Tag Archives: karen waite

MSU Extension partners with MHS and MAACO to educate about livestock handling, management

Many animal control officers and people working in law enforcement have little or no experience and knowledge related to livestock evaluation, handling and management. Realizing this is a problem, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) approached Michigan State University (MSU) Extension knowing we would have the expertise to work toward a solution. The result: MSU Extension partnered with MHS and the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers (MAACO) to produce a program session at the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare Great Lakes Animal Welfare Conference, which took place Oct. 19-20 at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The program session “Livestock Evaluation and Handling” included three hours of classroom instruction and three hours of practical on-farm learning on Oct. 20. Twenty-five people from 15 Michigan counties and from Kentucky and Indiana attended.

Presenters for the morning classroom portion of the program included Dr. Judy Marteniuk, MSU Extension equine veterinarian; Dr. Karen Waite, MSU Extension equine specialist; Tom Guthrie, MSU Extension equine and pork educator; Kevin Gould, MSU Extension beef educator; and Mike Metzger, MSU Extension small ruminants and forages educator.

On-farm learning opportunities in the afternoon included a visit and tour of the Ladine Dairy Farm in Bellevue with hosts David and Sally Bivens. Participants learned to evaluate animal body condition and to assess housing, and they found out more about the overall management practices of dairy cattle. They also visited Neal’s Hereford Farms in Bellevue with host Becky Neal, currently president of MAACO. Here, participants observed and participated in handling of beef cattle as well as handling, haltering and working around equine. In addition to the farm hosts, all of the MSU Extension presenters mentioned in the above paragraph took part in educating attendees at the farms.

Besides hosting, Becky Neal was responsible for procuring both farms for the event. Others who helped with the program included Linda Reider, former MHS statewide initiatives director; Ann Griffin, MHS special projects manager; and Terry MacKillop, past president of MAACO.

At the end of the program, Becky Neal asked for feedback from the participants. All agreed that the program was beneficial, and that they would use the information gained in their work. They also felt that they would like more of this type of programming in the future. Afterward, she asked the presenters if they would be willing to do more of this in the future even if it was not in conjunction with the conference.

The program presenters also felt that the event was worthwhile.

“We felt that this was a good program and that the participants got useful animal handling knowledge and body condition scoring knowledge, as well as information on how dairy farms operate and the care that they give their animals,” said Mike Metzger.

Sounds like a success to me! Thank you to the entire team for stepping up to the challenge.

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Volunteer to promote literacy

There’s a terrific project that gets kids excited about reading through their natural love of animals. The Horse Tales Literacy Project (formerly the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation) pairs little readers up with horses. The kids read Walter Farley’s Little Black, A Pony to horses at the Michigan State University Horse Teaching and Research Center on Forest Road near the MSU campus.

In addition, the kids visit interactive activity stations where they learn about various horse-related subjects such as horse nutrition, and tack and equipment.

If you’re free Tuesday, May 20 from 8:30 to 11, you can volunteer for an opportunity to be a part of this event. Volunteers will either hold horses as the kids read to them or they will help coordinate the activity stations.

Karen Waite, senior academic specialist in the MSU Department of Animal Science and the Extension Children and Youth Institute, coordinates the Horse Tales Literacy Project at MSU. Karen works closely with farm manager Paula Hitzler and the Friends of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center to make the magic happen.

Karen said, “This is a great way to spend part of a day. The young people are very excited about reading to the horses, and for many it is the first time they have ever been on a farm. It is fun for all involved, yet educational as well.”

You can get a good idea of the kids’ reaction to the project by watching this video and this slide show both produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. They document the time in 2010 when 135 first graders from Discovery Elementary in Williamston took part in the program. Kids from Discovery will be back again this year as they have every year.

If you think this is something you’d like to be a part of, contact Karen at kwaite@msu.edu. Just a few hours of your day will make a difference in a child’s life.

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Two MSUE all-stars honored at eXtension conference

A number of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have been attending the fourth National eXtension Conference this week in Sacramento, California. Yesterday, two of our colleagues received honors for their contributions to the national effort to foster collaboration in the development of online resources to better serve our clients.

