Tag Archives: Awards

A chance to honor each other and our Extension partners

Each year, we have the opportunity to recognize our colleagues and partners for their outstanding work at our Fall Extension Conference. Industry, businesses, local government, media and specialists outside of our organization are just a few examples of effective partners that help us better serve the people of Michigan. It is important that we acknowledge the work and outreach that we are able to accomplish because of these powerful partnerships. Also, internally making time to appreciate each other and our work is an important part of our organizational culture. We have a grand-scale opportunity to acknowledge each other’s efforts. We hope that you will find time to team up and work on a nomination or two for this year’s Fall Extension Conference awards.

The following is a list of awards. You can find their descriptions and accompanying forms on SharePoint here.

  • Diversity & Multiculturalism
  • ESP Friend of Extension
  • Gordon Guyer Cross-Institute Team
  • Innovative Technology
  • Institute Team
  • Key Partner
  • MCEA John Hannah Award
  • Meritorious Service
  • Outstanding Service to MSU Extension

You’ll need to submit your nomination and any required letters of support or documentation (refer to directions on each form) by Wednesday, June 1 to Katie Nicpon at freykath@anr.msu.edu. You can also contact her with any questions.

The Fall Extension Conference Awards Committee will meet in June to decide on award recipients who will be notified in early August. We look forward to honoring our colleagues and key partners with you in the fall.

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Fall Extension Conference: Thanks and congratulations!

Everyone’s talking about this year’s Fall Extension Conference that took place Oct. 13-14 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Michigan State University. It was chock-full of interesting and educational seminars.

We even had the pleasure of listening to the Michigan State University Drumline perform before the banquet and some got a chance to network with Sparty.

The Michigan State University Drumline performs at the 2015 Fall Extension Conference, Oct. 13, 2015, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Michigan State University Drumline performs at the 2015 Fall Extension Conference, Oct. 13, 2015, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Photo credit: Betty Blase.

Various awards are given out at FEC including the John A. Hannah Award for Program Excellence, the Key Partner Awards, the Epsilon Sigma Phi Friends of Extension Award, the Diversity and Multiculturalism Award, the Gordon Guyer Cross-Institute Team Award, the Innovative Technology Award, the Institute Team Award, the Staff Meritorious Service Awards and the Outstanding Service to MSU Extension Award as well as other notable awards and recognitions of service. Congratulations to all of those worthy recipients! Read about this year’s award winners here.

Sparty (on the left) and Kraig Ehm, MSUE ANR Communications video producer/director

Sparty (on the left) and Kraig Ehm, MSUE ANR Communications video producer/director, flex their muscles at the Fall Extension Conference held at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, Mich., Oct. 13, 2015.

I’d like to acknowledge all of the many people who presented. Please read their biographies here.

Thanks to all those who did preparation behind the scenes and worked during and even after the event to make this a fantastic FEC! You are great!

Zoom videos of the presentations from Tuesday morning and session materials will be posted to the Fall Extension Conference website next week.

Please mark your calendars for the next Fall Extension Conference, October 24-26, 2016.

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Extension educator receives Farm Bureau award

Michigan State University Extension educator Shelby Burlew received the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award from the Hillsdale County Farm Bureau at the bureau’s annual meeting Sept. 15. The award recognizes young farmers who do not derive a majority of their income from a personally owned agricultural operation, but who actively contribute to and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture.

Shelby has been an MSU Extension livestock environmental educator since 2013, working with livestock producers across the state on manure management, odor management and mortality management as related to the environment. She also has many other responsibilities in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.

Read more about Shelby and other Farm Bureau young farmer award winners here: http://www.hillsdale.net/article/20151011/NEWS/151019935/?Start=2

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MSU Extension staff member named CANR Staffer of the Month

Betsy Braid, Michigan State University Extension educational program coordinator in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Event Services, has received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee September 2015 Administrative/Technical 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.

Steven Safferman, associate professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Bindu Bhakta and Terry Gibb, Extension educators in the Greening Michigan Institute, nominated Betsy. The three recognized her for her enthusiasm and efficiency in taking on the coordination of the MSU Extension Comprehensive Onsite Wastewater Management Education Program. They believe her tackling this challenging program shows the “spirit of MSUE.”

