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Dean's column (Nov. 2020)

Dear colleagues,

This fall’s annual Program Conference theme was “Embracing Change,” a theme that has echoed across all of Extension since mid-March.
I am proud of Extension’s faculty and staff, who have risen to the occasion in many ways over these past few months:
  • Minnesota 4-H hosted 89 local showcases over July and August that engaged more than 6,000 youth, 2,500 volunteers and 1,200 judges. Youth development educators are creating even more new programming that addresses current affairs in meaningful ways.
  • Minnesotans are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by gardening in record numbers. Applications for the Master Gardener volunteer program rose by 160% this year, and new online courses in beginning gardening and food preservation were highly popular.
  • Nutrition educators in southern Minnesota turned their innovative tours of local farmers markets into a series of videos about using fresh produce for English, Karen and Spanish-speaking participants.
  • The Extension website provided useful information to more than 7 million users from April to September, more than double the amount of visitors from a year ago.
There are many more examples — you can see them in this video — but you can be assured that even in a challenging year, good things are happening in Extension. 

I hope that in 2021, we can once again gather to celebrate Extension’s successes, and the accomplishments of our retired faculty and staff. Thank you for your continuing support of Extension.

Bev Durgan

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