Winter 2017
In this issue
Welcome New Board Members
Conference Announcements
ANROSP: Bindu's Perspective
Growing Up!
ANREP Team Receives USDA National Partnership Award
PA-ANREP Honors Partner With Award
SREF Spring Webinar Series
Wisconsin Woodland Owner Video Series
Jersey-Friendly Yards
Alabama Cougar Video Series
TREE Fund Resources
Noxious Weeds and Invasive Species Education
Community Level Climate Change Roundtables
Pollinator Friendly Trees and Shrubs
PresidentsCorner
President's Corner ________________

Dear Colleagues:
 
As your ANREP President, I took it upon myself in January to checkout the venue for next year's professional development conference, to be held in Biloxi, MS on April 29-May 3, 2018 (please mark your calendar now).  It's a hard job but somebody has to do it, and no ANREP funds were used.

Here's my account:
 
I booked a flight on American Airlines for about $400, about six weeks ahead of time. The Gulfport-Biloxi regional airport is serviced primarily by American and Delta, with flights out of either Atlanta or Dallas. I felt that was a fair price and I hope it's an indication of a reasonable airfare as a casino destination. From Dallas, I flew in on a small jet, and all went well. At the airport, I shared a taxi to the Golden Nugget Biloxi Casino, where I learned that the rate for a shared taxi should be $44/one-way, about 15 miles. With the smaller jets, there's a good chance several of us will be on the same flights and can keep this price down. One thing to keep in mind using a taxi: posted on the window is the policy of a $150 minimum charge for vomiting in the taxi, per person! My taxi smelled of perfume, so it had probably been cleaned recently.
 
The Golden Nugget is a casino, with the prerequisite loud music and cigarette smoke. The good news is you can escape the smoke by taking the alternate entrance from parking garage under the structure (good design to anticipate an occasional high tidal flow). Mississippi State (MSU) is negotiating a conference room rate of about $95/night total, including taxes and fees, Sunday through Thursday. Once checked in, I was very happy with my room. No sound or smoke from the casino, and it was pretty quiet, although if the neighbors are loud you would hear it. The internet is passable and there is a desk. The towels are plush and the a/c and hot water work. The water is apparently naturally soft. I had a view of sunset, including some beach about a ½ mile away, and did I mention that Margaritaville is right next door!
 
Margaritaville is not a casino. It is a family destination so it is smoke free (mostly). And it's a close place for dinner.  Here guests can have mixed drinks and send the kids mixed messages at the same time. Also nearby for dinner is the Palace Casino, which is billed as the only smoke free casino on the gulf coast.
 
Back to the Golden Nugget: I was impressed with the conference layout, and feel we have a comfortable set up for around 250 participants. With that size of group we can have our meals in a space separate from the plenary sessions. We also have six to seven breakout rooms for concurrent sessions, as well as space we can dedicate to posters and the silent auction. We also discussed reserving the pool area, which would be very nice for the welcome reception and the finish line for the Bob Wheeler 5K fundraiser. The 5K participants will have a great running route on the bridge between the casino and Ocean Springs. Finally, it is affordable for us to offer local and coastal cuisine for our lunches, so get ready for some real Southern cooking.

I got to meet with James Henderson and John Kushla as well, our MSU colleagues planning the conference. They are planning a  great pre-conference tour that will take us from Memphis down to Biloxi along the Mississippi Delta. They are excited about sharing the history, music, agriculture, land use issues and cuisine on this do-not-miss study tour. They have also discussed several half-day study tours we will do on Tuesday or Wednesday, which we will all enjoy getting out of the casino and into the country.
 
This article is too long already so I'll bring it to a close here. Keep April 29-May 3, 2018 (plus the weekend before) on your calendar. We are working hard to keep the cost as reasonable as possible, and we will have all the great professional development learning and networking you've come to expect at an ANREP conference. I want to see you there!
 
Be it at work or on the home front, I wish you all the best!

ANREP President, 2017

University of Arizona Extension - Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent
928-402-8586
ANREPupdates
ANREP Updates ___________________
Welcome New Board Members!

2017 brings four new members to the ANREP board.  Well, one three new members and one that switched roles.  

