October 2015 // Volume 53 // Number 5
New JOE Editor for 2016 "New JOE Editor for 2016" announces just that, and "October JOE" highlights too few of the 34 excellent articles in an issue that has something for everyone.
"New JOE Editor for 2016" announces just that, and "October JOE" highlights too few of the 34 excellent articles in an issue that has something for everyone.
4-H and the Maker Movement
The Maker Movement is thriving, and 4-H programs have the opportunity to get involved and keep 4-H relevant. "Making" is gaining traction as a strategy to engage young people in building their science abilities. Collectively joining the Maker Movement would accelerate 4-H's national STEM goals and initiatives while enhancing the abilities of youth as they make innovative breakthroughs.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "4-H and the Maker Movement"
Our Role in and Responsibility Toward Social Justice
People of color have been historically marginalized and stripped of equitable access to education throughout this country—which is a form of social injustice. Social injustice describes societal inequities that marginalize groups by diminishing access to quality education and other human rights. One way that Extension can be a catalyst to minimizing social injustice is to become more aware of societal disparities. There are also programmatic considerations that can help foster social justice. One such consideration is to increase programs that enhance social capital, as they can serve as a conduit of social justice.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Our Role in and Responsibility Toward Social Justice"
Ideas at Work
Old Tools for New Problems: Modifying Master Gardener Training to Improve Food Access in Rural Areas
Extension faces ever-changing problems, which can be addressed by modifying successful tools rather than inventing new ones. The Master Gardener program has proven its effectiveness, but the cost and time commitment can make it inaccessible to rural, low-income communities, where training in home gardening may address issues of food access and food related health. A modified Master Gardener program was developed, with emphasis on low cost, flexible training and service. At the conclusion of the program, clients perceived increased skill and confidence at levels comparable to Master Gardeners and completed 179 volunteer service hours, reaching over 4,000 clients.
Development and Evaluation of an Educational Display for Older Adults: Journey Through Health
The Journey Through Health educational display was developed using the Health Belief Model and provided information on how the Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure messages can positively influence nutrition and physical activity choices to prevent or delay age-related changes throughout the body. The display consisted of 12 posters, educational scripts, and handouts. Evaluation of the display with 142 older adults revealed the display was positively received. The evaluation also showed increased awareness of age-related changes and associated health risks, knowledge of the benefits of nutrition and physical activity in health promotion, and self-efficacy towards following the Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure messages.
Growing Healthy Kids: A School Enrichment Nutrition Education Program to Promote Healthy Behaviors for Children
The Growing Healthy Kids Program is a school-based nutrition education program that teaches students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade about healthy eating, physical activity, and how their body uses food. Pre- and post-knowledge data is collected from the students to measure changes in nutrition knowledge. In the first 2 years of the program, significant improvements in nutrition knowledge were found in all three grades. Teachers reported that students were more aware of the importance of nutrition and were making healthier meal and/or snack choices at the end of the program.
Promoting the Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development Through an Experiential Learning Model
The purpose of the project reported here was to apply Experiential Learning Theory to a context involving middle and high school aged youth while assessing the four concepts (belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity) in relation to the 4-H youth development essential elements. The conclusions of the project's evaluation suggest implications for further youth programming, as this project demonstrated promise in all (concept) areas. Youth indicated the acquiring of specific life skills as well as opportunities to apply those skills through various opportunities. The authors suggest recommendations for those who wish to incorporate experiential learning models within youth development programs.
Engaging Focus Group Methodology: The 4-H Middle School-Aged Youth Learning and Leading Study
With young people, discussing complex issues such as learning and leading in a focus group can be a challenge. To help prime youth for the discussion, we created a focus group approach that featured a fun, interactive activity. This article includes a description of the focus group activity, lessons learned, and suggestions for additional applications.
Considerations for Creating Successful Camps for Military Families
Experiences of wartime deployment affect the entire family system. Due to the increasing popularity of camping with the military youth audience, the residential camp format has been extended to reach the entire family. Based on the experiences in our state for the past 6 years, we believe we have found a format that works well in meeting the needs of military families. This article discusses situations faced by military families experiencing deployment, presents a rationale for conducting camps for military families, and summarizes Ohio's experience conducting such camps, including staffing, types of program activities, and evaluation.
Teaching Farmers and Commercial Pesticide Applicators About Invasive Species in Pesticide Training Workshops
Farmers and agricultural professionals who are aware of species likely to invade agricultural landscapes can be active participants in efforts to detect invasive species. To reach this audience we created a short invasive species program and added it to the existing and required pesticide applicator recertification workshops. We highlighted four invasive species that can affect rural landscapes. Publications were made available. As a result, farmers and agricultural professionals were very receptive to learning about invasive species that may affect their agricultural business. Teaching about invasive species through pesticide applicator programs is an effective way to reach agricultural and rural audiences.
