Well, spring has finally sprung here in Northern Michigan - plenty of sun and mild weather after a rather frosty winter.
Lots going on in your association this season.
Perhaps the biggest news is that attendees at the National Extension Energy Summit in Seattle last month voted overwhelmingly to work with ANREP to establish an Energy Initiative. That effort, like our National Network for Sustainable Living Education and the Climate Science Initiatives, will provide an opportunity for ANREP members and others to collaborate across disciplinary lines to deal with critical natural resources issues. This is a very good development for ANREP and will allow us grow our organization while meeting an important national need. Read more about the Summit in Betsy Fradd's article in this edition.
Many of you responded to the recent online survey about ANREP regional meet-ups. One of our strategic goals this year is to provide more opportunities for members to interact with each other on a regional basis. Your regional representatives on the ANREP Board are working with input from the survey to organize some web-based activities yet this year. Stay tuned!
I'm pleased to announce the theme of the 2016 joint conference with the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals - it is "Building a Path to Resiliency: Uniting Natural Resources and Community Development." As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the conference will be in Burlington, Vermont, June 26-29, 2016. Mark your calendars now!
Finally, I know it's a little annoying when I (and Presidents before me) keep asking for members to volunteer to serve on or lead an ANREP committee, but here goes. The Board has specific need for help from the Communications and Membership committees - we would like to learn more about member interests and demographics, receive guidance in expanding use of social media to engage members, and strategies to build membership in states with few or no members. Please volunteer - it doesn't take much time. Go to the committees page on the ANREP website and click "volunteer."
PILD - The Extension Educator Perspective
Washington Monument at sunrise. Credit: Peter Warren
To those of you who attended the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) conference in April - it was great having you there. For those of you who missed it, don't worry, it will happen again next year!
You may be wondering why you should care or want to attend. Simply put, it is a rare opportunity to meet and hear from people who directly impact Extension across the US. There are also networking opportunities, time spent with volunteers, and a wealth of presentations. This past conference had topics that included lobbying or advocacy, communicating on the hill, the four generations, working within the political environment, and discussions with a multitude of National Program Leaders.
As part of the conference, attendees have the opportunity to either visit Capitol Hill with their volunteers or visit a federal agency. On a slightly cool April 15 morning, two ANREPers - DianaRashash and Peter Warren - by-passed Capitol Hill and made the trek to NIFA. After getting off the subway and a couple of false starts, the intrepid pair can state that NIFA actually exists.
Credit: Peter Warren
Once there, they met with Eric Norland, who serves as the NIFA liaison to ANREP and is the National Program Leader for Forestry Extension in the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment. During the visit, Dr. Norland was presented with several program impact reports that were provided by ANREP members. Oddly enough, their format nearly matched that of the required Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) reports submitted by state institutions. The program impact reports and the RREA format will be placed on the ANREP website. As ANREP members, you are encouraged to submit program impact reports, utilizing the RREA format, to the ANREP board. These will go on our website and be available to NIFA. These reports will provide an opportunity for our members to discuss their programs, and also give NIFA a broader array of information to share with people in DC.
Two other National Program Leaders were met during this visit: Greg Crosby - Sustainable Development, and James Dobrowolski - Rangelands & Water. Dr. Crosby mentioned the attention on nutrient use efficiency, while Dr. Dobrowolski discussed the focus on the water needs of agriculture. There are a lot of people and divisions at NIFA; happily, Dr. Norland provided Peter and Diana with an organizational chart! This will also be going on the ANREP website. Look under the "Resources/Documents" tab and then under "Extension Partners".
A heartfelt "Thank you!" goes to Dr. Norland, Dr. Crosby, and Dr. Dobrowolski for taking time from their busy schedules to talk to us about their programs. A second set of thanks to Dr. Norland for organizing several other National Program Leaders to meet with ANREP and NACDEP members during our joint association session. These were: Dr. Jill Auburn - Beginning Farmer & Rancher, Mr. Brent Elrod - Community Development, and Dr. Fen Hunt - Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Thank you to each of you for your time and responding to our various questions.