Kris Tiles, Treasurer (formerly North Central Region Representative): 
Greetings from a snowy and cold Wisconsin.  I am your new ANREP Treasurer.  I started with the University of Wisconsin Extension, in 2004, as a Natural Resources Educator.  My primary role is education and outreach with private, family woodland owners.  Through our publications, in-person classes, webinars, self-paced classes, website and newsletters, we aim to move landowners to be more engaged with their woods.  In addition to my forestry duties, I work on water quality issues as well.  Most recently I have been working on projects to support community engagement with water quality in a TMDL watershed.  In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, running, cross-country skiing, gardening and, in general, being outdoors. 
 
Bindu Bhakta, North Central Region Representative:
I'm pleased to serve on the ANREP Executive Board in 2017-2018 as the North Central Region Representative. I have been a Natural Resources Educator for Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), based in the Metro-Detroit area for more than 11 years. I am a member of the MSUE Greening Michigan Institute Natural Resources Work Team which includes campus and field staff from across the state. As part of this team, I currently help coordinate MSUE's conservation volunteer training program, the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (also referred to as the Master Naturalist Program in other states), the six-week Introduction to Lakes Online course, and help design and deliver a variety of onsite wastewater educational programs and resources. I am also currently involved in the development of the Michigan Water School Program, a new educational initiative which targets state and local elected and appointed officials, helping them to build their water resources knowledge and introduce relevant tools and resources they can use to make sound water management decisions. I serve as the President for two professional associations in Michigan: Michigan Council of Extension Associations (MCEA) and the Community and Natural Resources Development Association (CNRDA). 
Nationally, I also serve on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP).

Jennifer Dindinger, Northeast Region Representative:
Hello! I am currently a Regional Watershed Restoration Specialist with University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension. Based in Cambridge and serving four counties on the Eastern Shore, I am developing a program that builds community development while promoting natural resource protection. I hold a Master's degree in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Delaware. In addition, I am a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program, and in 2014 I was awarded the Off-Campus Junior Faculty Award for her contribution to the UME 2014-2019 Strategic Plan.

James Henderson, President-Elect:
I've worked for ten years in forestry Extension at Mississippi State University but I started a new position in February 2017, also with Mississippi State University, as a research and Extension center head. The Coastal Research and Extension Center has programs in areas that include forestry, coastal ecology, horticulture, and animal science, among others.

Conference Reminders

April 2-5, 2017
Washington, D.C.

The theme of the 2017 PILD conference is Relationships, Relevance, Results.  Speakers at this year's conference include Marshall Stewart (U. of Missouri), Ronnie McDonald (Texas A&M), John Dillard (OFW Law), Sonny Ramaswamy (NIFA), and Fred Schlutt (ECOP Chair).  The conference will include expanded presentations by National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) staff, breakout sessions, presentations by House and Senate staffers, and much more.

This is a great opportunity for Extension professionals and their volunteers to enhance their understanding of "education" vs "advocacy", the role of Extension and their volunteers in both of these, and to improve their message prior to visits to Capitol Hill.

Check out this short promotional video for more information.
_________________________________________________________________

April 3-6, 2017
Knoxville, TN

Join fellow energy educators to share, learn and network in order to become a more effective energy educator. This  biennial  summit is an effort of the  ANREP National Extension Energy Initiative University of Tennessee Extension  and  Tennessee State University Extension . Keynote speakers, panel discussions, presentations and workshops by local, state and national experts from public and private sectors will help us understand policies, regulations and perceptions that affect energy research and education opportunities. Oral and poster presentations will highlight energy research and education programs. Optional post-conference tours will visit innovative bioenergy facilities and tour sustainability efforts in the urban and university campus settings.
_________________________________________________________________

August 8-10, 2017
Princeton, NJ
This is a wonderful opportunity to work with national partners on agritourism, nature tourism, historical tourism and ecotourism outreach and education. There will be pre-conference tours offered on Agritourism, Historical Tourism, Ecotourism and walking tours of Princeton-more information coming soon. This year's theme is Tourism in the 21st Century: Connecting Communities, Places and People.
SubmittedArticles
Submitted Articles ________________
Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP): Reflections from Bindu Bhakta
 
When I began my career with Michigan State University Extension in 2005, a program that I was immediately involved in coordinating was the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program. Not only was our statewide program developed with assistance and training from the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP), but even more than ten years after we first piloted our program, we continue to benefit from being an ANROSP member program. I currently serve on the ANROSP Board of Directors, and encourage ANREP members to consider getting involved with an amazingly talented group of people.
 