Tools of the Trade
Building Connections, Collections, and Communities: Increasing the Visibility and Impact of Extension Through Institutional Repositories
Over the past 20 years, university libraries have developed and manage institutional repositories—digital libraries that provide free, public access to the research, scholarship, and publications of their university's faculty, staff, and students. Although underused by Extension professionals, institutional repositories are powerful tools that can be used to raise the global visibility of Extension scholarship, highlight resources from individual initiatives and projects, provide readership statistics to demonstrate impact, and create digital archives to create topical collections and to facilitate study on the history of Extension.
Post-Its and Priorities: A Participatory Exercise for Understanding Perspectives of Diverse Stakeholders
We describe a participatory co-learning exercise that can help elucidate and navigate the unique perspectives of farmers, researchers, Extension personnel, and other agricultural professionals engaged in managing complex systems. We developed the exercise to help a diverse advisory panel collaboratively identify and prioritize ecosystem services for measurement in an experiment on cover crop mixtures. Post-event evaluations were positive and suggest that the exercise is a useful tool for participatory research projects or Extension programs involving a diverse group of stakeholders and complex systems.
Offering a Free Online Program to Maintain Weight Over the Holiday Season
The Holiday Challenge is a free weight maintenance program offered from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve. Ninety-three percent of participants maintained or lost weight during the 2014 Holiday Challenge, and 99% said they were very likely to somewhat likely to participate again in the 2015 Holiday Challenge.
Assessing Impact of Online Delivery of Turfgrass and Landscape Information
Kansas State University's turfgrass Extension team delivers information via linked online resources that include a blog, emails, and social media. We recently surveyed users to assess who they are, what they learn, how they use information, overall impressions, as well as suggested improvements. Users learn how to identify and manage various pests, select plant materials, and where to access further information and training. They prefer an email as the portal to the information. They communicate the information with others. Survey respondents suggested several revisions to format and content.
Development of a Statewide Web-Based Pesticide Applicator Certification Exam System
Beginning in 2010, the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services started development of a Web-based system for offering pesticide applicator certification exams in county Extension office. The system offers exam security, minimizes the potential of cheating, and, most important, provides instant exam results, greatly expediting the licensing process. The system has been met with overwhelmingly positive client acceptance and satisfaction. Currently it is in use in 14 of Florida's 67 counties; we hope to expand to all counties in the future.
Extending the Reach of PowerPay Debt Elimination: A New Mobile Application
PowerPay has proven effective as an online financial tool for personalized debt reduction since it was introduced in 1992. Results of the online program show positive outcomes for users such as reduced debt load and better spending habits. To increase the reach of this program, the free PowerPay mobile app was launched in 2014. This allows for immediate access to payment calendars, projected money saved, and building an emergency fund. The new app has been very well received, with over 2,400 downloads across 45 countries, and adds another debt management instrument for Extension personnel to share with their clientele.
Cropland Rental Tool (CROPRENT) for Agricultural Producers
The Cropland Rental Tool (CROPRENT) is an Excel-based decision tool for comparing different cropland rental agreements, such as flexible cash rents, for up to five crops and/or management systems using historical and current production data, such as yield and production costs. Flexible cash rents allow tenants and landowners to share in the risk associated with volatile commodity prices and uncertain yields. This tool can be used for a variety of commodities regardless of geographic location and by a diverse audience, including Extension educators, landowners, and tenants. The Cropland Rental Tool and accompanying User Manual are available for download.
Promoting Awareness of SNAP Among Iowans Age 50+ with the Wellness and Independence Through Nutrition (WIN) Program
Iowans age 50+ with limited income are at higher risk of poor nutritional status and could benefit from SNAP. The Wellness and Independence through Nutrition (WIN) program aims to increase awareness of SNAP and how it can help maintain good health for Iowans age 50+ in counties where SNAP enrollment is low through both direct and indirect outreach sessions. The program focuses on the benefits of SNAP. Evaluations suggest the WIN program is effective in increasing SNAP awareness, SNAP benefits (e.g., health), and potential economic impact (approximately $162,500).
A Planting Guide for Coastal Communities
A coastal planting guide is presented as a tool for Extension professionals to create and promote for landscapers and property owners in coastal areas. As coastal regions are subject to salt spray and occasional flooding, information is needed on native plants that can grow under such conditions. Such a guide should include salt spray and soil salt tolerances of native plants in addition to growth preferences. With increasing population pressures in coastal areas and predictions of increased storm intensity and frequency due to climate change, this tool can guide coastal residents and the landscaping industry in sustainable choices and practices.
