Tag Archives: dean solomon

MSU Extension teams receive awards at NACDEP

Congratulations to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension teams who received four awards at the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) 2016 conference June 26‒29 in Burlington, Vermont.

The Master Citizen Planner Webinar Series earned the 2nd place National Educational Technology Team Award. The program won 1st place in the North Central Region. Team members include Brad Neumann, Glenn Pape, Dean Solomon, Kurt Schindler, Julie Pioch, Andy Northrop and Ingrid Ault.

Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool received the 2nd place National Educational Materials Team Award. It was 1st place in the North Central Region. Team members include Brad, Kurt, Glenn and Mark Wyckoff.

The MIplace Initiative earned 2nd place nationally for the Excellence in Community Development Team Award. It was also 2nd place in the North Central Region. Team members include Brad, Kurt, Glenn, Mark and Wayne Beyea.

Michigan Citizen Planner Long-Term Evaluation Project earned 2nd place in the North Central Region in Excellence in Teamwork. Team members include Brad, Glenn, Dean, Kurt, Wayne, Bethany Prykucki, Ann Chastain, Dr. Patricia Crawford (School of Planning, Design and Construction) and Rohit Menon (graduate student).

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their excellent work.

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Our colleagues shine in ANREP

I recently heard from Michigan State University senior Extension educator Dean Solomon about an award one of our colleagues won at the recent Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) Biennial Conference that took place May 18 to 22 in Sacramento, California. ANREP is a national association of Cooperative Extension Service professionals working in environmental education, fisheries, forestry, wood sciences, range, recreation, waste management, water, wildlife and related disciplines.

 During the event, Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator, won the poster competition Gold Award for her entry “Creating Sustainable Fish Communities Through Habitat Restoration in the Huron-to-Erie Corridor.” (I find the subject of the poster MOST agreeable!) The award took first place among 57 academic posters. This project involves Mary and collaborators from Michigan Sea Grant, the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

 Dean doesn’t like to toot his own horn but I’d like to mention here that he is currently ANREP national president-elect, assuming that role at the beginning of this year. In January 2015, he will become president, then past-president in 2016. You may recall that Dean was a recipient this February of the MSU Distinguished Academic Staff award.

 Congratulations to Mary and her collaborators ‒ and to Dean!

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Senior Extension educators receive distinguished university awards

Michigan State University senior Extension educators Jill O’Donnell and Dean Solomon each received Distinguished Academic Staff Awards Feb. 11 at the annual Founders Day and Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center. The awards presentation followed President Lou Anna K. Simon’s State of the University Address.

Jill O'Donnell, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Jill O’Donnell, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored the awardees with a reception in the Centennial Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center just prior to the Awards Convocation.

They are two of four academic staff who will receive the award this year.

Jill O’Donnell of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute is a nationally recognized expert in Christmas tree production with an emphasis on early pest identification and management. With Jill, it’s all about relationships. Because of Jill’s dedication to growers as well as her commitment to quality and sustainability, Christmas tree producers know that they can trust her to help them deal with significant issues in the industry. She does it all professionally, working with MSU researchers as well as specialists in other states. Her efforts have helped growers increase yields and reduce or even eliminate pesticide applications, leading to additional profits for the growers and benefits to the environment. Of course, all of her efforts are based on scientific research. With her involvement, Michigan remains a national leader in the Christmas tree industry.

Dean Solomon, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Dean Solomon, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Dean Solomon of the Greening Michigan Institute is another of our experts others rely on. He makes complicated issues involving land use policy and natural resource protection easy to understand and accessible to both landowners and local government officials. He plays a significant part in the Michigan Citizen Planner Program. The program offers land use education and training to locally appointed and elected planning officials throughout the state. He often teaches both the core and advanced sessions of the curriculum. Dean is sought out for his engaging and humorous teaching style. He is a highly respected leader both in our organization and in the national Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

Gary Parsons, academic specialist in the Department of Entomology, also received the Distinguished Academic Staff Award. Gary does not have an Extension appointment, but his work as manager of the Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection assists the many Extension specialists on the faculty in entomology and many Extension educators who work on pest management issues.

Congratulations to all!