Michigan State University Extension director Tom Coon accepts the eXtension Champion Award on behalf of MSU senior Extension specialist Lela Vandenberg

Michigan State University Extension director Tom Coon accepts the eXtension Champion Award on behalf of MSU senior Extension specialist Lela Vandenberg at the National eXtension Conference March 26, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lela Vandenberg was not able to attend the conference. Photo credit: C. Penniman.

Lela Vandenberg, senior leadership and professional development specialist, received the Champion award for her many contributions to the development and application of eXtension, the national web resource for Cooperative Extension. Lela has led the MSU Extension Institutional Team since 2012, and has been a key leader and facilitator for MSU Extension colleagues in understanding not only how eXtension can be a resource to assist them, but also how we can adapt and use technology to reach more people more effectively. Lela has been a leader at the national level as well, and is frequently invited to speak to and facilitate Extension colleagues at other institutions in the use of new technologies for Extension collaboration, learning and teaching. We’ve known of Lela’s many contributions because we’ve been the greatest beneficiaries of her insights and good will. What was especially exciting about the Champion award, the highest award given by eXtension, is that colleagues from across the nation recognize and appreciate her contributions and leadership. It’s an honor to have Lela as a colleague and a treat to be able to celebrate her achievements. Lela was not able to attend the conference this year, so I had the honor of receiving her award on her behalf, and it’s currently tucked in my suitcase, headed for Michigan. MSU Extension educator Carolyn Penniman was kind enough to take a photo of Lela’s award.

Karen Waite, senior academic specialist in the Department of Animal Science and the Children and Youth Institute, received the Community of Practice Individual Achievement Award. Karen was not able to attend the conference, so Betsy Greene, equine specialist at the University of Vermont and a collaborator with Karen on the HorseQuest eXtension Community of Practice, accepted her award on her behalf. Karen has made many contributions to the HorseQuest Community of Practice and has been a key leader in developing content relevant to the needs of youth and particularly youth leaders in equine programs. Together with animal science associate professor Christine Skelly, Karen has helped to create and expand the My Horse University online certificate program, which has benefited greatly from the collaboration of HorseQuest members.

Betsy Greene, University of Vermont Extension specialist and associate professor, accepted the "Community of Practice Individual Achievement Award" on behalf of  Michigan State University Extension specialist Karen Waite at the National eXtension Conference

Betsy Greene, University of Vermont Extension specialist and associate professor, accepted the “Community of Practice Individual Achievement Award” on behalf of Michigan State University Extension specialist Karen Waite at the National eXtension Conference March 26, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Karen Waite was not able to attend the conference.

Congratulations to both Lela and Karen for their recognition. And many thanks to both for being great leaders and innovators for MSU Extension! By the way, it was not at all surprising that the University of Delaware eXtension Institution Team received the Outstanding I-Team award at the ceremony yesterday. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension (and former associate director of MSU Extension), made a point of building a strong I-team when she began her role at Delaware two years ago. No one at MSU Extension should be surprised that her team has skyrocketed in their contributions to and use of eXtension. Congratulations, Michelle!

All the awards will be posted to about.extension.org/blog within the next few days. They’ll also be announced in the April eXtension UPDATE next week.

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Check out these new MSU Extension bulletins

Several new bulletins are now available in the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore. All are produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications. All three are available as free PDF downloads. E3203 Wildfires

 Protect Your Great Lakes Shoreline Home From Wildfires (E3203) is written by Mark F. Hansen, Extension educator-on-call emeritus and consultant emeritus. The bulletin, part of the Wildfire Series, gives tips to incorporate preventative practices such as providing a defensible space to reduce the chances your shoreline home will catch fire in the event of a wildfire. E3198 Rebuilding an Eroding Bank

Rebuilding an Eroding Bank on an Inland Lake: A Comparison of Traditional and Prefabricated Encapsulated Soil Lifts (E3198) is written by Jane Herbert, senior Extension water resource educator, and Gina Frasson-Hudson, Extension research assistant. It was edited by Rebecca McKee, editor, and designed by Alicia Burnell, graphic designer, both of ANR Communications. Shoreline contractors as well as shoreline property owners will benefit from this bulletin, which compares the traditional method of “hardening” eroding shorelines using rock riprap and vertical seawalls with a more natural erosion control measure, such as an encapsulated soil lift. E3200 Rotational grazing

Rotational Grazing for Michigan Horses (E3200) was written by Tom Guthrie, Extension statewide equine educator; Karen Waite, equine Extension specialist; and Kim Cassida, forage specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. It was edited by Rebecca McKee and designed by Alicia Burnell. The bulletin describes what a rotational grazing system is and helps horse owners and managers decide whether a system is right for them, their land and their horses.

