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U of M Extension dean honors Wheat Growers, faculty

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/7/2010) -- University of Minnesota Extension Dean Bev Durgan honored the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council this week, with special recognition to Executive Director Dave Torgerson, at Extension's annual conference. She also honored several Extension faculty members for exemplary work to strengthen Extension's impact in Minnesota.

The following is a list of recipients and awards:

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, with special recognition to Executive Director Dave Torgerson, Distinguished Friend of Extension: Minnesota Wheat understands that research-based information can make a difference and has invested check-off  funding to support Extension programming and faculty positions at the University of Minnesota. Individual members contribute countless volunteer hours to Extension activities at the local and state levels.

"In supporting and promoting Extension and research-based information, Dave and the Minnesota Wheat Growers have earned the respect and gratitude of Extension faculty, staff and Minnesotans statewide," said Durgan.

William Wilcke, Extension engineer, Distinguished Campus-based Faculty: In addition to leading the Extension program on post-harvest handling of crops, Wilcke has served on the board for the Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), and in 2002 became the Regional Coordinator of North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education  (NCR-SARE). Wilcke led the effort to develop the award-winning WINFANS software program, which is still being used today.

Mike Liepold, Extension educator in leadership and civic engagement, Distinguished Field-based Faculty: Liepold leads, manages and coaches others in the design and delivery of statewide leadership education programs, such as the Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (MARL) program, Extension's U-Lead Academy, and the National Extension Leadership Development program.

Mary Marczak, Extension evaluation and research specialist, Distinguished Leadership: Marczak works alongside Extension teams to evaluate more than 70 family and youth programs, ensuring that programs make a positive difference in people's lives. Marczak has served on a National Evaluation Collaboration Project funded by the USDA Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) National Initiative and served as both national program chair and chair for the board for the American Evaluation Association Extension Education Evaluation group.

Forest Pest First Detector Team, Distinguished Team: Emerald ash borer (EAB) is the most serious forest pest in the eastern United States. A lack of obvious symptoms on infested trees makes early detection difficult. When its introduction to Minnesota appeared imminent, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) formed a task force to consider early detection and containment procedures and policies. Extension was well represented on that task force, which recommended a first detector program for EAB, first formed in 2007.

The Forest Pest First Detector program has trained 483 individuals and has 321 active First Detector volunteers. The three tree care employees who identified the first incident of EAB in Minnesota in the spring of 2009 were trained by the First Detector program.

Extension Team Members are Angela Gupta, Jeffrey Hahn, Dean Herzfeld, Mike Reichenbach, Gary Wyatt and Gary Johnson. Partner Team Members are Mark Abrahamson, MDA; and Val Cervenka and Ken Holman, DNR Division of Forestry.

Urban 4-H Youth Development Team, Distinguished Diversity and Inclusion: Extension's Urban 4-H Youth Development team works with and on behalf of youth living in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburban communities in Hennepin and Ramsey counties to measurably improve their learning with non-formal educational programs.

Their mission is accomplished through three signature programs: Urban Youth Learn, Urban Youth Lead, and Community Clubs. Programs are carried out by networks of volunteers, college interns and community partnerships.

Team Members are Becky Carlson, Erica Gates, Jessica Jerney, Maki Kawase, Amie Mondl, Jessica Russo, Kathryn Sharpe, Jennifer Skuza and Joanna Tzenis.

Media Contact: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237,

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