Illinois Extension, Year in Review 2019

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YEAR IN REVIEW Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit

Unit at a Glance The Strategy Guiding Principle Making people and communities better through learning and applying.

Mission Email Website Facebook

@UniversityofIllinoisExtFulton MasonPeoriaTazewell

To extend research-based information, technology, and best practices from the university arena into public and private arenas in order to strengthen local communities and improve people’s lives.

Vision To adapt research-based knowledge into accessible forms so that every person we serve will experience and recognize a positive impact from our work.

Process TAZEWELL MAIN OFFICE 1505 Valle Vista Blvd Pekin, IL 61554 309-347-6614 FULTON BRANCH 15411 N IL 100 Hwy Lewistown, IL 61542 309-547-3711 MASON BRANCH 127 S High St, Ste 1 Havana, IL 62644 309-543-3308 PEORIA BRANCH 4810 N Sheridan Rd Peoria, IL 61614 309-685-3140

Direct Education Facilitated Engagement

Experiential Learning Collaborative Outreach

Scope Agriculture Horticulture Natural Resources

Nutrition & Wellness 4-H Youth Development Community & Economic Dev.

Financial Report REVENUES Federal State University Local Other

$2.8 Million 49.1% 14.2% 13.9% 20.6% 2.2%

EXPENDITURES Personnel Programming Equipment Overhead

$2.8 Million 71.5% 15.7% 0.3% 12.5% Fiscal Year 2019

The People

Full Cover photo by Anita Wilkinson

(L-R) Shundell Broomfield, Sunita Shastry, Sally Bair, Wayne Cannon, Kim Dunnigan, Steve Waterworth, Margaret Kelly, Paul Peterson, Patty Wiegers, Chelsea Sanchez, and Ashley Beutke FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 2 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

44 Staff

1,200 Volunteers

390 Partners

Photo by 4G STEM Camp Teacher Track Participant

Note of Reflection I often state our guiding principle as “Making People and Communities Better.” This year, I am adding four words to better reflect our approach. The new version is: “Making People and Communities Better Through Learning and Applying.”

As I reflected on the learning and applying pieces, it struck me that we have four major priorities on which our staff and volunteers focus to accomplish the guiding principle: 1) Developing community leaders; 2) Building a cadre of community servants; 3) Preparing a talented future workforce; and 4) Providing abundant and healthy food.

We strive to thread various aspects of these priorities into all our programs. The priorities are not all encompassing of what Extension does, but they do describe more specifically what we emphasize at the local level. As you look through our annual report this year, and as you intersect and interact with Extension in other ways, my hope is you will see clearly the contributions we are making in these areas. I also hope you will develop an appreciation for the strides we are making towards these ends. Thank you for your continued support of what we do, and your participation in what we offer. Earl Allen County Director

The Methods

540K Online

Social Media & Website

183 Print

News Releases & Newsletters

73 Broadcast TV & Radio

78,000 In-Person 46% by Staff 54% by Volunteers


Extension Staff Involved in Filling the Grocery Gap in Peoria Extension staff with expertise in community and economic development, nutrition, and horticulture have played a role in addressing this issue and finding solutions.

EXTENSION COUNCIL Sally Bair, Astoria Shundell Broomfield, Peoria Meghan Curless, Havana Kim Dunnigan, Fiatt Erika Eigenbrod, Lincoln Nicole Forsberg, Pekin *Katherine Gottemoller, Princeville *Maria Gottemoller, Princeville *Mark Gottemoller, Princeville Paul Gottemoller, Princeville Holly Koch, Tremont Rosemary Palmer, Manito Sunita Shastry, Washington Tyson Walters, Delavan Steve Waterworth, Havana Patty Wiegers, Lewistown *youth members

Community & Economic Development FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 4 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

When two more grocery stores closed in 2018 in Southside and East Bluff Peoria neighborhoods, Extension staff joined the team of policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and activists working to eliminate disparities in equitable access to healthy food. The process to fill the gap in access to healthy food is a challenge that is multi-faceted but began with conducting a grocery store survey. Following the closure of the Kroger stores, an action group developed a series of meetings led by State Senator Dave Koehler. As a result of these meetings, participants in the Regional Fresh Food Council (RFFC) embarked upon a study to examine the impact of the closure on local residents and reveal potential factors that led to the closures. “Extension’s role is woven throughout the survey process,” explained Kathie Brown, Extension CED educator. “I have been involved in the survey design, implementation and analysis. Our nutrition staff helped with survey collection and my colleagues on campus completed the secondary data analysis. I worked in partnership with Greater Peoria Economic Development Council to look beyond primary and secondary data collection for additional