Member programs are referred to by various names across the country, but are generally called "Master Naturalist Programs." These programs provide in-class, field-based, and online science-based training in wildlife and natural resources that focus on local ecosystems to conservation volunteers who enhance natural resource conservation and education across the nation. Graduates of the Master Naturalists and related programs make significant contributions to education and stewardship in their state. Because of numerous networking opportunities, ANROSP partners experience rapid and great success in training their volunteers.
 
Whether you are interested in learning more about starting a program in your state, understanding how such a program can impact conservation efforts in your state, or improving an existing program, consider the benefits of ANROSP membership. Whatever the case, ANROSP can provide invaluable resources and expertise that can help jump-start the development of a program in your state as well as help programs facing a particular challenge to problem-solve.  
 
ANROSP members visit Valles Caldera National Preserve, part of the U.S. National Park Service in New Mexico, during the 2016 Annual ANROSP Conference. Credit: Andrea Lorek-Strauss
ANROSP is a national network of natural resource education and service programs which provides leadership, information, and resources to support the establishment and expansion of its member programs. It envisions healthy ecosystems and communities through citizens who learn, teach and practice active natural resource stewardship. ANROSP also promotes awareness and citizen stewardship of natural resources through science-based outreach and service programs.
 

Membership in ANROSP provides extensive support for existing or developing programs, including:
  • Leadership resources such as monthly mentor calls, listserv communications, e-newsletters, and funding information and materials.
  • Program resources including updated program delivery and best practices materials including start-up packets for developing programs, case studies, program models, and templates for commonly used documents.
  • Partnerships and collaborations at the local, state and national levels through its signature annual conference which provides opportunities for networking, program marketing, recognition, and funding resources.
ANROSP offers a program membership, as well as a 'friends of' membership. Visit their website to become a member or learn more about ANROSP. 

Submitted by:
Bindu Bhakta                                            
Natural Resource Educator           
Michigan State University Extension     
Growing Up!

Jack jumped up and dressed himself and went to the window.  And what do you think he saw?  Why, the beans he had thrown out of the window into the garden had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up until it reached the sky.
Jack and the Beanstalk, Old English Fairy Tale
 
Like the beanstalk, vertical gardens are seemingly bursting on the gardening scene and, like Jack, many people are starting to understand, practice, and reap their benefits.  Vertical gardening is the cultivation of plants on an upright surface or wall.  The plants grown can be decorative (for example, a green wall) or vegetables to be consumed.  The upright surfaces can vary from a solid wall, to an old bookshelf, to a PVC pipe with holes for the pants to grow through, to metal poles that climbing vines and plants can use.
 
The benefits to using vertical gardening are many, but the biggest is that they allow a grower to maximize limited space especially when it is at a premium in a very tiny area.  This is especially advantageous in urban areas where gray spaces usually outnumber green spaces.  A traditional community garden in an urban area can range from a few hundred square feet to a few thousand square feet.  A vertical garden, on the other hand, can be as small as a few square feet and still provide environmental and health benefits from getting fresh produce.
 
To try to counter this situation, staff at Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Ocean County collaborated to assist in correcting this situation through the "Growing Healthy in a Food Desert: Vertical Garden Education Program."  This unique collaboration in Ocean County spans the three departments within Rutgers Cooperative Extension (Agricultural & Resource Management Agents [ARMA], 4-H Youth Development [4-H], and NJ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education [NJSNAP-Ed]) to implement a vertical garden educational program.  Rather than utilize a traditional school garden, the project partners will work with two schools to plan, plant, and maintain a vertical garden in their classrooms.  The program will assist schools with addressing the challenges they face by bringing vegetable gardens into the classroom and providing hands-on educational opportunities on horticulture and healthy eating.
 