Congratulations to Betsy and thanks to Steven, Bindu and Terry for nominating her.

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MSU professor receives cherry industry honors

James Flore, Michigan State University professor of horticulture, was honored as Cherry Industry Person of the Year. Dr. Flore received the award July 7 at the MSU Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Traverse City, Michigan, during the National Cherry Festival.

The Cherry Marketing Institute presents the award to individuals who have shown exemplary support for the cherry industry during their careers.

Dr. Flore’s recent research involves environmental stress. He’s developed a system, still in the experimental stage, to delay bloom in apples and cherries, involving misting the buds to keep them cooler in the spring. This will help fruit growers when warm temperatures come a bit too early and may damage crops.

He has been an MSU faculty member since 1974. During his career, Dr. Flore has had two “official” Extension appointments. However, regardless of his appointment, he was always still very involved in outreach, working closely with the cherry industry on educational matters, and heading up global meetings and symposiums on advances in cherry production.

In the current role he assumed two years ago, he’s still active with the fruit industry, mainly answering questions, solving problems and giving presentations on the tree fruit industry.

Jim grew up in a rural community and until high school, attended a two-room school. An important part of his education was 4-H. His parents were both 4-H leaders, leading him to take part in projects involving tractors, cooking, sewing, electricity and woodworking. In all of these 4-H areas, it wasn’t just about the project.

“What I value most from my 4-H experience was practicing parliamentary procedure, conducting meetings and learning to problem-solve. Those are the things that 4-H does exceptionally well,” he said.

Read more here: http://research.msu.edu/msu-researcher-named-cherry-industry-person-of-the-year/

Congratulations, Jim!

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Extension educator recognized by Michigan Lake and Stream Associations

At their annual conference on May 1 and 2 in Boyne County, Michigan, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc (ML&SA) presented senior Extension educator Jane Herbert with an award to celebrate her career in light of her upcoming retirement in 2016. This lifetime achievement award was presented “in recognition and appreciation for her hard work and long standing commitment to preserving and protecting Michigan’s legacy of high quality inland lakes.”

Jane is a nationally recognized expert on inland lake management with an emphasis on natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered shoreline erosion control. She has been a major asset to Extension in the development, delivery and evaluation of regional and statewide water resource Extension programming since she joined Michigan State University Extension in 1996.

Jane’s work with ML&SA has been a vital partnership to maintain our natural resources work. Since the 1980s, ML&SA has partnered with MSU Extension to educate waterfront property owners as well as local decision makers on practices and policies to protect Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of streams and rivers. ML&SA has also provided strong support to statewide partnerships in which MSU Extension provides key leadership, including the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership and the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.

Jane said, “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with ML&SA for all these years. The award was unexpected but very much appreciated.”

Congratulations, Jane!

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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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Senior educator earns Charles Eastin Award

Yesterday, the Agriculture Council of America awarded our very own Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University Extension senior educator from Barry County, the Charles Eastin Award for involvement in agriculture advocacy. Dennis received the award at the Celebration of Agriculture Dinner held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on National Ag Day.

The Charles Eastin Award highlights individuals who advocate for agriculture awareness, as well as accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. It is named after Charles “Charlie” Eastin, whose “passion and dedication will continue to inspire those who work on behalf of promoting a greater understanding between rural and urban folk” according to the National Ag Day website.

Dennis was surprised to learn that he had been nominated for this award, and he is very proud of the work that led him to receive it.

“I have leveraged partnerships between MSU Extension, Farm Bureau, 4-H and FFA in my community to help teach kids and adults about agriculture and food production. I would not have been able to achieve this without the strong support of volunteers and kids in each of these organizations. They are what keeps my passion ignited,” he said.

Rachelle Lehman from the Barry County Farm Bureau nominated him, citing his willingness to communicate with the public about agriculture through educational efforts at the fair, Ag Awareness Day and online informative videos. For example, the videos he produced with the Hastings FFA students reached thousands of viewers, spreading research-based facts about agriculture to new and expanding audiences.

