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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dean's Column (Nov. 2015)

Dear Extension Retirees,

It was a pleasure to see so many of you this summer during our annual retiree luncheons. I am always inspired by how engaged Extension retirees are in their “retirement.” Volunteering, traveling, babysitting, gardening …you do make it hard for the rest of us to return to the office!

In October, I did one of my favorite duties as dean, honoring our employees and friends with the distinguished dean’s awards at the annual program conference. It is an honor to recognize the work, dedication and impact of our colleagues and friends.

Please join me in congratulating the award winners! You can learn more about the 2015 award winners on our website.

Steve Olson
, executive director of four poultry-related groups: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Chicken and Egg Council of Minnesota and the Midwest Poultry Federation.

Dr. Stephen Kells
, Extension entomologist

Bruce Schwartau
, Extension educator, Community Vitality

David Werner
, chief financial officer

Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Team
, Abdimalik Mohamed, Mohamed Farah, Grace Gbolo, Krista Gustafson, Barbara Kapala, Dau Mohamed, Jessica Russo, Jennifer Skuza, Tim Sheldon, Anthony Walker and Hui-Hui Wang.

Farm Bill Education Team
, David Bau, Betty Berning, Bob Craven, Gary Hachfeld, Eliza Herman, Rob Holcomb, Kevin Klair, Curtis Mahnken, Dale Nordquist, Kent Olson, Jim Paulson, Jim Salfer and Allison Sandve.

Bev Durgan

2015 Extension retiree luncheons with the Dean

Extension is very fortunate to have you, our vital and active network of retirees who continue to be strong advocates, partners and volunteers. During the summer of 2015, Dean Bev Durgan hosted luncheons and was joined by 109 staff and retirees in three locations: Owatonna, Roseville and Fergus Falls. These luncheons are a great opportunity for our retirees to gather with old colleagues, share stories and learn about current initiatives in Extension.
Extension retirees at a luncheon

Extension retirees at a luncheon

Extension retirees at a luncheon

Jane Johnson
Development Director

Professional development grants available to retirees

Grants to help retirees pursuing projects related to their scholarship have been announced by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Provost and University of Minnesota Retirees Association. The deadline for proposal submission is December 15, 2015. All faculty members, professional and administrative, and civil service retirees from the Twin Cities and coordinate campuses of the University are eligible to apply for the grants (up to $5,000). The guidelines for applying were sent to UMRA members via e-mail and are available at 2015-rfgp.pdf. For more information, visit the U of M Retiree Association website.

Extension leadership changes

Holli Arp has been appointed program leader for leadership and civic engagement (LCE) in the Extension Center for Community Vitality. Within Extension, she has been regional director since 2004; county Extension director, 2002-2003; and Extension educator, 2000-2001. She began her program leader duties on Sept. 15 and her office will be in the Worthington Regional Office.

Jill Eck joined Extension as the regional director for the Extension Regional Office in Andover. Jill has over 15 years of experience in post-secondary educational administration and supervision. Most recently, she served as director of student support with the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Kia Harries began her appointment as Extension regional director in the southwest on October 19. Kia has 24 years of professional experience with Extension, most recently as regional Extension educator, 4-H youth development. Before that position, Kia worked as an Extension educator in Jackson and Martin counties.

Mary Jo Katras began her appointment as the new Family Development resiliency program leader on July 27. She has been a statewide family resiliency Extension educator and associate professor since 2012. She lectures in the University of Minnesota Department of Family Social Science, teaching family policy, family economics and personal finance.

Dr. Ingrid Schneider stepped down from her position as director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center effective October 30, to work full-time in her faculty teaching and research position in the University’s Department of Forest Resources. Under her leadership, the programs and research of the Tourism Center have served the industry and communities well.

Cynthia Messer, tourism specialist with the Tourism Center, has agreed to serve as interim director of the Tourism Center. Cynthia has led the Center’s programming in customer service and community tourism development for more than 22 years

Minnesota 4-H Foundation update

In June, Cara Miller left her position as executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and Jane Johnson, Extension’s chief development officer, agreed to serve as interim executive director for the 4-H Foundation, as well as continuing her work on major gifts for Extension.

