Tag Archives: steve evans

What’s new with Michigan Fresh?

Can Michigan Fresh get any fresher? Apparently so. The Michigan State University Extension program that helps people explore the state’s fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals has updated its website with a fresh new look.

The program, which involves MSU Extension staff members collaborating across institutes, launched May 1, 2012. Back then, we offered three Michigan Fresh fact sheets – on asparagus, rhubarb and starting seeds. Today, we offer nine fact sheets on fruit, 31 on vegetables, nine on general gardening tips and three on food preservation. In addition, we’ve produced five fact sheets in Spanish. Extension educators write the facts sheets designed by Alicia Burnell, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications graphics artist.

We’ve been promoting the fact sheets and the Michigan Fresh program at the Detroit Eastern Market, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market and across Michigan.

We have a new Michigan Fresh flier that explains the program and lists the fact sheets available. It gives some interesting facts about our great state. For example, did you know that Michigan is the leading producer of dry beans and several varieties of annual flowers including geraniums, petunias and Easter lilies? And we’re No. 1 in the nation in production of blueberries, cucumbers for pickles, Niagara grapes and tart cherries. Check out the flier for more Michigan facts as related to food and agriculture.

The Michigan Availability Guide lets us know when to buy fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.

So fresh we’re still working on putting it up on the Michigan Fresh website, a new Michigan Fresh fact sheet gives fresh produce donation guidelines for gardeners. Authors and Extension educators Kathe Hale of the Greening Michigan Institute and Eileen Haraminac of the Health and Nutrition Institute let us know helpful tips for donating that extra zucchini to food banks and pantries.

In addition, Steve Evans, ANR Communications multimedia production team leader, produced all of the Michigan Fresh videos starring MSU Extension educators and program instructors. Watch them for some great recipes and tips on cooking Michigan produce. In this week’s featured video, Extension nutrition program instructor Maggie Kantola focuses on kale.

Kathe Hale coordinates the Michigan Fresh program. Visit the updated Michigan Fresh website at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/mi_fresh.

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ANR Communications projects receive ACE awards

Two projects from Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications recently received Association for Communications Excellence (ACE) awards. The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The Michigan State University 4-H Revolution of Responsibility campaign earned a silver award in the category for a marketing communications campaign with a budget of $1,000 or above.

National 4-H launched its Revolution of Responsibility campaign in late 2010 and early 2011. Michigan was one of the first states to adopt the campaign and use it as part of an event in early 2011. Since then, Michigan 4-H has expanded on its use of the Revolution of Responsibility theme, specifically to inform decision-makers at the local, county and state levels of the importance of 4-H programming.

A team in ANR Communications worked together to produce an award-winning campaign.

Communications manager Michelle Lavra developed the overall strategy, came up with the original tone of execution for Michigan’s version of the Revolution of Responsibility campaign, wrote the copy and designed the original fliers, posters and banners, provided photography, sought out stories, wrote video scripts, conducted interviews for videos and wrote some of the print stories.

Technical writer Katie Gervasi wrote print stories; worked on story fliers, marketing fliers and posters; posted Web content and social media; provided photography; handled development, design and production of promotional items; and handled all of the logistics for banner orders, printing and distribution.

Natasha Berryman, a former writer for ANR Communications now an AgBioResearch communications manager, wrote print stories, designed and populated story fliers, posted Web content and social media, and provided photography.

Multimedia production team leader Steve Evans was the producer and videographer for all three videos. He also wrote scripts, did all of the video editing and posted the videos to our YouTube site.

Roses for the Home: Growing Roses in the Midwest (E3157), a revision of Roses for the Home, won a bronze award for a one- to full-color popular publication.

ANR Communications graphic designer Alicia Burnell designed the rose bulletin and Patty Adams edited it.

Mary Wilson, MSU Extension horticulture educator, acted as project coordinator on the effort. Rose expert and MSU Extension Advanced Master Gardener Nancy L. Lindley wrote the bulletin.

Mary; Dr. Bridget Behe, MSU professor of horticulture; Janet Byrne, MSU plant pathology specialist; and Dr. David Smitley, MSU professor of entomology; lent their expertise as reviewers.

Read more about the publication in this June 2012 Spotlight article.

Congratulations on these two award-winning projects!

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Not mentioned but still appreciated

In last week’s Spotlight, I wrote about Michigan State University Extension’s role in bringing Adobe Connect forums to the public to educate on the ballot proposals. As sometimes happens, when names get mentioned, unfortunately someone will get left out. In this case, we left out ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans who set up the Adobe Connect room and videotaped the three policy experts. In addition, Extension specialist Georgia Peterson helped out by wrangling questions as they came in one evening from the four live sites. She quickly figured out the best method to do so within Adobe Connect.

Thanks to Steve and Georgia!

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Extension connects on ballot issues

In an article in last week’s Spotlight, I drew your attention to Bulletin GE 49, written by Michigan State University Extension specialist Claire Layman. The bulletin supplies non-partisan objective information allowing Michigan residents to make informed decisions on the six proposals appearing on the ballot Nov. 6.

Besides writing the bulletin, Claire was busy using technology to educate further about the proposals. With help from ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans, Claire led two Adobe Connect sessions on campus with leading experts on the ballot issues. On Oct. 22, the group hosted fora, reaching out to four locations: Harrisville, Lawrence, Sault Ste. Marie and Wayne. On Oct. 24, the fora involved five locations: Clinton Township, Flint, Hastings, Houghton and Traverse City.

Attendees read over the bulletin and watched three pre-recorded video interviews with policy experts who covered both sides of the proposal issues. Afterward, they asked questions of the experts through Adobe Connect.

