April 2010 // Volume 48 // Number 2
In "Copyright Rules" I lay down the law about JOE's copyright policy and explain why it's wrong to "double dip." In "Request for JOE Reader Response" I relay a request from the authors of a popular and highly regarded article that gives you the opportunity to join a collaborative group and contribute to the scholarly dialog. In "April JOE" I highlight too few of the many fine articles in the issue.
How Culinary Nutrition Can Save the Health of a Nation
Culinary nutrition is the practicality needed to make a difference in our nation's health. With rates of obesity and overweight rising and some of the top causes of American deaths being related to poor diet, the nation needs nutrition intervention that stretches across many of the barriers that prevent healthy eating practices. However, making nutrition principles easily accessible is useless without also making them applicable. Therefore, hands-on culinary nutrition outreach programs focused on producing sustainable healthy eating behavior through culinary confidence and nutrition alertness are a successful approach to begin the restoration of our nation's health.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "How Culinary Nutrition Can Save the Health of a Nation"
Ideas at Work
Stewardship as a Means to Create Organizational Reform: A View into Minnesota 4-H Youth Development
Minnesota 4-H Youth Development (MN 4-H) used stewardship as a means to create organizational reform to address the public use of the 4-H name and emblem in terms of risk management, real estate and equipment, and finances. A task force implemented a participatory process with colleagues and stakeholders to build and implement the reform effort. In result, MN 4-H strengthened its public value by identifying and creating policies and practices to better steward its resources. The operating principles identified in this article will guide future stewardship agendas in Minnesota and may be replicated by other states interested in similar improvements.
Let Go and Let Them Lead—Empowering Youth to Lead a Regional Event
"Empowerment" is the buzzword in youth development today. As youth development professionals, are we truly allowing our youth to be equal partners? Do we provide them the opportunities to practice and gain mastery of the leadership skills we teach them? This article presents a proven model that has successfully empowered youth to lead a leadership event for their peers. The Eastern Oregon Youth Council Training was the first of its kind in Oregon and has been successfully modeling a true youth-adult partnership for over 25 years.
University of California Program to Evaluate Water Quality Management Practices at Cooperating Agricultural Sites
Extension is viewed as a critical agent for addressing the water quality impacts of agriculture. To assist growers in implementing management practices (BMPs) and to assess the effectiveness of these BMPs, the University of California undertook two grant projects that assessed cooperator sites for runoff water quality and water conservation. The interdisciplinary approach was largely successful. However, factors creating challenges for quantifying BMP performance included assessing BMPs in a before-and-after manner, limited stormwater runoff, and the limited duration of the projects. Addressing these challenges may help to make similar programs more effective.
Watershed-Scale Dynamics of Tennessee Farmland Enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program: Implications for Environmental Extension
Increased national focus on environmental quality requires Extension professionals to evaluate conservation policies and adapt outreach strategies accordingly. This case study applies spatial analysis techniques to evaluate watershed-scale changes in Tennessee farmland enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program 1997-2007, focusing on areas that may contribute to stream quality impairment. Results indicate that cumulative enrollment in the program has decreased significantly less in watersheds targeted by interagency outreach efforts than in the remainder of the state. Integration of geospatial technologies into cooperative educational programs that complement watershed restoration strategies may represent an emerging opportunity for natural resources Extension.
North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden Teaches About Best Management Practices and Fire Defensible Space
Because water quality and wildfire are critical issues at Lake Tahoe, a demonstration garden teaches about best management practices and defensible space, in addition to demonstrating what plants grow in our mountain environment. Extension worked with the local Conservation District to design and build unique displays with interpretive signs that show people options they can use on their properties. All demonstrations comply with requirements for control of nonpoint source pollution and for fire defensible space. The garden's biggest contribution to the community is that it teaches property owners how they can meet multiple environmental objectives in an effective and attractive manner.
