Tag Archives: msu extension bookstore

Extension associate director of operations recognized by the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance

Patrick Cudney and Andy Hayes at the NLEA luncheon.

Patrick Cudney and Andy Hayes at the NLEA luncheon.

During its annual luncheon, the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), a long-time partner of Michigan State University Extension, recently recognized MSU Extension associate director of operations Patrick Cudney for serving 12 years on the NLEA Board of Directors.

The NLEA is a nonprofit community and economic development organization. Its mission is to enhance the economy in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties by acting as a resource to retain and create quality jobs.

The NLEA Annual Luncheon is a gathering of over 700 local, state and federal business, community, government, education and civic leaders. The yearly event recognizes economic development projects and serves as a motivational and team-building event for the many people and organizations involved in economic development in northern Michigan.

As a member of the NLEA Board of Directors, Patrick was instrumental in expanding MSU Extension’s reach and capacity through partnerships with non-MSU Extension organizations. A recent example of this is Patrick’s assistance with the creation of an additional Extension educator position to be housed at the NLEA. Since he has been promoted to MSU Extension associate director of operations, Patrick has departed from the NLEA Board of Directors, and the incoming MSU Extension district coordinator assigned to the NLEA region will fill the MSU Extension seat on the board.

You can view a short video clip of Andy Hayes, NLEA president and Extension educator, presenting the award to Patrick by following this link: http://www.northernlakes.net/2015-annual-luncheon-361/

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MSU Extension holds successful fundraiser for Nepal earthquake victims

After two back-to-back devastating earthquakes hit Nepal in the past month, the Children and Youth Institute of Michigan State University Extension held a fundraiser for the victims during its Spring Conference, May 11-15. Extension educators Sara Keinath and Jan Brinn spearheaded the effort, which raised $562.36 during the short time the conference took place.

Sara Keinath, Extension Educator, during her stay in Nepal.

Sara Keinath, Extension Educator, during her stay in Nepal.

Sara, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal before starting her career with MSU Extension, said, “I lived in the far east of the country for 3 years, working with community forestry user groups. Because of my friends and family in the country, I have become very attuned to the news recently.”

Sara and Jan decided to coordinate a donation through Friends of Nepal. At the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff auction during the conference, Sara donated a few items from Nepal with the added bonus that whatever the final bid was, she would match in a donation to earthquake relief. After the second large earthquake happened on Tuesday, May 12 (during the conference), even more colleagues asked if they could add to that donation, which was an overwhelming support of the cause, and an amount of money that would make a large difference.

Jan also shared information about Nepal 4-H and their earthquake relief efforts, showing that 4-H’ers across the globe are helping with this cause. Such generosity should be commended, and thank you, Sara and Jan, for coordinating the effort!

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The MSU Extension Bookstore transitions to shop.msu.edu

Last month, I wrote about some of the changes that were going to be taking place with the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore, and now the time has come! On October 1, the bookstore will become part of the MSU online store, shop.msu.edu. At that time, MSU Extension products that are currently being sold at the bookstore will be available on the shop.msu.edu online store. This new partnership allows MSU Extension to continue to produce high-quality products while taking advantage of a robust, cyber-secure online retail store.

The bookstore is closed until October 1, during which time no orders can be placed. Beginning October 1, all orders must be placed and purchased via shop.msu.edu. Any customers with existing MSU Extension accounts will have to set up new accounts if they don’t already have shop.msu.edu accounts. To do so:

  1. Go to shop.msu.edu.
  2. Click on “My Account” at the top of the page.
  3. Click “Continue” under “New Customers.”
  4. Enter your email address and create a password. Click “Continue.”
  5. Enter the rest of your contact information.
  6. Beginning Oct. 1, click on “MSU Extension Bookstore” at the top of the page.
  7. Start shopping.

Those interested in picking up their orders in person can do so at the shop.msu.edu fulfillment center at University Stores in the Angell Building, 166 Service Road on the MSU campus. You can also learn more about shop.msu.edu on their website.

I think this is a great opportunity for MSU Extension and shop.msu.edu to showcase the strengths of each distinct entity. MSU Extension will continue to provide its customers with the highest quality materials via a platform that has a successful history of retail sales on the university level. I look forward to introducing our products to a much larger audience as well.

