Skip to content

We've Tried That Before Book and Gift BoxThis is the last in a series of podcasts featuring the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.

In this episode, we hear from Bradd Anderson, State 4-H Leadership & Communication Specialist with Missouri University Extension. Bradd wrote 5 sections of the book, “Valuing Others’ Opinions,” “Be Loyal and Always Speak Well of Others,” “Be Virtually Professional,” “Present Simply & Establish Context,”  and “Don’t Send That Emotional Message.” We'll also hear what role lead authors Paul Hill and Jamie Seger hope the book will play in Extension's future. The episode ends with a bit about "bumping the lamp."

We've Tried That Before Book and Gift Box

This is the 3rd in a series of podcasts featuring the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.

In this episode, we'll hear from 2 co-authors talking about change. First, Michelle RodgersAssociate Dean and Director Cooperative Extension and Outreach at the University of Delaware, talks about her section, “Be Flexible. Adjust to Change.” Then, Danae Wolfeeducational technology specialist with Ohio State University Extension, talks about the section, “Reach People Where They Are.” Danae talks about reaching people and setting them on a path of engagement.

We've Tried That Before Book and Gift Box

Paul Hill and Jamie Seger are the editors and co-authors of the new book, "We've Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom." The book, inspired by T.J. Talbert's "Extension Worker's Code" (1922), features the insights of 30 Extension professionals from 15 states (including me!). You can order the book in a gift box at https://wttbgiftbox.eventbrite.com.

This conversation with Jamie and Paul kicks off a series of podcasts in which we'll hear from several of the book's co-authors and discuss some of the important themes the book addresses.

I'm a white male who has worked in technology and media for years. I see myself as someone who challenges systems that undermine our pursuit of equity and justice, but that view of myself has to be colored by the fact that I have benefited from those systems.

That tension, among other things I struggle with everyday, is why my conversation with Jane Crayton was so important to me. Jane is an Extension agent for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math in 4-H Youth Development at Colorado State University Extension in Pueblo County. She wrote an important commentary in the Journal of Extension titled "The Event Horizon for the Horizon Report: Inclusivity in Extension Programs." In it she calls out the Horizon Report that eXtension  commissioned in 2016 for ignoring issues of diversity and inclusion in their call to embrace emerging technologies.

I hope you can hear me thinking, struggling and learning in this conversation, and I hope it gives you a new perspective on Extension's innovation and technology-adoption efforts.

An important article came out in the June 2017 edition of the Journal of Extension.

"Redefining the Concept of Learning in Cooperative Extension" is a thoughtful, challenging conversation starter. I recently discussed it with the NDSU Extension Innovation team, and it sparked several questions from the practical to the existential.

After that conversation, I could hardly wait to talk with the authors, and they were kind enough to oblige. Here's my conversation with Steven Worker4-H Youth Development Advisor, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources; Kristy OuelletteAssociate Extension Professor, 4-H Youth Development, University of Maine, Cooperative Extension; and Alexa Maille4-H STEM Specialist, Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension. I hope it gets you thinking.

2

Kathy Draeger and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota had a brilliant idea.

Every week or more a loaded semi truck arrives at every rural grocery store in Minnesota to deliver the food needed to stock their shelves, but all of those trucks return to the food distributor's warehouse empty. Kathy and her colleagues wondered if there was a way to load those trucks with the garlic, potatoes and strawberries being grown on small and medium-sized farms near those grocery stores. It's a powerful idea that could significantly impact the sustainability of the farms, while benefiting the grocery stores and the wholesalers. So they set out to do it.

I spoke with Kathy to find out more. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

I had to hold back the tears in a small meeting room at Big Sky Resort. Jennifer Anderson, Montana State University Extension Agent in Rosebud and Treasure Counties, was wrapping up her incredible presentation, "Community Foundation and Extension Building Capacity Together: One Community's Story," at the 2017 NACDEP/CDS Conference. Her enthusiasm and sincerity had the room mesmerized. When she said, "We know our community foundation has saved lives," the emotion in her voice had people leaning forward in their chairs. At the end, she quoted Devine Carama. At our general session just a hour or so before, Devine had said, "We are arrogant to believe we will see the impact of our leadership while we are alive," and he challenged us to build a legacy that would live beyond us. As Jennifer ended her presentation, she said she knew this, the Community Foundation of Northern Rosebud County, was her legacy. I wasn't the only one moved to tears.

Please listen to Jennifer's inspiring story below.

Image: Fostoria 4 by Willy Nelson, https://flic.kr/p/9gcUdm, CC BY_NC 2.0

I met Partick Kirby at the 2017 NACDEP/CDS conference. He participated in a pre-conference session on Working Out Loud, and his contributions to the conversation were so valuable that I had to find out more about his work.

He presented at the conference on crowdfunding real estate development, which as you'll hear below not only provides important funding for projects in rural cities, but can also give the community a sense ownership and pride in a project.

After hearing about that work, I knew I had to get him on the podcast, but later I learned he's also directing perhaps the only legislatively-created, state-focused brownfield assistance center in the nation. In short, Patrick is doing important and innovative work, and he kindly shared some of his experience below.

Neil Klemme's belief in the abilities of young people is rooted in 4-H. Neil's a 4-H Youth Development Educator in Iron County, Wisconsin. He grew up in 4-H. His mom and his sister also work in 4-H. He's acting on that belief by getting 4-H members involved in community development in their county.

He's gotten youth involved in a community First Impressions survey, in creating a campaign for attracting and retaining young people to the county, and in designing the Iron County Regional Trail project. He even invited 2 of the kids to co-present with him at the NACDEP/CDS international community development conference.

Here's what one of his 4-H teens said about him, "I was really surprised how (the others groups) were presenting on how to get youth involved, and some of them were doing longitudinal studies on how to get youth involved and what makes them want to be involved," she said. "And here Neil is - we go up and present and we have youth there. Start to finish, youth was involved and this was the final product. That was really impressive. I just assumed everybody else did the things Neil did, and they don't." - Felicia Herlevi quoted in the Daily Globe (Ironwood, MI).

In the latest Working Differently in Extension podcast, I talked to Neil about Iron County, his work with youth and what a "charrette" is.

Over the last year-and-a-half people throughout Cooperative Extension have been creating spaces for conversation and collaboration. eXtension Issue Corps designathons, Working Out Loud circles and Innovate events in Ohio, Utah, North Dakota and Oregon have all given Extension professionals the time and intellectual space to come together to create change.

Data Jams at the University of Wisconsin create the same kind of space. Based on Game Jams, where game developers gather to rapidly develop prototypes of games, Data Jams, bring together researchers, program teams and evaluation specialists to analyze large amounts of data and collaboratively produce write-ups, models, initial theories and visualizations.

Here's my conversation with University of Wisconsin Extension qualitative research specialist Christian Schmieder about the Data Jam Initiative.