Forest Story Cards, a Visual Survey Tool
A visual survey tool for initiating dialogue about forests with adults and youth, Forest Story Cards, is described. The cards include 52 selected photographs related to forests, a wild card, and instructions. Field-testing by natural resource professionals, Extension educators, and forestry volunteers indicate the photographic cards help individuals communicate and make associations about their life experiences, concerns, and hopes for their own forests and for forests in general. Visual survey techniques such as Forest Story Cards hold promise for use in other educational situations when addressing issues and topics about which the individuals involved lack shared background or experience.
Community Mobilization Model Applied to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
This article discusses the application of a community mobilization model through a case study of one community's response to address the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren. The community mobilization model presented is one that is replicable in addressing diverse community identified issues. Discussed is the building of the partnerships, the development and implementation of action plans, and evaluating for effectiveness. Information gained through the evaluation process of this case study demonstrates the success of the model in affecting individuals and community through positive outcomes.
Tools of the Trade
Practical Application of Aspiration as an Outcome Indicator in Extension Evaluation
Extension educators need simple and accurate evaluation tools for program evaluation. This article explains how to use aspiration as an outcome indicator in Extension evaluation and introduces a practical evaluation tool. Aspiration can be described as the readiness for change. By recording participants' levels of aspiration, we will be able to determine whether the program is effective in achieving desired results. This aspiration-recording tool is easy to use in terms of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Evaluation data collected from this tool can be used to document accountability and make decisions for program modifications.
The Wiki as a Time-Saving Mentoring Tool
An important step in the acculturation of new Extension professionals is a mentoring process that includes the input of experienced Extension colleagues. The wiki is a technology tool that can be useful by providing an online venue for Mentor Team communication and a place to share articles, curricula, and other critical tenure documents. This article describes the role of a wiki in the mentoring process and identifies four steps to establish a wiki that can enhance Mentor Team communication.
Obtaining High-Quality, "Low-Maintenance" Stakeholder Input: How to Create a Virtual Statewide Extension Program Advisory Committee
Effective advisory committees are the cornerstone of relevant, quality Extension programs. They provide stakeholder input to Extension personnel, which is required under the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act (AREERA) of 1998. This article describes the implementation of a virtual statewide Extension program advisory committee using e-mail. During three semi-annual virtual "meetings" to date, the committee has provided high-quality recommendations for Extension programming with a much "richer" discussion of suggested program content and delivery methods than was previously the case with face-to-face meetings. In addition, the time requirement for both the specialist and committee members was significantly reduced.
Perceptions of Polycom Programming for Delivery of Continuing Education to Florida's Licensed Pesticide Applicators
Polycom technology has potential for efficient use of program delivery by Extension educators. A survey of licensed pesticide applicators attending a 1-day event at one of 20 host polycom sites revealed that polycom distance learning is effective for presenting information and learning. Responses also indicated that most of this audience is comfortable with the format of the polycom environment and would attend a similar type event in the future.
Evaluation of Adobe® Presenter as a Teaching Tool
Adobe® Presenter software provides educators with a tool to create narrated distance learning presentations. This article describes Adobe® Presenter's many features and explains which most strongly affect learning. Six Adobe® Presenter trainings were presented to 62 volunteers preparing to provide information at a public outreach event. One month after the event, volunteers were surveyed about their ability to learn from the online training and to apply the information in their volunteer work. Although all features of the Adobe® Presenter software were highly rated, questions embedded within the presentation and the voice-recorded narration were rated as particularly important to learning.
Video Gaming Increases Physical Activity
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Mypramid recommend that children get 60 minutes of moderate level exercise each day. Obesity has become a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Idaho currently has an obesity rate of 10.1% for children ages 10-17. As a response to this, the Nintendo Wii was introduced into a 4-H after-school program in Idaho. Data was collected to determine if participating in exergames was an effective way to be physically active for youth ages 9-12 years of age.
Energy Efficiency: An Experiential-Based Energy Unit for Youth Ages 13-18
Not all 16 year olds can buy hybrid cars to help save gas emissions, but they can learn new, easy ways to save energy. Youth are more likely to develop a greater sense of positive impact on the environment if they learn easy and creative ways to use energy more efficiently at a young age. Through the use of practical applications, youth can begin to make a difference in our environment. By implementing energy-related materials, programs like 4-H can teach communities the importance of saving energy. If youth are educated on ways to be energy conscious, they will teach others.