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MSU Extension Bookstore transition

This week during the Michigan State University Extension webinar update, Doug Brinklow, director of ANR Communications, addressed some of the rumors that have been circulating about the upcoming transition of the MSU Extension Bookstore. No, the bookstore will not be going away, but we are going to be making some improvements.

Later this year, the MSU Extension Bookstore will move from our current platform to shop.msu.edu, which is part of University Stores. University Stores already successfully runs a retail operation through online, phone and face-to-face interactions and also handles product storage and fulfillment with a dedicated staff. They are PCI compliant, which means they maintain a high set of security standards to protect credit card information of purchasers and can make the necessary updates to keep our material easy to purchase or download.

This decision did not come easily. ANR Communications, ANR Technology Services and MSU Extension staff members spent months investigating options to ensure we can retain an easy-to-use system that is positioned for growth. Rather than spending time and money to reinvent the wheel within our current system, the group agreed that the resources available through shop.msu.edu will help us become more efficient.

With this big of a change, there were obviously a few questions for us to clear up. Here are the highlights:

  • The MSU Extension Bookstore will remain open until shortly before the switch to shop.msu.edu.
  • Extension county office discount pricing will be retained.
  • We will still have the ability to publish online-only documents through shop.msu.edu.
  • You will still be able to pick up bookstore items from campus, but they will now be located at Angell Building, 166 Service Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • All stakeholders/customers will be informed of all steps that need to be taken to begin using the bookstore through shop.msu.edu.

Michelle Lavra, who supervises the communication production team and the video/multimedia team in ANR Communications, will maintain the bookstore relationship with shop.msu.edu. We are on track to meet our goal of transitioning by October 1, 2014, and we will provide more details by mid-September.

As with any transition, we know that there will be wrinkles along the way. We appreciate your help in making this transition as smooth as possible by bringing any issues to the attention of ANR Communications so we can iron them out immediately.

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Visitors acquire knowledge at Ag Expo

This year as they do every year, our Michigan State University Extension colleagues were out doing what they do best ‒ educating the public and promoting our programs at the Ag Expo, which ran July 22‒24 on the MSU campus. Two out of the three days produced comfortable temperatures in the 70s ‒ a welcome relief from the past few years in which staff worked in 90-plus degree heat and high humidity.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) tent featured diverse exhibits and educational presentations.

A new and popular presentation focused on drone technology. A representative from the MSU Department of Geological Sciences gave daily presentations about the unmanned aerial vehicles, their uses and pending litigations.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development featured traditional exhibits with new twists. Children received free books, which promoted early childhood literacy. They learned about science from “Oobleck,” a substance made from common ingredients. The idea comes from the Dr. Seuss book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.” Attendees spun the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel and learned about the 4-Hs in 4-H (head, heart, hands and health). The Commodity Carnival game taught visitors about how weather and commodity prices affect profit when selling livestock.

Michigan State University Extension educator Makena Schultz interests a visitor in the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel at Ag Expo

Michigan State University Extension educator Makena Schultz interests a visitor in the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel at Ag Expo. The event ran July 22-24, 2014, on the MSU campus. Photo credit: MSU ANR Communications

Master Gardeners exhibited the Smart Gardening initiative.

Our MSU Extension staff educated visitors with a variety of presentations. Gardeners enjoyed presentations on insect friends and foes in the garden as well as on growing smart tomatoes. They learned how to care for soil through talks on the foundation of soil and on the MSU soil test mailer. They also learned how to preserve food after harvest.

Producers learned about how rainfall simulation expands knowledge of crop production. They attended presentations on the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and deer mortality composition. Visitors also learned about the Affordable Care Act and the 2014 Farm Bill.

Staff at the MSU Extension Bookstore tent gave away free pesticide manuals and other products of interest to visitors. They also gave away promotional materials to direct people to the bookstore’s website.


Two Ag Expo visitors examine baby chicks at Ag Expo.

Two Ag Expo visitors examine baby chicks at Ag Expo. The event ran July 22-24, 2014, on the MSU campus. Photo credit: MSU ANR Communications

The distribution of knowledge was not confined to the grounds. Our staff also gave tours of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center and the MSU Poultry Teaching and Research Center.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Ag Expo without the opportunity to taste the traditional free dairy store ice cream or to hold a baby chick.

