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Extension Update – July 27, 2016   arrow

On behalf of PLT:

 The Program Leadership Team (PLT) is organized to build a network of program support and accountability to meet county/regional needs of Coloradans.  The next PLT meeting is on campus, August 23.  Extension Update content this week was contributed by Planning and Reporting Unit (PRU) leaders.

Planning & Reporting Unit Updates

 Community Development PRU – Geniphyr Ponce-Pore

Community Development PRU members look to gain community development capacity and outreach to agents within CSU-E.  We continue to support CD professional development, collaborate on best practices, and look for ways to improve cross-county facilitation for agents.  We are building collaboration platforms through Canvas to support those who wish to actively continue to learn the broad array of community development skills that help us to do the work we do. Our theme this year is Resilience. Expect upcoming changes in leadership of the CD-PRU, consider joining us on our bi-annual statewide CD-PRU Summits, look to explore new revenue generating models for our agents pioneered by Denver Extension, and follow how we can better train our agents to do this work across Colorado.

Cropping Systems PRU – Ron Meyer

The Crops PRU met on June 15 at the Akron USDA – Agricultural Research Service research station.  This PRU was able to join the field day in addition to having individual access to research specialists on the station.  Six Extension Agents were able to attend.   This event partnered Extension Agents, Colorado State University Extension and Experiment Station Specialists, and professional staff from the Agricultural Research Service.  Technical information was presented to the group that included: dryland cropping strategies and results, cover crop information, entomology updates, fertility updates, wheat production information, soils response to cropping systems updates, irrigation management advances,  and climate information.  100% of attendees indicated they learned new information by attending this training.

As a result of low expenses and Agents willing to cover travel costs to attend this training,  funding remains for the Crops PRU and we are  planning to support a second training in partnership with the Colorado County Agents Association.  The PRU is planning to assist this agricultural training event by supporting in the amount of $500 to help offset registration costs.  The CCAA professional improvement event is scheduled for September 28-29 in Pueblo.  Agenda for this professional improvement event is currently being developed.

In an effort to include Western Slope staff, last year the program was held at Yellow Jacket.  2017’s program will be also planned with western Agent’s locations in mind.

Energy PRU – Cary Weiner

Recent activities include completing 30 solar/wind feasibility assessments for farmers with center pivot sprinklers, conducting community energy assessments in Elbert County and the Town of Lyons, planning an energy tour in Weld County, enhancing energy lesson plans for 4-H programming, piloting educational lighting signs for distribution to hardware stores in Arapahoe County, and working on a new, consumer focused energy website called Your Energy. We’ve seen great involvement and initiative by agents across the state so far in 2016!

Environmental Horticulture PRU – Alison O’Connor

The Environmental Horticulture PRU gathered in the Grand Valley, May 23-24 for tours, networking and a formal meeting. Over 20 horticulture agents, Master Gardener coordinators and specialists attended. A huge thanks to the planning committee of Susan Carter, Barb Bates, Yvette Henson and Jane Rozum for their efforts and making the meeting enjoyable and successful. On May 23, Susan set up several stops on a horticulture field trip in the Tri-River Area. Stops included Canyonview Vineyard Church, Arcieri’s Peonies, the Orchard Mesa Experiment Station, Sprigs and Sprouts Lavender Farm and Talbot’s Orchard. On May 24, we had our annual face-to-face meeting where discussion surrounded the new Colorado Water Plan (and a committee was formed to plan CSU Extension’s response to and cooperation with the water plan from a programming perspective), updates from specialists Drs. Tamla Blunt, Jim Klett and Tony Koski on new and emerging horticulture issues, as well as updates from the CMG state coordinator Mary Small and a discussion about the statewide CMG survey. The meeting concluded with tours of the Ute Learning Center and Chinle Cactus Garden at the Mesa County Extension Office. Coming up in the future, the first annual statewide CMG conference is scheduled for October 3-4, 2016 in Adams County. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, horticulture Extension specialist at Washington State University. The next statewide Colorado Master Gardener Leadership Council (CMGLC) meeting is scheduled for August 16 and the next horticulture meeting is scheduled for September 7; both will be held via conference call or Zoom.

Family and Financial Stability PRU – Laurel Kubin

The GRANDcares Project, funded by USDA/NIFA Children Youth and Families At-Risk, is entering its second year and in September we are launching our first Powerful Tools for Caregivers – Grandfamilies program in both Larimer and Adams Counties. The GRANDcares Project includes: (1) a self-care program for grandparents, (2) a leadership and life skills building program for grandchildren, and (3) webinars for service providers working with grandfamilies. This year we will also focus on developing the grandchildren program and building webinars for providers.

We are currently working closely with Joanne Littlefield to develop a series of videos addressing important topics to our PRU. In these videos we will address the following: (1) adolescent brain development, (2) effect of e-cigarettes, (3) obtaining and understanding your two free credit reports, (4) teaching children savings via multi-chambered piggy banks, and (5) simple mental health via mindfulness. Agents are sending monthly updates for the Personal Finance pages of the Extension web page. And, we are still hopeful that the grant to expand our capacity to reach more Coloradans with financial education will be realized.

Food Systems PRU – Dawn Thilmany McFadden

The CSU Food Systems team met in Fort Collins in mid-May to connect with campus partners, learn about Northeast US food systems programming from visiting expert, Kate Clancy, and do some strategic planning based on a variety of meetings held in 2015.   The team revisited its mission and scope of work, and will be continuing programs and developing new initiatives in the following areas.