During this interim time, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation Board and Extension leadership are reviewing and assessing the needs of the Foundation and Extension. There have been many changes since we last hired an executive director in 2003. Specifically:
  • Extension has created a development office and is actively growing our Extension-wide philanthropic work.
  • The University of Minnesota Foundation has shifted focus from annual giving to major gifts, and they are asking colleges to do the same.
  • The Minnesota 4-H Foundation executive director and staff are University of Minnesota Extension employees, and funded to a large extent by Extension.
  • The University is preparing for a major fundraising campaign. Extension and 4-H will be actively involved in the campaign.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation board has identified a subcommittee that is looking at several important questions:
  • How can we be most efficient?
  • How do we grow our major gifts?
  • How do we ensure that the 4-H and Extension development efforts are coordinated?
  • How can we better align the Minnesota 4-H Foundation with the University of Minnesota Foundation resources?
I will be working closely with the board and subcommittee over the coming months to ensure that the generous gifts of our donors have the greatest positive impact on our programs, education and research. If you would like to share your ideas, please feel free to contact me or Jane Johnson.

Bev Durgan

Give to the Max Day

Give to the Max Day, Minnesota's annual giving extravaganza, is November 12. By using the University’s site, know that 100% of your gift will go to support the program of your choice. There are no administrative fees!

If you have questions about Give to the Max, or about giving any time throughout the year, contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director and interim executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

To learn more about how gifts to Extension research and education can make a difference in Minnesota, visit the Donate to Extension website.

The 2016 Garden Calendars are now available

The 2016 Minnesota Gardening Calendar is now available! View the calendar cover and details at the. The retail price is $14.99.

The calendar highlights research-based information on how to keep soil healthy, grow vegetables in all Minnesota hardiness zones and compost all year to feed your garden. A kitchen compost bucket sticker is included to remind you about what goes in, and what stays out.

Ordering options:
  1. Online at
  2. By phone: 612-625-3276
  3. Fax a purchase order to 612-624-6999

Source magazine winter issue coming soon

Watch your mail in early December for Source magazine. The upcoming issue will be packed full of stories highlighting current Extension research. As always, Source will be available online and sent directly to your email inbox so you can help share the stories!

Awards and Accomplishments (Nov. 2015)

William J. Angell, professor and Extension specialist, housing, has been elected 2016 vice-president of Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR).

Andrew Doherty, SNAP-Ed educator, was recently recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as an Everyday Hunger Hero.

Sara Langworthy, Extension educator in family development, recently released a new book by Redleaf Press, Bridging the Relationship Gap: Connecting with Children Facing Adversity.

Krishona Martinson, equine Extension specialist, was elected to the board of directors of the Equine Science Society (ESS). Krishona will serve a six-year term.

Carl Rosen was selected as a 2015 American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Fellow Award recipient.

Kate Walker, Extension specialist in youth development, co-authored a book Dilemmas in Youth Work and Youth Development Practice.

Welcome new retirees (Nov. 2015)

Kim Boyce’s 26-year career with Extension included a range of leadership responsibilities— regional director in the central region and educator in Ramsey and Hennepin counties, co-chair of the Center for Community Vitality and professor in leadership and civic engagement. Kim retired on Aug. 26.

Trudy Dunham, Extension research fellow and project evaluator for 4-H youth development programs, retired on Aug. 31 after a 23-year career. Her pioneering work in embracing technology, youth development online collaboration and database development contributed to building strong programs with evaluation components.

Maggie Fuller, Crow Wing County Extension support staff, retired July 9. As a team member she provided support to 4-H, nutrition, water resources and horticulture programs. She also created processes and streamlined office methods.

Thomas Halbach, Extension educator and professor in the department of soil, water and climate, completed his 28-year career on June 30. His research and contributions focused on the beneficial use of waste materials in agriculture, forestry and horticulture.

Betsy Leverty retired Aug. 7 after serving as the finance professional for the Center for Family Development since 2006. She was a key resource for budget oversight, contract management and problem solving on accounting matters affecting the center.

Howard Person, Extension educator, agriculture, food and natural resources in Pennington, Polk and Marshall counties, will conclude his 37-year career in November. His impact and leadership included programs in crops and livestock, farm business management, youth development and Master Gardeners.

