Improving Colorado’s social and economic health: Awards celebrate CSU Extension achievements

With 61 offices statewide, Colorado State University Extension is a cornerstone of CSU’s engagement and outreach mission. Four awards recently highlighted the work of Extension professionals from across the state at the annual Extension Forum. Forum is a week-long opportunity for Extension agents and on-campus specialists to meet, discuss upcoming issues, and develop strategies. “Our CSU Extension professionals are outstanding,” said Ashley Stokes, Assistant Vice President for Engagement and Deputy Director of CSU Extension. “These four awards illustrate the amazing contributions of Extension to Colorado’s economic and social health.”

“Extension employees embody CSU’s land-grant mission,” said Lou Swanson, Vice President for Engagement and Director of CSU Extension. “For over 100 years, their expert ability to combine local knowledge and university resources has created deep and productive connections between campus and Colorado communities.”

F.A. Anderson Award: Michael Bartolo, Arkansas Valley Research Center

Mike Bartolo, 2018 Extension Award winnerThe F.A. Anderson Award recognizes outstanding performance by an Extension employee throughout their career, whose primary area of responsibility and achievement is at the statewide level. F. A. Anderson was a college financial administrator who served as assistant to the Extension Director starting in 1921. He then served as Extension Director from 1929 to 1952.

The 2018 awardee, Michael Bartolo, is a Senior Research Scientist, Vegetable Crops Specialist, and Manager of CSU’s Arkansas Valley Research Center (soon to be part of the CSU Arkansas Valley Campus). He led the creation of and serves on the board for the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, a statewide organization that addresses issues facing produce growers. Mike has also been instrumental in the growth of the Pueblo chile industry. He helped launch the annual Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival and the Pueblo Chile Growers Association.

For years, Mike has introduced new technology and growing methods to Colorado melon growers, which was critically important to the industry during severe drought in the early 2000s. He was deeply involved in helping melon growers negotiate the aftermath of the Listeria outbreak in 2011, and provided important health information to the public during that time.

Alton Scofield Award: Sheila Gains, Arapahoe County

Sheila Gains, 2018 Extension award winnerThe Alton Scofield Award recognizes outstanding performance by an Extension professional throughout their Extension career, at the county or area level. Alton Scofield was a long-time executive director of the Colorado Cooperative Council. This prestigious award for members of Extension is sponsored by the Council.

Sheila Gains is the Alton Scofield awardee for 2018. A Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Arapahoe County, she leads the Cottage Food Safety Work Team. Sheila and the team have taken the lead in keeping training and education resources for small food producers updated with current law, policies and practices. They have provided the training required under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act to hundreds of participants, and have trained other agents in how to conduct the training in their areas.

Sheila is also editorial lead and contributes articles to Extension’s Family Matters Newsletter. The newsletter reaches over 23,000 clients each month with information for parents on improving child and family health.

Diversity Award: F. Isaac Munoz, Montrose and Ouray Counties

The Diversity Award recognizes Extension staff members for superior service to the diverse needs of clientele.

Isaac Munoz, 2018 Extension Award winnerIsaac Munoz is a Small Acreage Management Agent working in Montrose and Ouray Counties. In his work, he has used his intercultural and Spanish speaking skills to support many non-traditional and underserved communities. After learning of a need for Spanish-language agricultural resources, Isaac worked with community leaders, Extension colleagues, and non-profit organizations to organize the Western Colorado Food Farm Forum. Isaac’s expertise in building non-traditional relationships and bridging cultural gaps created this now-annual event. The Farm Forum includes Spanish-speaking experts and simultaneous translation. Isaac also designed and currently leads a popular forum seminar, “From Farmworker to Ag Entrepreneur.”

Isaac is a longtime member of Extension’s Diversity Catalyst Team, and with his unique perspective and set of experiences, he provides outstanding mentorship and guidance.

Team Award: Family Leadership Training Institute, Colorado

The Extension Team Award recognizes a team of county, area, regional, state and/or interdisciplinary program employees. The CSU Extension Distinguished Service Team Award goes this year to the Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR)/Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) Colorado Team.

FLTI is a community-building experience, bringing together a wide spectrum of people to explore the civic process and enhance leadership competencies. FLTI  develops leadership capacity to enhance the role of grass-roots leaders in the community and government. Participants grow their skills through an expanded understanding of the civic tools necessary to address health and social inequities. FLTI trainees include parents, family members, and adult mentors and their youth partners, ages 12-14. Participants become change agents in their communities and in the state.

Rusty Collins, Patti Schmitt, Lisa Auer, Kyle Christensen, Sue Schneider, FLTI members David MacPhee, Jan Carroll
FLTI members Rusty Collins, Patti Schmitt, Lisa Auer, Kyle Christensen, Sue Schneider, David MacPhee, Jan Carroll