Tag Archives: Darren Bagley

M4-HYCC testifies before Senate committee

We talk often about how our Michigan State UniversityExtension4-H Youth Development Program creates the leaders of tomorrow. But often, 4-H’ers don’t wait till they’re all grown up to use those leadership skills to make a difference. That was obvious when a group of 19 members of the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) gave a presentation before the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes on April 24.

The council is a leadership and confidence-building opportunity for teens who get a chance to explore solutions to environmental issues and provide a voice in state government public policy-making. Each year, members of M4-HYCC select and research a current environmental issue that affects the entire state. They spend about three months researching, which includes interviewing people, listening to presentations, and studying books and articles on the issue. The research concludes with a presentation before the state Senate.

Members of the M4-HYCC , a Michigan Senate Committee and a staff member pose for a photo after the council testified before the committee April 24, 2014, in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Jamie Wilson

Members of the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council and the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes as well as a staff member pose for a photo after the council testified before the committee on improving the regulations related to home heating oil storage tanks April 24, 2014, in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Jamie Wilson

This year, the group’s research and presentation focused on home heating oil tanks. The council recommended expanding the regulations of PA 207 to include a broader jurisdiction over the tanks. It suggested that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) be given the ability to ticket inadequate home heating oil tanks and supporting structures. It also suggested that education and training in proper inspection and fuel tank maintenance for fuel distributors be enhanced.

The senators expressed appreciation for all the hard work the 4-H’ers put into the project. They were impressed and spent time talking individually with them after the hearing ended.

“I thought the senators seemed surprised that home heating oil tanks in Michigan are largely unregulated,” said Extension educator Darren Bagley who coordinates the program.

The teen council members have been responsible for influencing the legislature in the past. In 2008, their testimony helped pass Senate Bill 152 and 362, which reduces the amounts of phosphorus permitted in dishwasher and laundry detergents. In 2003, their recommendations led to an introduction of a bill that directed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to include special information about marine fuel spills in its boating safety course. Members also testified for a bill introduced in 2000 that promoted the development of the Michigan heritage water trail program. The bill was passed in 2002.

4-H member Dakota Hewlett, an MSU freshman who has been with the council since he was 13, provided leadership. Mallory Ramelis from Mackinac County took leadership for the presentation, and Samantha Ellison from Tuscola County took leadership for the paper.

Extension educator Insa Raymond acted as advisor, and Sam Owens (Midland County) and Paula Ramelis (Mackinac County) served as volunteer advisors.

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Genesee County voters approve millage to fund MSU Extension

The Genesee County Board of Commissioners voted in August to ask voters to approve a property tax millage dedicated to the support of Michigan State University Extension programs in their county. They had held a similar vote in November 2012, and that proposal, the last item on a very long ballot, failed. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters had another opportunity to decide this issue, and this time the proposal passed by a 55 percent majority. Funding for MSU Extension has been an issue for many years, and this five-year plan gives us greater certainty for staffing and program planning than we’ve had since 2005.

Many staff and stakeholders helped to inform voters about our programs and let them know how the millage would ensure ongoing availability of those programs. I’d like to thank and congratulate district coordinator Deanna East and Extension educators Darren Bagley, Julia Darnton, Terry McLean and Bob Tritten, 4-H coordinator Heidi Sovis, and the Friends of Extension group in Genesee County, led by volunteers Dee Godfrey and Ken and Diane Turland. County clerk John Gleason and State Senator Jim Ananich also provided valuable guidance and assistance.

Read more in this MLive article: http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/11/genesee_county_voters_were_gen.html

In addition, find more information in this Davison Index article: http://davisonindex.mihomepaper.com/news/2013-11-07/News/Michigan_State_Extension_millage_passes.html

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Genesee County 4-H receives Children’s Champion award

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Genesee County received the 2013 Children’s Champion Award for an Outstanding Business, Organization, Government Agency or Community Initiative from the nonprofit group Priority Children. Genesee County 4-H was one of five organizations selected from a group of 20 nominees for the award that celebrates the commitments of its recipients to children and youth.

Extension educator Darren Bagley who was nominated for an individual award – the Roy E. Peterson Caring Adult award – accepted the award for MSU Extension 4-H Genesee County Feb. 8 at the Riverfront Banquet Center in Flint.

The banquet was well attended even though many schools were closed due to snowy weather and poor road conditions. Darren was not aware that 4-H had won. He was surprised and pleased when the organization’s name was announced.

Darren said, “The room had more than 900 people in attendance, including many influential community members, two state representatives, county commissioners, numerous school board members and staff from local foundations. While accepting the award for 4-H, I had the opportunity to speak, and I highlighted the value of Extension programming and the need for continued support in our community.”

