Tag Archives: kirk heinze

MSU Christmas tree resources abound

If you’re a procrastinator and you haven’t purchased your Christmas tree yet or even if you’ve had it up and decorated for weeks, you’ll want to listen to a conversation on WKAR. Kirk Heinze, host of Greening of the Great Lakes, interviews Bert Cregg, Michigan State University Extension specialist and associate professor of horticulture and forestry, on how to pick out, care for and dispose of a live Christmas tree: http://www.mlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/11/michigans_christmas_tree_indus.html

(After clicking on the above link, scroll down for the link to the conversation.)

Dr. Cregg mentions that many people have never had a real Christmas tree. To allay their doubts and fears, he and his team have developed programs and educational resources. One such resource is an MSU Extension article on first-time tree buying by Dr. Cregg and senior Extension educator Jill O’Donnell:


Scroll down on the same page to find more articles, a Michigan Fresh fact sheet Michigan Christmas Trees (written by Jill O’Donnell, Bert Cregg and Extension educator Erin Lizotte) and videos produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications on selecting and caring for your tree.

Here’s a link to 14 new 15-second videos produced by ANR Communications giving species-specific information regarding Christmas trees: http://bit.ly/1ORVlc4. Retailers can use QR codes that link to the videos on tree tags to help consumers optimize tree quality and longevity.

In addition to educating the public, MSU Extension and AgBioResearch specialists and scientists are busy doing research that will assist growers with fertilization management. They’re also working with genetic selection, finding and identifying the species and types of trees that adapt best to Michigan growing conditions.

Watch this ANR Communications-produced video on Christmas tree research, part of the Did You Know? video series:

The video will be shown on WKAR on the following dates and times:

  • WKAR HD: Sat., Dec. 19, 4:57 p.m.
  • WKAR HD: Mon., Dec. 21, 12:27 a.m.
  • WKAR HD: Tues., Dec. 22, 10:57 p.m.
  • WKAR CRT (Create): Tues., Dec. 22, 3:56 p.m.

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Something to talk about: The 100-year anniversary of MSU Extension

One hundred years ago this May, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act into law. The act established a system of cooperative extension services connected to land-grant universities. The idea was to take all the wisdom and knowledge from the land-grant institutions and make that available to people in their everyday lives – out on the farm, in their homes, in their businesses and in their communities. That was 100 years ago and here we are – we’re still at it.

From its beginning, Michigan State University Extension’s emphasis has been on agriculture. Well over half of our federal and state funds go into agricultural programming. Our network of Extension educators makes faculty expertise and university research available to communities.

We’re still involved in the same areas today but we’ve also evolved. We’ve looked for new ways to reach people where they are. We now have a presence at Detroit Eastern Market and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market where we educate the public on nutrition, gardening and food safety. We will soon have a footprint in the Flint Farmers Market. Our Michigan Fresh campaign further educates on fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals as well as food safety, food storage and preservation, and gardening.

We’ve found new ways to reach out to youth. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has grown in one year from 175,000 to 200,000 youth. We are over halfway to our goal of reaching 20 percent of Michigan youth by 2020. We’re getting kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outside the classroom. We’re also helping kids ‒ through a multitude of project areas ‒ develop life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. These skills will help them become the leaders and successful, resilient adults of tomorrow.

Our placemaking team and community food systems team help communities discover how to attract people.

Any challenges we do have, we turn to opportunities. You may want to listen to my conversation with Kirk Heinze that took place March 21 on Greening of the Great Lakes on News/Talk 760 WJR. I talk about how our Michigan State University Extension programs are still life changing and relevant after 100 years. You can read the MLive article here: http://www.mlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/03/as_msu_extension_celebrates_it.html. At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to the broadcast.

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News segments raise awareness of Extension and the work we do

As I mentioned in several articles in this Spotlight, the MSU Extension website continues to be an effective medium to get the word out to folks about our great programs. Another avenue excels at communicating about our organization and the fantastic work we do. ANR Communications is producing two-minute news segments focusing on our programs, research and major initiatives. Marketed under a series titled “Did You Know?” the segments began airing last month, directly before Tim Skubick’s public affairs program “Off the Record” on WKAR Channel 23.

