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Progress in the New Year

by Marlin Bates,

Douglas County Extension Director

Two months in, 2022 has brought much to celebrate at K-State Research and Extension – Douglas County. In January, we ushered in a new Executive Board of the Douglas County Extension Council for 2022. One of the final acts of the 2021 Executive Board was to interview candidates for the Horticulture and Natural Resources Agent.

One of the first acts of the 2022 Executive Board was to interview for the Agriculture Agent position. We celebrated the 22-year career of Margaret Kalb as the Douglas County Fair Board Executive Secretary and we sent Susan Farley off to a well-deserved retirement after serving as an Extension Professional with K-State Research and Extension for 44 years. 

We have welcomed several new faces into our office in 2022 and helped some of our existing staff transition into new roles.


But we're not done just yet. In March, we'll interview for a new 4-H Youth Development Agent and we'llannounce a new Agriculture & Horticulture Program Assistant position.

In short, we will emerge from the pandemic poised to exert new and different energy into the communities across Douglas County and we couldn't be more excited about the possibilities.

Our Executive Board is energized, too. To capitalize on the opportunities that come along with the changes we've experienced in staffing, they recently engaged in a strategic planning process.

Those conversations have been fruitful in building a shared appreciation of our past and vision for our future – with you at the center.

At the same time, our Program Development Committees are setting plans for 2022 to ensure that our efforts align with community needs and capitalize on the collective resource that our staff and the larger Land Grant University system represent.

I encourage you to spend some time exploring the contents of this newsletter where you will meet members of our Executive Board, learn about upcoming events, and consider timely advice. Throughout its contents, this newsletter is an invitation for you to join us as we work to achieve our mission – the way we have for over 100 years, but with a contemporary look and feel. 

Meet the Board

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Peter Rinn

Board Chair

Why did you get involved in extension services?  

I had recently returned to Lawrence after being away for 30 years and, when Marlin Bates asked me to become involved with Extension Services, I found it was a great opportunity to engage with the life of the community. However, Marlin had conveniently failed to tell me that I would quickly become seduced by the work of an incredible organization. And, as the old cliché says, the rest is history.

What has surprised you the most about being on the Extension Board? 

I was surprised by the scope of involvement that the Extension Service has with our community: A short and non-inclusive list - 4H, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, LiveWell, Youth Futures, Master Gardeners, CORE Collaborative, Farm Tour, Farmers Markets, Emergency Response Services, Incubator Farm, Food Policy Council. And so much more!

What other community activities are you passionate about? 

I am a founding member of CORE (Connections, Opportunities and Resources for Entrepreneurs). CORE is a grassroots economic development collaboration focused on empowering entrepreneurs and energizing a vibrant and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Douglas County with an emphasis on inclusion and diversity.  

I am also passionate about the arts and am a supporter of Theatre Lawrence.

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Autumn Bishop

Board Vice-Chair

Why did you get involved in extension services?

I didn't know much about extension before my former colleagues Heather Krase-Minnick and Linda Koester-Vogelsang shared my name with the nominating committee. It sounded like a great opportunity to get involved with the larger Douglas County community.

What has surprised you the most about being on the Extension Board?

Learning about the breadth and depth of ways Extension works in the community has been eye-opening. Before I joined, I thought Extension was only involved in things like 4-H and the Douglas County Fair. There's so much more than I ever knew.

What other community activities are you passionate about?

Living with the pandemic has been rough, especially with my role on the communications team at LMH Health. I love to take in a show at Theatre Lawrence and spend time walking & running on the Lawrence Loop.


Walk Kansas 2022

by Marcus Johnson, Dg. Co.

Community Health Intern

This spring the Walk Kansas program is back and we're so excited to get started! The eight-week-long program goes from March 27th to May 21st and registration starts March 1st. During these eight weeks, individuals are encouraged to form teams, eat better, be more active, and manage stress in a healthy way. 

Walk Kansas 2022 is going for an approach different from its previous years. This time around our objective is not only encouraging physical activity but also informing why exercise and eating healthier can be so beneficial to your life. Leading a health-conscious lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease; obesity; diabetes; mental health; cancer; brain health; and much more. 

Participants of Walk Kansas should form teams of six but there is also a solo option this year if that's what is preferred. They're three main challenges to choose from (8 Wonders, Cross Country, and Little Balkans to Nicodemus). However, there also is a solo challenge available (Purple Power Solo Trail). Each specific county may have its own set of challenges to complete. For every team, a designated captain is required and is responsible for registering their teammates and providing motivation to everyone throughout the program. 

Read More

Why You Should Encourage Eligible Individuals &

Families to Apply for SNAP Benefits 

Kansas Food Assistance Food Program Brochure

Why does it Matter?

What are the Benefits for Applying?

What Can You Do?

Answers Here

by Franzi Willenbuecher,

SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as "food stamps," is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides low-income households supplemental assistance to cover food costs.

SNAP participants are provided a Kansas Benefits (EBT) card, which functions like a debit card, with a monthly balance to use on eligible items.

In Kansas, the program is referred to as the "Kansas Food Assistance Program" and is administered by the Department for Children and Families.

