Tag Archives: michigan

Michigan Fresh at the farmers market

One of our successful MSU Extension programs, Michigan Fresh, is coming to farmers markets across Michigan this summer. The program will provide research-based information on how to select, store, preserve and cook the foods found at the markets. Educators at each location will talk with consumers about Michigan foods and hand out some of the more than 80 fact sheets their team has produced.

Michigan Fresh does more than just encourage healthy eating – the program helps support Michigan’s agriculture industry by encouraging consumers to purchase locally grown and produced foods. This helps build a statewide culture of community food systems.

For a list of farmers markets that Michigan Fresh representatives will visit this summer, read “Michigan Fresh comes to a farmers market near you” on the MSU Extension website. If you aren’t able to make it to one of the markets listed, you can find Michigan Fresh materials online. You can also follow Michigan Fresh on Facebook and Pinterest, where over 1,800 recipes feature Michigan Fresh foods.

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Filed under Food

Michigan budget approved with increase for Extension

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed the state budget for Michigan for fiscal year 2016, which begins Oct. 1. As we had hoped, the budget included a 1.5 percent increase for Michigan State University Extension and AgBioResearch.

This modest increase is a big vote of confidence from the Legislature and the governor. This is the fourth year in a row we have seen an increase, after the 15 percent decrease in the 2011-12 budget year. We have not fully recouped that loss, but now that we are seeing consistent increases in our funding line, we can be confident that our stakeholders are really seeing our impact.

Now is a good time to let stakeholders who have supported our funding know how much we appreciate their efforts. Be sure to thank them for their dedication to our programs and the residents of Michigan.

Equally important, I want to thank each of you for continuing to deliver high-quality programming and conducting timely research that has a positive effect on Michigan’s families, farmers, businesses and communities. Without you, we wouldn’t have such strong stakeholder support.

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Filed under Budget

Extension educator recognized by Michigan Lake and Stream Associations

At their annual conference on May 1 and 2 in Boyne County, Michigan, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc (ML&SA) presented senior Extension educator Jane Herbert with an award to celebrate her career in light of her upcoming retirement in 2016. This lifetime achievement award was presented “in recognition and appreciation for her hard work and long standing commitment to preserving and protecting Michigan’s legacy of high quality inland lakes.”

Jane is a nationally recognized expert on inland lake management with an emphasis on natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered shoreline erosion control. She has been a major asset to Extension in the development, delivery and evaluation of regional and statewide water resource Extension programming since she joined Michigan State University Extension in 1996.

Jane’s work with ML&SA has been a vital partnership to maintain our natural resources work. Since the 1980s, ML&SA has partnered with MSU Extension to educate waterfront property owners as well as local decision makers on practices and policies to protect Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of streams and rivers. ML&SA has also provided strong support to statewide partnerships in which MSU Extension provides key leadership, including the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership and the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.

Jane said, “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with ML&SA for all these years. The award was unexpected but very much appreciated.”

Congratulations, Jane!

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Filed under Awards

Staff and leadership learn how to work with elected officials

Just recently, Michigan State University Extension colleagues Roxanne Turner, Phil Tocco, Holly Tiret, Ann Chastain and Bethany Prykucki, along with Mike Kovacic, director of stakeholder relations in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Katie Frey from the Director’s Office and I had the good fortune to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development conference in Washington, D.C. April 12‒15. This conference is hosted by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals.

We went to meetings, trainings and programs as part of the conference, which provided invaluable experience about how to communicate with elected officials. During our time in Washington D.C., we met with several elected officials and legislative aids, where we could put our skills to use in practicing good communication and advocating effectively for MSU Extension. I was very proud to see how each of our educators explained the great work they do for the Michigan citizens they work with. As a group, we also met Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, who is already a great supporter of MSU Extension.

Having strong, effective relationships with our elected officials is crucial for their continued support of MSU Extension. This program was a great step in helping some of our staff members learn the best way to get involved.

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Filed under Conferences

Students learn about good government at 4-H Capitol Experience

More than 80 teens from across the state experienced and explored various aspects of policy, civic engagement and leadership at the annual 4-H Capitol Experience, March 22-25. High school students gathered in Lansing to begin learning from and interacting with state senators and representatives, chaperones and other youth participants.

