Extension and Outreach Week: Roll up your sleeves ... and celebrate

ISU Extension and Outreach Week is March 25-31. And while extension and outreach staff will mark the week with a couple dozen open houses and special events throughout the state, they'll also celebrate their week in classic extension fashion -- offering agricultural research updates, providing education on food safety, family finances and business; helping kids have fun with science, technology, engineering and math, and more.

Extension and Outreach Week will be a pretty typical week for staff, with some 300 events in communities all across the state, augmented by a dash of celebration.

"The weeklong celebration is just one way we can say 'thank you' to the many volunteers, community leaders, organizations, agencies and other partners who support extension and outreach work in Iowa," said Cathann Kress, vice president for extension and outreach.

Gov. Terry Branstad will officially sign a proclamation on March 27 declaring Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week.

"As a land-grant university, Iowa State was founded on three big ideas: to open higher education to all, to teach practical classes and to share knowledge far beyond the campus borders," Kress said. "ISU Extension and Outreach is dedicated to providing education that makes a difference in Iowans' everyday lives."

Educational network, county by county 

Extension and outreach is part of an educational network supported by Iowa State University, local county governments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Every county extension district in Iowa has an elected extension council that decides how local tax dollars are spent to support educational programs at the county level.

Extension and outreach delivers through five program areas aligned with Iowa State University colleges: agriculture and natural resources, Center for Industrial Research and Service, community and economic development, families, and 4-H youth development.

"ISU Extension and Outreach anticipates emerging issues and trends so Iowans can thrive and succeed," Kress said. "We act in catalytic ways to create opportunities and build relationships, and we stay for the long haul to be there when needs arise. We are committed to Iowans and plan to be a vital part of Iowa's future."

Last year about 1.8 million people, including almost 94,000 youth, benefited from ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs, according to Terry Maloy, president of the Iowa Association of County Extension Councils.