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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dean's Column (June 2016)

Dear Colleagues,

This year, we are bringing greater awareness to the many ways Extension reaches all corners of Minnesota. To do this, I am in the process of visiting all 15 of our regional offices and as many counties as possible!

During these trips, I am meeting with Extension employees in the regional offices, visiting with donors and partners, attending local program events and conducting some media interviews along the way. It is always so inspiring to see our work, meet with our staff and partners, and find more ways to highlight Extension’s education, research and impact.

In addition, Extension has been participating in the University’s new SPARKS program, which offers an opportunity for people in Greater Minnesota to hear from three University faculty who each give a 20-minute presentation. The Spring SPARKS events were held in Red Wing in March, Brainerd in April and Mountain Iron in June. Extension faculty Mark Seeley, Brian Horgan and Laura Kalambokidis all received positive reviews as SPARKS presenters.

This fall, SPARKS events will be held in Fergus Falls, Marshall and St. Cloud. Watch for more information about these programs and pre-event receptions with Extension. Prior to the spring SPARKS events we hosted receptions for friends of Extension, which many of you attended.

We plan to continue that successful effort with the fall events as well!

I look forward to seeing you during my travels and at the upcoming retiree luncheons.

Bev Durgan

Connect at a summer Extension retiree luncheon

It’s always great to learn what you are doing and share the news of Extension. There are three summer luncheons coming up. I hope you can make it to one of them!
  • Northwest Minnesota: Friday, July 22, 12-2 p.m., Fair Hills Resort (optional cruise on Pelican Lake after lunch), 24270 Co Hwy 20, Detroit Lakes; RSVP by July 15.
  • Twin Cities: Wednesday, July 27, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville; RSVP by July 20.
  • Southern Minnesota: Wednesday, Aug. 10, 12-2 p.m., The Kahler Grand Hotel, 20 SW Second Avenue, Rochester; RSVP by Aug. 3.
Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will attend.

Jane Johnson
Director of Development

New grant award of $1 million to multidisciplinary team

The Extension Center for Family Development received nearly $1 million in new grant funding from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve the health of children. The Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors project aims to prevent obesity among Latino adolescents by engaging families, especially fathers or other male caregivers in the household. The multidisciplinary team working on this project includes faculty from several departments at the University; Extension educators from health and nutrition, family relations, and family resource management; SNAP-Ed educators; and Latino community leaders. See the full story

Stay current by reading Source magazine, Summer 2016 issue

The Summer 2016 issue of Source magazine is live on the Extension website, as well as in your mailbox. Reading Source helps keep you to up to date with what’s happening in Extension, and it’s also a great way to find stories to share with your own network. Source highlights Extension research and education that creates a stronger Minnesota.

Summer 2016 stories:

More Extension impacts

Extension makes a difference in many more ways than can fit into Source magazine. Here are a few more recent highlights:
  • There are fewer neglected horses in Minnesota, a trend experts attribute to an improved economy, education and other preventive measures. Krishona Martinson, Extension equine expert and livestock program leader, explains Extension’s role in this success in Education and prevention help boost horse welfare, which was also featured in the Star Tribune
  • The activities of the Master Gardeners benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs and farmers markets, to name a few. Learn more in the 2015 Master Gardener Annual Report.
  • More than 2,800 participants from Minnesota and beyond have graduated from Extension's leadership and civic engagement programs. On the Leadership makes a difference website, several of these program alumni tell how their Extension education helped them contribute in their communities. Read Choosing how to lead in Vital Connections to learn more.
  • Sarah Butler, Extension educator in family resource management, was recently featured in the University’s Driven to Discover campaign for helping inmates learn financial skills.

Awards and Accomplishments (June 2016)

Ryan Cox, Extension meat science specialist and an associate professor, received the Outstanding Faculty Award from Block and Bridle, a club for students interested in animal agriculture. He received the award for his research on meat quality, work with the meat lab, and involvement with FFA meat judging contests.

Brian Horgan,
Extension turfgrass horticulturalist, was honored at the 2015-2016 CFANS College Awards as part of the May 4 CFANS Spring College Assembly. Brian received the Distinguished Extension/Outreach Award for his work in turfgrass and his contributions to the Department of Horticultural Science.

Gary Johnson,
Extension urban and community forester, received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award as part of the 2016 National Arbor Day Awards. He received this award for improving tree care and planting practices across Minnesota in both small towns and cities for the last 25 years. View a video about award.