A Formative Evaluation of the Cooking with a Chef Program
The Cooking with a Chef a culinary nutrition education series teams a chef and nutrition educator during cooking sessions with parents. Pilot program results were shared in the Journal of Extension in 2006. This formative evaluation presents data collected through focus groups and individual interviews examining program implementation, participant impressions, and program objectives during four subsequent program trials. Findings indicate high level of potential for the program building self-efficacy and change within home environment, thus increasing participant motivation to cook. Lessons learned contribute to refinement of the program, and quantitative data is forthcoming as pilot testing continues with ongoing groups.
A Conceptual Model for Retaining County Extension Program Professionals
Retaining county program professionals in their positions continues to challenge Cooperative Extension systems. Turnover among program professionals results in unmet citizen needs, disrupted educational programs, low morale among remaining Extension professionals, and wasted financial and material resources. Using a qualitative methodology and content analysis, the authors developed the R.E.T.A.I.N.S. conceptual model for retaining county Extension program professionals, and suggest practical implications of the model: Recruit authentically; Expand on new employees' experiences and abilities; Train, train, train; Advocate for both the employee and the position; Inspire, invest in, and empower employees; Nurture connectivity among employees; and Show appreciation through effective recognition.
Explore Your World: Professional Development in an International Context
International travel is a proven method of developing cross-cultural competencies. The study reported here sought to uncover Extension agents' interests and preferences for international travel and barriers preventing participation. A census of county faculty in Florida was conducted using an online survey. The majority of agents expressed interest in international travel, particularly hands-on, group experiences with other Extension professionals. Barriers such as financial cost, time commitment, and work obligations were perceived to negatively influence an agent's ability to travel internationally. Extension agents can take advantage of opportunities at home and abroad to increase their cross-cultural competencies.
Using Extension Fieldwork to Incorporate Experiential Learning into University Coursework
This article presents a strategy for incorporating experiential learning into university coursework through the use of Extension fieldwork projects. In this case, undergraduate agribusiness management students construct business plans for primary agricultural industries and proposed new industries, such as food processing. Results of the study suggest that fieldwork projects enhance student learning and provide a valuable "real world" application of their classroom coursework. Undergraduate fieldwork projects should have a clear set of steps/goals, and instructors may need to help students identify an industry and appropriate industry contacts, as well as specify region of interest and number of contact hours required.
Terminology Revisited: Effective Communications for the Agricultural Community
In 1862 (when USDA established) about 60% of the U.S. population were farmers, but in 2000 it was around 2%. Many people from a diversity of backgrounds are returning to small acreages and are newcomers to agriculture. Pasture-based production systems for meat goats, sheep, and cattle are growing rapidly in the eastern U.S., especially on smaller-scale farms. Increasing demand for U.S.-grown agricultural products, including pasture-raised meat and dairy products, requires renewed efforts to relay practical production agriculture information as effectively as possible. We emphasize the need to return to use of standardized terminology when explaining soil, plant, and livestock management practices.
A Needs Assessment of Aquaculture Extension Agents, Specialists, and Program Administrators in Extension Programming
The study reported here identified continuing education and training needs of aquaculture Extension agents, specialists, and program administrators in 10 competency areas relating to the need for continuing education or training. Fourteen resources on the AquaNIC Web site were also evaluated, as was the efficacy of the AQUA-EXT listserv. Data were collected with an online survey via http://www.survey.vt.edu/. While a majority of Extension professionals and program administrators did not require significant training to accomplish their work, most agreed on the importance of continuing education in program evaluation, information technologies, and human development. This need varied by identified population demographics.
