Like the farms and gardens of west central Illinois, Extension Unit 18 has seen a lot of growth this summer. We have added two new positions: Lisa
Peterson, Unit wide Nutrition and Wellness Educator and Dusty Hall, SNAP-ED Community Worker for Montgomery County. This past winter we also hired Jodi Heberling to fill the position of SNAP-ED Community Worker in Christian County.
We moved to a new office in Jerseyville, and have expanded our hours as well. We've seen an increased enrollment for our summer 4-H camps and
workshops and serviced over 100 youth in our inaugural "Kids In The Kitchen" programs throughout Christian County. Macoupin County was also host to the 4-H Shooting Sports first ever Illinois State Shoot.
There have been lots of 4-H shows and fairs, two County Board Shadowing programs in Macoupin and Montgomery County, four Entrepreneur Camps for kids in Christian, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties as well as the Dudley Smith Field Day and a Pond Management program both in Christian County. Oh, and I mustn't forget two beautiful Garden Tour/Walks hosted by the
Master Gardeners in Christian and Macoupin Counties.
It may be summer time, but Extension never takes a vacation. We've been busier than ever providing educational opportunities of all kinds to kids and adults of all ages. As we grow, we look forward to continuing to improve the services we provide to the communities we are so fortunate to serve.
We hope you enjoy this inaugural edition of the Extension Connections
Magazine, and be sure to stay in touch.
County Extension Director
College/Graduate Work: South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, Home of the Jackrabbits
Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with a minor in Food Safety (2011)
Master of Science in Nutrition, Exercise, and Food Science specialized in Nutritional Sciences (2014)
Background of Graduate Work: I had the opportunity to work with South Dakota State University in creating the Food Safety Scientist Virtual Labs and Curriculum which taught students basic scientific techniques while exposing them to careers in food safety and agriculture. I developed the content for the pH virtual labs and the Water Activity labs in collaboration with North Dakota State University and New Mexico State University, along with the curriculum which includes hands-on activities for kids from middle school to high school. They are created for Science and Family and Consumer Sciences courses and getting kids excited about food safety and agricultural related careers. Check them out at: http://igrow.org/healthy-families/food-safety/food-safety-scientist/ & http://virtuallabs.nmsu.edu/ .
What led me to the field of Nutrition & Wellness: My older sister was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when she was 12 , so I grew up going to diabetic clinics with her. I knew I wanted to be a person who made a difference in the lives of others through
nutrition. I went into South Dakota State University set on being a Diabetic Educator, but after spending a week on the Cheyenne River Reservation teaching nutrition education, I wanted to reach a broader audience and make more of an impact in a community setting. I was offered a graduate assistantship with South Dakota State University after working part time with the food safety
extension specialist. I had the opportunity to promote food safety and careers within the field for the past two years. Food is one of my major passions whether it is culinary, nutrition, or food safety. I love doing research and investigating changes in the field of
Hobbies: I'm a HUGE Minnesota Twins baseball fan! Go Twins! Target Field in Minneapolis is one of my favorite places. I also enjoy cooking, baking, and trying out new recipes, reading, knitting, spending time with friends and family, running, yoga, and
photography. I like to be active, and look forward to exploring the bike trails in the area and indoor pool at Fusion Fitness. My
favorite season is winter, I'm a true Minnesotan in that way. I actually enjoy shoveling and like to ice skate, and ski.
What I hope to bring to the community: I'm so happy to be starting a new adventure here in Illinois, and hope to bring in courses on understanding serving sizes, fad diets and why they don't stick, dining with diabetes, healthy eating at any age, food preservation courses, teaching kids about the importance of eating healthy and being active, wellness camps, and other programs associated with nutrition and wellness.
Lisa Trivia: The day I was born, our community hospital had a fire and was sent home not long after. I was in a car during a tornado when I was seven and watched the tornado touch down as well as a tree fall in front of our car. I still don't like storms to this day. My favorite animal is an Alpaca.
I was born in Fort Huachuca, AZ. I grew up a "military brat", so I lived in a lot of different places growing up. I graduated from high school at Zweibrucken American High School in what was then West Germany. I later graduated from University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. I taught high school health, U.S. History and was a volleyball and softball coach.
