hard our team worked on this project.

One of the judges included, “This report is an excellent example of how an organization should communicate its products and services to a diverse audience. The pictures were vivid and high-quality, and portrayed racial, age, and ethnic diversity. The copy was also very informative, detailed and thorough.”

Additionally, the MSU Extension Catalog of Programs and Services won the silver award in the Single Marketing Item category.

Quite a few of you may already be familiar with the catalog – each work team contributed to the content on its programming – but if you haven’t seen the finished product, you can take a look at it online. Sean Corp managed the project, with editing by Rebecca McKee and design by Alicia Burnell.

Both of these publications are great tools to help illustrate our work to potential partners and current contacts alike. If you aren’t sure what is happening outside of your work team, you can read simple descriptions of programming and their impacts. If you need some support materials to describe your own programming, you will find it in easily digestible statements that you can share with the people you interact with.

Congratulations on these two award-winning projects!

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Filed under Accomplishments, Awards

MSU Extension staff member named CANR Staffer of the Month

Alicia Burnell, Michigan State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications graphic artist, has received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee March 2015 Staffer of the Month award.

The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within his or her college or unit.

Two of her colleagues from ANR Communications nominated Alicia: graphic artist Marian Reiter and former communications manager Michelle Lavra. They recognized her for her design skills, as well as her quiet confidence that comes through to her clients and colleagues and leaves no doubt that she’ll get the job done.

Congratulations to Alicia and thanks to Michelle and Marian for nominating her.

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Farm Bill website building momentum

One of the projects that Michigan State University Extension educators have been working on has been in response to the Agricultural Act of 2014 – commonly called the 2014 Farm Bill – that was signed in early 2014. It is quite different from what farmers and landowners were accustomed to in former farm bills, so our educators and campus specialists from the Farm Information Resource Management (FIRM) Team are working together to provide farmers with information to navigate Farm Bill programs.

Although there may be similarities to past farm bills, it is very important that farmers begin to learn as much as they can before deciding on what program is best suited for their current situation. Farmers can find answers by checking out the Farm Bill page full of resources, important dates, email newsletters and upcoming educational events hosted throughout Michigan.  Each farm location and each farmer’s individual needs vary, therefore, choosing which programs are a good fit will depend on farm-specific variables.

Adam Kantrovich, an Extension educator for the southwest region of the FIRM team, manages the website for this project. He shared the stats of this program page with me, saying that the Farm Bill page is the Number 1 program on the MSU Extension website. From Dec. 12, 2014, to Jan. 11, 2015, the pages have had more than 4,300 visits. We hope to continue to see success with the program as we move forward.

Please feel free to explore MSU Extension’s Farm Bill page, and share it with those in your network who would be interested.

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Filed under Agriculture

N:15 ‒ ANR Communication creates news in 15 seconds

In today’s fast-paced and constantly connected world of smartphones, social media and more, we have to stay competitive if we want to attract people to our material as they scroll over multiple news items a day. Michigan State University Extension is well known throughout the state in the agriculture community and among people in the older population, who are more likely to rely on traditional news delivery. But how can we make sure that we’re catching the eye of the younger generation who want information now?

Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications is working to create 15-second videos that will offer a quick-pitch delivery of relevant news. These videos could work either as an introduction, to entice viewers to watch a longer video or to read an article, or as a full explanation of a concept, such as in “How to Convert Grams of Sugar into Teaspoons.

Kraig Ehm and Katie Gervasi, who lead the project, have created a few short videos based on content they already have. They’ve found that they can film an entire recipe in 15 seconds, as they did on this video:

The possibilities are endless!

Check out the ANR N:15 YouTube Channel to see the videos created so far, and stay tuned for more to come!

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MSU Extension staff member is CANR Staffer of the Month

Rebecca (“Becky”) Hulbert, Michigan State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications administrative assistant, has received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee June 2014 Staffer of the Month award.

The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within his or her college or unit.

Communications manager in ANR Communications Michelle Lavra nominated Becky for, among other things, her willingness to jump in and help, taking on both big and small tasks in stride.

Congratulations to Becky and thanks to Michelle for nominating her.

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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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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.

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Filed under Equine

Michigan Fresh has even more to offer

In a March 27 Spotlight, I mentioned how our Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh program educates on fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals as well as food safety, food storage, food preservation and gardening. In addition to this long list of important subjects, the Michigan Fresh work team is also busy on many other projects.

Extension educator Eileen Haraminac took over the coordination of the Michigan Fresh team upon Kathe Hale’s retirement.

Extension educator Joyce McGarry is busy heading up new fact sheet development. The team consists of Mary Dunckel, Michelle Jarvie, Ronald E. Kinnunen, Amanda Knox, Laurie Messing, Jeannie Nichols, Jeannine Schweihofer and Rob Weber. Team members arecompiling information on meats: pork, lamb, poultry, beef and fish. In the future, they will compile information for fact sheets on dairy products. Michigan Fresh fact sheets have been available at many of the farmers markets throughout the state as well as online. The fact sheets are also available in Arabic and Spanish. Find them on the Michigan Fresh website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/mi_fresh

Other future fact sheets will focus on Michigan chestnuts (Erin Lizotte, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute) and growing hops (Greening Michigan Institute Extension educator Rob Sirrine).