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Extension specialist receives outstanding educator award

Michigan State University Extension specialist Karen Waite received the 2013 Equine Science Society Outstanding Educator Award at the society’s 23rd Symposium awards banquet in Ruidoso, New Mexico, on May 31.

The Equine Science Society presents the Outstanding Educator Award to a society member involved in teaching, extension or industry who has demonstrated excellence in the area of equine education to students or to persons in the industry. The award recognizes the development of programs that are exceptionally effective at disseminating research-based information in a manner that has an effect on the long-term well-being of horses, the horse industry or both.

Karen received two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from MSU and is currently working on a doctoral degree researching competitive equestrian activities through the theoretical framework of sports psychology. Karen started her MSU career in 1997 as a research assistant in Brian Nielsen’s lab. Dr. Nielsen is a professor in the Department of Animal Science and president of the Equine Science Society. In 2000, Karen became the equine Extension youth specialist. In 2008, she became the equine Extension specialist, overseeing both adult and youth equine-related programs.

Karen is a leader in integrating technology into educational programs targeted at the horse community. An active member of the eXtension HorseQuest Community of Practice, she lends her expertise as a curriculum writer, developer and expert for “Ask an Expert.” She is also an integral part of the My Horse University faculty, where she regularly presents webinars.

Congratulations, Karen!

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It starts with social media

You’ve heard our communication’s folks talk about leveraging social media to tell our story. Karen Waite gave us a good lesson in the power of social media when trying to spread rich, educational information.

On Jan. 29, Karen, a Michigan State University Extension equine specialist, used her Facebook status update to remind horse owners to be mindful of extra precautions they should take during the extreme temperature drop about to occur.

Beth Stuever in ANR Communications saw the update and made this simple suggestion, “This would make an excellent post on msue.msue.edu.”

Within an hour, Karen forwarded a short, science-based article called “Watch Horses for Hypothermia When Temperatures Drop” to ANR Communications. Fifteen minutes later the article was live on the MSU Extension website.

From there, ANR Communications worked to push the information out via Facebook and Twitter. By 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, it had been shared at least 35 times by people and groups on Facebook. By 9 a.m. on Jan. 31 (right about the time the temperatures were beginning to drop), the article had been viewed 841 times. More than 630 of those views were from people who saw it on Facebook. As of Feb. 6, the article has been viewed more than 1,000 times.

One of those early views was by Rosemary Parker, a Kalamazoo Gazette reporter and MLive contributor. Rosemary used it as fodder for two articles: “Horses, Livestock May Suffer Hypothermia, Colic With This Week’s Weather Swings, MSU Expert Says” and “Wednesday’s Weather Swing in Southwest Michigan Can Be Deadly for Horses.” Though we don’t know exactly how many people saw these articles, Rosemary tells us they received “wide readership.” And we know that they were shared collectively on Facebook by nearly 800 people.

So what’s the lesson here? Timely information is important. Our MSU Extension News articles don’t have to be long or time consuming to gain a following. Timeliness is key. And when the media calls, we need to be ready to talk.

Some may argue that Facebook spreads a lot of false or misleading information. Unfortunately, that’s true. But let’s not let that stop us from using social media to educate with facts.

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Two Extension specialists honored for teamwork in eXtension

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals recognized Christine Skelly, associate professor of animal science and Michigan State University Extension specialist, and Karen Waite, MSU Extension specialist, with its Excellence in Teamwork award for their contributions as members of the eXtension HorseQuest Community of Practice (CoP). The annual award encourages and recognizes successful Extension team programs or projects that demonstrate effective performance and significant result impacts at community, area, state or multi-state levels.

The two were co-founders of My Horse University, a national online horse management program for horse enthusiasts based at MSU and created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU Global. My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest partner in the shared goal of bringing easily accessible science-based information to equine aficionados.

 Other members of the team and recipients of the award are Betsy Greene, University of Vermont; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Krishona Martinson, University of Minnesota; and Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland.

