Knowledge for Life

December 2023

Delivering research-based information you can trust

to be accurate and unbiased.

Director's Thoughts

It seems the end of the calendar year becomes jam packed with meetings, event planning, family obligations, and more tasks than normal. When we think of our “office family” some tend to call it “office culture”. However you define your daily working environment, there are no better human beings than those right here in the local K-State Johnson County Extension office. We are truly blessed with not only wonderful staff but with outstanding and caring volunteers. Part of our work we have been diving into this year is defining who we are locally and how we bring the land grant mission to fruition.

The staff developed our local mission statement in early October which is:

K-State Extension, Johnson County is an organization of dedicated, passionate, hardworking staff who collaborate and connect people with university supported education, resources, and services – through volunteers, community, and partner organizations.

Each of the words used in this mission statement hold power over the work and engagement pieces we conduct every day. The last few years have been trying and, let’s face it, difficult to maintain the high level of quality expected from our team. Taking the time to focus on our internal organization and the strengths each one of us bring to the family has been a rewarding endeavor.

As we move into 2024, we will be extending this process of how we impact and evaluate our work here in Johnson County. Here is to a strong end of the year with celebrations, reflections, and positive vibes for the new year!

Tara Markley


Natural Resources

Prairie: Why Should We Care?

Across the state, Kansas has multiple types of grasslands from shortgrass prairies in the west to tallgrass prairies in the east.

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of this very special ecosystem.

Read more

Want to learn more? Join us for Wild Research on zoom on Tuesday, December 12 and hear from Rachel Rusten on her research on Evaluating Relationships between Grassland Loss, Woody Encroachment, and Pesticide use on Grassland Bird Populations. Register here

4-H Youth Development

Winter is coming. The "4-H At Home Holiday Activity Guide" can help. 

For the days when the weather makes it more appealing to stay at home, the 4-H at Home Holiday Activity Guide can help!

From fun crafts, gifts kids can make for loved ones, to delicious baked goods--there are so many ways to integrate fun, family, and learning into the holiday season.

Learn more

Family and Community Wellness

Financial Check in for December

Access to free weekly credit reports is set to expire at the end of this year.

It's also wise to review your charitable giving priorities and look for unclaimed funds that never made it into your bank account. We'll show you how!

Learn more

Game Play: Build Family Bonds and Social Skills

As you spend time with family in unique ways this holiday season, board games are a great way to connect and have some fun!

In fact, board games help participants learn "soft skills," which contribute to success in school and the future workplace.

Learn more

Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health

Follow the 3 B’s for Better Health Today and Into the New Year

Diabetes is no longer a disease that you get when you are older. In fact, many of us have friends, relatives, and colleagues who are either pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Learn more and get tips to help you prevent or manage diabetes and stay healthy.

Learn more

Try something new: Sign up for an Extension Cooking Class!

Learn alongside our trained Extension Master Food Volunteers, who share evidence-based information and their own personal experiences to teach participants on a wide range of topics.

Gingerbread Magic: Thursday, December 7 and Friday, December 8

Build a small gingerbread house. We provide the supplies and candy for decorating. This is a great class for an adult & child (7 years old and up) to take together. Cost: $30

Families Cooking Together: Saturday, January 20, 2024

Spending time in the kitchen as a family creates closer bonds, builds memories, and is a time to listen, share, and talk with children. It also teaches the lifelong skill of cooking! Come learn how to prepare tasty meals and make memories cooking alongside loved ones. Registration costs $45 and is for one adult and one youth (6-15 years). 

*GIFT IDEA! Purchase this class as a holiday gift, and receive a certificate to announce your special gift!

Date Night Cooking: Friday, February 16, 2024 

Grab your partner, best friend, or other loved one and come to this cooking class together! Learn ways to master the kitchen, prepare delicious and beautiful dishes, and how each person can take part in the kitchen for a fun date night with friends or a loved one. Cost is $50 for two people.

Bread Baking 101: Thursday, March 21, 2024

Nothing beats the taste and smell of fresh homemade bread. Come learn the timeless skill of bread making at our hands-on class. Class is designed for ages 16+. Cost is $30.

Have nutrition, food safety, or health questions?


Contact us for answers. Call (913) 715-7000 or email [email protected]

Lawn and Garden

Vegetable Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a tried-and-true practice that can ultimately save you time, money, and reduce pesticide use.

Start by creating a map of last year's garden.

Learn more

Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery

Decorating for the holidays with fresh greenery is a continuing tradition.

Evergreens are the backbone of the decorating, but don’t overlook deciduous twigs and plants with berries to add even more interest to a design. We have ideas for you, here.

Learn more

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The Gardening Hotline is here to answer your lawn and garden questions. Ask us!

call: (913) 715-7050 | email: [email protected]

Hotline hours: Monday - Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM

Community Vitality

Group success starts with understanding basic needs

To get the best effort from each person in a group, you must take into account that individuals in groups have needs. Here are seven basic needs individuals share: Be aware and strategic about these needs to ensure group success.

Read more

Silver Clovers

Silver Clovers: How to Collect Coneflower Seeds (watch now)

Silver Clovers began during COVID to connect Johnson County residents ages 50 and older. Look for new content each month, both online and in person, to build new skills and increase social connection.

Upcoming Events | view complete list here

Lawn & Garden Events

December 6: Beekeeping Basics: How to Start Your Own Colony (K-State Garden Hour)

Home & Family Events

December 6: Rapid Development of Baby Brains and Why It Matters (Living Well Wednesdays)

December 7: Rapid Development of Baby Brains and Why it Matters (Spanish)

December 8: WITS Workout

Natural Resources Events

December 12: Wild Research: Evaluating Relationships between Grassland Loss, Woody Encroachment, and Pesticide use on Grassland Bird Populations

Nutrition, Health, and Food Events

December 7: Gingerbread Magic

December 8: Gingerbread Magic

December 12: The 3 B’s to Build a Better Body & Mind

Community Vitality

December 1: First Friday e-Call: Lessons Learned from Rural Champions: MH, Economic Development, CD, Trails

Kindly note: The Johnson County Extension Office will be closed December 25 through January 1, 2024.

View all Events

We are dedicated to a safe, sustainable, competitive food and fiber system and to strong healthy communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education.

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