Tag Archives: greening michigan institute

GLLA inducted into Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame

Jordan Burroughs and Ritchie Harrison, co-directors of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA), shared that GLLA will be inducted into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame on May 9 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame was established in 2010 by the Muskegon Environmental Research & Education Society. They are recognizing GLLA under the category of colleges and schools that are longtime supporters of the environment.

The mission of the GLLA is to promote positive change, economic vitality, and resource conservation and enhance the quality of life in Michigan by encouraging leadership for the common good. You may recall that GLLA was formed in 2007 and was recently moved into the Michigan State University Extension Greening Michigan Institute portfolio under the leadership of Jordan and Ritchie.

Congratulations to all the people involved in past and current GLLA facilitation and leadership efforts.

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Filed under Awards, Greening Michigan

Strategic connections take time: Reflections from D10

Andy Northrop, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator, works with communities statewide to create and maintain sustainable communities using tourism and economic development. He is the chair of the tourism team for our Greening Michigan Institute (GMI), and he is also on the government and public policy work team. Andy has built connections over the past two years by consistent networking and needs assessment in the communities where he serves.

“I have a personal passion for social change and sustainability,” Andy said. He also gives credit to his GMI colleagues and their programming for building trust in communities around the state through their track record of facilitating the rebirth of rural communities. “I have learned that strategic connections and anticipated outcomes take significant time,” he reflected. “Although we want to see change today, being patient and confident success will come is all part of the process.”

In St. Clair County, in MSU Extension District 10, Andy built a relationship with the St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance (EDA) and The Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce. The EDA and the Chamber of Commerce became partners in hosting the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in 2016. Their collaboration on the conference brought together planning agencies, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, private investors, nonprofits, educational professionals, and a number of partners and interested citizens in seeing Port Huron’s rebirth and vision for fostering a culture to support entrepreneurs. The conference drew 138 people, who traveled from two countries, five states, 27 counties and 58 communities.

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Andy, like many of you, works to create connections across the state as well. He has developed key partnerships with Region 6 of Gov. Snyder’s Prosperity Initiative (RPI 6), which comprises seven counties across MSU Extension Districts 9 and 10. One key partner in RPI 6 is Genesee County Planning, which has been instrumental in strengthening our relationship by employing GMI’s tourism team to deliver four First Impressions: Assessing Your Community for Tourism (FIT) programs during 2017.

FIT, officially offered in 2017 for the first time, assesses communities through the eyes of first-time visitors. Four teams of four educators from GMI will conduct unannounced assessments as tourists to four communities across RPI 6 during the spring and summer of 2017 and work directly with their community leadership teams to strengthen their rural tourism industry potential.

This program was adapted to Michigan by modeling from program partnerships with five Northeast Central for Rural Development land-grant universities. It will be the first of its kind to be offered under Extension in partnership with a prosperity initiative.

The four successful communities will also receive state funding from RPI 6 to implement the suggested results from assessments. In 2017, the program is already serving as a cross-workgroup program within GMI. The tourism team envisions this being a cross-institute/Extension-wide program where experts across all four institutes can be tapped to move rural community tourism development forward.

“Overall, these partnerships have positioned GMI and other institutes as reputable partners in areas related to business and economic development, sustainable tourism and placemaking,” Andy said.

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Filed under Economic development, Entrepreneurial, Greening Michigan, Leadership

National recognition for Flint water emergency response

In the photograph, left to right, are Deanna East, associate state leader for health and nutrition; Dr. Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension director; Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator; Lynette Kaiser, MSU Extension health and nutrition program instructor; and Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Courtesy of USDA NIFA.

In the photograph, left to right, are Deanna East, associate state leader for health and nutrition; Dr. Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension director; Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator; Lynette Kaiser, MSU Extension health and nutrition program instructor; and Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Courtesy of USDA NIFA.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Michigan State University (MSU) Extension the Abraham Lincoln Award for External Partnership for our response to the Flint water emergency. The Abraham Lincoln Award is the most prestigious award presented by the secretary of agriculture. The Abraham Lincoln Award for External Partnership recognizes the exceptional contributions of USDA’s external partners in innovation, productivity and efficiency in program delivery and leverage federal funding to the benefit of USDA’s customers, the external partner and USDA.

MSU Extension received this honor for “successfully responding to stakeholder needs for information about combating the effects of lead exposure to Michigan communities by developing exceptional emergency response with limited staff, time, and budget.”

