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Lunch and Learn Power of Collaboration Webinar Series Recordings

June 18, 2019: ESP Lunch and Learn: A series of 30 minute conversations on The Power of Collaboration featuring new Extension Programs has been recorded and can be accessed at
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May 3, 2019 ESP Pi Chapter Board Meeting Minutes

ESP PI Chapter Board Meeting Minutes May 3, 2019
On Call: Nathan Winter, Gwen Gmeinder, Mary Caskey, Anita Harris Hering, Rebecca Harrington, Suzanne Driessen, Sara Croymans, Marcia Woeste, Becky Hagen Jokela
Not on Call: Katherine Brandt, David Werner, Roselyn Biermaier, Robin Trott, Jody Horntvedt
Nathan called the meeting to order at 9:00 am via Google Hangout.
President’s Report - Nathan shared about his attendance at PILD - held Apr 14-17
M/S/C (Gwen, Suzanne) to approve the agenda.
Secretary’s Report M/S/C (Becky H/ Becky HJ) , to approve the Secretary’s Report for the March 1, 2019 PI Chapter Board meeting.
Treasurer’s Report -Mary Caskey emailed out the Treasurer’s Report. Balance - checking -$7,868.86; Savings - $4,017.51, and CD - $2,806.36
Committee Reports
Scholarship Committee - no report
Awards & Recognition Committee - Marcia shared she received notification from National that Pi Chapter needs to vote for awards; Marcia, Kia, Nathan & Sara will review; Due date -- May 15

An Extension Pilot project created because of a MEWS scholarship opportunity

By Angela Gupta
2017 Scholarship RecipientOctober 5, 2018 update from previous post
Last year ESP gave me a travel scholarship to attend an IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) conference in Freiburg, Germany. During that conference, I noticed a lot of green and solar roofed "garden sheds" but upon closer inspection realized they were bike parking for the many, many bikes in Freiburg. I got to thinking we could borrow that idea in Rochester and use MN wood to build bike parking infrastructure here. 

Upon my return last fall, I pitched that idea to the MN Wood Innovation team for which I am a member. We were ending a 3-year USFS grant to develop new wood markets and my focus was on wood utilization in Rochester. The grant team helped get MN ash wood donated. I found an architect willing to do the design pro bono, I'm actively crowd sourcing the money (feel free to contribute, or post on social media! I also worked with th…

Cultivating a Climate of Civil Dialogue at PILD 2018

By Suzanne Driessen April 26, 2018

As the ESP Pi Chapter President, I was our delegate at the 2018 Public Institute Leadership Conference (PILD), April 8-12, 2018, Hyatt Regency, Arlington, VA.

This year the theme, Cultivating a Climate of Civil Dialogue, focused on becoming involved in civil engagement in policy and advocacy. The agenda was filled with speakers on restoring our democracy, rediscovering humanity in an increasingly polarized world and communicating Extension’s value to stakeholders and partners.

Staffers from the house and senate prepped us for our hill visits. They advised us to:

Make the visit memorable for the staffer or legislator.  Don’t be partisan.Your ask should include who, what, why.Tell a story about the issue and its impact on your community. 
The national 4-H youth conference was held in D.C. at the same time allowing five 4-H members to join our group and meet with MN Congressional Offices. Representative Nolan and Congressman Peterson were personally at th…

Reflections from 2018 JCEP Leadership Conference

By Kelly Kunkel  February 23, 2018

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Leadership Conference on February 14-15, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The theme for the event was, “Balancing Tradition with Innovation.  Below I highlight key learning and takeaways from speakers presenting at the conference.

University of Florida Extension Director Nick Place asked the question, "What are the vexing issues right now?" He talked about Florida’s concern around water, a growing population, and one new pest or plant disease discovered each month. He challenged us to create the biggest impacts with our programming. 
Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of Extension at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, provided an Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) report. His message on advocacy centered around five key messages: 1) Science is action (better to state science than research); 2)National reach with meaningful local impact; 3). Pro…

Legislative Update

By Gwen Gmeinder, ESP Legislative Chair
Government Relations Associate, St. Paul Campus

Minnesota State Legislative Status In January of the even number calendar years, the governor is required by statute to submit a list of capital infrastructure recommendations to the legislature for consideration in the upcoming legislative session. These recommended capital projects reflect infrastructure needs across the state, from state agencies to local governments to higher education facilities. 
The University of Minnesota’s request to the MN State Legislature is summarized here.
Governor Dayton recommendationis for full funding of the University’s capital request. The 2018 bonding request is among the largest in the past five years and the Governor proposes full funding for the University’s request, plus an additional $60 million.
On February 22, President Kaler hosts a legislative briefing to layout more details of the University’s proposal.  Extension administration, governmen…

Nathan Winter Visits Kenya

By Nathan Winter
January 11, 2018
A Catholic priest from Kisii, Kenya visited Minnesota in the summer of 2017. His visit was a part of a mission to encourage efforts to support a village near the city of Kisii, Kenya. Damaris, who moved from Kenya to Minnesota, invited him. Damaris, along with her siblings and mother, had been working closely with the Berquist Foundation to help the village out financially. Through this work, the connection was made with the priest.
The priest found out I worked in agriculture for the University of Minnesota Extension and suggested I visit Kenya. At the time, I laughed off the idea of traveling to Kenya since it would be well out of my comfort zone.
Butch and Karen, a retired farm couple from Hutchinson, were planning to travel to Kenya with Damaris in November of 2017. Butch and Karen convinced their daughter, Anissa, to go along. They asked if I wanted to go as well. I thought about this idea for a while and told them I would see if there was any E…