Over the four-day event, youth participated in a nine-hour Michigan legislative simulation, which required teens to research and propose Senate and House bills, conduct House and Senate leadership position elections, participate in legislative committee meetings, debate and vote on bills, and see their bills signed into law by an acting governor.

In addition to the structured simulation, participants observed actual House and Senate sessions, and visited community and state agencies, lobbyists and legislative aides.

Involvement in Michigan 4-H and Capitol Experience helps foster skills of leadership and involvement in youth. These experiences can be very beneficial in the development of this age group, said Darren Bagley, Michigan State University Extension educator.

“Youth learn how to make the world a better place,” Darren said. “Youth have a unique perspective on the world, they see the world in a way no other group can—they’re free from the cynicism of many adults, and they can use that positivity to make a difference in the world.”

4-H Capitol Experience provides youth with tools, experience and guidance to prepare teens for college and the working world. Objectives of this event include helping youth increase communication, teamwork, citizenship, leadership and skills to help them transition to college and life as an adult; allowing teens to expand career and personal interests while discovering how to be actively involved in influencing policy decisions; and providing youth tools to explore policy issues that may affect individuals and communities.

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Filed under 4-H

Coordinator named for District 11

Richard Wooten

Richard Wooten

Ever since Richard Wooten took over the interim district coordinator position in District 11 for Michigan State University Extension in August, he has exhibited a strong track record with stakeholders in southeastern Michigan. Because of the unique needs of the district, it was important that we could find an experienced leader to serve in this role for the long term. It has become clear that Richard is the right person for the job. He has accepted a direct appointment, effective April 1.

Richard began his tenure with MSU Extension as an educator with the Government and Public Policy Team in the Greening Michigan Institute. It was his decade of experience in land use planning, community and economic development, public policy, and economic development, which set him up to be a great candidate to fill the space. Marie Ruemenapp, outgoing district coordinator, and Edward Scott, district coordinator intern, assist him in building strong relationships with staff members, county officials and stakeholders.

District 11 serves the three most populated counties in Michigan. Richard’s experience, expertise and knowledge in the district will help us further our mission. Richard told us that he is excited to have the opportunity to continue building relationships within the district with county government, industry, human service organizations, agribusiness, youth-serving organizations and other potential partners of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. In this new role, he will also have an opportunity to provide guidance, encouragement and support to the work of MSU Extension faculty educators and staff members as they enhance Extension’s mission and programs.

Please help me officially welcome Richard to his new position, and thank Marie and Ed for continuing their supportive roles!

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Filed under Leadership

Stats you can use to show our impact

Last week, I wrote about the testimonies we have been making to encourage our state legislators to understand the value of Michigan State University Extension. While the administration may be taking on the more overarching conversations on the state level, the strategic communications that you all have on a day-to-day basis across the state are truly essential and can help us all make an even bigger impact. One of the tools that can help prepare you for those conversations is the 2013-2014 Legislative Report.

To prepare this annual report, our colleagues in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications, the communications staff in AgBioResearch, with help from Jean Schueller, Mary Weinzweig, Bruce Haas, Steve Miller and Brenda Reau, pull our data from the Michigan Planning and Reporting System (MI PRS). It is then transformed into impact stories, data factoids as well as funding information presented with pie charts and infographics. The joint report from Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch is then shared with our partners and also posted online.

This report can help facilitate some of the conversations you have with potential partners and current contacts alike. If you aren’t sure what is happening outside of your work team, you can read simple descriptions of programming and their impacts. If you need some support materials to describe your own programming, you will find it in easily digestible statements that you can share with the people you interact with.

Furthermore, the graphics describing our impacts in the beginning of the report can be useful to illustrate the impacts with more than just numbers, and the colorful presentation makes it friendlier to a broad range of audiences.

You can download a PDF of this and previous year’s reports on our website.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Smart Gardening may be coming to a garden show near you

It may not feel like it with the months of freezing temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Michigan, but spring is coming soon! If you’re going to be starting a garden, you may be interested to hear about the Smart Gardening initiative, which started in 2013 and will continue to promote science-based gardening, environmental awareness and sustainability to home gardeners across the state.