Elizabeth Pukenis, finance professional, Extension finance & planning, retired Oct. 2. She managed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) grants process, providing many fiscal improvements.

Barbara Radke, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement, retired Sept. 30 after an 18-year Extension career. She led the development of a research-informed civic engagement model focusing on water quality through civic engagement with state and local agencies and citizens.

In Memoriam (Nov. 2015)

Marian Larson, who joined 4-H as a Marshall County farm girl and grew to become a statewide leader of the organization, passed away on Sept. 1, age 95. Her 35-year Extension career encompassed service as a 4-H agent in Red Lake County, home agent in McLeod County and youth development appointments in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Retirees in retirement - sharing your story

Colleen Gengler, former family relations educator, writes: “I have become an author! My sisters and I have written a book of family stories and farm memories called ‘Under Minnesota Skies.’ There are some parts about me discovering Extension and 4-H.” She reports that she has used many of her Extension skills in writing this book and is now looking at publishing options.

Roger Wilkowske, former south central Minnesota water quality educator, is serving on the board of the Community Cathedral Cafe in Faribault, which serves 140 low-income/food-insufficient people. He delivers Hot Meals on Wheels twice weekly, and helps an immigrant family from Sudan navigate assistance programs and the citizenship process. He also coordinates a church effort with 10 teams who keep in touch with 800 families. “I just want to use the talents the Good Lord has given me to ‘improve the quality of life’ for people around us like I did in Extension and like current Extension staff continue to do,” he says.

Mel Baughman, forester and former forestry program leader, volunteers for the National Park Service by building and maintaining portions of the North Country Trail in Wisconsin and assisting with public educational events about the Namakagon River. He also periodically teaches classes on trail design and consults in that field, serves on his county's search and rescue team, and recently volunteered with the International Paralympics Nordic Skiing World Championship. “I'm still engaged in adventure and international travel and give lectures on my trips,” he says.

Rod Hamer, former director of field operations, supports the the American Red Cross as a volunteer.

If you have news or a story to share with fellow Extension retirees, please share the news by completing this Google Form or send an email to Gwen Gmeinder at We hope to hear from many of you. Don’t be shy—tell us about your activities and successes!

Media Moment (Nov. 2015)

Glyndon Farms family boosts 4-H STEM with memorial fund

WDAY-6 (ABC) reporter Kevin Wallevand interviewed 4-H youth and family members/owners of Glyndon Farms Company. The story is told in this inspiring video news clip.

The family established the Donald W. Grant Fund in memory of their family member who had a passion for science. Their purpose is to support more 4-H programming in Clay County with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects such as aquatic robotics.

To make a gift, contact Jane Johnson, executive director of development, or donate online.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dean's Column (July 2015)

Dear Extension retirees,

In June, 12 teams of 4-H youth from nine counties spent three days on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus for the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge. The new program is part of an effort to excite youth about studying agriculture and pursuing agriculture-related careers by fostering learning opportunities and rewarding youth with college scholarships.

The young people worked with mentors and experts to tackle tough issues, including food waste, topsoil conservation and water quality. The top three teams were awarded college scholarships for the research they presented on biofuels (Le Sueur County), insects as food sources (Washington County) and loss of feed in livestock feeders (Meeker County). Judges and sponsors for the challenge included leaders in Minnesota agriculture and agribusiness. You can read more about the teams that won scholarships on Extension’s news website.

The experience culminated with a two-day event that included a judging event, showcase fair, awards celebration, campus tours, and career networking and workshops. Extension plans to grow this program and reach more youth in the coming years, with help from supporters who can make a gift through the Minnesota 4-H Foundation. Gifts also provide scholarships to many other deserving 4-H youth (see the 2015 scholarship winners list).

To watch videos about some of the participating teams and learn more, visit the 4-H Science of Agriculture website.

Bev Durgan

Connect at a summer Extension retiree luncheon (2015)

I enjoyed seeing several of you at the retiree luncheon held on June 17 in Owatonna. It’s always great to learn what you are doing and share the news of Extension. There are two more summer luncheons coming up. I hope the rest of you can make it to one of them!

Twin Cities luncheon, Wednesday, July 29, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville

Central/NW Minnesota luncheon, Monday, Aug. 3, 12-2 p.m., Best Western The Falls Inn/Bigwood Event Center, 925 Western Avenue, Fergus Falls

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will be attending.