The video segments were developed to raise the public’s awareness of Extension and all it does. In addition to appearing along with “Off the Record,” they are also posted online, providing us with additional exposure and opportunities for sharing.

ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans said, “We’ve strategically placed these videos ahead of ‘Off the Record’ because we believe key decision makers and those in major agencies in multiple areas of government watch the show.”

The videos have focused on Firewise, which offers resources in home and community fire protection, and Stepping Stones, a program that provides urban youngsters with outdoor education experiences. Another video featured Extension educator Marilyn Thelen discussing the 2012 drought. Future videos will spotlight 4-H Discovery Camp and 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp. Another will highlight senior Extension educator Dennis Pennington discussing the feasibility of using marginal lands for energy crop production.

Steve co-produces the videos with video producer and director Kraig Ehm. If you have a story you’d like to submit for consideration, send your ideas to Steve at evansst@msu.edu or Kraig at ehm@msu.edu.

View the videos here.

Another venue that features work of MSUE colleagues is the Greening of the Great Lakes, a website and radio feature hosted by retired MSU Professor Kirk Heinze. Kirk recently hosted Rick Foster, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Food, Society and Sustainability and former director of MSUE’s Greening Michigan Institute. You can read and hear the interview with Rick on the MSU initiative to foster development of the metropolitan food system and related industries in Detroit.

Kirk’s radio productions are broadcast on Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR. He often highlights innovations underway by MSUE scientists and educators.

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Buy real, buy local and make this a real Michigan Christmas

You can help both the local economy and the environment this year by purchasing Michigan-grown Christmas trees and poinsettias.

 Michigan ranks third among the states in Christmas tree production and seventh in poinsettia production. Buying locally grown trees and plants not only gives a boost to our local economy but it helps the environment as well. You may be under the impression that it’s better for the environment to purchase an artificial tree than to chop down a real one. But artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins. Natural trees are renewable and recyclable, and poinsettias can be easily composted.

 A USDA grant is funding a new marketing campaign called “Make It a Real Michigan Christmas” that promotes buying real Christmas trees and poinsettias from local growers. Visit realmichiganchristmas.com for loads of information on everything from caring for trees and poinsettias to finding a local tree retailer to learning how trees and plants boost your mood.

 Michigan State University associate professor in the departments of Horticulture and Forestry Bert Cregg talked with Kirk Heinze on “Greening of the Great Lakes” about the campaign and about Christmas tree production in Michigan. Tune in to find out not only about the industry but also how to choose and care for your tree.

 The show will air at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on WJIM-1240 AM in Lansing, WNEM-1250 AM in Saginaw, WMMI-830 AM in Mount Pleasant and WKLQ-1490 AM in Muskegon. It will also air at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on WJRW-1340 AM in Grand Rapids and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on WJR-760 AM in Detroit.

 You can also click here to listen online at any time or to read more about it.

 Visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website for more information about buying and caring for trees.

 Michigan is such a beautiful place, it practically sells itself. Promoting the combination of locally grown poinsettias and Christmas trees is like Pure Michigan times two.

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Extension educator gives tips on holiday food safety on WJR

Thanksgiving is a week away. Wait, is that right?  Oh my, I am SO far behind in preparing for that! Anyway, it is a great time to focus on the things we are thankful for, and let’s face it, it’s a great time to eat! Have you ever wondered if those turkey pop-up timers are really accurate? Heck, I have two meat thermometers because I don’t believe them and I’m afraid I’ll get one of them too close to a hot bone. And after a delicious and sometimes sleep-inducing holiday meal, how long can you safely leave the food sitting out until someone musters enough energy or wakes up enough to start putting it away? Learn those answers and more when you listen to Michigan State University Extension educator Jeannie Nichols’ conversation with Kirk Heinze on “Greening of the Great Lakes” on WJR 760 AM.

 Jeannie will share her holiday food safety expertise at 2:08 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 20. The second part of the conversation will air the following Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7:08 p.m. when she’ll discuss what to do with your food in the freezer in case of a power outage and other food safety issues. If you don’t want to wait till then, you can listen online to both segments combined at MLive.com at http://goo.gl/MDFVe, or visit the “Greening of the Great Lakes” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/GOTGL. It’s great to have this kind of visibility for our expertise, and Jeannie does a great job of making it clear that food safety isn’t something to take lightly.

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