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Extension Update – September 27, 2018   arrow

On behalf of PLT:

AmeriCorps Update – Melinda Macpherson

Thinking about AmeriCorps for your county? We know that this is the time of year when counties are working on their budgets for 2019. If you’re thinking about new things to add to your county’s programming, this is a great time to consider 4-H STEM AmeriCorps. Last year our members reached more than 2500 kids across 10 counties – an average of 230 youth per member! Members provide out-of-school time STEM programming and your county could add a part-time member (serving 900 hours) for a $2000 administrative fee – that’s $2.22 per hour! Want to learn more? Melinda Macpherson, 970-491-5575,

PRU Leader Training – for current and curious PRU leaders – Jan Carroll & Cary Weiner

Please plan to join a training for current PRU leaders and for those who may be interested in becoming a PRU leader in the future. We will cover PRU leader responsibilities, how to plan using the logic model, and purposes and nuances of reporting. We will also leave time for discussion, questions, and peer-to-peer learning. Please join us from 1:30-3:30 pm on Monday, October 22 in the Grey Rock room of Lory Student Center.

Community Development – Greg Felsen

In August, the CD PRU hosted a highly informative Zoom video conference meeting.  At this meeting, Tom Johnson and Geniphyr Ponce-Pore from the Office of Engagement provided the team with effective tools for Community and Economic Development professionals.  Tom shared a presentation on, “Economic Building Blocks: A Holistic Approach.”  Gen shared on the topic of, “Strategic Doing.”  In addition, PRU member Patti Schmitt shared about an organization called, “Village Earth”.  This organization provides programs in Sustainable Community Development.

Yesterday, the team got together for a pre-Forum meeting.  We are very excited to have a face-to-face meeting on Thursday, October 25th at the Lory Student Center Room #322 from 8:45 – 11:30 a.m. during annual Forum.  We had a robust discussion about the exciting topics we would like to explore.  Topics include: Cluster Analysis for Community and Economic Development decision making; Community Assessments, Strategic Doing/Prioritizing project work; FLTI discussion; Urban Extension initiatives and more.  The final agenda will be coming out before Forum.

We also discussed PRU leadership transition.  Greg Felsen will be stepping aside from the Chair role.  Tom Johnson and Patti Schmitt will be taking over as co-chairs and we are seeking an additional co-chair that is from the field.

Cropping Systems – Ron Meyer

The Cropping Systems PRU is in the process of completing planting activities for the Wheat Collaborative On Farm Testing (COFT).  Approximately 30 on-farm wheat trials are being evaluated for wheat varietal yield and quality potentials.  Other on farm testing includes trials evaluating corn and sunflower hybrids.  These trials are located at various on-farm locations within Colorado.  More than 40 sites are being evaluated for yield and quality potential on Colorado Farms in 2018.  Yield data will be analyzed and distributed through various methods as test plot results become available.  In addition, a Colorado State University Extension Crops Clinic is scheduled for December 5th and 6th.  Approximately 14 Certified Educational credits will be offered at this event.  More information will be released as plans progress.

Energy – Cary Weiner

CSU Extension partnered with Eagle County, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, and the Walking Mountains Science Center to host an inaugural Local Government Energy Academy workshop August 29-30. The 1.5 day event was intended to help elected officials and staff understand, prioritize, and implement cost effective opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric vehicles. Almost 80 people, including representatives from 25 different local governments in Colorado, attended the workshop. Initial evaluation results show that 100% of respondents rated their overall experience as excellent or good, all sessions provided respondents with new insight, 78% of sessions helped respondents discover a new sustainable energy opportunity, and 89% of sessions will impact the actions of respondents going forward.

Elsewhere, we are wrapping up a statewide energy needs assessment, which took a pair of graduate students to 9 different events in all corners of Colorado. We will be facilitating an Xcel Partners in Energy program in Centennial, Colorado to help that city define and achieve its energy goals. Working with Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, we’ve been invited to consult on reseeding a solar farm with pollinator-friendly native plants. We are offering new Low Energy Homes workshops that combine discussions on home energy efficiency, solar, and all-electric net zero homes. We have also put together slides for presentations on electric vehicles. Let Cary Weiner know if you’re interested in bringing one of these workshops to your county.

