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Extension > Extension Retiree Newsletter > Archives > June 2012 Archives

June 2012 Archives

Dean's Column (June 2012)

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Dear Extension Retirees,

Please join me for the Extension retiree lunch on Tuesday, July 17 from 1-3 p.m. at the Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville. The lunch is an annual opportunity to connect with fellow Extension retirees and hear about what is happening at the University of Minnesota and Extension. This year's event also features special guest, Julie Weisenhorn, state Master Gardener director. This summer celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Master Gardener Program and Julie will share some of the major highlights of this successful volunteer program.

If you'd like to attend the luncheon, please RSVP to Gwen Gmeinder by July 9. I look forward to seeing you all there.  

Bev Durgan

Resources for Extension Federal Retirees

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One of the responsibilities of the Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Committee on Government Relations/Legislative Affairs is to help monitor action and pending action that impact Minnesota's Extension federal retirees. If you are an Extension retiree with a federal pension plan and/or health insurance plan, consider three avenues for information and advocacy:



  • Join the Minnesota Pi chapter of ESP, the national Extension fraternity for active and retired employees which includes the function of government affairs monitoring.


  • Join the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE). Since 1921, NARFE has worked tirelessly on behalf of federal workers, retirees, their spouses and survivors. NARFE is the only association solely dedicated to preserving and improving the health care and retirement benefits of all federal workers and retirees.


  • Sign up for the free online resource My Federal Retirement. This is an excellent resource that includes helpful articles written by highly regarded federal benefits experts, alerts on changes to your federal benefits, information on pensions, insurance, Thrift Savings Plan and many other general interest areas of retirement.  



Silent and Dollar Auction Items Needed to Support MEWS Fund and ESP


What's your passion? Plan to show your support for Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) at the 2012 Extension program conference (stay tuned for details) by donating an item that reflects your passion to the ESP Silent and Dollar Auctions. Ideas for items to donate: a basket of golf equipment, a masterpiece or handcrafted item you've created, a weekend getaway at your cabin, or dinner prepared in your home by a local chef.


All proceeds for the Silent Auction go to the MEWS (Minnesota Extension Worker Scholarships) Fund to support graduate study and staff development. Extension retirees who are life ESP MN Pi Chapter members may also qualify for scholarships.


Auction items can be submitted as an individual or with a group. Approximately six items will be selected for the Dollar Auction, with the remaining items being offered on the Silent Auction. More specific auction information will be available in late summer; in the meantime get creative and begin thinking about how you can support ESP by sharing your passion. Contact Becky Harrington, willi107@umn.edu, (218) 236-2012 with questions.

What's your passion? Plan to show your support for Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) at the 2012 Extension program conference (stay tuned for details) by donating an item that reflects your passion to the ESP Silent and Dollar Auctions. Ideas for items to donate: a basket of golf equipment, a masterpiece or handcrafted item you've created, a weekend getaway at your cabin, or dinner prepared in your home by a local chef.

All proceeds for the Silent Auction go to the MEWS (Minnesota Extension Worker Scholarships) Fund to support graduate study and staff development. Extension retirees who are life ESP MN Pi Chapter members may also qualify for scholarships.

Auction items can be submitted as an individual or with a group. Approximately six items will be selected for the Dollar Auction, with the remaining items being offered on the Silent Auction. More specific auction information will be available in late summer; in the meantime get creative and begin thinking about how you can support ESP by sharing your passion. Contact Becky Harrington, willi107@umn.edu, (218) 236-2012 with questions.

10 Plants That Changed Minnesota

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Which plants changed Minnesota and transformed how we live today? That was the big question behind a public education campaign spearheaded by Extension Horticulturist Mary Meyer, partnering with the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), and Extension.

From early February through April 15, the public nominated more than 100 different plants. A panel of experts met to determine the final ten, ranking them according to their impact in six categories: environmental; economic or industrial; cultural/spiritual; historical; sustenance; and landscape.

Without further ado, the top ten plants that changed Minnesota are: alfalfa, American elm, apple, corn, purple loosestrife, soybeans, turf and lawn grass, wheat, white pine, and wild rice.

You can view a slideshow with more information about each plant and its impact on the state.

Spring 2012 issue of Source magazine is online

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The Spring 2012 issue of Extension's Source magazine is available on the Extension website.