The team also formed a web subcommittee and we have a survey out to better understand utilization of web based communication (newsletter and website) by team members, so look for a new website in the near future.

Mission Statement
To inform dynamic initiatives and build capacity in communities by engaging networks and key partners to address emerging food system practices and issues.

Vision Statement
Building food systems to meet the needs of Colorado communities


  • Water and soil resource management
  • Food waste reduction
  • Land and water access
    • Water availability
    • Public Land
  • Backyard gardening, beekeeping, pollinators
  • Animal health and welfare

Business Development

  • Food business/development curriculum
  • Food business/development program delivery
  • Forming incubator best practices

Food Security, Quality, and Public Health

  • Food assistance partners
  • Processing best practices
  • Healthy food environments

Investing in Community Food Assets

  • Community gardens
  • Food policy councils
  • Food system resiliency

Please join us at Forum this November if you want to be involved in our programming in these areas!!

Livestock and Range PRU– Chris Shelley

The Livestock and Range group comprises extension agents, specialists and university faculty from more than three different colleges.  We have recently filled multiple key positions that are vital to the unit’s longevity.  We are currently planning a collaborative networking and planning conference on campus in September to unite the group and focus its efforts.  Anyone interested is welcome to attend, while key groups and individuals will be invited to participate and become part of the Livestock and Range PRU.  As of January 1, 2016, the PRU has provided programming to over 1,800 youth and adult Coloradans.  The program content has ranged from teaching ranchers about range monitoring to youth education about cattle care and nutrition.   Recently in the L&R PRU, a range management workshop with over 50 participants from multiple government agencies and various landowners and private businesses was held in the San Luis Valley.  Those in attendance received training on managing rangelands and viewing those principles firsthand in action on the ranches that were visited.

Natural Resources PRU– Mark Platten

The Natural Resources PRU has been actively involved in putting together a meeting with the Warner College of Natural Resources, the Colorado State Forest Service, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, and the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute on November 10-11 at the end of Forum.  We will cover your additional night’s lodging and have you out by noon on Friday.  Our goals include deepening our relationship with the other natural resource agencies at CSU and focusing on several key areas we established last year including:  youth outreach opportunities, citizen science, defensible space, climate issues, and communication across agencies.  An agenda is in the works and we should have it by the first part of August.  We are also working with Climate Smart Ag and look forward to working across PRU boundaries to explore ways we can help our clients with decision-making tools on new crop varieties, trees, noxious weed control, etc. as we share the research on the new normal.

Nutrition, Food Safety & Health PRU – Marisa Bunning

Summer in Colorado means county fairs and local festivals – which means getting to see and pet a wide variety of animals. Petting zoos and agricultural exhibits showcase life in Colorado and provide education regarding food production and agricultural practices. These are enjoyable and educational activities and CSU Extension plays an important role in helping to provide these beneficial opportunities for thousands of Coloradans every year. Unfortunately, dozens of disease outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to animal exposure in these environments. To promote safety at animal exhibits and help reduce the risk of illness, the Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health (NFSH) PRU has customized ten (10!) downloadable posters in two sizes – 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 inches. From chicks to pigs, rabbits to llamas, you can find the poster that’s right for your event.

Posting handwashing reminders and ensuring handwashing stations are easily accessible and well-stocked with soap and water can go a long way toward protecting public health and preventing illness from being associated with summer events.

Link to posters:

Fair posters

FLTI at CSUE – Kyle Christensen

2016 has been a transformative year for family leadership in Colorado. As family and civic engagement continue to emerge as priorities for many organizations and communities, our own Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) is increasingly recognized for its authentic and significant outcomes. We have so much to celebrate! FLTI continues to grow with a possible 16 local sites by the end of 2016 and nearly 800 family leaders taking action on important family, health, and community initiatives.

And with this remarkable growth has come a time of transition and change. As you may know, Colorado State University Extension (CSUE) is the new home for FLTI as of July 1, 2016. Following the lead of Colorado’s family leadership champion Eileen Forlenza and our many dedicated partners at CDPHE, CSUE is honored to work alongside you as we embed this proven national leadership training as a long-term family engagement strategy in our great State.

In order to solve the many developmental and health issues found in Colorado communities, we’ve long known in FLTI that family and community leaders who understand and utilize the tools of democracy and leadership can more effectively come together and create meaningful and lasting systems change for children and families. We know that civic education programs and leadership trainings provide critical opportunities for local leaders to learn more about the civic process and further develop their leadership skills. CSUE believes we must all work together to build the capacity of Colorado’s community-based leadership programs to ensure the family and community voice is found at all levels of policy and program development.

As CDPHE now focuses on systems-building strategies to ensure leadership opportunities for our growing number of FLTI graduates and family leaders, CSUE now holds the banner high in support of ongoing FLTI and local leadership development efforts. With CSUE’s long-standing expertise in family engagement and community-based programing, and our statewide reach, we are confident FLTI will continue to thrive across Colorado. Let’s work together to grow our network of family leaders ready to roll up their sleeves and solve community issues!

We should only be encouraged by the current and future potential of our work as we look to the next phase of family engagement and civic leadership in Colorado. We will continue to collaborate with partner agencies, current and future funders, elected officials, community champions, and our growing number of FLTI family leaders. Let’s continue to improve outcomes for our children and our families and Colorado!

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