 Collaborating with national experts, the HorseQuest team has developed and maintained www.extension.org/horses, which provides information about horse health, care, management and training through interactive learning lessons, webinars, basic information and “Ask an Expert.”

 Congratulations to Christine, Karen and the other members of the HorseQuest team. This is a great example of collaborating between partners in education as well as the use of innovative technology to reach the goal of educating the public. Thank you for your leadership.

 Read more about the award and eXtension HorseQuest here.

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MSU Extension well represented at national equine event

Wendy Powers, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute director, and Tom Guthrie, Michigan State University Extension educator, were invited speakers at the national 2011 Equine Science Society Symposium in Murfreesboro, Tenn., May 31 to June 3. The two presented a session on environmental issues for the horse industry to 310 attendees. This was an honor as there were only a few invited speakers. Both Tom and Wendy presented Michigan as a leader in issues related to horses and the environment. Following the presentation, an equine faculty member requested that publications developed by MSU Extension be sent to Kentucky, which as you know, is a leader in the horse industry.

 Karen Waite, MSU Extension equine specialist, presented two papers at the symposium, one co-written by Taylor Fabus, visiting instructor in the Department of Animal Science. Christine Skelly, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, also presented. The accepted publications were peer reviewed, and the associated papers were published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

 Click here to view the line-up of presentations and posters.


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State 4-H Horse Jamboree participants develop science literacy skills

On April 16, 275 4-H’ers from across the state participated in the State 4-H Horse Jamboree at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. The event included Horse Judging, Hippology and the Horse Quiz Bowl. Fifty adult volunteers made the event possible in addition to animal science event coordinator Carla McLachlan, visiting instructor Taylor Fabus and Michigan State University Extension equine specialist Karen Waite.

 In Horse Judging, young people evaluate eight classes of four horses, place and answer questions about the horses, and then prepare and deliver sets of oral reasons to defend their placings.

 According to Karen, “It’s a tremendous way to develop critical thinking, confidence and public speaking skills with the horse as a tool to excite youth.”

 In Hippology, young people in the junior division, ages 9 to 13, participate in a variety of equine-related activities including a written exam, a slide test and identification stations. Senior members, ages 14 to 19, participate in those same activities and also judge two classes, and develop and deliver solutions to a prepared and a spontaneous equine-related problem.

 Horse Quiz Bowl is an equine game show in which youth test their knowledge about horse care and management in a team format.

 All three of these events provide educational opportunities for youth regardless of their learning style preference.

 And Karen says, “They have the chance to develop and improve their science literacy without really knowing that they are learning about science. They just think they are learning about horses!”

 That kind of hands-on learning, driven primarily by their natural curiosity, is the basis for success of our 4-H program in helping youth to prepare for successful life as adults.

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MSUE equine specialist receives award

The Michigan Horse Council (MHC) presented Karen Waite, Michigan State University Extension equine specialist, with the 2011 Catalyst Award March 11 at its annual meeting in Lansing. Last weekend was a great illustration of why Karen was highlighted for her catalytic effect. She had proposed two years ago that Michigan would host the annual meeting of the American Youth Horse Council (AYHC), for which she serves as vice president. Under her leadership, Michigan hosted the AYHC meeting in Lansing last weekend, which was the same weekend as the MHC’s annual Horse Expo: two horsey events in one weekend, and she had responsibilities at both. It was a great idea, because the AYHC participants were able to attend the Michigan Horse Expo as well. But it meant a pretty crazy week of preparations and very busy weekend for Karen.

 Karen oversees the Michigan 4-H equine youth program and the Michigan 4-H PEP (Proud Equestrians Program), a therapeutic horseback riding program for riders with disabilities. She advises undergraduate and graduate students in the MSU Department of Animal Science. She serves as faculty advisor for the MSU Equestrian Team and the MSU Horsemen’s Association and co-coach for the MSU Horse Judging Team. She serves as chairperson of the Michigan Horse Council Education Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Quarter Horse Association and the Michigan Equine Partnership.

 The award reflects her impact on the horse industry through education, leadership and innovation. We already knew of her impacts, and it’s great that colleagues at the Michigan Horse Council recognize them, too! Congratulations, Karen.

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