Experts included MSU Extension specialist and professor of economics Eric Scorsone, professor in the MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations Peter Berg, marketing economist in the MSU Product Center Bill Knudson and senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute Mark Wyckoff.

A total of 149 people participated in the fora with the most attending at Harrisville in Alcona County with 53 participants.

Extension educators hosting the forums included Darren Bagley, Ann Chastain, Terry Gibb, Ginger Hentz, Brad Neumann, Julie Pioch, Bethany Prykucki, Mike Schira, Bonnie Witchner-Zoia and Richard Wooten. Terry Gibb helped write Bulletin GE 49 and helped to organize the overall registration.

In addition, Extension specialist Georgia Peterson helped out by wrangling questions as they came in one evening from the four live sites. She quickly figured out the best method to do so within Adobe Connect.

Organizations that partnered with us in this endeavor included the League of Women Voters, the Lake Superior State University Political Science Club, the Northwest Council of Michigan Governments and the District 13 Extension Council. Partner organizations served to recruit and market the forums, and served as table facilitators at small group discussions.

Claire reports that all evaluations have not been tabulated yet but those that have come in so far have been generally very positive. In Alcona County, 82 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “Because of tonight’s event, I am better informed to make decisions on Michigan’s proposals in the upcoming election.” One hundred percent of Alcona County respondents agreed or strongly agreed that events such as the fora are valuable for our democracy, and 79 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that they’d like to be a part of similar events.

Associate professor Luke Reese has been instrumental in leading us in the use of Adobe Connect technology. He continues to offer monthly online workshops and is largely responsible for our organizational competency in Adobe Connect meetings and webinars.

Thanks to Claire for making innovative use of technology and to Luke and Steve for continuing to teach, lead and support us in technology efforts. And thanks to our Extension educators for hosting and our partners for their contribution to the events.

We have further signs that people look to us when they want to make informed decisions based on expert opinion. As of Oct. 31, we had more than 400 page views for the forum event listings and nearly 1,400 page views on Extension educator Terry Gibb’s article “November Ballot Issues Could Mean Changes for Michigan Residents.”

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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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Help us keep the new website’s soft launch from having a rough landing

If you listened to my April 2 webinar and read the email that went out immediately following its conclusion, you know that we’ve launched a temporary site for our new MSU Extension website.

 I know I sound like a broken record, but please DO NOT share this site with others or bookmark it. It’s just a temporary location for everyone to see and the URL will change to our standard msue.msu.edu when it is formally launched.

 My thanks to ANR Technology Services (who developed the framework) and ANR Communications (the folks who are populating the site). They’ve done a great job.

 But I want to stress again that the site would not be possible without the work of our educators and specialists who identified the more than 80 categories that make up the site’s structure. They provided category descriptions and identified programs and resources. They’ve been delivering volumes of new content to the site every month.

 You’ll notice that since this site is temporary, certain features (like the search feature) are not functioning yet. Not to worry. We intend to have the search feature up and running in the final product. When I say “final,” I don’t mean static. This will be a dynamic website. We’ll regularly add up-to-date information from knowledgeable sources – our educators and specialists – that will keep bringing people back to the site. I’m confident reliable content coupled with ease of use will make this site one that’s visited often.

 Please share your ideas and information for the site with ANR Communications by April 16. Let ANR Communications know if there are any broken links or inaccuracies (such as in county contact information) or if you have questions or suggestions about the information that the site contains.

 Please send changes and comments to your institute’s representative within ANR Communications:

 Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute: Beth Stuever
Children and Youth Institute: Michelle Lavra
Greening Michigan Institute: Sean Corp
Health and Nutrition Institute: Katie Alexander

 You may also submit feedback or changes to this ANR Communications department email address.

 The site will close from April 16 to 23 for final adjustments. It will go live April 24. I hope that you are as pleased as I am about the outcome of all the work and looking forward to the positive comments from the folks who visit.

 I want to call out once again our colleagues from ANR Tech services and ANR Communications who helped keep us moving along: Dennis Bond, Kim Maida, along with Director Erica Ciupak from ANR TS and Sean Corp, Katie Alexander, Kathy Raphael, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Michelle Lavra, Steve Evans, Laura Probyn, Fran Adelaja, and Mindy Pratt (whose name I missed on Monday) from ANR Communications, along with former Director Ruth Borger and Interim Director Kris Hynes. Thanks to all of you for keeping us moving forward!

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Kent County 4-H’er joins the Revolution of Responsibility

In a recent Spotlight article, I talked about the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility, National 4‑H Council’s movement for positive change, challenging kids to make a difference and take responsibility for community problems and issues.

 Nate Seese, a 4-H’er from Byron Center in Kent County, is taking on responsibility in a big way right in his own community. Nate raises and shows sheep and hogs as a 4-H project. Usually, a 4-H’er involved in this type of project would auction off the animals at fair and then keep the profits. But Nate saw a need to help hungry people in his community and stepped up to do something about it. He put together a buying group consisting of local business owners and community members to buy the animals at auction. The group lets Nate keep the animals so he can donate the meat to the Buist Community Assistance Center, a local food pantry. After taking the animals to Byron Center Meats (the company donates its time and services to process the meat), Nate was able to donate 500 pounds of lamb and pork to the center this year.

 Nate says, “4-H has taught me that we can’t just sit back and wait for somebody to take the lead. We have to take the lead if we want to make a change.”

 Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is also taking the lead in the revolution, developing responsible leaders for the future.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members Kraig Ehm, Steve Evans and Michelle Lavra created a video featuring Nate’s story. View the video:

 The video was shared at the 2011 NAE4-HA (National Association of Extension 4-H Agents) Conference held Oct. 24–28 in Nebraska. The video will be posted on the National 4-H Revolution of Responsibility site.

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