Bev Durgan

See Extension at the Minnesota State Fair, Aug. 27-Sept. 7

If you go to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together," be sure to see Extension colleagues, volunteers and participants.

4-H building & barns
See the 4-H State Fair website, or use the free "4-H at the Minnesota State Fair" app for event schedules, Arts-In performance times, results, announcements and maps. Find the 2015 version by visiting the 4-H State Fair website in mid-August.
  • More than 6,000 4-H exhibits and performing arts shows feature the knowledge and skills 4-H'ers have acquired throughout the year. About 2,200 "blue ribbon" kids exhibit livestock in the animal barns.
  • Exciting scientific activities to try in the 4-H building include drones used in agriculture and Rube Goldberg machines. Watch "Chef for a Day" cooking presentations, offered twice daily.
  • Livestock highlights include a 4-H beef exhibit in the Warner Coliseum on Friday, Aug. 28, and the Purple Ribbon auction in the Ag Star arena on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Agriculture-Horticulture building
  • Master Gardener volunteers will answer gardening questions each day, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Watch gardening presentations throughout the day on The Dirt Stage.
  • The Honey Bees program team, including Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will show off a "bee beard" on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 1 p.m.
Eco Experience building
  • Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator, will present "Natural foods and decoratives from the woods or backyard" on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the Food Stage.
DNR building
  • Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator, will present "Woody invasive species: ID and control" on the DNR stage on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m.
  • Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist, will discuss "Insect Pests of Gardens and Yards" on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 11 a.m.
  • Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will discuss "Honey bees, beekeeping and research" on the DNR stage on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 3 p.m.
  • Master Naturalists will be available each day in the wildlife wing to answer questions about wildlife in Minnesota.
Minnesota Public Radio
  • Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist, will appear on MPR's Daily Circuit. MPR broadcasts from the corner of Judson and Nelson. Date and time to be announced.
  • Julie Weisenhorn, Extension horticulturist, and Sam Bauer, Extension turfgrass educator, will be on "Smart Gardens" with host Denny Long on Saturday, Aug. 29. Mary Meyer, Extension horticulturist, and Erik Watkins, turfgrass researcher, will be on the show on Saturday, Sept. 5. Times to be announced.
For a complete schedule, map of University events that will be taking place at the fair (and a new app coming soon!), see U at the State Fair in mid-August.

Leading the way in financial recovery after disaster

Natural disasters wreak havoc on families, and are increasing in frequency. It takes time for survivors to recover emotionally and financially. That's why educators from the Center for Family Development partnered with North Dakota University Extension Service to develop a series of videos entitled "Financial Recovery After Disaster" for disaster professionals and volunteers. Adapted from the disaster recovery toolkit, the videos outline issues that survivors need to address immediately after a disaster occurs. These issues include understanding and finding help for the financial implications, choosing from disaster assistance options, and more. The videos were made possible through a Smith-Lever Special Needs Program grant (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture). Watch the videos or find out more about this project at

New website launched for families

The Extension Center for Family Development has launched a new section of their website. Live Healthy, Live Well is a collection of tools and resources developed by Extension professionals that help Minnesota families make smarter choices about their bodies, homes, children, and futures. From dealing with stress, to eating smarter or developing a health care directive, Live Healthy, Live Well provides quality information in one easy-to-navigate place. Visit the new website at

Source magazine

The Spring-Summer issue of Source magazine is live on the Extension website. This issue of Source showcases creative partnerships and ways of engaging with donors to make an even bigger difference for Minnesota and beyond.
  • Teaching in the garden highlights positive outcomes of Extension's Master Gardener volunteer program that extend well beyond the growing season.
  • Red River Valley Connections tells the story of a top agricultural region and the collaboration with North Dakota State University Extension that keeps the region healthy.
  • 4-H and the Science of Agriculture Challenge shows how Extension is leading the first program of its kind in the country to ignite excitement about agriculture, increase agricultural science literacy and expand the pipeline of youth pursuing agriculture-related careers.
Additional stories introduce the 4-H Alumni & Friends community, share news about Extension's work with aquatic invasive species, explain the value of farm bill education and provide an update on nutrition programming.

