Celebrating Extension’s 100th anniversary

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick The nationwide Cooperative Extension is 100 years old. Celebrating locally with a proclamation signing are: (front) Reagan Nichols; (second row, from left) Susanna Lauer, Amy Nichols, Hunter Nichols, Teresa Woodard, Linda Granger, Madison County Extension director Janet Wasko Myers, OSU Extension central region director Julie M. Fox, Ph.D.; (back row) Les Barnhart, Madison County commissioners Mark Forrest, David Dhume and Paul Gross, and Matt Edgington.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The nationwide Cooperative Extension is 100 years old. Celebrating locally with a proclamation signing are: (front) Reagan Nichols; (second row, from left) Susanna Lauer, Amy Nichols, Hunter Nichols, Teresa Woodard, Linda Granger, Madison County Extension director Janet Wasko Myers, OSU Extension central region director Julie M. Fox, Ph.D.; (back row) Les Barnhart, Madison County commissioners Mark Forrest, David Dhume and Paul Gross, and Matt Edgington.

(Posted May 9, 2014)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Staff Writer

The Madison County commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing May 8 as the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension. At the signing, a handful of local youths and adults talked about their involvement in 4-H and Master Gardeners, two of the Extension programs administered by the Madison County Ohio State University Extension office in London.

• Susanna Lauer—A college student, Lauer is in her last year of 4-H age eligibility. She is taking a living history project to this year’s Madison County Fair. Her favorite 4-H experience was her first year as a 4-H camp counselor and member of the Junior Fair Board. “I met a lot of people… and learned to be efficient and have fun, too,” she said.

Matt Edgington—A former Madison County Fair king and active 4-Her, Edgington now serves the program as an Extension office assistant, Mud Run Hustlers 4-H Club advisor, 4-H key leader for creative arts projects, vice president of the 4-H Committee, and coordinator of special interest project judging at the fair. He says he was shy as a youth and that 4-H taught him to be confident. “4-H is a way of life for me. It made me who I am today,” he said.

Hunter and Reagan Nichols—Hunter has been active in 4-H for over seven years. He shows pigs and lambs. His favorite 4-H memory is the first year he won his class at the fair. Reagan shows sheep, pigs and her horse, Ellie, and is active in Cloverbuds, the precursor to 4-H for 5- to 8-year-olds. The siblings say their favorite Senior Fair Board member is their mother, Amy Nichols.

Amy Nichols—In addition to serving as secretary of the Senior Fair Board, Nichols is an advisor for the Eager Achievers 4-H Club. About 4-H, she said, “It’s my life. It’s the best thing for my kids.”

Les Barnhart—A 25-year 4-H club advisor and member of the Extension advisory committee, Barnhart also is active statewide in shooting sports, the fastest growing 4-H project area. As a certified instructor, he said he enjoys teaching young people about all aspects of shooting sports, including the safety component.

Teresa Woodard—A Master Gardener for seven years, Woodard said a new crop of master gardeners recently completed training, thereby doubling the Madison County program’s ranks. Master gardeners give back to the community through education programs, a gardening questions hotline, the Heritage Tree program and beautification projects. “This year, we’re hosting the state Master Gardener conference with two other counties. We will be showing visitors the conservation we’re doing at Darby Creek,” Woodard said.

Linda Granger—Each Master Gardener is required to donate 50 hours of volunteer service, said Granger, a longtime member of the program. “That’s a lot of man hours going out in the community,” she said. For a recent project, members helped London High School students plant 1,400 flowers for elementary students to take home for Mother’s Day. For some students, the project was an introduction to the idea of digging in the dirt, Granger said.

Janet Wasko Myers—As Madison County’s Extension educator and 4-H youth development director, Myers said the success of Madison County’s Extension programs for adults and children comes down to one basic principle: “It’s all about collaboration and being a team.” She credited Arlene Duffey, Extension office associate, for being an integral part of that team.

To learn more about Madison County Extension programs, call (740) 852-0875 or visit www.madison.osu.edu. The Extension office is located at 217 Elm St. in London.

History of Cooperative Extension

The Smith-Lever Act, signed on May 8, 1914, established the Cooperative Extension, a nationwide education system operating through land-grant universities in partnership with federal, state and local governments.

The purpose was to expand vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America by bringing research-based knowledge from universities to people where they live and work.

With an office in every county, OSU Extension is the official outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with additional faculty and staff in the College of Education and Human Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

OSU Extension focuses on four areas: enhancing agriculture and the environment, strengthening families and communities, advancing employment and income opportunities, and preparing youth for success.

The college is is spearheading a conversation on the future of OSU Extension to develop a vision for the organization’s second century. Supporters, alumni and friends are encouraged to help shape that future by participating in an online survey at go.osu.edu/Ohio2035.

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