The SNAP-Ed program serves as an educational component by providing nutrition education to promote healthy choices and active lifestyles. K-State Research & Extension is the implementing agency for the SNAP-Ed program and works closely with the Department for Children and Families.


Greetings from LiveWell

Douglas County

by Marty Scott, Executive Director

LiveWell Douglas County

LiveWell is part of a Pathways to a Healthy Kansas, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas grant. February is the start of a new grant year. During the 2022 grant year LiveWell, in collaboration with a variety of community partners will be working to increase healthy eating, active, and tobacco-free living in Douglas County by working on the following 11 programs; Placemaking, Tobacco 21, Tobacco-Free Campuses, Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Food, Simply Produce, a Healthy Food Prescription program, a Food Pantry project, Double-Up Food Bucks, Worksite Wellness, and lastly a Family-Friendly Workplace program.

KSRE Douglas County is spearheading four of the projects.

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Cooking Connected March - April 2022

by Enrique Ortiz,

SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator

Food insecurity in Douglas County is on the rise, making the need for food more crucial than ever. More and more people are cooking at home, but many lack the proper knowledge and skills needed to make a healthy and well-balanced meal in their kitchens. Food insecurity is becoming a massive problem in our community, so I would like to highlight one of our programs called Cooking Connected!

Cooking Connected will begin on March 24th and comes from our SNAP-Ed curriculum Create Better Health. The course was developed and evaluated by a team of SNAP-Ed program specialists, registered dietitians, and Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty.

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Cooking Connected Registration
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The goal of Cooking Connected is to educate families and give them the knowledge and cooking skills to lead an active and healthy life on limited resources. Cooking Connected is also designed to empower our SNAP-Ed audience to cook more well-balanced meals with the food they can find in their home pantries.  

Cooking Connected is a fun interactive series for income eligible families that takes place virtually (via Zoom). It allows us to connect with families with children (ages 5-18) in their kitchens and teach basic nutrition and cooking skills. Knowing behavior change does not generally occur after attending only one educational session, this program is a designed six–week course where each week builds off one another. Each week/lesson has two components.

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K-State Gardening Calendar

by Sharon Ashworth,

Horticulture & Natural Resources

Daylight Savings Time begins on March 13th which means we'll have that extra bit of daylight in the afternoons to get our yards and gardens ready for the growing season. Not sure what to do with that extra hour on Sunday, March 13th? Choose from among the many gardening activities listed on the Kansas Healthy Yards gardening calendar. The gardening calendar is a handy month-to-month to-do list for vegetable and fruit gardening, flower gardening, lawn care, tree and shrub care, and miscellaneous tasks.

Some key tasks from the calendar:

  • Vegetables and Fruits: finish pruning fruit trees, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries; plant asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries.
  • Flowers: plant cool temperature tolerant annuals like pansies and snapdragons; plant new roses; fertilize spring-flowering bulbs.
  • Lawns: apply crabgrass preventer in late March through mid-April; seed thin areas of tall fescue lawns.
  • Trees and shrubs: wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs until after they bloom; plant new trees.
Read More
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2022 EMG Douglas County Garden Show

by Thelma Simons, Dg. Co. Extension Master Gardener

The 2022 Garden Show is the premier event for Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners.

This year’s event is focused on gardening for a sustainable future and is designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities for the community through hands-on workshops, speaker presentations, educational booths, and demonstrations.

The event will also include a raffle and garage sale of garden items. The Garden Show will be held on March 12, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Building 21 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Click below to see more of what the Garden Show has to offer!

Our Garden Show will include:...

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Stay Up-To-Date on Horticulture & Natural Resources Information

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Soil Testing? Dig in!


by Margit Kaltenekker, Dg. Co.

Agriculture Agent

As things thaw out, it is not too late to submit spring soil tests to the K-State Soil Lab through the Douglas County Extension office.

Free soil tests are still available for 2022 from the Non-Point Source Pollution Prevention Funds provided through the Douglas County Conservation District.


Homeowners may submit two soil samples, while Commercial Growers, Ranchers, and Farmers may submit up to five soil samples, for either Soil Analysis #1, (for pH, P, and K ) or Soil Analysis #2 (pH, P, K, and O.M. and Zn). Other tests can be obtained for an additional fee, (i.e., Soil Analysis #1 + CEC, Ca, Mg, Na, and H are available for $12.50), Heavy Metals tests are also available.

A soil probe is available for rent at our local office, should you need one. 

While, late-summer is an ideal time for more accurate reads on the nutrient profile, due to increased microbial activity, late winter or early spring is still sufficient. Annual soil tests help identify nutrient deficiencies to better indicate appropriate soil amendments and targeted rates of application. Should the soil test reveal adequate levels of fertility you won't waste resources or contribute to excess nutrient run-off from unnecessary fertilizer applications. 

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2022 Agriculture Workforce

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It's the 2022 Kansas Agriculture Workforce Needs Assessment Survey.

To better understand current workforce issues, trends, and needs within the Kansas agriculture industry, KDA is calling on industry partners to help identify workforce needs among agricultural employers in the state by conducting the second Kansas Agriculture Workforce Needs Assessment Survey.