Rutgers Master Gardener of Ocean County volunteers construct one of the vertical gardens. (Credit: Susan Servidio, Ocean County Horticulturist)
So far, SNAP-Ed educators have provided four educational classes to Lakewood Middle School and the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School (Seaside Heights, NJ) on topics such as smart choices for healthy eating and which parts of the vegetables grown are edible.  This winter, Ocean County staff and Rutgers Master Gardeners will install the two mobile vertical garden units and teach students to grow their own produce.  Students, and participating teachers, will be trained on proper care of plants, maintaining soil health, and proper watering of produce.  In addition, students will monitor the growth of their plants and how much produce is grown in each vertical garden.  This information will be used to help improve the use of vertical gardens as the program expands to other schools in the future.
 
By involving educators and students in active education on issues at hand for underserved communities, they become invested in the future sustainability of local resources.  The Phillip Alampi Fund provided funding for this project and the author gratefully acknowledges their support.

Submitted by:
Environmental & Resource Management Agent, Ocean & Atlantic Counties
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
ANREP Members Part of Team Receiving USDA National Partnership Award

Southern pines are not usually on the traditional agricultural research radar screen even though they cover millions of acres of land, as "tree farms" and contribute billions to the economy. When people consider large-scale agricultural land uses, they often think of wheat and corn. In 2012, this changed when a team of researchers, Extensionists and partners banded together to propose an unprecedented study of southern pine forests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Coordinate Agricultural Projects (CAP) program.
 
The  Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project , better known as PINEMAP, began as an idea of Dr. Tim Martin, professor of tree physiology at the University of Florida. He worked closely with representatives from 11 southeastern land-grant universities and a host of other research cooperatives and federal agencies to propose a five-year research project to determine how climate change could affect pine forests in the southeastern United States.
 
The vast  team  of scientists, educators, and Extension professionals developed a plan to help forest landowners increase carbon sequestration, increase the efficiency of fertilizer inputs, adapt forest management approaches, and plant improved tree varieties to increase forest resilience and sustainability under a changing climate.
 
"We wanted to know how we might expect the natural resources we manage to respond to climate change in the future, and how we could effectively convey that information into management recommendations that stakeholders could use," said Martin, the project director.
 
PINEMAP had three main objectives: research, Extension, and education. The project's recent selection for a Partnership Award by the  USDA NIFA  is recognition of the successful integration of those three missions.
 
According to Regional Extension Forester Dr. William Hubbard, "The award is recognition that we have been successful in integrating the three goals of the project, across the research, Extension, teaching continuum, and the Southern United States landscape. The Extension team undertook the difficult task of research technology transfer in addition to traditional Extension work involving audience and stakeholder analysis, program development and deployment, and evaluation and impact study."
 
Combining research, outreach, and education was no small task and required cooperation between hundreds of researchers, students, and landowners. Martin highlighted the unique nature of a project that brought together experts from a diverse set of fields, including forestry, geography, economics, and education. "We've really established research infrastructure that will enable us to do this kind of interdisciplinary science in the future," he said.
 
ANREP members who participated in the project include:
 
Leslie Boby, Extension Associate, Southern Regional Extension Forestry
Rachel Burnett, Former Graduate Student, North Carolina State University
William Hubbard, Regional Forester, Southern Regional Extension Forestry
Josh Idassi, Extension Forester, NC A&T University
Adam Maggard, Assistant Professor & Extension Forester, Auburn University & Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Mark Megalos, Extension Forester, North Carolina State University
Martha Monroe, Extension Environmental Educator, University of Florida
Eric Norland, National Program Leader, Forest Management, USDA NIFA
Hilary Morris,  Blueprint User Support & Communications, South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC)
Eric Taylor, Extension Forester, Texas A&M Forest Service
 
In addition to writing fact sheets, hosting webinars, preparing and delivering presentations and demonstrations at workshops and conferences, and a host of other activities, many of these ANREP members worked with climatologists and computer scientists to develop climate models that would account for a variety of potential climate change scenarios. The results are included in an interactive online platform known as the PINEMAP Decision Support System (DSS). This handy tool is available for use in understanding historic and future temperature and moisture conditions all the way down a watershed scale. In addition, researchers used larger scale climate models to generate predictions from 2070 to 2100. According to scientist Dr. Randy Wynne with Virginia Tech, these predictions "Show a net increase in forest growth, because more CO2 in the atmosphere will drive an increase in plant productivity. Landowners will need to know how to manage these changes." 
 