Planning for PILD 2016 has already begun. Will you be there?
ANREP President Elect
Area Specialized Agent - Natural Resources
North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension
PILD - A NIFA Program Leader Perspective
Some of my best days at work are when fellow extension educators from around the country are in Washington, DC and I have the opportunity to find out about what they are doing in their states. Thus, the annual trek of extension educators, leaders, and key supporters to Washington, DC for PILD is always an invigorating time for me. And so it was, again, in April of this year.
Over the years, the PILD format and breakfast event with NIFA National Program Leaders (NPL's) has varied. There were the years when I sat at a round table with eight chairs and a table sign that said "Forests" --- all by myself for an hour. And there were the years like this one, where there were four break-outs immediately after breakfast and everyone could choose the one of most interest to them.
This year, ANREP and NACDEP members teamed up to sponsor a breakout on Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development and --- the room was packed! It was personally and professionally gratifying to see so many like-minded extension folk together, all of whom were interested in the two program areas that I cut my teeth on when I started working for extension in Ohio as a County Extension Agent, Community and Natural Resource Development (that would have been in the last century when overhead and carousel projectors were quite the technology).
Three of my colleagues and I discussed NIFA programs in natural resources and community development, fielded questions, and had some great discussions. I missed seeing you there!
The next day I had the pleasure of spending a chunk of the morning with Diana Rashash, North Carolina, and Peter Warren, Arizona, at NIFA. Diana has provided photographic evidence in this newsletter that there is, indeed, a brick and mortar place that houses NIFA. They met with two of my colleagues, Jim Dobrowolski and Greg Crosby, and heard about programs and issues that I don't think they would have heard much about had they not visited.
Here's the bottom line for me - DON'T come to PILD to "make my day." Come to PILD to make YOUR day, expand your thinking and perspectives, and DO GO to The Hill and meet with your elected officials. I guarantee you - if you have not done this before, it will be an eye-opening experience! Most of the staffers that you meet with are younger than you.
If you ever have occasion to visit Washington, DC the welcome mat is always out at NIFA.
National Program Leader, Forest Resource Management
Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Journal of Extension and National Job Bank Update
I have the privilege to represent ANREP on the Board of Directors of Extension Journal, Inc. (EJI). EJI's major activities are publication of the Journal of Extension (JOE) and maintenance of the National Extension Job Bank.
Both the JOE and National Job Bank are important to the Extension profession. I am pleased to share this update on their status.
Journal of Extension: JOE editor Laura Hoelscher plans to retire from this role at the end of this year. The board's effort to identify and contract with a suitable editor-in-chief to replace Dr. Hoelscher continues, and we hope that effort is nearing completion. As co-chair of the editorial committee, I served on the search committee that identified and interviewed three candidates on March 21 and 22, prior to the board meeting March 23 and 24. That search is still pending, but we are hopeful that we will be able to contract with one of the individuals who interviewed in March.
As always, JOE needs more reviewers, and ANREP members are excellent candidates, because there has been a spike in submissions related to climate and environmental issues. If you are interested in serving or know other good candidates, please contact me (see below for email link).
Another interesting discussion at the board meeting addressed the roles of JOE reviewers and liaisons to the Land Grant Universities. Currently these are separate roles, with reviewers serving up to two consecutive three-year terms and liaisons responsible primarily for sharing JOE issues with their colleagues and administrators and, as needed, assisting with communications between the board and their administrators. Liaisons also have some role in identifying and recruiting new reviewers. But it has been challenging at times to keep liaisons active. While no firm decisions were made, we will investigate merging these roles and considering asking reviewers to slightly expand their role to fulfill liaison obligations. These additional obligations are minor and reviewers are committed to the Journal, making this an interesting possibility.
National Job Bank: The Job Bank is rolling along well and continues to be an important source of revenue to support the Journal and board activities. We did discuss additional marketing efforts, which I hope will move forward soon.
I welcome questions and comments from ANREP members on how to best represent our interests through the work of the EJI Board of Directors.
Current EJI Board. Photographed in Atlanta, March 2015.
