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Congratulations to MAE4-HYS award winners

Congratulations to our 2016 Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff (MAE4-HYS) award winners! These awards were announced and received at the 2016 Children and Youth Institute (CYI) Retreat. In 2015, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension served 182,000 youth. The people mentioned below are just a handful of those making a difference in young people’s lives. The awards are a testament to the important work that our CYI colleagues are doing across the state.

Makena Schultz, MSU Extension leadership and civic engagement educator, received the Achievement Award. This award recognizes new 4-H staff members who have demonstrated excellence in the development and organization of their county 4-H Youth Development Programs. Makena received the award for her coordination of 4-H Capitol Experience, programs in reflections and failure resiliency, her lessons on teen facilitation, group decision-making, youth-adult partnerships, communications and conflict resolution as well as her development of new partnerships, and her collaboration in creating the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute.

Melissa Elischer, MSU Extension dairy youth educator, received the Presidential Citation. The award recognizes staff members for a specific program, topic or activity. Melissa works with MSU faculty and MSU Extension staff members, 4-H volunteers and stakeholders to develop, implement and evaluate statewide programs that provide opportunities for youth to develop content knowledge and life skill development. Additionally, her work brings together MSU faculty from the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Department of Animal Science, local volunteers and industry partners to bring growth and renewed energy to 4-H dairy events. Through her programs, bookmarks and dairy guide, she has been able to introduce and teach animal care and well-being to youth and adults across the state. Melissa also received the Scholarship for Personal and Professional Development, which she can use to travel in the U.S. or abroad to study youth work or use toward graduate tuition to facilitate growth in her Extension work.

Kristi Ayers, MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator based in Kent County, received the Diversity Award, which recognizes staff for outstanding effort and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity in county and state 4-H youth work. Kristi has formed key partnerships with community agencies and schools serving youth in Grand Rapids. Through these partnerships, she has offered programs in Spanish as well as food and nutrition education in urban food desserts. She has supplied blankets and books to people who needed them. Through the 4-H embryology project, she has taught young people about the beginning of life.

Kathy Fischer and Dana Wawrzyniec won the Team Award. Based in Calhoun County, Kathy is a 4-H program coordinator, and Dana is a health and nutrition program instructor. Together, they worked with the local nonprofit Sprout Urban Farms to teach Calhoun County residents how to eat healthier. They developed a community space with a tool lending library, visited classrooms to teach about plant gardens and eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and formed a partnership with the food service director. After learning about plants in the classroom, students were excited to see fresh produce as part of the lunch choice. Kathy also received the First Time Conference Scholarship to attend the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

The Partnership Award recognizes individuals or groups outside of MSU Extension who have made an outstanding contribution to MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development. The following partners received the award:

1) Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer has supported the Clinton County 4-H Livestock sale for over 30 years. Troy Bancroft, his family and the company staff have a huge impact on the Clinton County 4-H and Youth Fair as financial supporters and sponsors and as volunteers, lending their time and resources. They also provide a space for board meetings, awards ceremonies and other events. The partnership between 4-H and Agro-Culture has been invaluable.

2) Fifth Third Michigan State Fair LLC and Suburban Collection Showplace benefits 4-H and our youth in many ways. It gives 4-H’ers an opportunity to showcase 4-H projects, learn life skills, and apply for and receive scholarships for their achievements. The junior fair board provides leadership development. The future opportunities are infinite, creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a fantastic opportunity to highlight the services of MSU Extension.

3) Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has been a longtime supporter of youth programming in Michigan. For more than 80 years, MMPA has partnered with MSU Extension to enhance and grow 4-H programming in dairy science and other animal science project areas. Contributions to the program have been extensive. They include annual funding through the 4-H Foundation, grant matches, start-up funds with continued support for a 4-H camp, personnel to assist at statewide dairy youth events, and the hosting of an annual youth career development and scholarship program at the Novi headquarters. Ken Nobis, Joe Diglio and Sheila Burkhardt, attending on behalf of MMPA, were honored during the program.

Tom Guthrie and Nicole Wethington each won the Colleague Award, which recognizes an individual within MSU Extension who has made an outstanding contribution to MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development. Tom is a statewide Extension educator based in Jackson County. In 2015, Tom was a superhero who helped Jackson County overcome a health outbreak leading to a short quarantine of the barn at the fair. Tom helped in monitoring pig health, calling in experts, and communicating with superintendents and families, and staff worked as a team to minimize the impact to the fair, exhibitors and buyers. Nicole is an MSU Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program‒Education (SNAP-Ed) program instructor in Crawford and Roscommon counties. She has taught 4-H day campers about germs and physical activity, trained aspiring chefs about food safety and the source of our food, and shared exotic fruits and vegetables. She has also trained staff and volunteers to deliver lessons on healthy choices.

Helen-Ann Cordes, a 4-H program coordinator in Alpena County, received the Communicator Award, which recognizes significant accomplishment in presenting 4-H to the general public, civic groups, 4-H groups or individuals through public information methods. Her use of technology, print and social media to educate and communicate with members, their families and volunteers has allowed her to reach people where they are. Video recorded trainings and updates for leaders also minimize the number of after-hours meetings necessary. Helen-Ann also uses these media to market 4-H to residents of Alpena County and certain programming to surrounding counties.