David Kjome,
Extension specialist, will be one of five National Dairy Shrine Pioneers that will be inducted into the National Dairy Hall of Fame on Oct. 6 in Madison, Wisc.

Jim Paulson,
Extension educator in dairy, received the 2015 Outstanding Service Award from Midwest Forage Association. Jim was presented with the award at the Midwest Forage Symposium in Wisconsin Dells.

Mike Schmitt, associate dean, was awarded Outstanding Agricultural Mentor at the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference on April 13. This award honors those who are influential mentors to numerous women across Minnesota.

Marla Spivak,
Extension entomologist, is the recipient of the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture in the knowledge category. This annual CFANS award honors those who make significant contributions to feeding the world. The award was presented on May 26.

Welcome new retirees (June 2016)

Sherry P. Boyce, Extension educator, Center for Youth Development, retired on May 19 after 35 years of service. Her understanding of the theory and practice of positive youth development, along with teaching, program planning and evaluation led to successes in supporting employees, volunteers, youth development professionals and partners in St. Louis County.

Debra Drange,
Extension finance and planning, has worked in many roles for the University over the past 41 years. Her contributions as a contract and voucher specialist for Extension have been exceptional and she will hard to replace. Debra will retire on June 30.

Larry Jacobson’s
career as an Extension engineer in bioproducts and biosystems engineering spanned 41 years. His innovative research led to development of Extension programs in animal housing systems, ventilation and environmental control, energy conservation, and effective manure and odor management. He retired on May 20.

Connie Vaplon, Wabasha County Extension support staff, retired on May 19 after serving as the consistent face and voice of Extension in Wabasha County. Her contributions to the ebb and flow of the 4-H program, from enrollment to county fair and state fair, have been much appreciated.

In Memoriam (June 2016)

Beth R. Jarvis was a project coordinator for Extension where she trained Master Gardeners, retiring in 2008. She also was a long time graphic designer of the Finnish American Cultural Association newsletter. She lived in Crystal and passed away on June 16 at age 64.

Floyd Wesley Jorgensen, age 89, of Bemidji, died April 4. Floyd worked as an agricultural Extension agent on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. He is remembered for his devotion to the Red Lake Nation and teaching his love of nature to others.

Mercedes L. Kirk, of Dayton, was 95 and passed away June 16. She was a dedicated Extension nutrition educator for Hennepin County.

Russell Krech,
a long time Houston County Extension agent in Caledonia, died June 15 at age 91. Russ was a strong educator in the southeast area as well as a great supporter of the 4-H program.

Robert Leary passed away April 14 in Le Center, at age 84. After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, he received a bachelor of science degree from the University and worked as an Extension agent in Lac qui Parle, Jackson and Le Sueur counties. Bob delighted in his involvement with community gardens, 4-H and many civic groups.

Richard Moreland served as an Extension educator with Minnesota 4-H for over 22 years. Richard was committed to working with young people to cultivate their leadership skills and to help them find their passion through project-based learning. He led 4-H programs in northern Minnesota and later worked in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties. He passed away on March 31.

Margueriete E. Green Sanford of Mora, died on March 20 at age 95. With a degree in nutritional science, she served as a dietitian in the Army Air Corp in World War II. Margueriete worked many years as an Extension agent both at the local and district level and was most noted as an educator and mentor for thousands of young men and women in the 4-H program.

Richard “Dick” Swanson
was 90 when he passed away on May 27. He graduated from the University in 1951 and then served in the Korean War. He was the Anoka County Extension director for 34 years and also had an appointment as a University professor emeritus.

Anna Theresa “Ann” Turek died April 2, at age 99. She worked as the secretary for Extension in Itasca County for 46 years, retiring in 1981. Ann was active with the Itasca County Fair as an organizer, a 4-H Club member, and as an adult mentor and lifelong exhibitor.

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (June 2016)

This issue highlights Sharon Rezac Andersen, Cindy Bigger, Juanita Reed-Boniface, Jayne Hager Dee, Glenice Johnson, Barbara Piehl, and Ann Walter

Sharon Rezac Andersen, former executive director, Central Region, Sustainable Development Partnership, has taught seven semesters through the University of Arizona Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) adult learning courses plus attended many classes. Sharon remarked, “I have begun to know at this age what I don't know. With teaching and taking classes, one has an opportunity to meet people from a variety of cultures, professions and locations.”