I have since relocated to Illinois and began working as the Montgomery County SNAP-ED Community Worker in June. I am excited to have this position, as it allows me to continue my passion of being an educator in health related topics. I have three sons, the two oldest are in the Army & the youngest will be a senior at Hillsboro High School. In my spare time I enjoy visiting museums, Civil War sites and presidential libraries.
It's spring time in Unit 18 and the kids are getting restless. They want to get outside of the classroom and the teachers know it. Their eyes are drawn to the windows; their minds drift out the door and into the sunshine and green grass. This is the perfect opportunity to bring the kids outdoors to learn about our environment, and how they can participate right now in being good stewards.
Christian, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties offer area students the opportunity to enjoy a day of fun and exploration. Area schools are invited to participate, and the programs are offered at no charge.
In Montgomery County the event was held on May 8 at the Montgomery County Extension office. Over 200 students from around the county participated in the hands on, interactive activities. Conservation Day in Montgomery County is organized by University of Illinois Extension Unit 18, and led by Andrew Holsinger, Extension Educator, Horticulture.
In Christian County, third and fourth grade students from South Fork Elementary School in Kincaid enjoyed the annual Christian County Conservation Day held May 20. Red Barn Produce (Bonnie Smith residence) in Edinburg, Illinois served as the perfect location for students to participate in hands-on activities and experiments.
All activities were interactive and included: "Predator & Prey", taught by Melissa McMillan, Christian County Farm Bureau, "Recycle Dash", taught by Jenny Rossi, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, "Trees & Pollinators" taught by Barb Grabner-Kerns with Trees Forever, "Mammals of Illinois", taught by Dave Shiley, University of Illinois Extension Educator, "Wetlands", taught by Andrew Holsinger, University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, "Conservation Jeopardy", taught by members of the Taylorville High School FFA, and "Insect Mouthparts" and "Metamorphosis Relay", taught by Christian County Master Gardeners. In Christian County, Conservation Day was organized by University of Illinois Extension Unit 18, under the leadership of Gary Letterly, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship.
In Macoupin county, the event was held April 28-May 1, with area schools coming on different days and was held at Beaver Dam State Park, with over 300 students participating. Rhonda Koehne, with Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District, organized the event, with assistance from Connie Niemann, Program Coordinator, Agricultural Literacy for Extension in Macoupin County, and Andrew Holsinger, Extension Horticulture Educator.
See more photos HERE http://web.extension.illinois.edu/board/index.cfm?boardID=114.
A conversation with Gary Letterly:
What is Conservation Day?
"Conservation Day is an Environmental stewardship day, with stewardship being a demonstration of responsibility that you are either assigned or assume. We are trying to convey to the youth that there are conservation efforts they can take part in and be a part of right now, and that they can carry the torch for conservation efforts that continues on into adulthood, whether it is through working in production agriculture, or in their community and everyday life.
From recycling to volunteering in their parks and recreational spaces, it is hoped that this program will give children an appreciation for all the various elements of conservation, and help them to be good stewards of the land for many years to come."
University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 Community and Economic Development and Macoupin County 4-H teamed up with the Macoupin County Board and the Montgomery County Board to provide hands-on, close-up learning about local government. Youth had the opportunity to meet a number of countywide officers to discuss what their roles and responsibilities are within county government.
The day also included a community service project where the students and county officials participated in community beatification efforts. In Macoupin County they spread mulch and planted shrubs on the courthouse grounds, and in Montgomery County they planted new scrubs at the Sheriff's office. The participants were assisted by Master Gardeners and Andrew Holsinger, Horticulture Extension Educator.
Participants and officials also enjoyed a working dinner, where students learned about county government and discussed issues affecting the community. The students then attended the July county board meetings at there perspective counties.
This is the third year the Board Shadowing event has taken place in Macoupin County, and the first time for Montgomery County. This year's event was coordinated by Chris Casey, Community and Economic Development Extension Educator, Shelby Gray, Andrew Holsinger, and Danielle Cole The program was free to youth, and each participant also received a t-shirt.
Planning is always the most important strategy in gardening. Deciding what to grow can be challenging in itself. Starting with vegetables that are easier to grow can add to the confidence of a beginning gardener.
Also before getting started, think about how much produce you are going to need. Is the garden just for you, or do you intend to share with your friends and family?