Julie Thelen received the MAE4-HYS Excellence in Camping Award, the National Excellence in Camping Award, the MAE4-HYS Programming Expertise Award in Animal Science and the National Excellence in Animal Science Programming Award. Julie is an MSU Extension 4-H livestock and veterinary science educator who develops, implements and evaluates statewide programs for youth. She received both the MAE4-HYS and National Excellence in Camping awards for her work expanding the livestock and veterinary science programs by introducing the 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp. Julie received both state and national programming awards in animal science because of her focus on curriculum development, specifically bringing zoonotic disease education to the forefront of animal science and her development of 4-H club biosecurity and zoonotic lesson kits.

Glenda Weiss received the Urban Programming Award for partnering with local schools to offer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. She designed science activities shared at urban events and developed community center partnerships to hold craft events. She also partnered with Pingree Farms to provide youth with transportation to their farm where they learned about caring for farm animals.

Jodi Schulz, an MSU Extension educator focusing in capacity building and academic success, received the Michigan Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual’s career in 4-H. She is a model example of a 4-H staff member, a CYI educator and an MSU employee and has been over her 10-year career. Highlights of her contributions include the Life Skills Wheel, the creation of Michigan 4-H SPIN Clubs and her productive partnership with Bay City Public Schools.

The National Distinguished Service Award is one of the highest honors given at the national level. Staff must have 7 years of experience and have won the Michigan Distinguished Service Award to be eligible. This year, Betty Jo Krosnicki, MSU Extension educator in career education and workforce preparation, and Janelle Stewart, MSU Extension children and youth educator, received this prestigious award. Over the past 10 years, Betty Jo served in a number of capacities during her tenure as an MSU Extension educator, including county coordination, the Volunteerism Area of Expertise Team and workgroup roles on the Academic Success, Life Skills, and Career Education and Workforce Preparation teams. Janelle coordinates for Lenawee County, works on the Leadership/Civic Engagement work team, serves on the Advisory Resource Team and is a member on the Capitol Experience Steering Committee, the State Youth Leadership Council Advisory Committee and the Spectacular Steering Committee. She teaches classes in the leadership, citizenship, global education categories such as Youth/Adult Partnerships, Officer Training, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Teen Facilitation, Leadership, Running Effective Meetings and much more.

Bev Przystas received the National Meritorious Award, which recognizes professional attitude, professional improvement, professional accomplishments, personal attitudes, interests, community involvement and special honors received. Recipients must have more than 15 years of service. Bev has been the 4-H program assistant for Gladwin County for 37 years. Her passion for 4-H youth development has reached many youth, volunteers, her community and peers. Her ability to listen and to work with others has helped to bring positive outcomes to potentially negative situations. In her many accomplishments, she has shown teamwork, compassion and integrity.

Jan Brinn, an MSU Extension educator specializing in academic success, leadership, civic engagement and global and cultural education, received the National Excellence in Global Citizenship Award. The award recognizes those who strive to develop and/or conduct programs and/or projects that provide opportunities for youth to develop a world-view including a global perspective and the skills necessary for global citizenship and the development of appreciation for living in a global society. Jan’s work with the Michigan’s 4-H China Project has been positively influencing youth for over 25 years. More than 350,000 youth have participated in the Michigan 4-H China Project global citizenship programs in a variety of settings. Through the Art Exchange, Michigan children in grades K‒6, communicate and learn about China through creating visual letters to send to children in China.

The Rocky Award celebrates the moments when staff do something extraordinary. This year, the award was given to the group that attended the 4-H National Conference in Portland, Oregon: Jan Brinn, Sarah McKinney, Matt Newman, Roxanne Turner and Nancy Victorson. They received the award based on their successful and thorough exploration of Mount Hood.

Please join me in congratulating our MSU Extension colleagues for their work and their award recognition.

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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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Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute candidates to address question in public seminars

The search committee for the new Agriculture and Agribusiness (AABI) director, which includes Julie Chapin, Chris DiFonzo, Tom Guthrie, Mike Krauch, Dennis Pennington and search chair Jim Kells, has announced that the search has narrowed to two exceptional candidates: Dr. Ron Bates and Dr. Larry Gut.

As part of the selection process, the two candidates have been asked to address the following question in a 30- to 40-minute public seminar: “Share your vision for AABI and the strategy for implementing that vision.”

The schedule for the public seminars follows:

Monday, January 26
Dr. Larry Gut
10-11 a.m.: Public Seminar ‒ “The MSU Extension Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute in 2020 and How We Will Get There” (Auditorium, MSU Pavilion)
11-11:45 a.m.: Open Roundtable (Classroom A, MSU Pavilion)

Tuesday, February 3
Dr. Ron Bates
10-11 a.m.: Public Seminar ‒ “Making Our Best Better, Driving Progress in Michigan Agriculture” (Auditorium, MSU Pavilion)
11-11:45 a.m.: Open Roundtable (Classroom A, MSU Pavilion)

Feedback from all who attend the presentations at the MSU Pavilion and those who watch the recorded video presentations will be sought and appreciated. Please RSVP to attend the seminar.