ANREP Representative to the Extension Journal, Inc. Board
University of Minnesota Extension
The Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) is a partnership of our national professional Extension associations. Our 'bottom line' is to strengthen the efforts of each association: doing together what we cannot accomplish individually.
JCEP just held a successful Leadership Conference. This conference has evolved from beginning as an association leadership training to an expanded leadership training conference. With our highest attendance ever this year at 250 attendees, the conference featured Keynote speaker David Horsager, author of 'The Trust Edge', speaking on 'Leading Through Trust', in addition to twenty leadership concurrent sessions and Association meetings/trainings. And this year we even became an international conference with an attendee from Saudi Arabia!
Your JCEP Board had our Winter Board Meeting in advance of the conference. Significant news from our meeting was the acceptance of a new association for JCEP membership; the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP). We are excited to broaden the talent and skills around the 'JCEP table'.
Other highlights from our Board meeting include our Blue Ribbon Committee's exploration of a focus- based, national issues conference, planning our 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, and fast forward moving plans for PILD (Public Issues Leadership Development Conference), our advocacy leadership training conference. We hope to see many of you April 10-13, 2016 in Crystal City at PILD!
ANREP Professional Development Webinars
One of the benefits of being a member of ANREP is access to professional development webinars. Thank you to our amazing ANREP Professional Development Committee for making these webinars possible! If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email Lara Milligan, ANREP PD Chair or call at 727-453-6905.
Skillful Facilitation in Natural Resources
Tuesday, June 16
3:00 - 4:15 pm Eastern
For more information
Today more than ever Extension faculty/agents need strong facilitation skills, whether it be for an internal curriculum development project, multi-stakeholder consensus building, or simply making sure that the meetings you attend are productive, efficient, and inclusive.
In this one-hour webinar ANREP members Mark Platten and Nicole Strong will demonstrate several facilitation best practices that will enable you to:
- Discern between your role as a facilitator vs. a participant
- Apply facilitation tools for meeting management (before, during and after)
- Utilize appropriate listening strategies for inclusive meetings
- Utilize appropriate interventions when dysfunctional or distracting behaviors arise.
- Apply techniques that lead to group brainstorming and decision making
- Considerations for when a process is ripe for facilitation and when it is not
- Identify facilitation tools to help make decisions and lead to action
- Making a Difference Across the Land of 10,000 Lakes: Minnesota Extension's Approach to Watershed Education
- Climate Science Initiative Webinar - Benefitting Clientele and Educators through Climate Education Networking
- Taking Natural Resource Evaluation to the Next Level
- Communicating Sustainability
- Sustainable and Alternative Energy in Extension: Research, Networking, and Natural Summit
Natural Resources Extension Agent
UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County
Printed Newsletters: A Thing of the Past or a Program Mainstay?
Like many of my county-based colleagues in Oregon, and I'd guess many others in ANREP, I produce a newsletter that goes out to local woodland owners and stakeholders. Last year my newsletter, Tall Timber Topics, had 800+ print subscribers with another ~500 receiving it by email as a PDF file. Recently I began to reconsider the value of my newsletter in light of these facts:
- Printing and mailing costs for the quarterly, 10-page newsletter were consuming up to 30% of my annual operating budget;
- Our office copier did not reproduce photos and graphics acceptably;
- It took me 2-3 days to compile information, write articles, and format each issue;
- I would get occasional feedback from readers, but I didn't really know how many people actually read the newsletter and whether it was useful to them.
I'm sure anyone who has produced a newsletter has had similar thoughts! With the push towards social media, e-newsletters, and other digital strategies (which I also use), was it time to pull the plug? But, without knowing how Tall Timber Topics was valued by my clients, I decided that an evaluation was in order before making a wholesale change. The evaluation was informative and a bit surprising to me, and resulted in what I think is a better approach. I thought it was worth sharing for anyone in a similar situation.
- I included a reader survey in my first newsletter of 2015. It asked various questions about how and how much they read the newsletter, and its educational value. It also included a place for respondents to update their mailing or email address.
