Colorado State Extension recently highlighted the work of professionals from across the state with six awards as part of Forum, a week-long professional development opportunity. Forum is an opportunity for Extension agents and on-campus specialists to meet and discuss upcoming issues and develop strategies for tackling them.
F.A. Anderson Award
The F.A. Anderson Award recognizes outstanding performance by a state Extension employee throughout their career. Steve Newman, professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (HLA) in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension Specialist, was lauded for his visionary leadership in many facets of his work.
“Newman is an Extension professional who recognizes the continuum between meaningful research, educational programming and problem solving,” says Steve Wallner, former HLA chair. “His ability to work so very well with external entities on the solution of agricultural problems is illustrated by his success in collaborating with Phillips Lighting on greenhouse lighting at the new CSU greenhouses.”
Newman has been on the leading edge of technology adoption, working with Extension agents, students and the commercial greenhouse industry to provide the highest level of engagement. He has provided leadership for the Extension Program Leadership Team, as well as many campus-wide, regional, national and international initiatives.
Alton Scofield Award
The Alton Scofield Award recognizes outstanding performance by an Extension professional throughout their Extension career.
As county director, Irene Shonle has educated county residents on the need for defensible space and understanding the wildlife in close proximity. Gilpin County, at around 9,000 feet elevation, is a challenge for gardeners and Irene has developed mountain gardening fact sheets that are used throughout the state at similar elevations.
“Irene is recognized by her peers in academia, her colleagues in the Extension program and the citizens of Gilpin County as an outstanding exemplar of what a county extension agent should be in a rural Colorado county,” says Gail Watson, Gilpin County Commissioner. “Since 2002, Shonle has made Extension a well-known and highly valued entity.” She works with all ages, incomes, locations, professions, socio-economic status and physical abilities, and is a respected team member on university and local collaborative efforts.
The Extension Team Award recognizes a team of county, area, regional, state and/or interdisciplinary program employees. There were two groups recognized this year:
Cottage Foods — Agents in Extension’s three regions across Colorado came together with campus-based specialists to determine what needed to be done to address food safety issues related to the Colorado Cottage Foods Act of 2012. Accurate food safety information and training for Coloradans interested in starting a cottage food business was the goal. The group created web resources, and curriculum to meet this goal.
Family Matters newsletter — In Colorado and across the United States, chronic diseases are the biggest threat to health and wellness. The Family Matters newsletter focuses on healthy eating and healthy living, providing research-based information and promoting Extension programming. The newsletter is peer-reviewed and is available in both English and Spanish.
Community Engagement Award
The Community Engagement Award recognizes an individual or group exhibiting excellence in creating mutually beneficial and transformational relationships that address a public concern.
Really knowing and appreciating where our food comes from. That’s the premise behind AgFest, which won this year’s award.
Since 2010, 28 Extension agents from across Eastern Colorado have been hosting AgFest, a free one-day agricultural and science enrichment program for fifth- and sixth-grade students, which incorporates all the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math. At each AgFest event, hands-on learning is emphasized and it comes together at 10 different stations such as embryology, where students can witness chicks hatching in incubators, or dairy production, where each student is able to make butter.
This interactive and unique educational event allows students to explore where their food comes from and discover the science that is involved in food production. Fourteen Eastern Plains counties have participated in AgFest, as have several commodity groups, agricultural organizations and agriculture lenders. And the impact has been significant. In 2016 alone, more than 17,000 students from 55 schools attended one of nine Ag Fest events; since it began, AgFest has reached over 7,000 children.
This year’s Extension Diversity Award goes to Robert Franklin, Denver Extension agent in 4-H Youth Development. Among the many youth development programs Robert has organized, his nominator especially pointed to the Denver to Durango (or D2D) program, an in-state cultural exchange program between Denver and LaPlata counties.
Franklin was also instrumental in reaching out to Extension personnel statewide, compiling the “Widen the Circle Wednesday” initiative. This weekly email newsletter highlighted how taking small steps toward being more inclusive can make a big difference.
CSU Extension, part of the Office of Engagement, serves all Colorado counties and provides reliable, research-based information, research capabilities and resources to all Coloradoans.