The 2015 survey results helped guide KDA and partners to develop immersion activities connecting secondary school students with local agriculture businesses to learn about career opportunities.

If you fall into the category of Kansas farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, manufacturers, and producers of agricultural products we'd love you to complete the survey to help KDA identify the number and types of jobs in the state’s agriculture industry, and the specific skills required for those jobs. 

The survey is currently being offered online at and will be open until April 8, 2022.

Or follow the QR code below to take the survey. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete, and the information will remain anonymous.

We anticipate results to be available this summer with a discussion of the findings at the 2022 Ag Growth Summit. KDA will utilize the information to steer future discussions and identify solutions for positive changes for our state’s leading economic driver — agriculture.


Looking Back on the Past Nine Years

by Kaitlyn Peine,

Community Health & Wellness Agent


In January of 2013, I had the opportunity to move from the Johnson County Extension Unit to Douglas County. Soon after the transition, I knew I had made the right decision. Although I am not originally from Douglas County, I felt at home in this community. My office colleagues, 4-H volunteers, 4-H families, and community stakeholders all showed a shared effort of making strides to make Douglas County a better place for youth.

Reflecting on the past nine years, there are a couple of highlights that come to mind. The first success was the development of 4-H S.T.E.M. in Douglas County. Thanks to the Kansas 4-H Foundation and their Innovation Grants our program has received over $10,000 in grant funding to expand our 4-H S.T.E.M. programs. 

The funding has allowed our program to invest in laptops, robots, and tablets. We have hosted several robotic sessions for 4-H community club members through day camps and our community partners with special interest clubs that have allowed youth to explore the world of coding. 

We were even able to host robotics programs through the pandemic with our 4-H Robotics at Home series...

To read more about Kaitlyn Peine's 9 year reflection and news about her new role, click "Read More" below .

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4-H CLUB DAY 2022


by Nickie Harding, Dg. Co.

4-H Youth Development 

Grab your poster, pick up your sheet music, don’t forget your script, and make sure to wear your 4-H t-shirt! These are the words you might hear in a 4-H household as they prepare to get out the door to showcase the skills and talents of 4-H’ers at 4-H Club Day.  

Douglas County 4-H Club Day is an annual event.

“At its core, (Club Days are) an opportunity for young people to gather together, share a talent, share a skill, (and) how they’ve been learning about a project area,” said Kansas 4-H Youth Development program leader Wade Weber (Jamison). 

The goals and purpose of 4-H Club Day are to demonstrate the benefits and opportunities provided through 4-H by showcasing the 4-H’ers themselves. Club Day offers 4-Hers an opportunity to learn skills and gain confidence in their abilities to exercise parliamentary procedure, speak effectively, and give creative performances in the arts. Presentations offered at Club Day, allow 4-Hers the opportunity to participate as individuals, as a group, or even as a club unit. 

For more about the primary purposes of parliamentary, public, and talent presentations click "Read More" below!

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A Note from our Youth Futures Coordinator - Sarah Schulz

When I think back on some of the most influential relationships I have had in my life, a few key people come to mind; my parents, some older teammates throughout my athletic career, and an older girl who mentored me in my faith.

Part of the reason all of these people were so influential was because of the way they shared their knowledge, life experiences, and showed immense care for me and my life. They all provided guidance, listened well, and gave me support and this is the heartbeat of 4-H Youth Futures. 

Youth Futures has a partnership between Kansas State University and federal, state, and county governments, with offices in every Kansas county. As a 12-month national 4-H mentoring program that was created for underrepresented youth, Youth Futures is a relationship-focused program connecting local youth with individual, college-aged mentors.... 

Click "Read More" below to see how Youth Futures are continuing to impact underrepresented youth.

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For Up-to-Date 4-H News, Click Below

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Learn About Douglas County CORE

CORE is a collective effort to energize Douglas County’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. They meet monthly to address the needs of existing and aspiring business owners.

The next monthly meeting will be held immediately after the ribbon cutting of The Crunch at Peaslee Tech on March 29th.

Visit the CORE website to learn more about future events and our purpose.


*Click above/below links & images to access more information and registration pages.*

MARCH 2022

March 5 : Kansas Jr. Beef Producer Day

March 12: Garden Show

March 15: Dg. Co. 4-H Photography Project

March 16: 4-H Project Skill-a-Thon

March 19:

-Kansas Jr. Sheep Producer Day

March 23: SNAP Application Assistance

March 24: Cooking Connected Begins

March 28: 2022 Soil Health Field Day

March 29: C.O.R.E. March Event

APRIL 2022

April 20: Photography in the Garden

April 24: County-Wide Poultry Meeting

April 30: Weigh-In & Tagging for Small Livestock


Kansas State University is committed to making its services, activities, and programs accessible to all participants. If you have special requirements due to a physical, vision, or hearing disability, contact K-State Research and Extension Douglas County, 785-843-7058. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible. Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Douglas County K-State Research and Extension

(785) 843-7058

2110 Harper Street

Lawrence, KS 66046

| Monday - Friday | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM |

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