How to be phish-proof

A recent cybersecurity “phishing” incident may have exposed the personal information of current and former Federal employees. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been sending email notifications to those potentially impacted. Email notices will be sent from about services being provided at no cost to individuals impacted by the incident, including credit report access, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and recovery services. Additional information is available at

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Here are four steps to protect yourself:
  1. Check the grammar. A lot of phishing emails are written to try to sound professional and official, but make sloppy grammatical mistakes.
  2. Check the sender. Modern phishing emails are often from someone you know (because that person responded to a phishing email with their ID and password). But would you expect the person to email you about the subject of the email?
  3. Don’t be fooled by the official look. Scammers can cut and paste copyright statements, logos, etc.
  4. Hover over the link. The phishing email may provide a link to reset your password, etc. If you hover your mouse (don't click!) over any link in your email, you should see (usually at the bottom of the window) where the link is going to take you.

Celebrate Food and Ag Day

The 3rd annual Celebrate Ag and Food Day will take place at the U of M Gopher Football game vs. Kent State on Sept. 19. Kickoff is at 11 am. Discounted tickets are available for the game with the promo code AFD2015 on the Gopher Athletics website.

4-H Foundation leadership change

Cara Miller, executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation since May 2004, has resigned her position. She has accepted a position as president of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area and has relocated to Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa. Her last day was June 23.

Jane Johnson, Extension’s chief development officer, is serving as interim executive director for the 4-H Foundation, as well as continuing her work on major gifts for Extension. Jane started with Extension in Sept. 2012 as development director. With 29 years of experience in fund development and leadership in nonprofit management, she has worked for organizations such as the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, The University of Minnesota Foundation and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Two new endowment funds honor Extension retirees

Extension is raising funds for two endowments through the 4-H Foundation in honor of two longtime Extension retirees and their work with 4-H.

The John “Jack” Morris Livestock Judging Fund
Jack’s career with Extension began in 1965 in Pope County, working as an agricultural educator. Jack’s responsibilities included everything from crop and livestock production to horticulture. In addition, Jack loved working with the youth in 4-H livestock judging teams. He worked with over 500 youth in Pope County and 400 at the state level. Five of the judging teams he coached went on to national contests, and two of the five teams placed first in the nation.

The purpose of the new John “Jack” Morris 4-H Livestock Judging Fund is to provide small grants to improve quality and availability of judging programs in counties. New and innovative ways will be looked at to recruit volunteers, increase participation and bring positive attention to 4-H livestock judging.

The Harlan Rosendahl Poultry Endowment Fund
Harlan provided leadership in regional 4-H youth development programs--with Anoka and Douglas Counties in Minnesota, the Extension Regional Office in St. Cloud, and in North Dakota Extension. During his 30+ years with Extension, Harlan came to greatly appreciate the poultry program, the youth and adult volunteers.

The purpose of the Harlan Rosendahl Poultry Endowment is to further the poultry interests for the state of Minnesota through 4-H programs and activities. This fund will support youth participating in state and national poultry contests and provide training and other activities for poultry programs and projects.

For more information or to make a gift to these funds, contact Jane Johnson, Interim Executive Director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation and Development Director, Extension, or 612-626-3717.

Welcome New Retirees (July 2015)

Mary Blickenderfer, Regional educator in Grand Rapids, began her Extension career in 1998 in shoreland and aquatic vegetation sustainability. More recently, she led research on the ecological function and integrity of terrestrial and aquatic systems. She retired on June 30.

Dale Blyth, Extension professor, Director/Associate Dean of the Extension Center for Youth Development, Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Leadership Development, retired on June 10 after 17 years of contributions and leading efforts to bridge research, practice, programs, policy and public understanding for youth development.

Jeffrey Gunderson, Extension educator in fisheries and aquaculture, and Director of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program in Duluth since 2009, retired on April 1 after a 36-year career.

Diana Martenson wore many hats for Extension during her 32 years of service--county agent/director in Traverse County, interim youth development state program leader, program conference chair and organization and program development specialist on the St. Paul campus. She retired May 1.

Julie Miedtke, Extension educator in Itasca County, retired on June 30 after a 14-year career in natural resource management and utilization. She was known for her leadership in Firewise efforts, cooperative invasive species management, ash management and creating a Minnesota Women’s Woodland Owners Network.