I had the opportunity to travel with Deanna East, Lynette Kaiser, Erin Powell to accept the award on behalf of our organization and everyone involved in the emergency response. The USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award ceremony and reception took place at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Although only three people traveled to D.C. to receive the award on Extension’s behalf, our efforts in Flint were carried out by a large group of committed and passionate staff members. Health and nutrition staff developed programming materials and efforts to address healthy eating to mitigate lead absorption. Children and youth staff worked closely with community partners to develop resources and programs to help parents promote activities that support cognitive development. Greening Michigan and agriculture and agribusiness staff provided gardening and accessing healthy food education and soil tests. And both MSU Extension Communications and ANR Creative helped produce the resources necessary to carry out their endeavors.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to honor all of our staff members that were part of this vital team at the Fall Extension Conference. Congratulations to the MSU Extension team on your 2016 USDA Abraham Lincoln Award for External Partnership.

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Filed under Awards, Flint Water, Uncategorized

Thoughts on my second month as director

The focus on Flint in recent weeks and the need to address important nutrition, child development, public health and community infrastructure issues has given us the opportunity to remind folks that MSU Extension has been in Flint for 100 years. We will be there for the next 100 years, and can be an important part of developing and implementing solutions that change lives. Your colleagues are making a difference. Deanna East is helping to coordinate the Michigan State University response in Flint. Eric Scorsone and the recently announced MSU Extension Center for Local Government Finance and Policy are engaging local officials and testifying before the State Legislature. Erin Powell, Cathy Newkirk and many others are addressing nutrition issues on the ground. Terry McLean and the Edible Flint crew are working closely with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and state officials to ensure that food is distributed in areas of greatest need. This is important work that underscores the breadth of our collective experience, the ability to respond quickly and the importance of partnerships that you have built over decades.

The critical role that MSU Extension is playing in Flint is replicated in every community throughout Michigan. But, seven weeks into my new job as part of your team, it is already clear that not enough people know who we are. Moreover, those who do know us well are not always familiar with the breadth and depth of MSU Extension programming. I met recently with an agricultural commodity CEO, for example, who indicated that labor force issues were among his biggest industry concerns. As we talked, it became clear that, although his interactions over many years had been primarily with our Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (for obvious reasons), many programs in the Greening Michigan, Children and Youth, and Health and Nutrition Institutes would be potentially valuable resources to him in recruiting and retaining valued employees.

We often use a slide when describing “Who is MSU Extension?” that includes the following bullets:

  • Faculty and Academic Staff on Campus
  • Extension Educators and Senior Extension Educators
  • 4-H Program Coordinators
  • Program Instructors, Program Associates, Program Assistants
  • Support Staff Members, on and off campus; MSU or county employees
  • Funded by County, State and Federal Resources

While these statements are accurate and descriptive, what if, instead, we said things like:

  • Unparalleled statewide health education delivery system.
  • Business start-up, tech transfer and product development expertise.
  • Serve schools statewide; capable of gathering more than 2,000 kids and their families for a single event.
  • Rapid response for agriculture, human health and other emergencies, such as the current Flint water crisis.
  • Future funding growth to come from building partnerships!

You can help me in at least two important ways.

  1. Don’t hesitate to tell people about the great work you do, and add in a bit about what your colleagues do in many areas across the entire state. If you aren’t aware of all MSU Extension programs, the website is a good place to start.
  2. Help us to find even more creative ways to describe what we do and outlets for sharing that information with the world. What descriptive statements would you add to this list to describe “Who is MSU Extension?”

Consider browsing through our public value statements occasionally to refresh your memory about how all of your colleagues’ work makes a difference in Michigan. We work for an amazing organization. By working together we can ensure that more people understand how we can help positively change their lives, communities and businesses.

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Filed under Agriculture and Agribusiness, Children and Youth, Economic development, Financial education, Flint Water, Food, health, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Resources, Youth development

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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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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NACDEP will honor MSU Extension for team diversity

Our Michigan State University Extension Tribal Governance Team will receive a Team Diversity Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) next week at its annual conference Little Rock, Arkansas. The Team Diversity Award highlights the unique programming that the team has instituted in partnership with local tribal nations, particularly the focus on tribal communities, which are often overlooked. The three programs of Michigan Tribal Governance build partnerships with leaders of tribal nations, equipping them to provide culturally appropriate, high-quality governance.

Our Government and Public Policy Team educates local governments across the state of Michigan to ensure that our elected officials are equipped with the resources they need to serve their communities. The Tribal Governance programs act similarly, building strong capacity within the Michigan Tribal Communities, while also keeping in mind the specific considerations that affect tribal communities. Evaluation results show significant learning has occurred.

The members of the MSU Extension Tribal Governance Team included on the award were John Amrhein, Elaine Bush, Ann Chastain, Brad Neumann, Emily Proctor and Bethany Prykucki.

“All along we’ve known that we had a good program, and that the folks that participated in it thought it was a great program,” said John. “It was great to hear that someone else, someone who is used to looking at Extension programs at a national level, and recognizing that it is a program that helps people do good things for themselves and each other. That’s really the key. If we can help equip people to do their work better, particularly an underserved audience like tribal leadership, that’s pretty satisfying work.”

Congratulations, team!

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Filed under Greening Michigan