ANREP member Dr. Bill Hubbard with other members of the PINEMAP team observing a presentation on rainfall exclusion experiments. Credit: Leslie Boby, SREF
ANREP member Dr. Mark Megalos seems to have fallen into a soil profile hole and can't get out!  Credit: Leslie Boby, SREF

Several of the ANREP members spearheaded a region-wide survey of professional foresters to better understand their current knowledge base, perceptions and continuing education needs with regards to climate and weather. Hubbard was pleasantly surprised with the results.  "Professional foresters obviously care about the sustainability of our forests and the effects of climate change. Many have noticed changes in the landscape over the years, like increased drought and temperatures, and an increase in fire risk, pest infestations and outbreaks. We realized that we would have success with developing and delivering sound climate and weather information and tools to this audience."  PINEMAP ANREP members also co-led the Southern Region Extension Climate Academy (SRECA), where Extension members from other agricultural CAP projects leveraged resources to educate 120 Extension personnel on climate change science, effective climate change communication strategies, and sector-based adaptation information. SRECA was one of several conferences, workshops, webinars and other outreach activities that PINEMAP successfully deployed over the last five years of the project, producing positive results and indicators of behavioral change.
 
ANREP members were very fortunate to participate in this historic project, the largest of its kind in the world. They are looking forward to integrating the results of this study into Extension work on forest resiliency for years to come.    

Submitted by:
Regional Forester
Southern Region Extension Forestry
PA-ANREP Honors Partner With Champion Award

The Pennsylvania chapter of the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (PA ANREP) awarded its 2016 Natural Resource Education Champion Award to Mike Eckley of Williamsport, PA. The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual or group for their support of and enthusiasm for natural resources extension education at the county, state or regional level in Pennsylvania. The award was presented at the 2016 PA Joint Council of Extension Professionals (PA JCEP) meeting banquet in State College on November 15. PA ANREP Member David Jackson presented the award to Eckley.

Mike Eckley is a forester and the Director of Forest Conservation with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) out of the Williamsport, PA Office.

Mike is a true partner with Penn State Extension. He understands the value of education and is always willing to help out and share his expertise as well as the resources made available to him through TNC.

Over the years Mike has been a tremendous asset to Penn State Extension's forest landowner outreach program. Mike has great ideas and a willingness to share methods and practices with forest landowners. He is always providing input to Extension programs with new ideas and opportunities to outreach to landowners and forestry professionals. He is always able to articulate practices in ways that are easy to understand.

Beyond just educational events Mike has been instrumental in the establishment, maintenance, and data collection on a number of key research and demonstration projects as well.

Congratulations to Mike, PA-ANREP thanks him for his support of natural resource education and outreach to Pennsylvanians.

Mike Eckley (center), of the Nature Conservancy, received the 2016 Natural Resource Education Champion Award (pictured with PA-ANREP members Dave Jackson (left) and Sandy Smith)
 















Submitted by:
Extension Educator - Watershed/Youth Development
Penn State Extension
ResourceExchange
ResourceExchange ________________
Southern Region Extension Forestry Spring Webinar Series

The Southern Forest Health and Invasive Species Program  would like to invite you to attend our spring webinar series.  All webinars are free to attend, and are eligible for several types of continuing education credits (CEUs).  Webinars may be viewed live or on-demand (usually about a week after the live event).  All webinars are listed at and can be viewed through http://southernforesthealth.net/webinars

Topics to be covered in spring 2017 include the impact of firewood movement on invasive forest pests, managing forests for wildlife, hemlock woolly adelgid, southern pine beetle, and the impacts of weather on forest health.

Contact: David Coyle, Southern Region Extension Forestry
Follow him on Twitter at @drdavecoyle or find him on Facebook for forest health information and program updates.
Wisconsin Videos Provide Information to Woodland Owners

The University of Wisconsin - Extension Natural Resources Educators are pleased to share an ongoing series of short videos highlighting seasonal information and "how-tos" for woodland owners. The Forestry Minute videos are designed to meet the needs of those who prefer to get their information in a video format via youtube or facebook.


Contact: Bill Klase, Natural Resource Educator, University of Wisconsin - Extension
Jersey-Friendly Yards: Landscaping for a healthy environment

With the launch of Jersey-Friendly Yards , residents of New Jersey can now find and create lists of native plants for their landscapes and learn which invasive plants don't belong. There is also an interactive yard tool to see what a sustainable yard looks like, information on keeping soils healthy, and the impacts of fertilizers on waterways.
 
