On November 1, 2010 Lisa Fulkerson became the new County Extension Director for Unit #10, which encompasses Henderson, Knox, McDonough and Warren Counties. Currently she has sole responsibility of the Knox and McDonough offices and will be working with staff in Henderson and Warren to transition the responsibilities there prior to the official July 1, 2011 reorganization deadline. Lisa has been serving as the County Extension Director in McDonough County for the past 9 years. Tony Franklin, former Knox County Extension Director has been reassigned to the Rock Island office.
On November 11, 2010 Dr. Bob Hoeft, Director of Extension announced the selection of educators for Unit #10. Tessa Hobbs-Curley will be the Youth Development Educator. Tessa is currently serving in that same capacity in McDonough County. Kyle Cecil will be the Small Farms/Local Foods Educator. Kyle is currently serving the Knox County Unit as an educator in the area of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management. Carrie McKillip, Community and Economic Development Educator for the Knox County Unit will continue to serve the same role for Unit #10. Cheryl Geitner who is currently the Youth Development/Family Life Educator for Knox County will be serving the Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark Counties unit as a Youth Development Educator. Kari Houle, Horticulture Educator for Knox County left Extension on December 31, 2010. Although some transitioning will be required and educators will begin learning about the new communities they will serve, they will not formally begin their new positions until July 1, 2011.
The unit does have a full time educator position that remained opened. There were 24 educator positions left open around the state and campus has indicated that those will re-opened this spring. The position will most likely be advertised as two half time positions. One will be horticulture and the other will be in the family consumer science program area.
Dr. Hoeft has also accepted the recommendation of West Central Regional Director, Ryan Hobson concerning office locations. Offices in Knox and McDonough will remain open full time. Tessa and Lisa will maintain the McDonough County office as their primary office location and Kyle and Carrie will remain in Knox. Once decisions are made concerning civil service staff and other academic staff hiring is completed the office hours for Henderson and Warren will be announced. However it is the intent that offices will still remain in those counties at their present locations.
We will do our best to keep you informed as to the changes that are happening, however if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call and speak with Lisa Fulkerson. We know that change is not always easy and we do anticipate that there will be a few bumps in the road along this journey. All we can do is to continue to communicate and try to work through each issue as it comes along.
Extension staff are scaling up efforts at providing information and technical assistance for the small acreage landowner and market gardeners in support of the development of local food systems. Local food systems offer social, environmental and economic benefits. Increasingly, consumers are demanding locally grown food and growers are looking for new markets. In order to meet the demand for locally and regionally grown food and move significant quantities of this food into markets such as direct to consumer, restaurants, mainstream grocery stores and institutions, local food systems need to be scaled up or expanded from sales of small quantities of product to possibly wholesale transactions. The Knox Extension staff supports growers by providing local counseling, referrals and other technical assistance to these agricultural entrepreneurs.
Research shows that eating meals together as a family is a very positive thing. Youth of families who dine together often get better grades in school. Family meal time is a great time to talk about the day. Taking time to let each family member express feelings about their day keeps communication open. In families that communicate openly youth are less likely to get involved with negative activities.
Nutrition is another area to consider. Parents and other adult family members are a youth's role model for adequate nutrition. Sitting down as a family shows that food is important for good health. More importantly a balanced diet is key to remaining healthy throughout life. The SNAP-ED Program at University of Illinois Extension promotes family meal time. Our staff teaches the importance of dining together at schools, housing sites, Department of Human Services and other locations. Stop by our office to receive your free copy of Family Meal Time recipes to make and enjoy together.
The Illinois 4-H Horse Project state winners in Horse Bowl, Hippology, Judging, and Speech displayed their knowledge of equine subject matter by earning honors in two National Contests. The Illinois 4-H'ers competed at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, OH on October 12-13 and at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup on November 6 as part of the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.
Knox County 4-H member, Amber Schlomer, Galesburg, participated in the judging portion of the contests. The team was sixth place in the reasons division and ninth in performance, halter and overall.
The Hippology team also did well being in the top ten nationally with Makaela Mason, Knox County Power Clovers, participating and was just out of the top ten individually at the stations. At Eastern Nationals, Makaela finished seventh as an individual and overall the team placed seventh.
The 4-H youth received assistance from the Knox County Extension Education Foundation and the Illinois 4-H Foundation.
Three Knox County 4-H teams successfully competed at the Peoria FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics tournaments in December. Two of the teams were selected for the state tournament in January: GalesBorgs and Robo π. The teams have been preparing for the competition since the Body Forward challenge was released by FIRST LEGO League in early September.
The Robo π competed well to take the overall first place prize in their tournament and received the Champions Award, the most prestigious award. The award celebrates the ultimate success of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) mission and FLL Core Values.