Planning and Conducting Field Demonstration Tours
Extension personnel, agricultural companies, and contract researchers invest a great deal of resources through time, money, and manpower to educate crop consultants, producers, students, and new employees. Creating an in-field, real world, and hands-on learning environment affords an opportunity to engage individuals to learn in ways that cannot be readily duplicated in a classroom setting. However, planning and conducting field demonstrations takes time and foresight. Clear objectives, teamwork, and adequate resources are vital. The information provided in this article is intended to serve as a "roadmap" of the key elements that will lead to a successful field demonstration tour.
Framing a Public Issue for Extension: Challenges in Oil and Gas Activity
Extension professionals may be pointed towards controversial and contentious public issues. Oil and gas issues, such as hydraulic fracturing, are a challenge for Extension in many states. Public policy education is a tested method that helps Extension professionals maintain credibility and relevance. The professional can help assist communities that are divided and unable to find common ground. This article applies public policy education to oil and gas activity, including hydraulic fracturing.
A Framework for Identifying Implementation Issues Affecting Extension Human Sciences Programming
Extension programs based on identified needs, relevant theory, and solid research too often fail to realize their objectives. Program implementation is acknowledged to contribute to program effectiveness, yet systematic attention has not been paid to the array of implementation issues that can complicate achieving program goals. We developed the multilevel Implementation Issues Framework (IIF) to guide the identification and analysis of factors contributing to the ability of a program model to achieve its intended outcomes. The IIF can be used to complement logic models, inform process evaluation efforts for new and multisite programs, and support the implementation of evidence-based programming.
Engaging and Training Professionals to Implement Family Strengthening Programs: Lessons Learned
Child welfare professionals (CWPs) who attended the Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training delivered by Extension educators in Georgia participated in focus groups 6 months post-training to investigate what elements of the training influenced their implementation of the concepts and their recommendations for future trainings. The findings revealed three elements that influenced implementation: relevant content, interactive training, and trainer attributes. CWPs made recommendations concerning content/curriculum format, field implementation, and training methods. Conclusions included recommendations for both CWPs and Extension educators. As an unexpected outcome, results suggested that qualitative evaluation may reinforce and strengthen partnerships between Extension and other agencies.
Collaborative Research Seed Grants for Integrating Knowledges and Creating New Knowledge
Incorporating different ways of knowing in research and management has the potential to bring creativity to environmental problem-solving through integrating ways of knowing and innovation via co-producing knowledge. To gain these benefits, North Carolina Sea Grant Extension offers small annual grants called Fisheries Resource Grants to paired fisher and scientist investigators with research ideas grounded in practical application. A decade-long retrospective of water quality-focused projects reveals the potential to successfully integrate and innovate relevant information for problem-solving, but also to lay the groundwork for future collaborative research to continue that legacy.
Farm-to-Hospital Research Findings Point to Opportunities for Extension
Extension has a history of local foods programming around farm to institution. But connections with hospitals, an industry sector with significant potential for increased local food purchasing, appear limited. Hospital outreach could provide inroads for patient and employee education around healthy eating. But does Extension know how to engage healthcare foodservice? Do hospital foodservice directors have knowledge of Extension? This article focuses on intersections at which Extension can approach hospitals to help improve health and the economy through local foods. It is based on findings excerpted from a comprehensive Ohio hospital foodservice director study (n=155) conducted in late 2014.
Forest Landowner Education Interests and Delivery Preferences: A Retrospective Look at Survey Results and Actual Participation
This article presents survey data on education interests and delivery preferences of small forest landowners in Washington and compares it to actual program participation over 6 years. The survey was conducted in late 2007 to guide development and implementation of a Extension forestry program. The survey found broad interest across many topics and that there was a range of delivery preferences from active to passive, but that passive delivery was preferred. The survey results have been poor indicators of actual attendance at workshops. We discuss these results, associated inconsistencies, implications for Extension educators, and need for ongoing studies.
Using Consumer Input to Guide the Development of a Nutrition and Health Website
Consumers want timely, research-based information available online. The project objective was to develop a user-friendly nutrition and health website for Colorado Extension consumers. An electronic survey (n=381) was administered to current and potential Extension consumers to understand their: use of the Web and electronic devices; topics of interest; and preferred mode of information delivery. Results, in conjunction with best practices for website usability and health literacy, were used to develop the Live Eat Play Colorado website. Audience-centered websites with content packaged in small doses and delivered via multiple modalities may enhance reach and use of university and Extension resources.
Modernizing Training Options for Natural Areas Managers
A recent shift in desires among working professionals from traditional learning environments to distance education has emerged due to reductions in travel and training budgets. To accommodate this, the Natural Areas Training Academy replaced traditionally formatted workshops with a hybrid approach. Surveys of participants before and after this change indicate that a traditional in-person format was preferred in the past, but a hybrid format is preferred now. Respondents indicated the new format is more effective at providing highly desired benefits than the traditional face-to-face approach. These findings have implications for many Extension programs targeting working professionals across large geographic areas.
