(Photo by With Luv (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))
I believe everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher. That each of us has expertise of our own lived experiences, and that coming together to share those experiences helps us find patterns and co-create a way forward.
So it's not surprising that I was drawn to the work of Michigan State University's Julie Doll, Cheryl Eschbach and James DeDecker when I read their article, "Using Dialogue to Engage Agricultural Audiences in Cooperative Learning About Climate Change: A Strategy with Broad Implications," in the Journal of Extension.
Their use of the Fishbowl method (inspired by "Fishbowls in the Field: Using Listening to Join Farmers, Ranchers, and Educations in Advancing Sustainable Agriculture") to allow participants to drive the conversation about climate change demonstrates the potential of a more democratic approach to Extension work to address complex issues.
This is the 2nd 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, Some of the book's authors discuss being energetic, avoiding jaded colleagues, finishing what you start and collaborating. You'll hear from Hunter McBrayer from Alabama, Daphne Richards from Texas, Scott Matteson from Michigan, and Eric Stafne from Mississippi.
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.
I'm embarrassed to admit I had thought little about the needs of children with an incarcerated parent. I had never thought about Cooperative Extension's ability to help those kids until I found out about the 4-H LIFE program.
My colleagues in the eXtension Educational Technology Network brainstormed a list of potential guests for the podcast, and Lynna Lawson's name was on it. Lynna helps lead 4-H LIFE, a program for children of offenders and their families, in Missouri. After an emotional and eye-opening review of the work 4-H LIFE is doing, I couldn't wait to talk with her.
Here's our conversation.
When I read about Anindita Das, refugee coordinator for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, I was interested in the idea of an Extension professional focused on the refugee community. I have not heard of another Extension organization with a full-time position dedicated to serving the refugee community.
While we did discuss how and why Extension should be reaching out to the refugee community, I was surprised by how much of our conversation connected to Extension's potential to work within collective action networks.
Anindita's works with a coalition of organizations many of which have served the refugee community for years. Anindita is working to connect these organizations, help them coordinate and help them show the impact of their collective work. Her work reminded me of my conversation with Jame Bain, Noelle Harden and Stephanie Heim, in which we talked about the ways Extension could contribute to existing networks.
When Anindita talked about how the refugee organizations could help connect Extension with the refugee community, I though of my recent conversation with Jessica Beckendorf and Sandy Liang. Jessica and Sandy got connected with the veterans by working with their county veterans service officer.
Anindita had only been on the job for 6 weeks when we spoke. I really appreciate her willingness to talk about her work, when she was still figuring it out.
I hope you enjoy the conversation.