Priority Children is a nonprofit corporation representing volunteers from business, civic affairs, charitable organizations, education, the faith community, government, and health and human services. The group aims to improve the quality of life for children and families in Genesee County.

As is so often the case, recognition for an MSUE program is recognition for our staff who lead the program and the many volunteers and participants who enrich it with their expertise and commitment. Congratulations to all for this recognition – something we already know they deserve. It’s great to have the community recognize their contributions as well!

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Extension connects on ballot issues

In an article in last week’s Spotlight, I drew your attention to Bulletin GE 49, written by Michigan State University Extension specialist Claire Layman. The bulletin supplies non-partisan objective information allowing Michigan residents to make informed decisions on the six proposals appearing on the ballot Nov. 6.

Besides writing the bulletin, Claire was busy using technology to educate further about the proposals. With help from ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans, Claire led two Adobe Connect sessions on campus with leading experts on the ballot issues. On Oct. 22, the group hosted fora, reaching out to four locations: Harrisville, Lawrence, Sault Ste. Marie and Wayne. On Oct. 24, the fora involved five locations: Clinton Township, Flint, Hastings, Houghton and Traverse City.

Attendees read over the bulletin and watched three pre-recorded video interviews with policy experts who covered both sides of the proposal issues. Afterward, they asked questions of the experts through Adobe Connect.

Experts included MSU Extension specialist and professor of economics Eric Scorsone, professor in the MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations Peter Berg, marketing economist in the MSU Product Center Bill Knudson and senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute Mark Wyckoff.

A total of 149 people participated in the fora with the most attending at Harrisville in Alcona County with 53 participants.

Extension educators hosting the forums included Darren Bagley, Ann Chastain, Terry Gibb, Ginger Hentz, Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Bethany Prykucki, Mike Schira, Bonnie Witchner-Zoia and Richard Wooten. Terry Gibb helped write Bulletin GE 49 and helped to organize the overall registration.

In addition, Extension specialist Georgia Peterson helped out by wrangling questions as they came in one evening from the four live sites. She quickly figured out the best method to do so within Adobe Connect.

Organizations that partnered with us in this endeavor included the League of Women Voters, the Lake Superior State University Political Science Club, the Northwest Council of Michigan Governments and the District 13 Extension Council. Partner organizations served to recruit and market the forums, and served as table facilitators at small group discussions.

Claire reports that all evaluations have not been tabulated yet but those that have come in so far have been generally very positive. In Alcona County, 82 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “Because of tonight’s event, I am better informed to make decisions on Michigan’s proposals in the upcoming election.” One hundred percent of Alcona County respondents agreed or strongly agreed that events such as the fora are valuable for our democracy, and 79 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that they’d like to be a part of similar events.

Associate professor Luke Reese has been instrumental in leading us in the use of Adobe Connect technology. He continues to offer monthly online workshops and is largely responsible for our organizational competency in Adobe Connect meetings and webinars.

Thanks to Claire for making innovative use of technology and to Luke and Steve for continuing to teach, lead and support us in technology efforts. And thanks to our Extension educators for hosting and our partners for their contribution to the events.

We have further signs that people look to us when they want to make informed decisions based on expert opinion. As of Oct. 31, we had more than 400 page views for the forum event listings and nearly 1,400 page views on Extension educator Terry Gibb’s article “November Ballot Issues Could Mean Changes for Michigan Residents.”

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4-H Youth Conservation Council impresses Senate committees with environmental research

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is helping educate and guide the next generation of leaders, and groups like the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) are leading the way.

Members of this group recently had the honor of speaking in front of two state Senate committees on the impact of invasive plant species on Michigan industries and ways to control invasive plants. The M4-HYCC research presentation was warmly received by the Senate panels, which lauded the group for their good information and solid answers to all of the committees’ questions.

The Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes committee was particularly fond of the group’s unique idea to encourage landowners to have goats and sheep graze land infested by invasive species, as the animals would eat the plants including the root systems.

The presentation was the culmination of one year of hard work conducted by the young M4-HYCC members as well as coordinator Andrea Grix, program leader Judy Ratkos and 4-H educators Darren Bagley and Insa Raymond.

Special thanks and appreciation also to the 4-H volunteers who work tirelessly to support this 4-H program: Jenny Curtis, Paula Ramelis and LeRoy Mikolowski, and the M4-HYCC’s partners in government, Bob Wilson, Senate majority policy advisor, Tom Occhipinti, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality environmental education coordinator, and Sue Tangora, who works on invasive species issues for the Department of Natural Resources and served as a key contact as the group crafted its research.

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