Our work advocating for agriculture awareness is never done, and it’s individuals like Dennis who inspire us to do more. Congratulations, Dennis!

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ANR Week honors industry leaders at luncheon

This week is Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week. On Tuesday, March 10, several people were honored with awards at the ANR Week Luncheon.

Each year the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources presents Distinguished Service Awards to those individuals or partners who have made outstanding contributions to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources industries and who possess high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the CANR. These individuals demonstrate a commitment to Michigan State University and the CANR by continuing outstanding volunteerism and leadership on behalf of or in conjunction with the university on a local, state, national or international level. I’d like to call attention to the three people who received Distinguished Service Awards: Richard H. Lehnert, William L. Sheridan and David L. Smith.

 Richard H. Lehnert, associate editor of Good Fruit Grower, is a 1963 MSU alumnus. He served the Michigan agriculture sector as editorial assistant and editor of Michigan Farmer. Additionally, he owned and operated his own communications agency for another decade. Richard was managing editor of Fruit Growers News and associate editor of Vegetable Growers News. He earned national recognition for his reporting when the fire-retardant chemical polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) was mistakenly added to animal feed, leading to the destruction of thousands of cattle, pigs and chickens. For this, he received the Detroit Press Club Foundation Professional Award. He received the Heath Cooper Rigdon Conservation Writer Award for his coverage of soil conservation.

William L. Sheridan, auctioneer and realtor, is a 1972 MSU alumnus. He has operated several businesses in mid-Michigan, including Sheridan Auction Service, Owosso Livestock and Sales Company, the Brokerage Land Company and Sheridan Realty. A Mason resident, he was named the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association Member of the Year in 2014 and was recently inducted into the National Auctioneers Hall of Fame. He was appointed by former Gov. John Engler to the Michigan Beef Industry Commission and served as chair from 1998 until 2006. William maintains strong ties to the MSU Department of Animal Science, serving on its advisory and scholarship committees. He has also served on the CANR Alumni Association Board and serves the CANR as an auctioneer at AutumnFest, the college’s indoor tailgate event.

David L. Smith, executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council, has been an advocate for the Michigan vegetable industry and for Michigan agriculture in general. In his current role, he has helped secure more than $2 million in grants for research on major vegetable disease problems. He launched the merger of the annual conference of the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Michigan Vegetable Council to form the Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. David is a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau, the Monroe County Extension Council and the Board of Review for Erie Township, Michigan, and an active member of several community organizations.

All three of these individuals have been outstanding partners for MSU and Michigan State University Extension. Congratulations to all three Distinguished Service Award winners!

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Snow sculpture packs on fun in Wexford County

Staff members of the Wexford County Michigan State University Extension Office have donated many hours over the past two weeks to design and create a 4-H snow sculpture to enter into the North American Snow Festival Snow Sculpture Contest. Leading the team was Tracy Trautner, 4-H program coordinator in Wexford County, who thought that entering the sculpture into the competition would be a great way to participate in the community, as well as increase awareness of local MSU Extension services. The sculpture took second place out of four entries.

Snow Sculpture in Wexford County “I think the main goal of this project was initially to build a snow sculpture for our first time. As it evolved, it turned out to be much more than that – it is located right outside of one of our larger school buildings, so it gets quite a bit of visibility on a daily basis,” Tracy said, “More than that, the snow festival will bring thousands of people to town and increase visibility for 4-H. In the end, it was a great team-building experience for our office, and I’m impressed with how everyone jumped in and donated a lot of time and effort to make our snow sculpture a success.”

The process took some time and required the dedication of the entire office as well as members of their families, but the team was dedicated to completing their project. In addition to Tracy, staff members who participated included Jill O’Donnell, Shari Spoelman, Erin Lizotte, JoAnne Benthem, Sara Keinath and Carol Blake as well as 4-H leader Dan Valley and family members.


The North American Snow Festival takes place during the first weekend of February every year in Cadillac, Michigan. In fact, it has been held in the Cadillac area for more than 30 years. This is a great way for the Wexford County staff to collaborate with the larger community, to participate and to give back. Congratulations to all of them for a job well done!

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