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Educators shine at NACAA conference

A group of seven of our Michigan State University Extension educators attended the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference (AM/PIC) July 20‒24 in Mobile, Alabama. Attendees included Phil Durst, Tom Guthrie, Phil Kaatz, Stan Moore, George Silva, Mike Staton and Nancy Thelen.

“The AM/PIC provides a wide variety of educational and networking opportunities from which we learn and are inspired,” said Phil Durst, senior Extension educator and president of the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (the Michigan affiliate of the NACAA). “This is also a great team-building time.”

Phil let us know that the conference offered 65 seminars on a variety of agricultural topics and super seminars provided opportunity for in-depth study of topics such as climate science and agriculture, farm business transfer, and soil health and cover crops. Educators went on more than 20 tours that focused on agricultural enterprises, resource management, business and local attractions. An exhibit featuring more than 100 professional posters provided a glimpse of a wide variety of research and educational projects. Dr. Dana Chandler of Tuskegee University provided the keynote address on the role of George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Thomas Monroe Campbell, all of Tuskegee, in pioneering Extension work.

As in years past, many of our colleagues received awards, presented or were involved in other ways.

Nancy Thelen received the Distinguished Service Award that encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension from NACAA members with more than 10 years of service. She also was the national winner of the Agricultural Awareness and Appreciation Award. In addition, she presented two posters at the conference about Breakfast on the Farm.

Mike Staton was a national finalist for a published photo. A team consisting of Ned Birkey, Dan Rajzer, Marilyn Thelen, Dan Rossman, Bruce MacKellar and Mike Staton were national finalists in the “Search for Excellence in Crop Production.” Mike had the opportunity to present the work at the meeting.

The Extension Dairy Team was a national winner for a promotional piece, the 2013/14 Dairy Programs booklet. The team includes Stan Moore, Kathy Lee, Phil Durst, Frank Wardynski, Faith Cullens and Craig Thomas.

Stan Moore and Phil Durst were national finalists for an audio recording, their “Dairy Moosings” podcasts.

Tom Guthrie and Phil Durst served as voting delegates.

Congratulations to all!

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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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Donor goes hog wild to help 4-H’er raise money for charity

$6,500 – that’s a lot of money for a hog. Ten-year-old Mattea Antrup received that approximate amount for her hog at the Ottawa County Youth Fair after raising it through the 4-H program.

In February 2012, Mattea had hip surgery spending 7 weeks in a near full-body cast. While at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, instead of focusing on herself, Mattea saw other kids, patients with problems of their own. Spurred by the memory, Mattea named her hog Helen DeVos and donated the money she received for Helen at the county fair to the hospital.

Mattea ended up getting $28 a pound for the hog. I asked Tom Guthrie, Michigan State University Extension pork and equine educator, about the going rate for hogs. Tom said that normally hogs sold at county youth fairs would go for $2 to $3 a pound.

The giving kept on going when the buyer donated the hog to LOVE INC, an organization that serves people in need.

To view a video featuring Mattea, go to Fox 17 and search for “Helping With a Hog.”

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Extension educator receives outstanding young alumnus award

Extension educator receives outstanding young alumnus award
The Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Carbondale College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society Board of Governors selected Michigan State University Extension educator Tom Guthrie as the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Young Ag Alumnus award.

The award is a competitive process, designed to recognize individuals within 10 years post-graduation who have excelled within their respective fields of the agricultural industry. Dr. Gary Apgar, interim department chair of the Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition at SIU, nominated Tom for this honor.

Tom received the award at SIU’s College of Agricultural Sciences Annual All Ag Banquet. Two hundred people attended the banquet held Feb. 22 at Giant City Lodge in Makanda, Ill.

MSU Extension educator Tom Guthrie (left) receives the SIU at Carbondale, College of Agricultural Sciences, 2013 Outstanding Young Ag Alumnus award Feb. 22, 2013. Dr. Gary Apgar (right) nominated Tom for this honor.

Michigan State University Extension educator Tom Guthrie (left) receives the Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Carbondale, College of Agricultural Sciences, 2013 Outstanding Young Ag Alumnus award Feb. 22, 2013, at SIU’s College of Agricultural Sciences Annual All Ag Banquet, at the Giant City Lodge, in Makanda, Ill. Dr. Gary Apgar (right), interim department chair of the Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition at SIU nominated Tom for this honor.

Based in Jackson County, Tom has a 50 percent swine and 50 percent equine statewide Extension responsibility. He develops and provides statewide accessibility to educational programming regarding equine and swine management, including environmental management. 

Tom is a three-time Saluki (Saluki is the SIU mascot – it’s a dog) receiving bachelor’s degrees in forestry in 1996 and animal science in 2001. Tom went on to earn a master’s degree in animal science with a swine nutrition emphasis in 2003.

Congratulations, Tom!

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