This issue of Source highlights the many ways Extension delivers on the land-grant mission as we approach the 150-year anniversary of the Morrill Act (see related article, “150th Anniversary of Land Grant University”). Read how Extension Master Gardeners give back to their communities through community gardens; discover how Extension’s 4-H youth explore the sciences and improve water quality through aquatic robotics program; and learn how some surprising research shows that properly maintained lawns can be good for the environment.

This issue also shows how Extension ensures safe pork and healthy pigs, brings robotic milking to Minnesota dairies, boosts Internet know-how, engages Ojibwe youth in science, puts locally grown food in school lunchrooms, raises quality in youth development programs, and raises awareness of food insecurity in Minnesota.

150th Anniversary of Land Grant University

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This year marks the 150th anniversary of the land-grant university in the United States. In 1862, the Morrill Act established the land-grant university system with a mission to address critical public issues through teaching, research and outreach. Extension, which was established in 1914 under the Smith-Lever Act, is a vital part of the land-grant mission and history by connecting the public with scientific knowledge and expertise regarding critical issues in Minnesota.

The University will celebrate this year with a variety of activities and events to explore the University's land-grant legacy and future as well as the impact of our campuses, Extension, research and outreach centers and university offices across the state. University President Eric W. Kaler will be hosting forums that explore the 21st century land-grant vision.

Extension will join other University campuses and colleges in participating in the state and national discussions about the impact and future of the land-grant system. Watch the video, “1862-2012: A Founding Land Grant Institution” on Extension’s website, and visit the UMN Land Grant 150 website for more information and details about upcoming events.

In Memoriam (June 2012)

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(click on the thumbnails for a larger version of each photo)
Gwendolyn M Bacheller.jpg

Gwendolyn M. Bacheller, 90, of Roseville died February 9.  Gwen’s career started in Wisconsin as a county 4-H club agent. She joined the University of Minnesota Extension state 4-H club staff in 1948, working until 1957. Gwen was a member of the Minnesota State Home Economics Association since 1948 and was president in 1975-76. She was named Twin City Home Economist in Business in 1986-87 and Minnesota Home Economist of the Year in 1990.


Evelyn Kern Dose.jpg

Evelyn H. Dose, 93, passed away on May 28 after a long and distinguished career in Extension.  Evelyn received a degree in home economics education in 1942 and pursued her goal to become a 4-H club agent in Wadena County;  a few years later she moved into a state 4-H position.  From 1970-1984, Evelyn was a supervisor for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNP) in Ramsey County.  Evelyn also served as a Goldstein Gallery volunteer, earned the National Association of Extension Home Economists Distinguished Service Award and chaired the Minnesota Home Economics  Association History Committee.



James L Edman.jpg

James L. Edman, died January 31 in Benson. James began his Extension career in 1953 as a director in the Extension office, Swift County and retired in 1984.  He served as secretary and president of the Minnesota County Agriculture Agents Association and wrote weekly columns for the Swift County Monitor News and the West Central Tribune. He died at age 87.


Harriet E Meldahl.jpg

Harriet E. Meldahl, 97, of Duluth passed away May 26. In 1962, Harriet began her work as an Extension home economist in rehabilitation and taught classes in five northern Minnesota counties until her retirement in 1980. She produced a series of videos “Ability Not Disability” and won a Chicago International Film Festival Award. She was very involved in the American and Minnesota Home Economics Associations.


William A Milbrath.jpg

William A. Milbrath, passed away on June 10 in Minneapolis. Bill’s first Extension job was in Pine County in 1950. His positions included serving on the MN State 4-H staff in 1963 and director of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, and he finished his career as Extension’s Human Resource Director. In 1986 he became the National Secretary of ESP Epsilon Sigma Phi retiring in 1990. 

Media Efforts Inform, Educate During Unusual Spring Weather

A very warm spring, preceded by a dry fall and winter, invited many questions from Minnesota's farmers and gardeners. Extension specialists and educators worked with the media to provide answers, reinforcing our reputation as a source for credible, research-based information.

Julie Weisenhorn gave gardening advice on Minnesota Public Radio and KARE 11; Mark Seeley and Liz Stahl explained weather patterns, soil moisture and fertility in the Farm & Ranch Guide; Lisa Behnken talked ideal corn-planting dates in the Rochester Post-Bulletin; Jochum Wiersma addressed small grains planting in Ag Week.

Later, when the drought ended throughout most of the state and storms brought abundant rain and hail, John Lamb, Dan Kaiser and Jeff Coulter used the media to help farmers shift gears and cope with new challenges. Many other specialists and educators communicated research-based recommendations via newspapers, radio stations, websites and social media.

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