Environmental Horticulture – Alison O’Connor

  • Mary Small, state Master Gardener coordinator, is retiring on Friday, September 28. After 38 years in Extension, we wish her well! The CMG Transition Committee can help answer any questions regarding the Master Gardener program: Amy Lentz, Abi Saeed, Sherie Caffey and Alison O’Connor.
  • Congratulations to Susan Carter, horticulture agent for the Tri-River Area, on receiving the Tributary Award from the Drought Response Information Program. Susan’s work has promoted healthy landscapes that use less water with proper design and plant selection. For more information, visit:
  • The Environmental Hort PRU will meet at Forum on Thursday, October 25 from 8:30am-noon in Lory 376-378. The CMGLC will meet from 8:30am-10am; the hort group will meet from 10:30am-noon.


Mary Snow, JeffCo — is partnering with Jefferson County DA & Probation to hold a monthly Managing My Money Class with their first time felons program with about 10 participants each month.  Snow has completed two “Freeze Your Credit Reports” programs, about FTC changes going into effect 9/21/18 regarding credit freezes, in Arapahoe County Libraries with 17 in attendance at Keolbel & 21 in attendance at South Glenn Libraries. Snow conducted many sessions of Money As You Grow – a children’s money skill program – with 18 participants (adults) with multiple children each. And, she presented Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate at the Senior Connection for about 45 seniors.

Glenda Wentworth, Eagle County — Here are a few things I am currently doing…

  • Recruiting for 2019 FLTI in my community.
  • Concept Testing and Common Indicators Initiative to demonstrate Cooperative’s Extension Capacity to Demonstrate Financial Capability.  A nationwide initiative to document Family Resource Management contacts and indicators to tell a story about our collective impact on who is conducting programs and reporting state efforts in this area.  I’ll attend the 2018 Association of Financial counseling, Planning & Education Symposium in November.
  • DollarWorks2 workshops are planned for Early Head Start and The Literacy Project

Tracy Trumper, Golden Plains Area – Phillips County –FLTI is coming to Northeastern Colorado.  The 20 Week Family Leadership Training Institute program will be offered in Ft. Morgan starting next January.  Hopefully, this opportunity will continue to spread throughout the Golden Plains region as well within the next year.  The FLTI site coordinator and facilitator training took place in Westminster, Colorado from Sept 5th through the 8th.  Go to the FLTI website to see how FLTI can influence your community:

Gisele Jefferson, Golden Plains Area – Washington County – Jefferson teamed up with co-facilitator, Emily Mollohan, Northeastern Junior College ABM, to run a fall session of Annie’s Project. The 25 participants are in the middle of a 6-week short course on farm/ranch/family financial management and succession/estate planning.

Food Systems – Becca Jablonski

The Food Systems PRU will be hosting a training “From Kitchen to Commercial – A Food Business Development Seminar” on November 12 from 9am-5pm at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora. This one-day training is designed to improve business development skills for food entrepreneurs. Aspiring and early stage food businesses along with support organizations are encouraged to attend. Participants will learn business planning and marketing fundamentals, as well as have the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and service providers. More information, including about how to register, can be found here:

At this year’s Forum, our team is excited to work towards documenting the impacts of our team. We intend to focus our 2018 impacts on the following areas:

  • Beekeeper Professional Development
  • Liquid Arts
  • Poultry and Meat Processing
  • Business development and cottage food
  • Building farmers
  • Cottage food and food safety trainings
  • Transition and succession planning
  • Food security initiatives

In October, the Food System PRU will be implementing a survey of food manufacturers in Colorado with a particular focus on cottage foods producers. The survey was developed by the business development sub-committee, formed during our 2017 retreat in Glenwood Springs, and reviewed by the Food System PRU team. Findings from the survey will inform future business development programming. We are also collecting data specifically from cottage food producers about the impact cottage foods production has had on their lives.