The Smart Gardening initiative began when the consumer horticulture team realized that home gardeners were missing some simple but extremely helpful advice. The team worked with communicators Joy Landis and Mallory Fournier to develop resources for repetitive, consistent use of a small number of concise messages. They labeled messages they developed as Smart Lawns, Smart Plants and Smart Soils. The team includes Rebecca Finneran, Rebecca Krans, Mary Wilson, Gretchen Voyle, Mary Gerstenberger, Karen Burke, Carol Lenchek, Bob Bricault, Diane Brown-Rytlewski, Elise Carolan, Linda Whitlock and Hal Hudson.

The Smart Gardening concepts are used in multiple ways across the Gardening in Michigan website, as well as other media sources, but the key to launching these messages is promoting them at booths at gardening shows across the state. The consumer horticulture team recruits Master Gardeners to work in the exhibit displays. The Master Gardeners engage people strolling by, share the messages and collect demographics and topics of interest from anyone viewing the display. Other educational opportunities are also presented by experts. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension news articles regularly feature the smart messages as well.

This year, Smart Gardening will be featured at four shows during the pre-garden season. All of you are encouraged to attend and invite gardening enthusiasts to learn more about the Smart Gardening principles. The upcoming shows include:

Cottage & Lakefront Living Show – Detroit
Suburban Collection Showplace
46100 Grand River Ave.
Novi, MI 48347
Feb. 26 ‒ March 1

West Michigan Home and Garden Show
Devos PlaceSmart Gardening Show
303 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
March 5 ‒ 8

Lansing Home & Garden Show
MSU Pavilion
4301 Farm Lane and Mt. Hope
East Lansing, MI 48823
March 19 – 22

Garden Extravaganza Gardening Conference
Northern Michigan University UP Campus
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette, MI 49855
April 11

Smart Gardening events have reached a diverse audience by interacting with rural and urban audiences through events across the state; these public events drew people from more than 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties and two surrounding states. In addition, we’ve seen increased use of MSU Extension resources such as the Gardening in Michigan website and MSU soil test kits since the implementation of this program. Great work from the consumer horticulture team!

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Filed under Gardening

Additional inductee to the 4-H Hall of Fame

Last week, we wrote about how former state director of Michigan 4-H Mike Tate was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. We also highlighted the accomplishments of several other Michigan recipients, including Janet BlanchardLeah RitchieArne Kettunen and Russ Mawby. It was brought to our attention that, even though he was not featured on the National 4-H Hall of Fame website, another Michigan recipient was Melvin Thompson, who received the national award in 2012.

He worked as a 4-H agent in Monroe County, before taking a role with the National 4-H Council, where he stayed until retirement. He became associate director of 4-H on the national level in 1968, and later was promoted to director of 4-H’s international programs. He served as president of the Michigan 4-H International Association and was president of the International 4-H Youth Exchange Association of the USA twice.

Congratulations, Melvin!

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments

Former state director of Michigan 4-H inducted to National 4-H Hall of Fame

In fall 2014, former state director of Michigan 4-H Mike Tate was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents established the award in 2002 as a 4-H Centennial project. Inductees have included volunteers, supporters, staff members and pioneers who have all made major contributions to 4-H at local, state and national levels.

Mike Tate served in Michigan State University Extension 4-H for 26 years from 1972 to 1998, working to provide opportunities for all youth, including those living in low-income communities and other disadvantaged situations. He left Michigan to expand his career at Washington State University, but his legacy has continued as our 4-H program continues to work to ensure that youth from all backgrounds feel welcome and included.

Regarding his career and induction, Mike said it was, “a lifetime of dedication to the greatest resource, the best resource that we have in our country and that’s our young people.”

He tells a great story about his history with 4-H. Watch his acceptance speech online:

He is in great company considering that past recipients from Michigan include Janet Blanchard, Leah Ritchie, Arne Kettunen and Russ Mawby. During the nomination period, each State 4-H Office can select one person to nominate. Each year, approximately 20 persons are selected from the nominees to be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Especially considering the amount of competition for these spots, it is an honor to see so many of our staff recognized for their gifts to the organization.

Congratulations, Mike!

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Filed under 4-H, Awards