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September 2010 Archives

Dean's Column (September 9, 2010)

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Dear Extension Retirees,

The date for the annual reception for Extension retirees has been changed to October 28, from 2-4 p.m. at the University's new Urban Research and Outreach Center in Minneapolis.

I hope the date change is not an inconvenience for you, as I am looking forward to seeing you all once again this fall! Last year, we gathered at the State Fair in celebration of Extension's Centennial. This year, we will hold the reception in a much newer University and Extension facility. The University's Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) is located at 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis (view map).

The multipurpose facility provides opportunities for University services and community organizations to conduct programs and pursue initiatives and projects to discover solutions to complex issues facing urban communities. Extension programs that have a presence at the UROC include: Urban 4-H Youth Development, Simply Good Eating, Hennepin County Master Gardeners and Operation Frontline.

So please mark your calendars for October 28 and plan on joining us to see old friends and hear about Extension's latest initiatives. We will meet at 2 p.m. for refreshments and a tour of the facility. Watch for an invitation with directions and a request for your RSVP coming soon.

Bev Durgan, Dean

ESP Requests Donations for Auction

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Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) requests donations for the annual Silent and Dollar Auctions fund raiser to be held in conjunction with the MAEE/ESP banquet, Monday, October 4, at the 2010 Extension Program Conference in Bloomington. All proceeds support the Minnesota Extension Workers Scholarship (MEWS) Fund, providing scholarships for graduate study and staff development. Extension retirees who are life MN Pi Chapter members may also qualify for scholarships. Please visit the ESP website for ideas and details.

Watch for Fall Issue of Source Magazine

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The Fall 2010 issue of Extension's Source magazine will land in your mailbox by the end of September, and you can access the online version on the Extension website later this month.

This exciting edition highlights Extension's county partnerships and statewide impact through the roles of our nutrition education assistants, local educators and 4-H program coordinators. Read how Extension helps Minnesotans fight childhood obesity, reap the benefits of cold-hardiness research on fruits and vegetables, and take advantage of high-quality youth development programming that meets local needs via "4-H on Wheels."

The issue also features many other examples of Extension working with communities to address pressing needs, such as supporting the farm-to-school movement, preparing for emerald ash borer in the northern forests, and analyzing the economic impact of a local railroad to better inform policymakers. Short videos have been created to complement the nutrition and 4-H stories, so be sure to watch them when reading through the online version of Source.

Extension at the 2010 State Fair

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As in years past, there were several places to spot Extension at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. And because this year's State Fair set several new daily attendance records, Extension's potential visibility also increased. Master Gardeners were available to answer gardening questions in their booth in the Horticulture building as well as give daily gardening demonstrations on the main stage. Extension faculty also presented on Healthy Local Foods, Parenting 2.0 and Emerald Ash Borer at the U of M building.

Perhaps you saw some of the great media coverage of 4-H during the fair. If you missed it, you can find it at 4-H in the News. Also, find out what happened at the 4-H building, as well as all project results, on the 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair webpage.

A world without hunger, and with safe food, is the goal of a new partnership between the University of Minnesota and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Extension is an important part of that partnership.

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding for the new collaboration addresses a range of issues associated with global food security. The agreement provides a framework for the University and FAO to work together to alleviate hunger through the application of e-learning, Extension and capacity-building programs. This is another exciting partnership for Extension and demonstrates the important value of Extension in addressing local, national and global issues.

2011 Minnesota Gardening Calendar Now Available

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The 2011 Minnesota Gardening calendar is now available from the Extension Store and can be purchased at the wholesale cost of $8.00/copy; suggested retail price is $13.99. Timely tips for each month guide the gardener through the growing season, and the beautiful photos offer inspiration year round. This year's special feature describes edible landscaping, incorporating fruits and vegetables in the home landscape. Profits from the sale of the calendar support the Master Gardener program. The calendar is produced jointly by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Minnesota Extension.

Renee Pardello recently accepted a new position as assistant dean in the Extension Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Her new role will focus on programming, personnel, and finance and grants. Renee has diverse experience in program development, implementation and evaluation on multiple levels (rural, urban, across cultures) and during different circumstances (challenging budgets, famine, coup d'état). This experience comes from work throughout West and Central Africa and within non-formal and formal educational organizations in Minnesota. She has worked with multiple audiences: youth, volunteers, local Extension educators, natural resource professionals and community leaders.

New Retirees (September 9, 2010)

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Lou Ann Jopp, Extension educator who began her career in home economics, Wright County, retired on August 13 after 18 years of service. Her career with Extension included developing and teaching programs in food science, Cooking Safely for a Crowd, Food Safety Employee Training, and Serve It Up Safely.

Sherri Gahring, Professor and Extension specialist in the University's Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, and member of the Center for Community Vitality, retired June 1 after 40 years of service. Sherri began her career in 1970 as an Extension home economist in Iowa and became an Extension specialist in textiles and clothing for University of Minnesota Extension in 1975.

Kay Stanek, retired August 3. Kay's leadership positions in her Extension career began at the University of Wisconsin Extension in 1968. In 2000, she was appointed as the West Central District Director for University of Minnesota Extension, and later as the Extension Campus Regional Director at University of Minnesota Morris.

In Memoriam (September 9, 2010)

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Delores Andol passed away on August 5 at age 85. During her 47-year career with Extension, Dolores received awards and honors as President of Pi Chapter of ESP, first recipient of the ESP State Mini Ruby award, member of the National 4-H Hall of Fame, and State Extension faculty award for distinguished service.

Marlin Oscar Johnson, 80, area Extension educator and a longtime Crookston resident, died peacefully June 10. Marlin's career entailed numerous international agricultural assignments in Thailand and Chile.

Bud G. Crewdson, died on May 8, age 79. He was professor emeritus at the University's Department of Applied Economics, with a background in agricultural economics.

Extension recognized the contributions of 73 farm families with the 2010 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year Award, presented at Farmfest on August 5. An Extension news release provides the names of all, and highlights the businesses of some, recognized families. Profiles of all the families can be found at on the U of M Farm Family of the Year website. The July 26 issue of Extension Ag News Wire also featured a column from Dean Durgan about the importance of Farm Families in Minnesota. That column was printed in more than 25 newspapers across the state.

Bob Mugaas Knows His Turf (and His Weeds)

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Lawn weeds can invade and compete for nutrients needed for healthy turf grass. Jason DeRusha of WCCO's popular "Good Question" segment received a question from a viewer asking how to distinguish a weed from a desirable plant. The reporter met with Bob Mugaas, Extension horticulturist and turf grass specialist, giving Mugaas' expert answer (along with an entertaining nod to Abbott & Costello).

The work of Julie Miedtke, Extension educator in natural resource management and utilization, on the Itasca County Chipper Days Program was featured as a success story on the United States Forest Service's website.

A Bumper Crop of Extension Viewpoints on USDA Report

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When the recent USDA crops report rated Minnesota tops in corn, soybean and wheat, reporters from the Pioneer Press and WCCO knew where to turn for perspective. Extension Crop Educators, Liz Stahl and Dave Nicolai along with Ed Usset, University applied economics research fellow, gave needed insight to the Pioneer Press, and Usset proved his media--and sports analogy--aptitude in a WCCO video.

To see more Extension news headlines, visit

University of Minnesota Retirees Volunteer Center

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The University Retirees Volunteer Center (UMRA) supports a broad range of services to the University community. Retired faculty, civil service staff, administrators and their spouses have skills for a variety of projects, including single-day and ongoing activities. These have included tutoring, research informants/subjects, ushers, conference registration, library assistance, application readers and much more. For more information, visit the UMRA website.

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