Tag Archives: Extension educator

Southeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Network recognizes Extension educators

I would like to share the recognition several of our staff received at the recent Southeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Network meeting. Brandon Schroeder, Extension educator in the Greening Michigan Institute; Tracy D’Augustino, Extension educator in the Children and Youth Institute; Steve Stewart, senior Extension educator in the Greening Michigan Institute; and Justin Selden, program instructor in the Greening Michigan Institute; were all recognized by this group for their educational efforts.

The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative focuses on leveraging educational programs to develop knowledgeable and active stewards of the Great Lakes in the community. They collaborate with local organizations such as Michigan State University Extension to help students and teachers address important environmental issues in their communities. In the process, students learn academic content and practice the skills of problem-solving and citizenship. The work they are doing is raising awareness in communities and in young people, which will help protect our Great Lakes for years to come.

Please join me in congratulating them on their hard work and dedication to MSU Extension!

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Filed under Awards

MSU Extension receives funding for Cooking Matters

Finding unique ways to fund Michigan State University Extension programming and ensure we can reach our audiences sometimes takes a creative approach from our staff members. In June 2014, MSU Extension Wayne County received a grant for $39,756 from the Allen Foundation, which has allowed our Extension staff to present the Cooking Matters program.

The two fiduciaries for the grant are Extension program instructor Amanda Knox and Extension educator Michelle Gordon-Releford. Extension educator Eileen Haraminac serves as their supervising educator. Amanda and Eileen wrote the grant to support Amanda’s new position in the area, and the grant has allowed her to fund multiple series.

Cooking Matters appeals to people because in addition to learning how to eat healthy, participants receive cooking lessons and groceries. The grant was designed to work with a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) audience in Wayne County to enable them to receive the groceries that go along with the program.

“This is an awesome program, and people love it,” said Michelle. “I’m very grateful to be involved in this program, and for six weeks at a time, there is a family that is eating because of it.”

The grant allowed the team to produce eight Cooking Matters classes with money left over to do additional classes. The team members anticipated 45 participants in the grant, but they’ve exceeded their expectations with 87 participants, 59 graduates and seven participants just starting the program.

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Filed under Health and Nutrition

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

Districts are changing and MSU Extension educators take charge

As we talked about at this year’s Fall Extension Conference and earlier this week on the director’s webinar, Michigan State University Extension will be creating a new district in northern Michigan in early 2015. Districts 3 and 4 will be split to create District 14. District 3 will consist of Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee counties. District 14 will consist of Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Montmorency, Otsego and Presque Isle counties, and District 4 will be made up of Alcona, Arenac, Crawford, Iosco, Oscoda, Ogemaw and Roscommon counties.

The job for the new coordinator for district 14 has been posted, and details can be found on the Michigan State University Job Portal (number 0549).

In addition, we have multiple interim district coordinators who have started their positions in the past few months to deal with shifting responsibilities within the organization.

As of Oct. 1, Richard Wooten is interim district coordinator for District 11, which includes Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. Richard most recently served as an MSU Extension educator focusing on land use planning and urban development and revitalization. He was involved with the government and public policy work group of MSU Extension and also previously served as the MSU Extension ombudsman. He brings years of experience and will serve alongside Marie Ruemenapp and newly appointed intern district coordinator Edward Scott, who will continue his role as an Extension educator while serving part-time as intern district coordinator.

In District 3, Jennifer Berkey has been named the interim coordinator. She assumed the role of managing Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee counties on Oct. 1 to replace Patrick Cudney, who was named MSU Extension associate director of operations. Jennifer was most recently an MSU Extension educator focusing on food safety, nutrition and physical activity.

And last but not least, Julie Pioch has been named interim district coordinator for district 13, which consists of Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. Pioch assumed the role Nov. 3 after two decades of experience with MSU Extension. She replaces Ginger Hentz, who will retire at the end of 2014. Julie was most recently an MSU Extension educator focusing on land use planning, government/public policy, and leadership and community development. In her 20-year career with MSU Extension, she has worked in multiple areas, including community and economic development, natural resources, food systems and entrepreneur development.

We are very excited about all of the individuals who have stepped up to help us coordinate our outreach efforts in these three districts, as well as the individual that will take on district 14 in the upcoming year. Congratulations!

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Filed under Accomplishments