Cindy Bigger, retired regional educator in community vitality, Fergus Falls region, volunteers at the Alexandria Housing and Rehabilitation Authority and currently is serving a third term as commissioner. She also chairs the Citizens Advisory Committee for Pioneer Public Television. She still finds time to do a bit of 4-H county fair judging. Cindy is also busy with Bigger Associates, a consulting firm working with many clients in leadership education, facilitation, planning and coaching.

Juanita Reed-Boniface, retired Extension specialist in 4-H youth development, is active in community volunteerism with, to name a few: president of Minnesota CattleWomen; education chair for American National CattleWomen; chair of Anoka County Extension Committee; and vice-president of Anoka County Farm Bureau. She has received numerous awards, most recently: the Minnesota Farm Bureau Golden Apple Award (2016); National Agriculture in the Classroom Ag Advocate (2015); National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Life Member (2014). In 2007, she was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame and named the University of Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network Alumna of the Year.

Jayne Hager Dee, is now serving as president of the Northfield Community Action Center and just completed two years as the coordinator of Northfield ACT on Alzheimer's. Jayne had worked as a regional director for Extension’s Farmington Regional Office.

Glenice Johnson, who served as a regional educator in family development in Crookston, now works on the local hospital auxiliary board and as president. She has guided the board through chaotic times with two hospital ownership changes within three years. She has been the topic of several news media stories, was honored as a “community builder” by Northwest Minnesota Foundation and was named Pennington County Outstanding Senior Citizen. She is still pursuing her lifelong goal of visiting all seven continents, with only one left to go!

Barbara Piehl, former educator in youth development in Andover, is now busy volunteering in North Branch at Ruby Pantry food distribution. She also leads discussions for a book club, volunteers at a local assisted living center, is a North Branch Lioness and published two stories in Country Extra magazine.

Ann Walter works as the Southland School District media center specialist and academic success coach. She noted, “I love working directly with youth again! I also have always wanted to work at a library or bookstore, so that dream has come true too.” She had been a regional 4-H educator in Rochester.

If you have news or a story to share with fellow Extension retirees, please share the news by completing this Google Form or email Gwen Gmeinder at

We hope to hear from many of you. Don’t be shy—tell us about your activities and successes!

Epsilon Sigma Phi collects Extension stories

Extension professionals have some of the greatest stories! The ESP History and Archives Committee has been sorting files, searching for photos and discussing ways to preserve stories. They would love to capture (in writing) a few memories from the past to share with others (via ESP newsletters) and hope that you can help them out. Follow this link to an online form where you can share a story.

Not sure what to share? You might describe the work you did, the office(s) you worked in, what or how you taught people. Or, maybe you have a funny story about something that happened in your work or a memorable moment shared with a co-worker or participant. We look forward to collecting your stories to add to our archive and preserve them along with other memorabilia in our files. Thank you for taking the time to share.

NOTE: If you have more than one story to share, you can go to the site as many times as you'd like. If you have photos you'd like to share, send them to Jody Horntvedt via email ( or mail (Extension Regional Center, 1307 3rd Street NE Suite 102, Roseau, MN 56751-2105).

Media Moment (June 2016)

three 4-H'ers with calf
Minnesota 4-H has been prominently featured in news media recently, with Associated Press coverage of the second annual 4-H Science of Agriculture competition being carried by dozens of news organizations nationwide, including the Washington Post. Following the June 19 competition on the St. Paul campus, stories appeared in the Star Tribune and on KARE-11. Visit the program website to watch several videos that tell the story of these innovative young people and their work with coaches and mentors from Minnesota’s community of agricultural leaders.

4-H True Leaders Campaign

National 4-H Council has recently embarked on a multi-year marketing campaign, raising awareness of how effective 4-H is in developing leaders. Because of Dean Bev Durgan’s strong commitment to 4-H in Minnesota, our state has earned the opportunity to be a target market for this exciting True Leaders campaign. Over the next three years, 4-H will be highlighted in Minnesota media including TV, radio and print. More and more people across our state are going to see just how impactful 4-H is in the lives of our youth. This is an exciting time.

In 4-H, girls and boys develop critical life skills like creativity, problem solving, persistence, collaboration and leadership. They build deep and long-lasting friendships while exploring topics of their choosing and having a lot of fun. And down the road, when we need passionate and compassionate leaders to innovate new ways of living in and sharing our world, today’s 4-H youth will be there. Because of 4-H, they will be ready to lead the way into a bright and hopeful future.
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