Creating lifelong learners: Summer Day Camp

August 12 is International Youth Day. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be celebrating by highlighting the accomplishments of 4-H, a program that provides positive youth development by promoting citizenship, healthy living, science education, leadership skills, and more. Coincidentally, last week my office held its first ever Youth Summer Day Camp. We have actively been working on creating awareness about 4-H and Extension, and what we can provide to both youth and adults in our community. While this will take time, I am excited about how our camp went over. We are exploring the idea of hosting two to three of these annually.

The goals of the camp were that it had to be educational and it had to be fun. Judging by the youth evaluations we achieved both of those components! We hope that by introducing the youth to a variety of things, we are helping to create lifelong learners.

On Day 1 we did a hike around Spooner Lake, which is near Lake Tahoe. It is just over 2 miles, so perfect to do with kids. On this day the youth learned the differences between trees, shrubs, and forbs, as well as how to identify several within each of those major groups. We grilled hotdogs for lunch and rounded out the day talking about our forests and waterways.IMG_3609

On day 2 we went to the Library. They have computers on which each youth can learn how to code and program on, all of the skills learned resulted in a maze competition later in the day. They built mazes and the other teams had to solve them by writing in the code. We had circuit challenges, they learned how to create designs, and everyone got to have something printed by the 3D printer. IMG_3380

Day 3 was photography day. They learned how to take a good photo, how to work their cameras and change the settings depending on what they were trying to photograph. To hone their skills we visited Silver Saddle Ranch and the river. At the end of the day our instructor gave them tips on the photos they took and encouraged them to look for youth photography exhibits. For more check out Silver Saddle Ranch… Wordless Wednesday.IMG_3465

Day 4 was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day. My colleague taught the youth how to make little cleaning robots which had to clean up an “oil spill” (aka rice). Youth also learned about polymers and their ability to absorbs and hold water in things like diapers or soil. The big hit of the day was learning about CO2 and dry ice, which provided endless fun. IMG_3533

Rounding out Day 5 was entomology, or the study of insects. We visited a bug and butterfly house where one of my colleagues taught the youth how to catch insects. The youth then learned how to identify what they caught based on wings, legs, and other distinguishable body characteristics. The youth learned how to euthanize an insect and how to pin it. They were able to start their own collections. Undoubtedly, we now have some youth who are home insect collectors. IMG_3590

I would say that our first day camp was a huge hit. All of the youth loved it, as did their parents. We are looking forward to future camps which encourage youth to become lifelong learners, ask questions, and have fun!


Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

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Extension Publications… Flashback Friday

Several years ago I was cleaning out a filing cabinet I inherited when I started with Nebraska Extension. There were some fun publications I came across. At the time they were very real issues, and today they are still relevant.

Chickens

Hemp
Published in 1935, reissued in 1943. 

Have you ever found anything interesting cleaning out old files?


Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

The Book of Life: Closing and Opening Chapters

T minus 14 days… Just 14 days until my last day in the office. It is official, I am leaving Nebraska Extension and have accepted a position with Nevada Extension. I left “home” when I was 19 years old to attend college in Oklahoma on a scholarship, and 18 years later I have the opportunity to return “home”. It has been bittersweet to wrap up one life, and make plans to start another.

I started my career with Nebraska Extension in January 2010, in Richardson County (Southeast Nebraska). This was my first “real” job after college, and I loved it. I was working for and with great people doing things I enjoyed, and no two days were the same (a huge perk for me).

Falls City, Nebraska
Falls City – Richardson County, Nebraska

In April 2013 I had the chance to move to Saunders County (Central Eastern Nebraska). In Saunders County I had the opportunity to hone my skills and put more of my degree to use by taking on a social media presence engaging with consumers about agriculture and food and working closely with an active Livestock Association. I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities I have had with Nebraska Extension, and for all of the wonderful people doing cutting edge and progressive programming. I will certainly miss many of my Husker friends.

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57th Annual Saunders County Livestock Association Tour – Wyoming.

As much sadness as there is in leaving and saying goodbye, there is also excitement and opportunities that await. My new office will be less than an hour from my family ranch, and I will be much closer to the majority of my extended family. I will remain in Extension, but it will take on a new role, which is ok. I do well with change… I will also have the opportunity for tenure, which is exciting to me, especially as a terminal degree holder. My new colleagues-to-be have very warm and welcoming, and I have no doubts they will welcome me home with open arms.

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Home…

There have been some tears shed, and undoubtedly there will be more before it is over. However, a great thing about Extension – it is like one big extended family across the country. There are conferences where I will continue to see my Nebraska Extension family.

People have asked if The Hubs is excited about this move, and the answer is yes! He is excited to have another part of the country to explore. His family is excited to come and visit, as they can experience Western Nevada and Northern California and all that the area has to offer.

I plan to continue Agricultural with Dr. Lindsay (AgWithDrLindsay) via all of my social media platforms. While I don’t know what it will look like yet, I hope you will follow along as one chapter closes and another opens in this book of my life.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website: UNL Ag and Food
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

National Ag Agents: Highlight of the annual conference… Throwback Thursday

I am a member of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) – the professional membership organization for persons in Extension. Next week I head to South Dakota for the 100th annual conference… It’s kind of a big deal 🙂

As I put final touches on my presentation, prepare last minute details for the events and committees I am helping with, and pack for a variety of events such as the pre-conference animal science tour, learning sessions, and more, I was reflecting on the past four conferences I have attended.

This throwback Thursday I will share some of my highlights from the past four years.