- In that same issue, readers were alerted that anyone for whom we had an email address would receive future newsletters by email only, UNLESS they opted back in to print. Conveniently, the way for them to opt-in was to fill out the survey, so this helped to improve our response rate!
- These two steps reduced the print mailing list from 800 to ~550. We applied the cost savings to outsourcing the printing and mailing to a local printer who can produce a much higher quality copy. While this costs more per-copy than doing it in-house, Our TOTAL cost is slightly less than before. And our office assistant is pleased to not have all that copying, folding, and labeling!
- I considered going to something like Mail Chimp for the electronic version of my newsletter, but decided against it. I felt that the PDF would be easier for people who wanted to print it out themselves.
The survey results were interesting:
So Tall Timber Topics is here to stay. And it now aligns with the digital communication tools I use without much added work. Brad Withrow-Robinson and I co-manage a blog, TreeTopics. Typically, articles we write show up there first. Then they can be shared on social media (like Twitter and Facebook). Then, when newsletter time comes around, we can pull articles from the blog and reprint them. Reduce, reuse, recycle...you NNSLE folks should be proud!
- 65% of the respondents said they read Tall Timber Topics from cover to cover.
- 74% said that the newsletter has provided information that they have applied directly to the management of their land. Many examples were given.
- Most illuminating to me, about one-third of the respondents had not attended an Extension program in the past five years. This tells me that a newsletter is not a "nice-to-have" program element; it is a tool that reaches people that I don't necessarily reach otherwise.
Anyone who would like a copy of the reader survey can contact me. I'm happy to share the full results.
Assistant Professor and Extension Forester
Oregon State University Forestry & Natural Resources Extension
Teaching Forestry to Minnesota Kids
How many ways can students measure a tree? What is the best way to teach tree measurement given the tools, learning objectives, and time available? Now scale that up to forests, and do it all in 35 minutes!
Foresters and other natural resource managers are often asked to visit schools to help teach about trees and forests. The Teaching Forestry to Kids workshop at the Northland Arboretum, offered by the Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative, the MN DNR Forestry Outreach and Education unit, and Minnesota Master Naturalists was designed to help natural resource managers deliver strong, effective forestry presentations that students will remember.
The workshop introduced a number of Project Learning Tree activities that participants can now refer to and use in their own outreach activities. Laura Duffey and Karen Harrison, both from MN DNR Forestry, led us through activities related to tree identification and observation, tree and forest growth, measurements of tree height and diameter, tree and forest products, wildfire prevention, and more.
We also discussed communication with teachers, planning age-appropriate learning objectives and activities, strategies to prepare for the session and involve teachers in the activities. Laura and Karen oriented us to the vast resources available on the DNR Forestry Education Site.
Here's a PDF flyer for the April 2015 workshop.We hope to offer this again in coming years through the Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative. If you'd like to attend, watch our upcoming events page or subscribe to our email update, which includes event announcements.
Associate Extension Professor
University of Minnesota Extension
National Extension Energy Summit 2015 - Ideas & Innovation for Future Energy Decisions
Finding new ways to increase economic development opportunities and impact energy policies were two of the many topics at the National Extension Energy Summit in Seattle.
Participants from 31 states and the District of Columbia shared their vast knowledge of regional energy issues, climate change, and outreach efforts at the April 7 - 10 conference in Seattle sponsored by Washington State University and Extension Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB).
Conference attendees overwhelmingly voted to collaborate with ANREP to develop an organizational structure as an energy initiative. Extension professionals are eager to increase energy literacy, improve quality of life and profitability through energy awareness, and reduce negative impacts of energy production, delivery, and use through research-based education.
Keynote speaker Beverly Samuel from USDA NIFA talks about the key role of Extension in reaching wide audiences with energy efficiency education.
Beverly Samuel, USDA NIFA National Program Leader, recognized the valuable role of Extension staff and noted the challenges of reaching diverse audiences. "You are engaging a divided public while also building strong communities," said Samuel. "Your work is vital to promoting informed decisions and preparing youth for the workforce. Keep identifying unmet needs, know your legislators, and realize each opinion counts in informing public policy."