Read more in this MSU Today article: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/2014-distinguished-academic-staff-awards/



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PlacePlans initiative leads to passage of Allegan riverfront proposal

More than 70 percent of Allegan voters approved a proposal Nov. 5 to take $500,000 from the city’s sinking fund to support a riverfront plan.

The plan is a collaborative effort of the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC), MSU Extension and the Michigan Municipal League (MML). The concept is built around Gov. Snyder’s MI Place initiative that focuses on placemaking – creating vibrant, walkable places where people want to live and work. The three parties worked together through PlacePlans, a MI Place partnership that helps communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects with the support of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). MSU received a grant from MSHDA to develop design proposals around placemaking.

Warren Rauhe, SPDC associate professor, said, “The passing of the proposal is an outstanding first step. This is seed money. Other grants and funds could double or triple that amount.”

“One of the main tenets of PlacePlans was to build local consensus resulting in a shared local vision and tangible outcomes,” said Wayne Beyea, outreach specialist in the SPDC. “The community got together and there was real action that happened right on the heels of the proposal’s unveiling.”

The Allegan riverfront plan involved three components: 1) the plan and the illustrations 2) the audit of the assets that the community already had to support the plan and 3) the actual process itself involving hundreds of people including a design charrette. A charrette is an intensive multi-day, collaborative design workshop resulting in shared guiding principles for physical improvements.

The primary role of the SPDC, led by Wayne and Warren, was to develop planning and design recommendations and offer technical assistance.

Luke Forrest and Heather Van Poucker of the MML coordinated and audited the community’s assets.

MSU Extension field staff played a key role in guiding the charrettes following the National Charrette Institute’s Charrette System. They interacted with key stakeholders and assisted with facilitation of interviews. MSU Extension educators involved are part of the government and public policy work group in the Greening Michigan Institute. They include Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Dean Solomon, Michelle Walk and Richard Wooten.

“The collaborative approach using Extension expertise around design charrettes is what makes this project unique,” said Wayne. “Warren and I worked in concert with students, faculty, MSU Extension educators, MML and state agency partners, using funding from MSHDA. The effort went so well that the same three partners are under contract to do this again.”

Allegan is one of four cities that were part of MI Place placemaking projects and collaborative efforts by MSU SPDC, MSU Extension and the MML. The others include Alpena, Sault Ste. Marie and Dearborn.

“The projects involved more than 1,400 local participants among the four communities – extensive public involvement,” said Warren.

“PlacePlans strives to reach the goal of attracting vibrant talent to the state,” he said.

The work of the SPDC, Extension and the MML should help that goal become a reality.

Read the Downtown Allegan Riverfront Development Project PlacePlan Concept Report:


Read an article and watch a video about the proposal on this WZZM 13 webpage: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/272417/2/Riverfront-proposal-on-Allegan-city-ballot

Read more here in this MLive article: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/11/allegan_city_voters_xxxx_50000.html#incart_river_default

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MSU Extension to collaborate with GLISA to plan for climate variability

In one way or another, the extreme weather has affected all of us this past year. In particular, tree fruit growers lost more than 90 percent of their crop.

To help farmers cope with climate variability, a team of Michigan State University Extension specialists and educators has received funding from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA). Extension specialists Wayne Beyea, Julie E. Doll and Claire Layman, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Mark Skidmore and senior Extension educator Dean Solomon will collaborate with GLISA researchers, relevant decision makers and stakeholders in two Michigan local governments units.

They’ll work to incorporate climate variability and change adaption strategies into local land use master plans and policies. They’ll also create an assessment tool that can be used by other communities throughout Michigan.

Read about this project in more detail in this MSU Extension News article.

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Extension educational materials receive awards at ANREP conference

Several Michigan State University Extension educational materials received awards at the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) biennial conference in Hendersonville, N.C., May 20–23.

 The publication Certified Natural Shoreline Professional Training Manual: Principles of Natural Landscaping and Erosion Control on Inland Lakes (MSUE Bulletin E3109) received a 2012 Gold Award in the category of Long Publications. Jane Herbert, senior Extension educator, served as the lead author and coordinating editor. Bob Schutzki, associate professor, and Mary Bohling, Extension educator, were contributing authors along with several members of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The manual was produced by ANR Communications.

