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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…
Recent posts

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…

MEWS funds helps life member attend conference to advance skills as a financial counselor

by: Phyllis Onstad, Retiree and ESP Life Member

Conference attended:  Association of Financial Counseling Planning and Education (AFCPE) Symposium, San Diego, CA  November 15-17, 2017

As a retiree, I find the ability to continue to apply for a MEWS Scholarship a true value added component of life membership. Thank you MN ESP! The funds awarded help me to continue to grow in my professional life and allows me the opportunity to continue the work that I do in retirement with military members and their families.  This work requires that I receive personal finance continuing education units to maintain my Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) designation.

In particular, these diverse sessions provided me added knowledge, understanding and tools to utilize in my work and in my life: Behavioral Biases of Clients, Bridging the Gap from Military Financial Education to Military Financial Readiness, Someday Syndrome (Behavioral fina…

Conference Provided Opportunities to Learn, Present, Connect and Celebrate

Epsilon Sigma Phi - Pi Chapter
MEWS Report
Kathy Brandt, Extension Educator, Food Safety
December 21, 2017

Thank you to Epsilon Sigma Phi-Pi Chapter and the MEWS Committee for the financial support I received to attend the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Annual Session, October 16 – 19, 2017, Omaha, Nebraska. The conference provided many professional development opportunities focused on the theme “Harvesting Opportunities in NEAFCS.”

Highlights included attending the ‘Farm to Table’ in-depth session where I learned about local entrepreneurs building businesses around locally grown food for both personal and community growth; serving as a Minnesota Affiliate voting delegate and being part of active decision making on the national level; and receiving the 1st place national food safety award along with my colleague, Suzanne Driessen. Our award was given for the Safe Food Sampling at Farmers Markets program that we developed and implemented to meet…