The GalesBorgs were a rookie team with all new members and new coaches. They won first place with their research challenge project presentation and were selected to present to the 47 teams in attendance at the regional tournament. They received fourth place overall in their tournament.
Teams are judged on four main areas:
Robot Performance – Program a robot to run on a mat to complete programmed missions in 2 1/2 minute matches. Points are scored for each mission.
Technical Interview – A panel of judges ask about the robot and its programming.
Project Interview – Conduct a 5-minute project presentation in front of a panel of judges and answer questions about your research.
Teamwork Interview – Utilize teamwork and Gracious Professionalism. The team is asked to do a fun teamwork activity for a panel of judges and answer questions about their season.
The team competed at the state tournament in Chicago in January where they learned more about the potential of robotics. Robotics is a program initiative with the Illinois 4-H Youth Development program focusing on science, engineering and technology. The 4-H teams in Knox County are possible with sponsorship from Caterpillar, Inc. and volunteer coaches.
University of Illinois Extension Knox County Unit partnered with the Knoxville City Council's Economic Development Committee to create and distribute a community wide survey during the summer of 2010. The survey was sent to every household in Knoxville, and the response was overwhelming. Nearly 40% of the surveys were returned, providing the city a wealth of information regarding the community's opinions.
The results of the survey were analyzed and compiled into a final report, including both data and recommendations for the community. The report can be viewed on the City of Knoxville's web site, or hard copies are available at both City Hall and the Knoxville Public Library. The survey results were also shared with the community at a public meeting held in late October. Earl Bricker and Carrie McKillip, University of Illinois Community and Economic Development Educators, presented the results to nearly 50 residents who attended. "One thing is certain," said McKillip, "Knoxville residents are very interested in sharing their opinion with the City Council." In addition to the multiple choice questions, residents wrote out responses to open ended questions, which accounted for nearly 65 pages of comments, before the responses were summarized.
As a direct result of the survey, the committee has begun a planning and action process to tackle issues of 1) Economic Development/Main Street revitalization; 2) Aging, Health, and Social Service; 3) Community and School Partnership; and 4) Community Betterment/Recreation/ Youth Involvement. Chairs for each team have been identified, and the teams will meet monthly at the Mable Woolsey Elementary school in Knoxville. For more information or to participate in the process, please contact Carrie McKillip, University of Illinois Extension, (309)342-5108.
If you ask grade school students in Knox County about the Food Guide Pyramid many of them will be able to tell you what it means. Each month SNAP-ED Staff from University of Illinois Extension teach lessons in many area schools teaching about the food groups. The focus at the beginning of the school year is hand washing. Hand washing is important for the purpose of preparing food safely. We find that some of the students do cook for their families on a regular basis.
Basic food identification and preparation is taught using the Food Guide Pyramid. The students enjoy make and eating healthy snacks and taking home the recipes to share with their families. In many classes our recipes get a 100% approval rating on taste. These recipes incorporated whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat & beans. Many of the recipes are economical and made with ingredients the students would have at home. Teachers and students have commented that they have changed their eating habits, for the better, because of the SNAP-ED Program. That is the progress that we strive for!
Extension staff are serving as facilitators in cooperation with the Illinois State Water Survey's RISK MAP project. The RISK MAP program assists communities in addressing gaps in flood hazard data to form a solid foundation for risk assessment, floodplain management, and actuarial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In addition, the project is meant ensure that a measurable increase of the public's awareness and understanding of risk results in a measurable reduction of current and future vulnerability. Extension staff were sought to lead the facilitation of community discussions whereby local individuals help to identify gaps in flood hazard data. The data needs are then addressed by cooperating partners.
In the second year of offering 4-H shooting sports in Knox County, the program continues to grow. Nearly 50 youth plan to participate this year with Knox County having one county coordinator and five 4-H certified instructors in archery, rifle and shot gun. Donations have been sought by the local 4-H shooting sports committee and most recently the program received donations from Pheasants Forever and the Long Spurs Wild Turkey Federation chapter. The mission of the program is through positive youth development, teach youth safe practices and fundamentals for life skills (decision making, critical thinking, self discipline, goal setting, teamwork, safety, and problem solving) through shooting sports.
Livestock facilities with over 300 animal units (for example: 750 finishing hogs, 214 dairy cows, or 300 beef feeders) are required to have at least one person certified in waste management handling. This person is expected to be familiar with the facility's waste management handling system. University of Illinois Extension is subcontractor to the Illinois Department of Agriculture to provide the workshop training and materials and workshop instruction. Area producers attended a training and testing session at the Galesburg office in January to fulfill their requirements for certification.