 This attractive 140-page manual is used to train landscape professionals in how to design, construct and maintain environmentally sound inland lake landscapes. It’s a great example of how MSUE professionals work with their colleagues in the public and private sectors to address needs. This manual, and the certification training program in which it is used, are equipping landscape professionals to expand business services to include more lake-friendly tools and techniques to protect the quality of Michigan’s inland lakes.

 The Journal of Extension article “Conservation Education for Advancing Natural Resources Knowledge and Building Capacity for Volunteerism” received a 2011 Gold Award for a Refereed Journal Article. Co-authors were Shari Dann, associate professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies; Shawn Riley, associate professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; and Heather Van Den Berg. Heather, a graduate assistant, was lead author.

 Senior Extension educator Dean Solomon’s conference poster “Public Deliberation Tools for Natural Resources Extension Professionals: A Case Study” received a 2012 Honorable Mention award.

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Solomon and McCauley receive awards and accolades for their work in communities

Within one week, two of our colleagues in northern lower Michigan were recognized for the work they do as Michigan State University Extension employees and as valued citizens in their communities. Dean Solomon, senior educator in the Greening Michigan Institute, received Special Recognition for Outstanding Leadership from the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA). NLEA is a collaborative organization, which provides resources that help entrepreneurs and communities to create and retain jobs in the counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet. Dean was recognized for his service on the NLEA Board and his assistance with multiple NLEA projects. NLEA noted that Dean’s facilitation skills have been especially helpful in navigating often contentious issues related to natural resource based enterprises. His New Economy programs have equipped decision makers to work towards a balance between “place” and “jobs” that is so critical to Michigan’s emerging economy of the future.

 Dean was surprised to learn of his award at the annual NLEA luncheon held on May 4 at Boyne Mountain resort. Other than Dean’s recognition, my second favorite part of the NLEA luncheon was the opening. The Petoskey High School Marching Band had all 500 participants on their feet. And what I especially liked about the band was their steel drum corps. I’ve only seen one other high school band with steel drums and it was in the Caribbean. The eight Petoskey drummers transported me to memories of warm breezes and flowered shirts.

 Ranae McCauley, Extension program instructor in Kalkaska County, was recognized a week earlier by Athena Grand Traverse. She received the Athena award, which is based on efforts to advance women in leadership roles, along with professional excellence and community service. Ranae currently serves on several projects in MSUE including development efforts for the local food system along with Extension educator Rob Sirrine and the leading of two-county human services collaborative through our Kalkaska County office. Her tireless efforts in contributing to the Traverse Bay Area Poverty Reduction Initiative were highlighted in her nomination for the Athena award. She was described as “a cheerleader and challenger to the community for all things related to children, families and schools.” That is a GREAT honor for anyone, and we are fortunate to have Ranae representing MSUE in her efforts. You can read more about Ranae’s award at http://record-eagle.com/local/x1537355958/McCauley-tabbed-for-Athena-Award.

 Congratulations to both Dean and Ranae for their recognitions and thanks to both for devoting so much of their efforts to people and communities in northern Michigan. We’re proud to call you colleagues and proud to have MSUE affiliated with your achievements. Thanks!

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Oil and gas leasing experts answer questions using widget

In last week’s Spotlight, I mentioned that the oil and natural gas boom in northern Michigan has created both opportunity and concern for landowners. Michigan State University Extension educators have been instructing landowners about their leasing options in face-to-face seminars. Extension educators Dean Solomon, Curtis Talley and Stan Moore are also currently aiding folks online by receiving and answering questions through an Ask an Expert widget on the MSUE Oil and Gas Information site at http://www.msue.msu.edu/portal/default.cfm?pageset_id=580675. (Scroll down to the bottom right to view the widget.)

 According to Lela Vandenberg, Extension specialist, the trio is the first MSUE group to pioneer the Ask an Expert widget in this topic-focused way. (See her comment on my blog.) She encourages other groups to follow their lead. If you’d like more information about using an Ask an Expert widget on your program area Web page, contact Lela at vanden34@msu.edu, Liz Wells at wellselz@msu.edu or Dean Solomon at solomon@msu.edu.

 Also feel free to add comments to any story on my blog as Lela and others have done.

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