In addition, Dawn Thilmany and Tom Johnson (CSU Office of Engagement) will be providing a presentation about trends in food supply chains and opportunities for community economic development. There are no competing PRU meetings this year so we hope you all will join us! The PRU is sponsoring heavy hors d’oeuvres at Café Vino!

The 7th annual National Incubator Farm Initiative (NIFTI) National Field School supports professional development and network building for Incubator Farm Project staff from across the country, and one of our Building Farmer partners, Beth LaShell is their regional host. CSU will present at one of the sessions about research we have conducted on market channel and farm profitability to help these incubator programs guide business planning with their participants. More information at:

Livestock & Range – Retta Bruegger

The Livestock and Range PRU is pleased to welcome Annie Overlin as the new Regional Specialist in Range Management for the Peaks and Plains Region! Annie brings a wealth of experience in range management, range science, and ranching and she will be an asset to our PRU and state.

Our PRU continues work on objectives outlined from our PRU meeting in April, 2018. These included short-term objectives of 1) developing a more consolidated mailing list to reach our stakeholders, 2) developing a beef marketing webinar series, 3) working on short videos for education and promotion. With the help of Joanne Littlefield and Susie Hutton, and Agricultural Research Service, Retta Bruegger was able to complete a short video on a past research project called Learning from the Land and an interactive fact sheet on collaborative projects among researchers and ranchers across Colorado.

This summer, members of our PRU collaborated with National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Colorado Cattleman’s Association, the Department of Animal Science and Soil and Crop Sciences to host several workshops on the topics of surviving drought, stockmanship and stewardship, and pasture management.

Funding was awarded from a USDA NIFA proposal to develop a beef production benchmarking program that includes education of beef producers on how to manage risks. We will be working with the Agriculture and Business Management team on the production and financial aspects of the program and also anticipate including range assessment metrics as components of the benchmarking and risk management. This will be a statewide project including all of the livestock and range PRU members.

Natural Resources – Robin Young

On behalf of the Natural Resources PRU Co-Leads Marvin Reynolds, Seth Davis, Brian Kailey, and myself, I want to invite you all to come to our NR PRU meeting on October 24th at 2pm in room 376-78.  We have put together a very short survey to gather information of what you do in Natural Resources programming and what you would like to see from your NR PRU in 2019.    Please take the survey by October 19th.

This year we will be hosting a reception at the Warner College of Natural Resources from 4:30-6:30 in room MSNR 345.  We will be walking over to the College at 4:30 to have finger foods and engaging conversations with our CSU Natural Resource partners, Extension colleagues, faculty, and students. For Extension folks, we realize that this overlaps a bit with the 4-H banquet but if you are planning on attending, you don’t have to stay for the whole reception.  We hope you all will join us and make connections with new people.

I hope that you will come and participate in the awe-inspiring Natural Resources PRU!  See you all soon!

It’s all about Native Plant Masters!  As most of you know, Barbara Fahey has retired.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Barbara for her time, commitment, patience, knowledge, and leadership for the Native Plant Master’s program.  She did a wonderful job bringing the state NPM team the resources to help us be successful.  The new position will provide leadership and guidance in the development, delivery and evaluation of Extension natural resources, wildlife, wildland fire, native plant, and invasive species programs for adults and youth in Jefferson County, and for the Native Plant Master program statewide.

From Barbara Fahey: Metro to Mountain NPM Update

  • 21 volunteer trainers are teaching 34 M2M NPM classes this year which is a 62% increase over last year
  • On track to exceed 600 registrants in M2M NPM classes this year
  • New partnerships have increased participation.  New partners include Audubon Society of Greater Denver, Denver Botanic Gardens (Chatfield Farms and Plains Conservation Center) and Cherokee Ranch

144 front line NPM volunteers have educated 2,194 adults and 500 youth so far this year using information they gained from NPM classes.

Statewide Project Update:  CO Plant Database project to create Content Management System has launched; CMS will allow approved expert users statewide to update content through the web. Jefferson County has agreed to create a portal to the Jeffco-hosted database website for the CMS. This project is being funded by a combination of funds from the NR PRU, Warner College, Office of Engagement and State Native Plant Master Program.  Long term goal is to move the hosting of the plant database website to CSU so web address becomes rather than as it is now. That project will require future funding.