Other keynote speakers included Heidi VanGenderen, US Department of Energy; KC Golden, Climate Solutions; USDA Program Leader Bill Goldner; and Wendy Gerlitz, Policy Director of the NW Energy Coalition.
Gerlitz explained how microgrids will impact the future. "These localized energy grids can be disconnected from a centralized grid and operate independently," said Gerlitz. "Hot water heaters, solar power, and wind energy will all contribute to a self-contained household to meet individual energy needs."
Over two dozen individual presenters shared information in tracks focused on interactive energy discussions, communicating energy through Extension, and energy from farms and forests. Topics included farm and small business clean energy projects, creating sustainable community energy plans through citizen engagement, and energy literacy for youth. Bioenergy components examined small scale pellet production from forest residuals, mobile pyrolysis, and Extension's role in building support for wood energy policy education.
Climate change panelists left to right) Christopher Jones from University of Arizona, Richard Gammon from University of Washington, Lara Whitely Binder from Climate Impacts Group -- University of Washington, and Ross Mcfarlane from Climate Solutions.
Representatives from each of the seven USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Coordinated Agricultural Projects shared their experience of working with biofuels to produce sustainable transportation fuels. In addition to AHB, project work from BANR, CENUSA, IBSS, NARA, NEWBio, and subi was presented to nearly 100 attendees.
"I found the breadth of outreach, education and research activities being undertaken by Extension folks throughout the country to be quite varied and rich," said Mark Apel, Community Resource Development Area Agent from the University of Arizona. "I really enjoyed the networking opportunities and gained insights into energy education programs that will shape the way I conduct my own program here in southeastern Arizona."
Attendees toured Seattle's Bullitt Center, known as the greenest commercial building in the world, and had opportunities to attend a Seattle urban energy tour featuring Seattle Steam and Bertschi School; a farm energy tour visiting Qualco Energy and 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living; or Puget Sound Energy's oldest power-generating operation the Snoqualmie Falls hydroelectric project.
NEES kicked-off with a pre-conference bike tour of Seattle led by Marina Heppenstall of WSU (front left) and Patricia Townsend of WSU (not-pictured).
Conference sponsors included USDA NIFA, GreenWood Resources, and Washington State University Extension. Started in 2013, the National Extension Energy Summit is a bi-annual event focused on public and land-grant universities and their role in finding energy solutions to meet the nation's energy needs.
If you are a current ANREP member interested in learning more about the future of the National Extension Energy Summit and the development of an ANREP Energy Initiative, please update your ANREP profile by visiting the ANREP directory page, then following the instructions for changing your contact information. In the body of the email ask to add "energy" as a discipline of interest. You can also email Eric Romich to get on the list.
In addition, if you would like to learn more about the recent 2015 National Extension Energy Summit, please visit the conference website.
Assistant Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Energy Development
Washington State University
Extension Sustainability Summit
A newer feature in the newsletter, this space is reserved for you to connect with your ANREP colleagues as you look for advice, information, or program connections.
Regional Watershed Restoration Specialist
University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program
I'm working with a small community that needs to upgrade a road in town, and the community wants to maintain the historic feel of the place by keeping the brick cobblestones. Does anyone have experience with permeable pavers or something similar that have been used in historic districts to provide both stormwater management and compliance with historic district rules? If you have ideas I would love them!
Extension Specialist and Senior Lecturer
Penn State Extension
I am in need of a Powerpoint on careers in forestry. Anyone have one already done, or know of one, they would be willing to share with me?
If you have some information or suggestions for Jen and Sandy, please contact them. This feature will only work if we're able to help each other out with our requests. And if you are looking for help from your ANREP colleagues, send your needs to your newsletter editor (email link at the bottom of the newsletter).
Another newer feature in our newsletter...a spot for you to highlight new publications, mobile apps, or websites you'd like to share with colleagues. Ideally, these are your creations (or co-creations) but we'll consider resources that you think are just too good not to share, even if you're not the creator. Judging from the awards we give out, I know there are a lot of great resources being developed so take this opportunity to share your work.
A team of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) professionals, based on their experiences facilitating civic engagement in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition and youth development, have developed a workbook to help better engage people in collaborative efforts; providing facilitation tools, exercises and check lists to assist the process.