I don’t have the space to cover everything that our Extension staff presented or exhibited at Ag Expo. If you want to talk about your exhibit or presentation, feel free to let us know in the comments below this article.

Thanks to all of our staff who made the event a successful educational opportunity! Whether you worked out front or behind the scenes, we appreciate you!



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Turtles in trouble

In a Spotlight article dated Feb. 27, I let you know that the eagerly awaited revision of a popular field guide Michigan Turtles and Lizards (E2234) is now available for purchase at our Michigan State UniversityExtensionBookstore.

The Chinese Box Turtle is a threatened Chinese species.

The Chinese Box Turtle, Cuora flavomarginata, is a threatened Chinese species due to commercial demand for turtles as food and medicine. Photo credit: J. H. Harding.

Turtles have been successful since the early “Age of Dinosaurs” yet many species are now endangered and some species have recently become extinct in the wild due to exploitation by humans. If you want to know more about the reticent reptiles, check out the Turtles in Trouble exhibit at the MSU Museum. The exhibit started March 29 and runs through September 21. It features common and rare Michigan turtles as well as endangered Asian species.

These lifelike sculptures by Mark Muhich are part of the MSU Museum exhibit “Turtles in Trouble.”

These lifelike sculptures of endangered southeastern Asian turtles by Mark Muhich are part of the MSU Museum exhibit “Turtles in Trouble” that runs through September 21, 2014. Photo credit: J.H. Harding.

James H. Harding, co-author of Michigan Turtles and Lizards, lent his expertise to the museum exhibit. The event includes lifelike sculptures by artist Mark Muhich, an MSU alumnus.

You’ll learn interesting facts from the exhibit: did you know that the little Eastern Box Turtle can live to be 100 years old? That the increase in demand for turtles as food in Asia has led to the endangerment or near extinction of some species? Find out more at the museum.

The exhibit has attracted interest across the country as seen by this Miami Herald article: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/28/4024181/turtles-in-trouble-exhibit-at.html


Read more here.

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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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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’: Part 3

The last two Spotlights offered real-life examples of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer my final example.

Extension program leaders Janet Olsen and Karen Pace wrote Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments (HNI101). The curriculum is designed to help young people aged 11 to 14 and adults work in partnership to create environments that are physically and emotionally safe.

The curriculum has sold well in the MSU Extension Bookstore with 70 percent of sales coming from outside Michigan.

Janet said, “Karen and I have been quite intentional about our marketing efforts, and we think that there are multiple aspects of our overall program development and marketing that have contributed to good sales.”BeSafe-Cover-BookstoreThumb

For starters, the two did not just develop the curriculum because the subject interested them. They created it when seeing a need for research-based bullying prevention education within out-of-school time settings. As they created the curriculum, they paid particular attention to research from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning), which stressed that effective after-school programs that promote social and emotional learning are sequenced, active, focused and explicit (which also spells SAFE). Making connections between the Be SAFE curriculum design and the findings from CASEL has been an important aspect of marketing the value of the material.

Early in the process, they focused on cross-institute partnerships and capacity-building. Although the Be SAFE initiative was developed within the Health and Nutrition Institute Social and Emotional Work Team, they began building connections with staff in the Children and Youth Institute. As soon as the curriculum came off the presses in January 2013, they offered workshops to build the capacity of staff to address issues of bullying within their communities and to use and market the curriculum as a tool for addressing these issues. They also developed flyers designed to make local marketing easy to carry out. They currently offer mini-grants staff can use to help program sites put the curriculum to work.

They’ve promoted Be SAFE at a wide variety of youth- and health-related conferences across Michigan and the country. Some of these have been Extension-related (such as the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism and the Priester National Extension Health Conference), and many have been through external groups and organizations (such as Girl Scouts, the Michigan AfterSchool Association and the Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly). They always provide participants with copies of the curriculum flyer, as well as flyers for additional Be SAFE educational workshops. They always make sure they tell people to download a free PDF of the introduction to the Be SAFE curriculum from the MSU Extension Bookstore site. They also stress that the curriculum is available in multiple formats (print, flash drive and CD-ROM).

They’ve offered webinars about bullying topics “bookended” by information about Be SAFE. They’ve marketed these webinars through the local and statewide networks of MSU Extension staff members, as well as through the eXtension website and national Extension youth- and health-related Listservs. The recordings of the webinars are available for purchase through the MSU Extension Bookstore.

