Spring 1993 // Volume 31 // Number 1
It's Not Easy Being Green
This issue's special section is devoted to Extension environmental and natural resource education. The problem of how Extension faculty can educate when public attitudes are polarized is addressed in two articles.
Volatile Environmental Programming
As change agents, we may often find ourselves in tense situations. Strategies for intervention to address the concerns of the participants while still meeting the educational objectives of Extension programs are possible and would be applied in many areas. Care in the design of an intervention strategy may be the greatest predictor of our own success in dealing with significant public issues.
Pesticide Facts and Perceptions
No longer passive, members of the nonagricultural public are demanding the farming community, as well as state and federal regulatory agencies, provide greater accountability in identifying and preventing risks associated with pesticide use. Thus, the dilemma for Extension policymakers, faculty, and staff is how to communicate effectively both benefit and risk information to agricultural and nonagricultural audiences.
Waste Management Education
Waste management issues have become pervasive and emotionally charged in recent years. As a first step in meeting the pressing educational needs inherent in this multifaceted problem, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has chosen to ensure that its county agents have the necessary knowledge and tools to be active partners in local waste management solutions.
Participatory Learning in Natural Resource Education
This article describes an ongoing natural resource management Extension program focusing on improving the management of fisheries through participatory learning and long-term engagement of learner and expert.
This study was designed to investigate satisfaction with participation in 4-H among older youth. The major purpose was to determine factors related to their satisfaction with 4-H activities.
Extension in Religious Communities
In working with any religious community, Extension educators can be more successful if they understand the doctrines of those they wish to teach. The more we know about the doctrine and its effects on lifestyle, the more effectively we can interact with clientele. In an effort to provide access to education to all citizens, Extension educators must be able to adapt to diverse audiences, including those from religious communities.
Reaching Native Americans
Working with Native American audiences or any culturally diverse group means Extension educators must adapt their traditional methods for reaching traditional audiences. While the strategies for taking a different approach may not be difficult, implementing them is a challenge requiring a high degree of commitment to cultural understanding.
Computer Awareness Among Limited-Resource Farmers
...we saw value in investigating two broad questions: How aware are the limited-resource farmers about the capability of the computer? Who provides the best sources of information to these farmers about the utility of the personal computer? The findings of this study revealed that limited-resource farmers are willing to learn more about computers. Extension's long-range and ultimate task is to influence its clientele through education to use the results of scientific technology to improve their quality of life.
To The Point
Environment for Innovation and Professionalism
Extension is no longer providing us with a "career for life." Our programs in the future will need to focus in arenas where we have a competitive advantage. It's time for us to become proactive in dealing with our future.
Linking Agriculture with the People
Extension agents represent more than the food-producing disciplines. Public policy issues will be in the forefront. Downsizing Extension may be a fact of life. ...without a link to the people, universities can't serve them.
Impact Through Cooperation and Technology
...more dollars must be spent to support the existing staff. We can't continue talking to ourselves....we must be willing to risk some uncertainty.
Victims or Architects of Change?
We need to see change as a positive force. ...we must change the image of our program from a product to a process orientation. ...it's imperative that we work differently and that we do different work.
Privatization Lessons for U.S. Extension from New Zealand and Tasmania
Extension is a public investment in the ability of agriculture to voluntarily incorporate public goals. When Extension functions properly, agents of the public-who possess agricultural expertise-challenge and work with the industry to bring about change responsive to public interests, yet sensitive to the needs of agriculture.
Gaining International Experience Through Job Exchanges
Between October 1991 and January 1992, I exchanged jobs with an Extension officer in Victoria, Australia. We learned a great deal about life in each other's countries and each of us has taken new technical ideas back to our own clients.
Be Your Own Boss
If Extension is to be an information-age organization, it must foster a climate of personal growth, entrepreneurship, and challenge to motivate agents and specialists-the real "bosses" in Extension. Although the traditional Extension management style falls short of creating this climate, we who are in fact the bosses in Extension can still create our own success.
Using and Teaching Critical Thinking
...modeling and instilling critical thinking skills for a client is, in fact, teaching him or her to fish for a lifetime. In doing so, the client isn't just satisfied for the moment, but instead has life-long skills.
Ideas at Work
Adapting to Teen Culture
Successful development and delivery of information to junior high students demands fresh, new approaches to visual and written communication, sensitivity to local and cultural differences, and an understanding of how adolescent learning styles have changed in recent years.
Consumers' Impact on Environmental Marketing
Consumers have demonstrated a willingness to buy products and packaging with recycled content and pay more for more environmentally conscious choices. Yet, they are ill-equipped to sort through the maze of advertising claims to determine an appropriate choice. Standardization of terms and claims could help consumers make decisions.
Juvenile Diversion Programs
Extension can have a positive impact within the community by working with juvenile offenders and their families. Programs need to be developed in cooperation with the county court system that address needs within the specific community. Program content is limited only by the creativity of the professionals who develop it and the environment in which it's offered.
A Caring Extension Workplace
As a result of eight organizational workshops focused on "Change and Renewal" in the Kansas Cooperative Extension Service, a group of workshop participants developed a draft document entitled "CPR (Caring People Respond) for Extension Health Maintenance." Because it's a grassroots philosophy of caring for one's self and one's co-workers, CPR is a part of the movement toward a change in the relationship between employee and organization.
Educating Consumers About Universal Design
Extension professionals, beginning with those involved in housing and construction-related programs, can demonstrate universal design principles and be objective sources of news and ideas about it within their communities. Extension education for both housing consumers and producers about universal design can help to ensure that today's homes meet the needs of a changing population.
Research in Brief
Volunteer Management System Training
Agents both with and without training realized a great return on the investment in time spent starting a systematic approach to managing volunteers.
Leadership Development in Extension
...vague and competing definitions of leadership development coupled with lack of clear policy has fostered miscommunication about the nature of leadership development work in Extension. Extension needs to decide which skills should be taught as a part of its leadership development effort.
Why Youth Drop Out of 4-H
Although the results of this survey can be generalized only to the population of Indiana youth and parents sampled, it suggests that nationally Extension should be as concerned about the quality of its 4-H programs as it is about competing with other youth activities.
Involving Minority Youth in 4-H
Extension should continue to emphasize the positive influences to participate-experience, activities, and opportunities for youth development. A conscious effort should be made to recruit minority agents and volunteer leaders to fill the void of necessary role models for minority youth.
Tools of the Trade
The Coming World Order
Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order, Jacques Attali, New York: Times Books, Random House, Inc., 1991, 130 pp., $17.00 hardcover I highly recommend this book because it will raise pertinent questions as well as raising our consciousness about contemporary issues. The most critical question is yet to be answered. Is this educational model we call Extension oriented toward current issues and future needs?
Focus Groups for Kids
Focus group use in Extension has been limited to adult or teenager participants. Since youth development is one of the primary issues for Extension programming, it also seems appropriate to gather data directly from youth through this technique.