The curriculum was refined through a series of workshops offered by UCCE to scientists, managers and stakeholders involved in the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project in Winter, Spring and Summer of 2013. We would like to share this Collaborative Adaptive Management curriculum workbook with ANREP members.
Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP)
Southern Site Representative
University of California Cooperative Extension
Several years ago the Idaho Department of Lands, in partnership with USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry and the Renewable Resource Extension Act, provided University of Idaho Extension with a grant to develop new educational materials for teaching Idaho forest landowners, managers, and operators about water quality and the Idaho Forest Practices Act.
The contents of this new set of educational materials, which includes a publication, 2-part DVD, and website, include:
- the science related to forests, forest hydrology, aquatic ecology, and related biology;
- Idaho Forest Practices Act rules; and
- highly recommended voluntary management practices.
View the DVD:
Forest Water Quality
Part I: Keeping Water Clean
Part II: The Idaho Forest Practices Act
View a PDF of the publication:
Idaho Forestry Best Management Practices Field Guide: Using BMPs to Protect Water Quality
View the website:
Idaho Forestry Best Management Practices
Links to the DVD and Field Guide are available on the project website under the Quick Links>What's New tabs.
Links are also available on the UI Extension Forestry website.
Associate Extension Forester
University of Idaho Extension
Over the past several years, the University of Nebraska Stormwater Management Education Team has developed numerous materials including a website, several publications, and other resources. Development was supported in part by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture integrated programming grant. Below is a sampling of these materials.
One of the most recent publications, titled "Stormwater Management: What Stormwater Management Is and Why It is Important" provides an overview of what stormwater is; what it means to manage stormwater; why it is important to do so; and the changing practice of stormwater management.
Another free publication titled "Stormwater Management: How to Make a Rain Barrel" gives instructions for assembling a rain barrel and provides tips for the safe use of the barrel and collected water.
Follow Stormwater Sleuth and Running Rain through an adventure to help youth learn about stormwater runoff, water pollution from runoff, and practices that help slow stormwater runoff and keep it clean. Youth can explore the watershed they live in and the stormwater runoff from their own home or school, and discover ways they can be a part of the solution to stormwater runoff pollution. The 16-page black and white booklet includes a maze, crossword puzzle, and two hands-on activities that promote exploration and observation of stormwater runoff pollution. This award-winning booklet is available for $2.00.
This full color card game can be used by people ages 9 to 99 to learn about different threats to water quality and ways to address them. The game deck consists of 40 water threat cards each with a different picture and description; and 80 BMP cards each with a different photo and definition. Players are first dealt BMP cards and a threat card is turned over. Each player then selects and defends a BMP to address the threat. If you would like to see photos of threat/BMP cards before ordering, or have any questions, e-mail Kelly Feehan. She will send a photo of a few of the cards. Each card deck costs $20.00.
The Nebraska Extension website offers a wealth of stormwater management resources such as links to additional publications, a rain garden animation, green infrastructure photos, learning videos, an interactive rain garden design tool, youth activity guides, and much more.
Extension Horticulture Educator
University of Nebraska Extension
A Word from Your Editor
May is always one of my favorite months. The stunning breadth in the shades of green across the landscape always amazes me and it brings a smile to my face knowing we have the whole summer ahead of us. An added bonus is that the mosquitos have yet to arrive!
One insect that does make an appearance in May is the lake fly. I'm privileged to live and work near Lake Winnebago (a very large, shallow lake) and we experience several lake fly hatches over the spring and summer. Those living very near the lake are driven inside during the hatches but the juvenile lake flies (aquatic midges) are an important food source for the lake sturgeon that call the lake home. The hatches can even be seen on radar images! Here's a story and some videos from last year's hatch. So far, it hasn't been quite as bad this year!
Articles for the Summer issue can be submitted any time up to August 1. Submitted articles should be roughly 600 words or less. If possible, send photos separately, not embedded into your document. Photos are greatly desired with caption and photo credit! This is your chance to let your peers know what you have been doing.