Factors Affecting Teen Involvement in Pennsylvania 4-H Programming
The study reported here determined the factors that affect teen involvement in 4-H programming. The design of the study was descriptive and correlational in nature. Using a purposive sampling procedure, a survey questionnaire was distributed to all (N=214) 4-H members attending the 4-H State Leadership Conference. The major findings of the study aligned of previous research and showed that parents have a great influence on their children's choices within 4-H. Additionally, the results of the study show that the 4-H members are experiencing the opportunity to lead meetings and organize events.
Research in Brief
Relationship Between Participation in 4-H and Community Leadership in Rural Montana
Studies on the impact of 4-H on former members generally use alumni as one cohort. In rural states, such as Montana, it is important to understand the impact of 4-H on alumni in these rural areas and the role 4-H plays in community involvement. The study reported here sought to determine the perception of current community leaders in rural Montana and the relationship between development of leadership skills and participation in 4-H. The study found that 4-H continues to influence rural community leaders in Montana, although it plays a modest role in influencing community involvement in all areas except agriculture groups.
Information Sources, Learning Opportunities, and Priority Water Issues in the Pacific Northwest
Extension programs should closely match citizen water resource priorities and be delivered in a format that the public will use. This article documents changes in public water resource priorities, preferred information sources, and learning opportunities between 2002 and 2007. Pacific Northwest citizens place a high priority on water resource issues and would prefer to learn about these issues via newspapers, television, and printed fact sheets.
Does the General Public Know the Extension Service? A Survey of Ohio Residents
This article presents results of an assessment of the familiarity of the general public of Ohio with OSU Extension and the means of contact with OSU Extension. One-fifth of respondents were familiar with programs and services OSU Extension provides. Agriculture and Natural Resources area programs were most popular among those Ohio residents familiar with OSU Extension. Reading a publication was the most likely way of knowing about OSU Extension. Ohio residents reported a positive, above-average value for their satisfaction with OSU Extension's programs and services, and indicated that they would recommend OSU Extension to others.
Lawn Management Practices and Perceptions of Residents in 14 Sandpit Lakes of Nebraska
The sandpit lakes of eastern Nebraska have become an area of concern due to toxic algae blooms and associated water quality problems. During the spring of 2006, surveys were distributed to residents of 14 sandpit lake communities throughout Nebraska in order to generate information on lawn management practices, perceptions and attitudes. The survey was used to provide insight to current residential lawn care practices. The majority of respondents fertilize their lawn at least once each year. However, because only 3% of respondents have ever had their soil tested, education effort should focus on proper lawn management (particularly fertilization) practices.
Evaluation of an Electronic Horse Owner Newsletter
The University Minnesota developed an electronic equine newsletter. An on-line survey was developed to determine the effectiveness and impacts of the newsletter. A majority of respondents stated that the newsletter improved their ability to make informed decisions, resulted in changes in management of horse health and nutrition, and led to improvements in communication with veterinarians. According to survey results, the newsletter had impact, resulted in positive behavior change in subscribers, and can be used to improve future educational programs. The authors believe this is the first survey investigating a content-based newsletter for a livestock audience.
A 5-Year Look at Cotton Coverage by the Texas Print Media
Can we increase the coverage of agriculturally related topics in the media? A 5-year research study examined how the implementation of a media resource tool developed to provide a more detailed understanding of the cotton industry and access to credible cotton-related sources affects the quality and quantity of print media coverage the cotton industry receives in Texas. An increase in the total number of cotton-related articles, as well as the coverage of certain cotton-related topics, was seen in the 5 years of the study. Causal data is not currently available, but this could be a topic of future research.
Opportunities for Planned County-Based Wildlife Programming
Extension personnel trained in agricultural fields may not adequately meet client needs in natural resources-related topics. To help guide strategies to improve planned wildlife programming, we conducted a survey of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service county agents. Forty-six of 101 county agents responded, with 62% of respondents indicating lack of training limited their abilities to conduct wildlife programming. Development of seminars and educational resources by university-based Extension specialists may help county agents conduct formal programming related to wildlife conservation. Additionally, county agents can partner with local natural resource management professionals to develop and conduct wildlife-related programming.