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May 11, 2016

4-H youth in Dakota County receive award for mentoring work

Youth from University of Minnesota Extension’s 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program received a Public Health Achievement Award from the Dakota County Board of Commissioners on April 5 as part of National Public Health Week. They were recognized for their work with students in five elementary and two middle schools in Farmington.

4-H’ers provided one-on-one mentoring to a smaller group of youth who had been identified by teachers as struggling socially and academically. This work resulted in significant breakthroughs for some youth.

According to the news release from Dakota County, “The high school youth mentors are positive role models who build healthy relationships with the younger students and help with academics.” While they highlighted the one-on-one mentoring done by 12 youth, they also stated that 330 fourth graders and 375 seventh graders have learned skills to prevent drug, alcohol and tobacco use during this school year through the program. Over 100 youth participate in 4-H Youth Teaching Youth in Dakota County.

Sarah Kortuem, counselor at Boeckman Middle School, nominated the youth. She recognized the commitment and collaborative work of Kirsten Pederson, Extension 4-H program coordinator; the 4-H youth mentors; and the students themselves, who have improved their respectfulness, grades and self-described efforts to be their “best self.” She wrote, “Developing healthy and positive relationships with peers and trusted adults is a protective factor for children and adolescents. It leads to higher academic achievement, better attendance, and stronger emotional well-being.”

Examples of the changes in youth have come forward. One mentee’s parent, during a check-in photo call with staff, commented that the child does not speak at home, and was surprised to hear that the child speaks with the mentor. A media specialist at a middle school observing the program noted that one child had been going through a difficult time. When he did the activity with his mentor, she was happy to see him smile because she had not seen him smile in weeks.

The board established the Public Health Achievement Awards in 2000 to recognize and honor the contributions of Dakota County residents who devote their time, energy and talents to creating a healthy future for their fellow county residents.

Read more about the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program in Extension’s Source Magazine and on the program website.

May 03, 2016

Take time to talk with family about estate planning and inheritance wishes

Media Contact: Lacey Nygard, University of Minnesota, 612-625-0552 (office),; Marlene Stum, Extension family resource management specialist, 612-625-4270,

ST PAUL, Minn. (5/3/2016) — Prince’s death and apparent lack of a will underscores why estate planning is so important.

April 28, 2016

Master Gardener volunteers have statewide impact

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners are your neighbors who volunteer to teach University research-based horticulture information in local communities. They work to strengthen community bonds, support healthy choices and promote healthier plants for more livable communities.

The activities of the Master Gardeners benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs and farmers markets, to name a few. Extension has released its 2015 Master Gardener Annual Report.

April 22, 2016

State of Water conference focuses on improving health of Minnesota waters

University of Minnesota Extension and partners explored water resource issues during the second State of Water Conference April 14-15 at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The State of Water Conference provided education to over 260 community members, state agency officials, soil and water conservation district staff to help protect the lakes and rivers that make Minnesota so unique. The conference was covered in the Alexandria Echo Press.

April 21, 2016

Video: Learn and lead in 4-H!

University of Minnesota Extension 4-H youth build relationships, develop communication techniques and strengthen organizational skills they learn through leadership education. They find the leader within themselves and make a positive impact in their club, home, school or community. Ambassador programs are one example of how 4-H engages youth in leadership and citizenship activities, and positive promotion of Minnesota 4-H.

April 18, 2016

Star Tribune: Minnesota crop farmers are tightening budgets as they face another rough year

Star Tribune reporter Tom Meersman interviewed Dale Nordquist, University of Minnesota Extension economist, and David Bau, Extension educator, for an April 17 business feature on a deteriorating economic outlook for crop farmers. Extension programming in agricultural business management guides farmers with information and analysis that helps them make decisions best fitting their own situation regarding prices, marketing, spending and other factors.

April 11, 2016

April's cooler temps help protect fruit trees

ST. PAUL, Minn. (04/6/2016)— The good news about the recent weather’s cooler trend is that it is holding back the flowering buds of our fruit trees. Apple tree buds are presently in a stage that could withstand temperatures into the mid-teens; however, a dip into low teen or single digit temperatures would be problematic.
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