NACAA 2011-2014 - high quality
Kansas (2011): My sister and I on the pre-conference animal science tour; South Carolina (2012): enjoyed learning so much about the state and the culture; Pennsylvania (2013): standing in front of my Extension poster; and Alabama (2014): selfie with band Alabama (eekkk)!

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Herbie Husker, a rumen, and a fistula… Wordless Wednesday

Herbie Husker visits the UNL Mobile Beef Lab (read more about the lab and the fistula here).

HerbieHuskerMBL
Herbie Husker visits the UNL Mobile Beef Lab team — even suiting up and putting his arm into “Rudy’s” rumen!

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Happy National Sibling Day!

Today is National Sibling Day. My sister and I are in the same career (Extension), which is a lot of fun because we can not only bounce ideas off of each other, but when we travel to various meetings and national conferences we can be roommates!

sister-Final
No, we are not twins… But we do get asked that a lot.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Bug (Entomology) Facination… Wordless Wednesday

We recently hosted a science fair. A colleague (Jonathan Larson), who is an entomologist (bug guy) brought some exhibits…

Holding hissing cockroaches with my colleague Deb
Scorpions glow under black light due to a chemical produced by their bodies.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)

– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi) 

Oysters… Fun Fact Friday

This past week 1,300 agricultural focused extension folks from around the nation gathered in Mobile, Alabama for our annual conference. There are always great presentations, posters, vendors, and conversations that provide educational opportunities. But we also have a chance to go on a day tour to learn more about something in the area. This year I selected an oyster and crawfish tour. Certainly not something we have much of in Nebraska, but it was very interesting. Today I want to share with you some of the fun facts I learned about oysters.

— Oysters are animals and can be grown in off-bottom gardens. Off-bottom means the oysters are grown in baskets, bags, cages, etc. that are suspended in the water, versus on the bottom of the water source. Off-bottom gardens protect the oysters from predators and helps keep them safe from getting buried in bottom of the water sediment.

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Oyster gardens. You can see how the air jugs help keep the oyster gardens suspended.

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An oyster garden in water.

— Oyster gardens are handled weekly until they are harvested. They are sorted based on their size, moved to different containers to best fit their size, are exposed to air to promote optimal health of the oyster (ie limit barnacle growth on the oyster and gardens), and to ensure shell growth is optimal.

— At this time, a good, healthy oyster can be sold for $.50-$.60 each. Sounds like a lot of money until you consider all of the handling and man-hours that are put into oyster farming.

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Old oyster shells act as a place for new oysters to grow. Notice the new oysters are only about dime size.

— One female oyster can release more than 20 million eggs in a single spawn! Oysters spawn in 68 degree F water.

— An oyster can filter four gallons of water in one hour!

— A predator of the oyster is the Oyster Drill which permeates the oyster’s shell by making a small hole. It injects a serum that makes the oyster turn to liquid, and then it sucks out the oyster, leaving an empty shell.

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The oyster drill

— Mobile has an Oyster Trail. These are large painted shells around the city that have a beautiful painting on them and a fun fact. You can obtain a map of where the shells are located, and write down the facts at each one, and then mail your form back in for a prize!

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This is just a small portion of what I learned. For more information on oyster farming and gardens go here and here.

A day in the life of an Extension Educator

Yesterday was a busy, fun, productive day; and one that is fairly common for me in the summer months. I was able to get a few “office” things done in the morning. At the 2014 Nebraska State Fair the Nebraska Agriculture Experience will debut, which will be a year round exhibit featuring many aspects of agriculture. Yesterday I was interviewed as an “expert” and provided facts on antibiotic and growth hormone use in beef animals, meat labels, heat stress in cattle, and more! It will be interesting to see myself on camera in August 🙂 We also hosted the International Society of Health and Safety conference group, where participants learned more about how agricultural accidents can happen (so they are better prepared to handle these injuries in rural communities) and what we can do to prevent them. And finally, we were blessed with cooler temperatures and beautiful skies.

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What does a normal day look like in your life right now?

Youth Agriculture Adventures

I work at one of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Research, Extension, and Education Centers located in Mead, Nebraska. One of the services we provide in the spring and summer months is tours for various groups. The groups range from youth interested in livestock, to medical students, doctors, and international visitors. Today we hosted a group of youth who are interested in animal and veterinary science for the day and had a great time with them.

I have the reputation for being the “gross” presenter! If it smells, is dirty, or disgusts people then I am the one that will usually teach it – and of course it has to be hands on! 🙂 So let me introduce you to some of what we did today.

** Warning, if you are squeamish, you may not enjoy this post!

 

Anatomy and Physiology-pig
Youth learning about organs, glands, valves and more in the anatomy and physiology session! The smell didn’t get too bad until they wanted me to open the stomach…
MBL_final
Youth reaching into the fistulated (hole into rumen) steer with Racheal. Bob helping the youth find the microorganisms from the rumen (largest stomach compartment) under the microscope.
cows_final
Karl visiting with the youth about the cow herd. With a little feed incentive, the kids almost had the cows eating from their hands!
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Feedlot and Feedstuffs Tour! Bob explaining group cattle feeding versus individual cattle feeding. Youth were able to see many different types of feedstuffs and how a ration is mixed. A demonstration of a hydraulic cattle processing chute and pens were a big hit too!

 

A great time was had by all! The youth left with manure on their shoes, dust on their skin, and a better understanding of the beef and agricultural industries in Nebraska.

Many thanks to Deloris Pittman and Racheal Slattery for photo contributions.