Susan Carter from the Tri River Area:

  • 3 Masters (3 sites) classes completed with 15 total attendees, with 4 earning Floral certificates and 2 becoming Native Plant Masters
  • 2 Botany 101 Classes with 20 attending
  • 1 Cactus walk and talk- 8 attendees
  • A CONPS Plateau Chapter meeting at my Ute Learning garden including a tour.  10 attended
  • Booth at Demonstration Day with 2 native plant walks- about 10 attendees on walk, 40 at booth
  • Had to cancel two Grand Mesa walks this month due to smoke and drought- very few flowers left
  • Presentation by Maddie Maher with her 2 year Floristic Study of a 3000 acre property on the Gunnison/Montrose county line, the property is owned by one of my NPM trainers, about a dozen are signed up so far.
  • Plus my appearance in two NPM videos and a video on working with the Ute tribes-a training video
  • Also, working with the Ute Museum in Montrose to improve their Native Plant garden.  3 volunteers meet with me to identify plants and help them develop a plan of attack- weed removal and pond cleanup to start.
  • I do not have all my members contacts this year but we usually average well over 1,000
  • I currently have 7 trainers plus myself running the program.

Karen Crumbaker from Larimer County:  Three courses, a half-day grass ID class, two Keying & Terminology classes — 56 total participants and 26 volunteers

Mark Platten from Teller County: We conducted two NPM courses and an additional botany class this summer.  We had a total of 20 students participate.

NFSH – Jessica Clifford

  1. Jessica Clifford (Campus) presented a poster titled “Assessing Need for Changes in State-based Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Websites” at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Annual Conference in July.
  2. Members of the Nutrition, Food Safety & Health PRU received the 1st Place National/1st Place Western Region Social Media Education/Nutrition Award for their ‘Eat More Greens in 2017’ The campaign used a variety of social media platforms to increase consumer familiarity, consumption and safe handling of leafy greens. Elisa Shackelton (Campus) will be accepting the award for the team and presenting a concurrent session at the 2018 NEAFCS Conference in San Antonio, September 23-28, 2018.Project team members included: Marisa Bunning, Jessica Clifford, Jennifer Cooney, Ann Duncan, Carla Farrand, Mary Ellen Fleming, Sheila Gains, Gisele Jefferson, Laura Krause, Edie McSherry, Wendy Rice, Elisa Shackelton, Irene Shonle, Mary Snow, Glenda Wentworth, and Anne Zander
  3. Glenda Wentworth (Eagle County) assists with the LiveSmart Colorado Blog and serves on the Family Matters newsletter work team. She also serves on the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM) Community Outreach Committee. EVOM is led by Walking Mountains Science Center striving to provide equal access to outdoor spaces and opportunities for youth and families in two Edwards’ locations. Additionally Glenda serves on the Head Start Health Services Advisory Board. She plans to conduct a food preservation workshop in October. Glenda also provides Healthy and Homemade Nutrition and Fitness Calendars (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 100 English and 75 Spanish).
  4. Colorado Cottage Food Safety Trainings as of 9/17/18
    Date # Classes # participants
    2013-2014 CSU online + 6 77
    2014-2016 CSU Ext face to face 67 1,076
    2017 Google doc known data 22 347
    2017 estimated additional* 20 206
    2018 Google doc +

    FR Eventbrite data as of 9/17/18





    Total with CSU on-line 144 2,162
    Total without CSU on-line 138 2,085

    *Planned class dates and location shared with NFSH PRU, but no class rosters are on PRU file.  Estimated 10 participants per session.

  5. On September 7th Libby Christensen (Routt County), Ann Duncan (Montrose County), Edie McSherry (Larimer County), Karen Massey (formerly Routt County) and four Master Food Safety Advisors toured Palisade and visited a number of value added producers. This is an annual trip, and if others would like to participate in the future please email Libby Christensen at See photos below.

MFSA activities