The location of your garden is also very important. You must be sure to have
adequate sunlight, which for most vegetables is at least 6 hours a day. Plants will need to be watered not only after establishment, but also throughout the season. Close proximity to a water source definitely aids in the task of watering.
There are many different types or styles of gardens. From the traditional (planted in rows) to the vertical (planted upwards), the choice is yours. Traditional gardens should be kept to a minimum size for beginners and expanded with experience. With vertical gardening the sky is the limit.
Be cautious in the amount of maintenance involved. With a raised bed garden you should be able to reach the middle. Do not make the raised bed more than 4 to 5 feet wide.
Make the most of your space when planting. Be sure to plant productive
vegetables when cultivating a small space. When dealing with a medium space, you can plant your favorites while keeping productivity a high priority. With a large space you can plant anything, but always prioritize.
A few minutes planning can save you hours of labor, so go ahead and get started in the garden, because with a good plan you can work smarter, not harder.
8 Tips For An EASY Garden:
Starting a garden can seem like a daunting task, & beginners often make mistakes that cause a fun an rewarding experience to turn into a back breaking one. Following a few simple tips when planning your garden can mean the difference between success and failure.
1. Planning is the MOST IMPORTANT strategy in gardening.
2. Start with easy to grow vegetables, especially if you are a beginner.
3. Think about how much produce you are going to need.
4. Choose a location for your garden that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
5. Place your garden close to a source of water.
6. Gardens should be kept to a minimum size for beginners, and expanded with experience.
7. Raised beds can make maintenance easier, but be sure you can easily reach the middle of the bed, or not more than 4-5 ft wide.
8. Have room for just a small garden? Then be sure to plant highly productive vegetables when cultivating a small space.
Summer is the perfect time to eat fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden! Not only are you getting that needed vitamin D from gardening, but also the benefit of biting into nutritiously fresh fruits and vegetables grown in a home garden.
If gardening isn't appealing, an alternative way to get fresh, locally grown food is by visiting a local farmers market. One great way to utilize fresh tomatoes and peppers is making salsa. Salsa is a splendid summer snack served with crackers or tortilla chips. Salsa can also serve as an ingredient in soups, salads, pastas, or a condiment for tacos, burgers, and chicken. Extra salsa can be preserved by canning, so homemade salsa can be enjoyed all year round.
Homegrown vegetables can also be utilized by grilling them alongside burgers on those hot summer days. Create healthy vegetable kabobs, and include the whole family on picking out vegetables and lining them on the skewers. Vegetable kabobs are a creative way to eat vegetables and make for an easy clean up.
The hot weather often means indulging in a favorite summer dessert. Fruit works well for curbing that sweet tooth, and getting additional fiber and other nutrients the body craves. Popsicles are a refreshing summer treat and can easily be made at home using fresh picked garden fruit and Greek yogurt. Remember to wash all fruits and vegetables prior to use to remove excessive dirt or other contaminates. Fruit popsicles are kid friendly and make for a quick summer snack, plus the Greek yogurt contains probiotics that help increase the good bacteria in the stomach keeping the digestive tract healthy.
Fruits and vegetables are important to the everyday diet and add texture, color and excitement to a meal. Gardening is an excellent way to stay active; although, it's important to stay hydrated in the hot sun and wear sunblock to protect the skin. Not only is gardening a good form of exercise, but a money saver, has shown to improve mood, and a great family orientated activity!
This time of year is a great opportunity to change up meals to include fresh spinach, basil, pesto, or even a less common plant such as arugula.
· Arugula is also known as the "garden rocket" because of how fast it grows, and its ability to flourish in hot temperatures.
· This annual plant is packed full of vitamin A, C and K, potassium, iron, copper, and is often substituted for spinach in salads.
· Arugula has an aromatic and peppery taste, and pairs well with sour flavors such as lemon, vinaigrette, or sundried tomatoes.
· Other than salads, arugula can also be used in pastas, soup, on pizza, or on sandwiches as a substitute for lettuce.
Macoupin County is know as the "Birthplace of 4-H in Illinois", but now it has yet another "first" distinction, it was the site of the first ever state-wide Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports Shoot on May 31 at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill.
The competition was the first state contest held since the Shooting Sports program began in Illinois in 2009. Dan Dawson, state Extension specialist, said the meet followed the strict guidelines established by the National 4-H Shooting Sports program.