Extension program instructor Stephanie Bruno heads up the team that’s developing recipe cards. The team consists of Jennifer Berkey, Becky Henne and Connie Kurple. These new recipe cards will be distributed at several farmers markets to encourage consumers to purchase Michigan-grown food to use as simple ingredients.

 Kristine Hahn and Eileen Haraminac as well as Sean Corp and other MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications staff are collaborating with the Eastern Market Corporation to promote a new product ‒ Michigan Fresh Frozen fruits and vegetables. The group is working on recipe cards to be distributed at Detroit Eastern Market and through the Peaches & Greens mobile produce trucks. The cards will promote both the Michigan Fresh program and the new Eastern Market Corporation Michigan Fresh Frozen products.

Eileen said, “We want to encourage people to choose nutrient-packed frozen fruits and vegetables when fresh are unavailable. Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing are processed at their peak ripeness ‒ time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient packed.

Extension associate program leader Becky Henne heads up the social media team. Team members are busy working to build a smartphone app and to develop additional videos. They hope to have the app ready to roll out for the 2015 season. This group is working with Dr. Dru Montri, executive director of Michigan Farmers Market Association; Colleen Matts, farm to institution outreach specialist with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems; and Dr. Norm Lownds, curator of the 4-H Children’s Garden. Additional team members from both the Health and Nutrition Institute and the Greening Michigan Institute include Julie Darnton, Joanne Davidhizar, Dawn Earnesty, Kristine Hahn, Sheilah Hebert, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills.

Dr. Cheryl Peters, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills have been working with the Michigan Fresh team to develop a common evaluation tool for Michigan Fresh cooking demonstrations offered at the Detroit Eastern Market and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. These cooking demonstrations benefit the promotion of the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and videos. The free, public demonstrations are designed to inspire people to purchase and consume more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables. The evaluation tool will gather information from cooking demonstration observers. Recipes used in the cooking demonstrations come from the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With coordination from Extension educator Terry McLean, MSU Extension will staff a kiosk at the Flint Farmers Market this spring.

Michigan Fresh is a great collaboration not only between our own institutes but between local organizations and farmers markets as well.

If you are interested in promoting the Michigan Fresh campaign materials at your community farmers market, please contact Eileen Haraminac (haramin2@anr.msu.edu) for more information.

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Filed under Food

PURPLE UP! for military families

Michigan State University Extension colleagues show their support for military families on PURPLE UP! Day, April 15, 2014

Michigan State University Extension colleagues show their support for military families on PURPLE UP! Day, April 15, 2014. Left to Right: MSU Extension associate director Steve Lovejoy, MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute director Julie Chapin, MSU Extension educator Kendra Moyses, MSU Extension director Tom Coon and MSU Extension associate program leader B’Onko Sadler. Photo credit: Terri Badgley.

I had the honor to address some heroes on April 15 during PURPLE UP! Day at the Breslin Center. These heroes are not the usual kind – they don’t gain a lot of attention and we may tend to overlook them. They are the families of those who serve our nation in the military.

PURPLE UP! Day is a one-day event that is part of the Month of the Military Child. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Military Partnerships Operation: Military Kids organizes activities throughout April to recognize the sacrifices made by children of our service members.

Why purple? I’m told that purple is a universal color used to symbolize all United States military personnel. It’s a combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. I wore my purple proudly that day as I expressed my gratitude to the families for their service to our country.

At the event, military families took part in fun and educational activities assisted by not only our staff but also members and coaches of various MSU sports teams. No one seemed to mind the fact that a very Spartan room with very Spartan people in it was awash in Northwestern purple. The evening really did revolve around the honored guests.

Read this Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications article to find out details about the event and read comments from Extension educator Kendra Moyses who coordinates the program: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/msu_extension_trades_green_for_purple_to_support_military_families

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Filed under 4-H

Everything you’ve ever wanted to ask about copyright

The editors on the production team at Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications would like to hear your questions about copyright and intellectual property issues. Maybe you have big-picture questions (“What on earth is fair use?” or “Who owns the copyright to Michigan State University Extension materials?”) or queries at the nitty-gritty level (“Can I put that Calvin and Hobbes comic strip with the dinosaurs in it in my PowerPoint for this workshop?” or “How much do I have to change this brownie recipe to make it legal?”). No one will laugh at your questions and no one will turn you in to the copyright police for asking them. The team will use your questions to decide what to include in an update of the MSU Extension Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Materials, which was originally produced in the late 1980s and as you can imagine, really needs some work today.

Please send your questions (along with your name and contact information if you’re willing to have someone contact you about your questions) to editor Rebecca McKee at mckeer@msu.edu, by April 30.

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