Terrance Nennich, Regional Extension educator in Crookston, focused on commercial horticulture and was a leading resource for many specialty crops. His work with high tunnels contributed to extending the growing season and expanding local food initiatives. He retired on April 30 after 30 years of service.

Claudia Parliament, Extension economist, agribusiness and community resources, completed a 30 year career on June 30. She was instrumental in building the Minnesota Council on Economic Education, fostering economic education and bringing financial literacy to national and international students.

Thomas Stinson, Extension economist and Minnesota’s state economist, had a long career of scholarship and service before he retired on June 30. His careful analysis and understanding of macroeconomics has served five governors over 26 years.

Steven Taff, associate professor, Extension and applied economics, retired on June 30; the focus of his 30-year career was land economics, agricultural and environmental policy, which included development of the Minnesota Land Economics online database.

Eric Vogel, Regional Extension educator, youth development, in Willmar, retired on June 30. He provided leadership to 4-H youth development programs, led youth worker training, and utilized distance learning technology in educational design and delivery.

David Werner, Extension chief financial officer, retired on June 12. During his 35-year career, he served in many other positions, including 4-H agent, cluster livestock educator, district director and director of field operations.

In Memoriam (July 2015)

Oscar Uel Blank passed away on Nov. 29 at age 93 in Columbia, MO. He served with agricultural Extension in Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri. After he retired from Minnesota in 1983 he moved to Columbia and founded and presided over “Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity.”

Jerold Tessmer, 64, passed away on April 13. His 27-year Extension career as an agricultural educator included programming for agriculture and environmental issues, assisting farmers with financial management, producing a weekly news column and radio program, advising a statewide farm information line and developing a farm safety day camp for students.

Harlan Rosendahl passed away on June 16. His career spanned more than three decades as an Extension educator in North Dakota and Minnesota, largely in Douglas, Anoka, Sherburne, Stearns, Benton, Wright and Meeker counties. Harlan also dedicated more than 30 years in service to the Minnesota State Fair 4-H Poultry Show Committee and 4-H foreign exchange programs. He was 61.

Volunteering opportunities

The University of Minnesota Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC), started by University retirees in 1987, acts as a referral service for organizations seeking volunteers and for volunteers seeking meaningful and rewarding experiences. Some of the possibilities include community work (greeter assistant at Red Cross Blood Centers); in schools (tutor K-12, remedial or enhanced learning) or at the University (ushers at concerts, greeters at Eastcliff). For more information, go to or call 612-625-8016; the office is located in McNamara Center, Suite 250.

Have you ever thought of using your unique skills in a more global setting? Peace Corps is looking for volunteers. A recruiter for Peace Corps is interested in talking to a group of retirees or setting up an informational video conference. Contact Gwen at to express interest.

Epsilon Sigma Phi

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) offers scholarship and training opportunities, and is a great way to connect with retirees and current Extension staff across all disciplines. Please consider becoming a life member of ESP. If you already are a member, please share your talents on the board. The Minnesota ESP website is being updated. Until it is ready to share, visit the National ESP website. An ESP representative will be ready to provide more information at the luncheons hosted by Dean Bev Durgan this summer. Kelly Kunkel, the current Minnesota chapter president says, “I have certainly gained more from this experience than I have contributed. I am proud to be an Extension educator and to have a ‘home’ where I can connect with my extended Extension family.”

Media Moments (July 2015)

The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge captivated the attention of reporters and their readers. Stories were produced by KSTP, Minnesota Farm Guide, West Central Tribune (about the winning team), and more media outlets. You can always find the latest Extension headlines at In the News.

Send Us Your News (July 2015)

Do you have news or a story you'd like to share with fellow Extension retirees? Are you a part of a group of Extension retirees from a specific program that meets regularly and would like to invite new retirees to join? Share the news! Send submissions to Gwen Gmeinder at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dean's Column (March 2015)

Dear Extension retirees,

I am looking forward to seeing many of you this summer during our retiree luncheons!

To make it more convenient, we have added a third lunch (in southern Minnesota). In addition to the Twin Cities event on July 29, I will also be hosting a lunch in southern Minnesota on June 17 and in central/northwest Minnesota on Aug. 3.