The website brings together multiple resources about the best landscaping practices to help property owners make sound decisions for a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Visit the website today to make your yard Jersey-Friendly! 

Contact: Karen Walzer, Barnegat Bay Partnership, or Steve Yergeau, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Three-Part YouTube Video Series: Gathering evidence to confirm cougars

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) has developed a three-part video series that provides a background of cougar presence in the southeast, their physical characteristics, and the tools and tactics used to gather evidence to be confirmed by an agent and/or wildlife biologist. The series may found on the ACES - Fresh from the Field YouTube channel. 
 

Contact: Norm Haley, Forestry, Wildlife, & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund Resources for Extension Educators

Apply now for education grants
Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) $5,000 Arboriculture Education Grants support the development of arboriculture education programs and materials that encourage children to explore nature and learn to care for the environment. Applications due April 1.

Free webinars with CEUs for you
TREE Fund offers several free webinars each year on topics related to arboriculture and urban forestry. The hour-long programs are hosted by Auburn University or Utah State University Forestry Extension and offer one CEU credit from ISA or SAF. Save the date for the June 21 webinar at 2:00 pm EDT featuring Dr. Susan Day (Virginia Tech) on soil profile rebuilding. Visit our website for the latest webinar schedule and to watch past broadcasts.

Contact: Karen Lindell, Community Engagement Manager, TREE Fund
Noxious Weeds and Invasive Species Education

Palmer Amaranth is a noxious weed and invasive specie which was found in a rural pollinator planting in SW MN in the fall of 2016. It was decided to create a teaching module on "Noxious Weeds and Invasive Species" for the commercial pesticide training for turf and ornamental and Ag pesticide professional applicators. During these sessions about 50% of the audience did not know about noxious weeds and invasive species. This may be an opportunity for Extension staff in other states to engage these audiences with these topics. The fact sheet we used for this training is found under the fact sheet section on the Agroforestry websiteIf you want to learn more about this program please contact me.

Contact: Gary Wyatt, Agroforestry Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension
IdeaExchange
IdeaExchange ____________________
Community-Level Climate Change Roundtables?

I'm looking for anyone who has done community level roundtable type discussions on climate change. I'm mostly interested in this from the forestry perspective, but would love to hear experiences or programs from any subject. We are exploring working with public libraries to host these sessions. Thanks for any insights.

Contact: Kris Tiles, Natural Resource Educator, University of Wisconsin - Extension
Pollinator Friendly Trees and Shrubs

At the 2016 ANREP conference several of us in the Midwest sat down and discussed publications that have been created which lists "Pollinator Friendly Trees and Shrubs".  If you have created your own pollinator list of trees and shrubs we would like to know about it.  I can also share this with the group.  In Minnesota, we are preparing this type of educational pollinator friendly trees and shrubs fact sheet.  I am interested in having Extension educators proof our publication.  Please contact me if you are interested in what was shared above.

Contact: Gary Wyatt, Agroforestry Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension
WordFromEditorA Word From Your Editor__________
Well 2017 has certainly been a blur for me so far. I'm not sure where the first two months have gone but they certainly have been busy. The weather seems to be mirroring the craziness. Last week we had 65 degrees, today it's snowing like crazy (4 inches expected) and we should be in the 50s by Sunday. The ice is already leaving some lakes, the sandhill cranes and red-winged blackbirds are back already (several weeks early), and even the Great Lakes are feeling the wackiness. Two years ago, 87% of the Great Lakes were covered with ice at this time. This year, it's less than 5%. It remains to be seen whether things will continue on this crazy path or if things will settle into a more "normal" pattern, whatever that is.  I'm sure that whatever happens, Extension will get a chance to shine by providing our high quality, research-based information to help make sense of things.  It's what we do.  

The next deadline for content submittals is May 1. With luck, the next newsletter will be out May 15. Submit content at any time. Try to limit article length to 600 words. Photos (with captions/credit) are appreciated but please send them separately. Don't embed them into a document. As always, please contact me if you have questions.
Chad Cook | ANREP Newsletter Editor | University of Wisconsin - Extension