Shooting Sports is one of the fastest growing project areas for Illinois 4-H and includes small bore rifle, air rifle, shotgun, compound bow archery, and recurve bow archery.
counties had teams entered in all three divisions of shotgun, archery and
rifle, but it was Christian County who
accumulated the most points of those four counties to take home the traveling trophy.
SHOTGUN — The top 10 finishers in the shotgun division included Michael Whitacre of Edgar County, second; Cody VanPelt of Fulton County, third; Ian Sherer of Edgar County, fourth; Savanah Summerfield of Edwards County, fifth; Alex Lindemann of Grundy County, sixth; Collin Sherer of Edgar County, seventh; Alex Moore of Sangamon County, eighth; Ryan McFarlin of Montgomery County, ninth; and Adam Volstorf of Edgar County, tenth.
RIFLE — The top 10 rifle winners included Dustin Rickert of LaSalle County, second; J.C. Campbell of Henderson, third; Caleb Olson of Henderson County, fourth; Sydney Pitts of Richland County, fifth; Schuyler Parks of LaSalle County, sixth; Cally Diss of LaSalle, seventh; Kendall Snook of LaSalle County, eighth; Alex Ramsoondar of Christian County, ninth; and Rachel Roberts of Edwards County, tenth.
LaSalle County accumulated the most points to take the rifle team trophy award.
ARCHERY — Archery contestants accumulated points in two events, traditional round targets and 30 three-dimensional targets. Kyle Lex of Sangamon County overpowered the competition earning first place.
There were 38 individual participants in compound archery, and Sangamon County claimed the team trophy. No recurve bow participant completed the entire event.
To add to the day's festivities, teams decorated tents. The team from Macoupin County 4-H won the prize for the best decorations.
4-H in Christian, Jersey, Macoupin & Montgomery Counties are hosting a series of Science and Robotic camps this summer. The camps allow students to have hands-on learning, as well as use their creativity and imagination.
S.T.E.M subjects (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) are more important than ever for our future workforce. 4-H offers young people an opportunity to expand their knowledge, at a time when many schools are having to cut programs because of tightening budgets.
Charlotte Schuricht, local program coordinator of the Montgomery County Agriculture Literacy Program, visited the Farmersville-Waggoner and Doyle Public Libraries in July, and brought hands-on activities paired with a great book to the afternoon programs.
Schuricht read the "The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen" by Diana Prichard and Heather Knopf. This is a rib-tickling tale of a young boy faced with a very
unusual breakfast guest. Then, thanks to a donation from the Montgomery County Farm Bureau Women's Committee, a copy of the book was presented to the librarian for the library.
During the afternoon, attendees made ice cream in-a-bag (with chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and sprinkles available as toppings), created a 3-D paper cow, and a "chicken" that "clucked" and a pink pig with a water bottle body. The activities provided a fun-filled program for the boys and girls attending.
This summer program was developed by Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom, and complements the 2014 iREAD Sumer Reading Program, Paws to Read.
Four different work stations were set-up at the library for the projects. Joining her were Extension extra help Rachel Fikan, along with Phyllis Huber, Diane Murphy and Jean Anderson of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau Women's Committee.
Kids In The Kitchen gives kids the chance to make their own nutritious meals and get excited about healthy foods. The three day program was offered in Kincaid, Taylorville, Morrisonville and Pana to over 100 youth. Kids not only learned how to prepare some delicious and nutritious meals, but also learned hand washing, food and kitchen safety, eating whole grains, low fat dairy and how to add more fruits and vegetables to their meals.
A Recipe for SUCCESS:
1. Take one 100% eligible School district - Kincaid, IL
2. Add a community organization - Kincaid American Legion & Auxiliary
3. Send fliers home from school
4. Have a 4 to 1 youth to volunteer ratio
5. Present Kids in the Kitchen program & materials with the help of adult and teen volunteers
6. Complete the class with 23 graduates
7. Enjoy the satisfied look of accomplishment on a child's face when THEY find their place in the kitchen!
what one mother had to say about the program:
"My son who never liked tacos came home last night and wanted to fix tacos for supper, and he DID! But best of all, was the pile of vegetables he consumed after attending Kids In the Kitchen and making Taco's, Ole' Frijole's dip and Farmer's Market Salsa. I really could not get him to eat vegetables before! Thank you so much!"