I always enjoy hearing about your latest travels, adventures and projects, and it is a pleasure to share the latest Extension news with you as well.

Please join us for one of the luncheons:

Southern Minnesota Luncheon, Wednesday, June 17, 12-2 p.m., Owatonna Holiday Inn, 2365 43rd St. NW, Owatonna

Twin Cities Luncheon, Wednesday, July 29, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville

Central/NW Minnesota Luncheon, Monday, Aug. 3, 12-2 p.m., Best Western The Falls Inn/Bigwood Event Center, 925 Western Avenue, Fergus Falls

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will be attending.

I look forward to seeing you!

Bev Durgan

Extension at the Capitol

On Feb. 3-4, more than 60 Extension stakeholders and staff participated in the University's annual Legislative Action Day. Members of Extension's statewide advisory committees, representatives from county Extension committees, 4-H youth ambassadors and Extension staff learned more about the University's biennial request and then met with their legislators to express their support for Extension and the University.

On Feb. 17, Extension joined the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), in presenting to the House Ag Finance Committee. The hearing provided an opportunity to speak with legislators on how Extension, CFANS and CVM serve Minnesota and the agriculture community.

4-H Celebration of Agriculture

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation hosted the second annual 4-H Celebration of Agriculture on Feb. 21 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. It was a great celebration of our statewide friends and supporters, and a chance to demonstrate the impact of Minnesota 4-H. Teams from the 4-H Science of Agriculture initiative shared their ongoing research projects with attendees, showing how 4-H provides hands-on learning opportunities for Minnesota's next generation of agricultural leaders. Watch for a story about 4-H Science of Agriculture in the Spring-Summer issue of Source magazine! You can also visit Extension's Facebook post to see photos taken at the event. Sponsors included Jennie-O, Compart Family Farms, Minnesota Pork Board, Minnesota Farmers Union, and AgStar.

New leadership for Extension Center for Community Vitality

On Feb. 1, Kent Olson began his new leadership role as interim associate dean for the Extension Center for Community Vitality. Kent has been an Extension economist since 1985, working in applied research, on-campus teaching and Extension education. He served as an Extension program leader from 2004 to 2011.

After receiving his bachelor's, master's and doctorate from Iowa State University, Kent was an Extension economist at University of California, Davis before coming to Minnesota. His research has emphasized farm level management issues such as production efficiency, the interaction between farming and the environment, decision-making, and the impact of government policies. He published two books on farm management and numerous publications. He has worked in Sweden, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India, Poland and Italy.

Development news

The first project funded by the new Mary J. Page Community-University Partnership Endowment Fund is underway. Through this fund, Amanda Sames, a Ph.D. student at the U's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Sciences, is undertaking a community research project on developing markets for Minnesota-grown hazelnuts. Sames is supporting the Fairmont-based Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation during the University's spring semester.

The Page Fund, named in honor of former University of Minnesota Regent and Renville County Commissioner Mary Page (1934-2013), supports University of Minnesota graduate and advanced undergraduate students working on community identified and requested research projects. Funding for students is administered through the University's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. Grants are advised by Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP), which Mary Page helped found. Extension's RSDP facilitates community-university projects in the areas of sustainable agriculture and local food, natural resources, tourism and resilient communities, and clean energy.

Updated Extension fact sheet available

An updated Extension fact sheet is now available on the intranet and public website. The 2015 edition features updated information about Extension's reach, impact and funding. It is an excellent resource for acquainting new audiences with Extension's work and mission.

Epsilon Sigma Phi

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) is our Extension professional organization focused on connecting Extension staff and retirees to build networks, continuity and support for Extension. With over 150 retirees and 40 annual members in Minnesota, please consider joining ESP. In addition to reconnecting with Extension and colleagues, there are a number of other benefits, including access to ESP scholarship and grants and opportunities to mentor new Extension staff.