Using an Advisory Group to Obtain Volunteer Perspective for Regional Programming
The study reported here sought to identify problems, issues, needs, concerns, and contemporary trends that will serve as a basis for programming and the development of tools and resources for 4-H volunteers across the southern region. A mixed methods research approach was used to gather input from volunteers and specialists and engage them in needs assessment. The study found that while specialists and volunteers had similar rankings of volunteer resources, problems, issues, trends, and tools, they disagreed on the prioritization of needs and concerns. The needs assessment result was the identification and development of a regional 4-H volunteer handbook.
Assessing the Production Scale and Research and Extension Needs of U.S. Hard Cider Producers
At CiderCON 2013 and 2014, we assessed the scale of current and projected production, as well as the research and Extension needs of cider apple growers and cider makers. Our findings show that cider producers are diverse in terms of geographic location, scale of operation, and experience. These stakeholders reported a great need for technical assistance from Extension professionals and were interested in having information delivered in a wide range of different platforms. We also found audience response devices to be effective at quickly gathering and analyzing data from a large number of participants.
Research in Brief
Developing a Contemporary Dairy Foods Extension Program: A Training and Technical Resource Needs Assessment of Pennsylvania Dairy Foods Processors
Growth in the dairy industry and the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act have renewed interest in dairy foods processing extension positions. A needs assessment survey was sent to Pennsylvania dairy processors and raw milk providers to guide priorities for a dairy foods extension program. The successful development and delivery of technical resources will require tailoring to specific segments of the industry. Priority training topics are good manufacturing practices, sanitation, and food safety regulations. Larger processors preferred on-line resources and other processors preferred face-to-face workshops. An informational newsletter and website were also of great interest.
Opportunities and Challenges in a Changing Beef Industry: Results of a Statewide Needs Assessment in Iowa
The U.S. beef industry is poised for growth following increased contraction over the past decade that has resulted in the lowest cattle inventory in over 60 years. However, sustainable, long-term growth of the industry is dependent upon early identification of issues that may inhibit profitability. A series of seven listening sessions conducted across Iowa by the Iowa Beef Center identified land access, farm transition, production efficiency, marketing, genetics, data management, feedstuffs, and animal health as "mega-issues" facing producers. Specific issues under each of these overarching categories will guide future extension programming efforts within the Iowa Beef Center.
Knowledge Gained from Good Agricultural Practices Courses for Iowa Growers
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) educational courses provide produce growers with the fundamental information for producing and processing safe produce. To determine the effectiveness of the current 7-hour GAP course provided in Iowa, growers were surveyed before and 7-14 days after the course to determine changes in knowledge and opinions. Results show that growers positively changed their knowledge and opinions on key food safety principles and regulations, which provides evidence that Extension programming is an effective method to educate small growers. Food safety educators should focus their training on practical methods for documentation, sanitation, and facilities.
What Is the Difference Between a Calorie and a Carbohydrate?—Exploring Nutrition Education Opportunities in Alternative School Settings
Extension-based nutrition educators have indicated current curricula do not engage alternative school students' interests. The study reported here explored nutrition education opportunities at alternative schools in Oklahoma. Data collection involved focus groups gathering student perspectives regarding preferred teaching and learning styles, and nutrition topics of interest. Twenty-four students 15-18 years of age participated in the project. Students are interested in receiving nutrition education using practical approaches; experiential learning was the preferred learning style facilitated by hands-on teaching. Opportunities exist for Extension programming to meaningfully address nutrition-related issues in alternative schools by delivering participant-centered lessons using tailored materials and delivery methods.
Regionalization of the Washington State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Program: Employee Awareness, Buy-In, and Communication
Washington's 4-H program is transitioning from a predominately single-county faculty model to a regional system. This article highlights survey results regarding the level of awareness and buy-in that Extension administration, faculty, and staff have concerning the regional model and how communication about the model took place. While most employees were aware of the change, the majority learned through informal conversation, either alone or in combination with formal communication. Those who learned through both formal and informal methods felt more knowledgeable and more comfortable assessing the model's merit. Our research recommends that administrators purposefully emphasize formal communication during staffing model transitions.
Evaluation of Radon Outreach Programming in Chaffee and Park Counties, Colorado
Colorado State University Extension in Chaffee and Park Counties conducted numerous outreach educational activities between 2007 and 2010. A follow-up evaluation was conducted to determine whether one outreach activity was more effective at encouraging individuals to test their homes for radon or to mitigate their homes. Participants in the face-to-face class reported an increase in knowledge about the hazards of radon gas exposure and the need to test homes/businesses on an individual basis. Based on these data, continued outreach education is warranted, a variety of outreach activities is necessary, and individual testing of homes and businesses is needed.