They use MSU Extension news articles as a marketing tool. As they write news articles about bullying and related issues, they often include a final paragraph that connects with the Be SAFE initiative and that highlights the curriculum. For example, a recent article about cyberbullying included three pertinent links: the Be SAFE program web page, the Be SAFE curriculum page in the MSU Extension Bookstore and the Events registration site for a recent webinar about cyberbullying.

They offer continuing education units for their workshops, which helps them reach broader audiences. They have worked with the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative to have the Be SAFE-related workshops approved for continuing education hours. This has allowed them to have their approved workshops listed on the collaborative’s website, which is accessed by large numbers of social workers who need ongoing education hours for their licensing requirements.

Karen and Janet worked to get Be SAFE included in a nationally sold publication produced by the National 4-H Council titled A Guide to Bullying Prevention Programs. It talks about Be SAFE as an important resource to address issues of bullying.

As you can see from all three examples I’ve talked about, trying a variety of marketing methods can lead to successful sales of your product. Find some that work for you.

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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’: Part 2

Last week, I gave you a real-life example of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer another example.ReadyToGo-Thumbnail

Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF) assists youth mentoring programs in the training of new and existing mentors and other youth-serving organizations in training volunteers working with young people. Nearly 88 percent of sales of the curriculum came from outside Michigan. MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, the project’s director, attributes national interest to the multiple presentations presented by MSU Extension staff members at national conferences. These included the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Orlando, Fla., the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism in Frankenmuth, Mich., and the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition, staff members did a workshop at the 4-H National Mentoring Program grantee training. This year, Lisa will present a workshop and promote curriculum at a table at the training in January. Two out of the five hours she spends training will be on the curriculum. She and associate program leader Molly Frendo will also present two sessions on the curriculum at the National Mentoring Summit again this January.

Lisa found that articles she wrote for the MSU Extension website has drawn in interested customers. Articles such as “Why Boundary Setting Matters in Mentor-mentee Relationships,” contain Lisa’s contact information, encouraging readers to contact her for additional information or mentor training materials.

Some even have obtained permission to adapt some of the sections to their curriculum. The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) adapted material from Ready to Go for their twin Peer Mentoring guides, one for family support practitioners and one for family support volunteers. (See the section on boundaries in each guide.)

Next week, I’ll tell you about another curriculum and how two of our colleagues marketed it.

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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’

Many of you have produced Michigan State University Extension curriculum or bulletins on subjects near and dear to you. The product has become your “baby” so to speak. You’ve put much time and energy into producing a product you believe in. You want others to benefit from your efforts. However, you’re disappointed to find that sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore are not what you expected. This does happen in some cases. But there are other cases where MSU Extension-produced products are selling well in our bookstore. Often, the product’s promotion may make the difference. I’d like to tell you about three cases in which our MSU Extension colleagues’ efforts in promoting their products have resulted in at least modest increases in sales. All three worked with Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications to develop their products.

RELAX: Alternatives to Anger is an educational series for people who want to manage their anger and stress both at home and at work. It was updated in December 2012 by MSU Extension educators Holly Tiret and Suzanne Pish. Sales of RELAX from the third quarter of 2013 accounted for more than double the total sales of the first and second quarters.

Holly attributed the uptick in sales during that period to the RELAX team’s promotion of the product at the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., in September. At the conference, the team distributed postcards advertising the RELAX curriculum that included a brief description, cost, contact information, and the MSU Extension Bookstore and MSU Extension websites. The team further increased product visibility by wearing shirts with the MSU Extension logo and the RELAX  logo at the conference. In addition, the Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (MEAFCS) provided funds to purchase a booth to promote many MSU Extension programs.

Holly said, “We didn’t just sit at our booth. We walked the exhibitor booths, and people kept asking us what RELAX on our shirts stood for. We ended up having to carry postcards with us to give to people as we walked around visiting other vendors.”

Sales of RELAX outside of Michigan accounted for a third of all sales. Holly attributes that to national exposure through the Galaxy conference and participating in the exhibitor hall. The curriculum also received National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) national, regional and state awards further increasing awareness.

“The fact that we were a part of the professional organization helped us reach a much broader audience of potential customers,” said Holly.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll tell you about two other curricula that our colleagues have successfully marketed.

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