Our ESP goals for 2014-2015 are to increase the number of members, enhance the engagement of membership, increase scholarship opportunities for members, as well as recognize the high quality work of our membership through state and national awards. You can play a major role in helping achieve all of these goals. Become a life member for the one-time fee of $250. The yearly membership is $70 and an associate membership (Extension staff employed less than 3 years) is $30. Please contact me with any questions you might have when joining ESP, (507) 389-6721 or

Kelly Kunkel

ESP-Pi Chapter President

Awards and Accomplishment (March 2015)

Bill Hutchison, Extension specialist and head of the Department of Entomology, has assumed the role of director for the University of Minnesota Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This IPM program is a long-standing USDA-NIFA program, which a few years ago transitioned from an allocated line item in Extension's budget to a competitive grant program. In addition to managing the grant, Bill will supervise personnel hired from this grant.

Gov. Mark Dayton declared January Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and Outreach Month. Extension's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) makes the healthy choice the easy choice for Minnesotans with limited financial resources.

Andy Robinson, Extension potato agronomist, was recognized as the National Potato Council's Spudman Emerging Leader of 2015 on Jan. 9. The award recognizes exceptional leadership and contributions to the potato-growing community. Robinson has a shared position with Extension at the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University.

Eli Sagor, program manager and Extension specialist, sustainable forests education, was selected as a recipient of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Outstanding Doctoral Research Award. This award is given in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements in doctoral research. His dissertation is "Personal networks and private forestry: Exploring Extension's role in landowner education."

In Memoriam (March 2015)

Robert "Bob" L. Gee, 88, passed away Oct. 28 in Moorhead, where he had served as Clay County Extension agent; he is remembered for his many contributions to dairy farming, 4-H and community service.

June C. McAuliffe, one of the founders of Minnesota 4-H Expressive Arts programs, including Art-in-the Park Community summer programs, State Arts-In, and Holiday Arts-In, passed away on Dec. 2 at age 86. She is remembered for her 4-H work in Minnesota, South Dakota and at the national level in Washington D.C.

Evelyn (Quesenberry) McDonald, age 92, passed away on Dec. 10. She began her Extension career in 1949 in Maryland and concluded her work 33 years later in Minnesota where she was Extension program director in home economics and family living.

Curtis J. Overdahl of Ft. Wayne, passed away on Dec. 4, age 97. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota and doctorate at Purdue University. He was a faculty member in the University's department of soil science for 34 years.

Daniel Panshin After receiving a Ph.D. in oceanography in 1971, he worked as an oceanographer doing research and Extension work. Later in his career, he served on the Marine and Fisheries Congressional Committee and as an administrator at the University of Minnesota. He was 76 when he passed away on Nov. 17.

New Retirees (March 2015)

Welcome new retirees:

Diana Goemann, executive office & administrative specialist, retired on Nov. 5. For the past 10 years, she supported Extension's 4-H and health and nutrition programs with writing and preparing newsletters, brochures and program flyers.

Jill May, retired on Oct. 29 as an Extension educator in health and nutrition. She created educational and training materials for statewide health and nutrition through needs assessments, piloting and testing materials, and spearheading the use of technology to advance the mission of health and nutrition education.

David Moen, Extension Master Gardener program manager, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, retired on Jan. 23 after 25 years of contributions to building community, youth programming, and volunteer management training. He approached his work through the lens of "growing plants and growing people."

Pauline Nickel, Southwest Research and Outreach Center Station Head and Extension Outreach Coordinator, after more than 40 years of service, retired on Dec. 31. Her distinguished contributions included administrative, programmatic and fundraising to vitalize rural communities and improve production agriculture in southwest Minnesota.

Katherine Waters, Extension program leader, food systems, Extension Center for Family Development, retired on Dec. 19. Her many collaborations across disciplines and colleges fostered advocacy and improvements in emergency planning and risk communications, healthy foods and food protection as well as veterinary and public health concerns.

Media Moments (March 2015)

A key component of Minnesota's agricultural strength is the farm bill, but first farmers have to understand it. Star Tribune reporter Tom Meersman took a look at the ways Extension helps meet educational needs of farmers in his article, Farmers back in the classroom to figure out farm bill options.

Extension climatologist Mark Seeley contributed to a big-picture study of 23 signs of climate change in Minnesota on Minnesota Public Radio.

You can also look forward to spring with an article in the Star Tribune by reporter and Master Gardener Mary Jane Smetanka. The gardening story shares how Master Gardeners help gardeners determine what seed varieties work best in Minnesota landscapes.

Want more Extension news headlines? Visit In The News on Extension's website!

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