insights into the macro trends of the grocery industry. Numerous industry websites and reports were reviewed to identify trends and highlight potential changes in the future. Together we developed recommendations with input from RFFC.” A report of the study’s findings, Filling the Grocery Gap in Peoria, is available online through the Regional Fresh Food Council. Increasing access to and consumption of fresh, healthy foods is no simple task given our complex and globalized food system. This report is just one of the first steps. It aims to bring the local challenge of filling the grocery gap in underserved neighborhoods into focus with regional and national factors and industry trends. It also aims to provide foundational market analysis for public and private organizations and individuals interested in pursuing the development of new grocery stores in Peoria’s underserved neighborhoods.

Food Insecurity Addressed Fully

Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Access to Nutritious Food is a Priority for Extension Programs Food insecurity is a broad topic that is being addressed via many program areas. A productive approach to addressing food insecurity is more complex than simply growing more food and giving it away. Food insecurity is defined as not having access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Illinois Extension is addressing the food insecurity problem in Central Illinois through programs and partnerships targeting the problem holistically. Food Master Gardeners, 4-H, SNAPEd, and EFNEP programs are all involved in efforts that directly provide food to those in need. Many of these programs teach people how to grow and prepare their own food as well.

Health We provide education to clients, school food service staff, food pantry and food bank staff and volunteers, that is directly connected with empowering people to eat healthy foods. Through the Greenlight Project, we played a large role in changing $40,000 worth of food ordered at Peoria Area Food Bank from unhealthy packaged foods to healthy, well-balanced meals. Economy Several of our educators and county director are involved with the Regional Fresh Food Council that is looking at developing a stronger food economy. This is one example of the work being done to have a positive influence

on food policies and launching new programs that support local food needs. The grocery story gap research project is another example of work being done to address food insecurity through an economic lens. Community There are many collaborations that happen within Extension program areas and others that happen in the community in which Extension has a role. One example is Partnership for Healthy Community. It is a community-driven partnership of public and private partners working together to address priority health issues. Food Pantry Network is another example and an effort being led by Extension staff. FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 5

Extension Staff Help Address Food Insecurity in Tazewell County Seven organizations partner with EFNEP staff to provide nutrition education For almost four years, our unit has extended the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) to reach not only Peoria but also Tazewell County to help address food insecurity and associated health issues arising from it. EFNEP staff teach citizens at food pantries and local organizations to help them better understand nutrition and strategies for buying healthy food on a budget. Statistics show food insecurity in Tazewell County to be 9.7% for adults and 15.5% for children. The latest population count for Tazewell County was 132,328, which would equate to 12,836 adults and 20,511 children being food insecure.

Often people living in poverty live in food deserts, where healthy food access is not available within close proximity. Lack of healthy food leads to chronic health problems such as diabetes and obesity. People who live in food-insecure areas have twice the rate of type 2 diabetes as other people. Children, the elderly, and ethnic minorities are the groups most affected by food insecurity. Cheryl Russell, EFNEP instructor, currently serves the following

programs teaching nutrition education in Tazewell County: Pekin • Hope Chest Food Pantry • Calvary Baptist Food Pantry • Liberty Baptist Food Pantry • Illinois Department of Human Services • Rogy’s Childcare Pekin and Washington • Housing Authority

HEALTH IMPROVEMENTS Fulton Rehabilitation Center

FOOD FROM THE SOURCE Great Garden Food Detectives

Krista Gray, SNAP-Ed instructor, has met with a group of adults at the Fulton County Rehabilitation Center once a month since July 2018. She teaches Eating Smart/Being Active lessons. All participants are excited to put into practice what they learn. One particular participant reported making significant changes in her healthy food choices and activity levels and has been losing weight.

Fifth grade students at Hensey Elementary in Washington and Spring Lake Elementary in Manito are learning how to grow healthy foods in their school garden. SNAP-Ed Instructors Kellie Roecker and Julie Dantone teach nutrition and basic gardening lessons in the classroom and assist school staff and volunteers in leading the gardening tasks. Students love eating their bounty in the cafeteria.


Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Food Banks and Food Pantries Work Together to Increase Healthy Eating Education and a helpful labeling system are foundations of the Greenlight project started by a partnership including SNAP-Ed and the Ending Hunger Together partners. Hunger and health are completely intertwined. Communities with higher rates of food insecurity have higher rates of diet related chronic diseases when compared to national rates. Food insecure communities often rely on food pantries to help meet their families’ needs. The traditional, non-perishable items often found in pantries can help provide food to those in need; however, some of these items are not acceptable choices for those dealing with diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes. The Greenlight project was created to encourage healthier food options and their availablity within food pantries. Extension SNAP-Ed collaborated with University of Illinois College of Medicine, OSF Children’s Hospital, and other local organizations to pilot the Greenlight project at two Peoria food pantries. After Ending Hunger Together (EHT) partners adopted it, the project expanded to both Midwest Food Bank and Peoria Area Food Bank. The EHT group is generously funded by

the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. A consistent labeling system was created that can be used throughout the emergency food system. Following the Feeding America “Foods to Encourage” guidelines, foods are labeled with one or more of the following stickers: Go Green, Heart Healthy, Diabetes Friendly, and Hypertension Friendly. Canned foods with added salt are labeled with a Rinse Me Please sticker. Extension staff created materials to provide education to Food Bank staff as well as food pantry managers shopping at the Food Banks. These materials provide education for volunteers as to when a food meets the “greenlight” standards in an easy to read way. Peoria Area Food Bank has committed to prioritizing ordering Greenlight foods when possible. SNAPEd staff provided technical assistance to help deem which foods meet the “greenlight” standards.


Food and Health

COOKING SKILLS BOOST HEALTH Having access to healthy food options is just one part of being healthy. Learning how to prepare food and try new, healthy recipes is also important. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAPEd), Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and 4-H Teen Teachers taught 431 youth during 25 Jr. Chef Schools. The week-long camps were held throughout our four counties. Participants learned proper kitchen utensil handling skills, how to read a recipe, how healthy foods help our bodies, and fun ways to stay active and exercise.

“I never imagined that he would be excited about nutrition! Now Kevan is choosing his foods according to what he learned at Jr. Chef.” Kevan’s Mom


Photo by Anita Wilkinson


Three of our local Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) staff reached the growing Hispanic population in the Peoria area through a variety of school and community program options.


Participants 1,789 EFNEP

37% adults 63% youth

10,673 SNAP-Ed

10% adults 90% youth


Identified as Hispanic 21% EFNEP  12% SNAP-Ed




White 49% Black 48% Other  3%

60% 39%  1%


Partners 113 EFNEP 125 SNAP-Ed



Tray Waste Study Leads to Improvements in Lunchroom Processes At Beverly Manor Jr. High Food Service Director Joan Wood and Kaitlyn decided to implement the “Offer vs. Serve” approach to help encourage students to consume their food and divert plate waste. This approach gave students the option to choose between three and five foods, with at least one being a fruit or vegetable.

SNAP-Education Educator Kaitlyn Streitmatter worked with Beverly Manor Junior High in Washington to research and apply ways to reduce school food waste and increase the amount of healthy foods students eat. Food thrown away is wasted nutrients, money, time, and resources. Plate waste audits help us understand what is wasted and why, and can help us develop strategies to reduce food waste. Two tray waste audits were conducted on days the school served a popular meal of pizza bread, pineapple, and green beans. The first audit determined a total of 107.74 lbs. (27%) of wasted school lunches.

To ensure successful implementation, Kaitlyn conducted two trainings for school staff and provided technical assistance, such as signage to help with the transition. The policy change was originally implemented in 8th grade, but due to its success, it was adopted across the entire school. The second audit showed dramatic improvement. The total food waste dropped to 53 lbs (12.7%) across the 400 students in grades 4th through 8th. This vast difference impacts the school’s bottom line which in turn allows the school to better serve the students.

Many groups of people and organizations are working to create a better sustainable food system that reduces the 10.4% to 15.7% food insecurity rates in our four counties. To help our emergency food network thrive SNAP-Ed staff Kaitlyn Streitmatter and Rebecca Crumrine, along with Tazewell County Health Department, started a Food Pantry Network. The Network kicked off in March with a face-to-face meeting. It quickly added an online resource sharing tool and online conversation tool via a Facebook group. The Network currently includes 49 members, reaching 18 food pantries, two food banks, and five organizations. Working together to share information and resources, the Network is positioned to make good strides in providing access to healthy food options for all.


Master Volunteers

Project Wingspan Training at Mason State Tree Nursery. Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Extension Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists are a special type of volunteer. They are passionate about sharing their time and talents with others as well as being life-long learners.

MASTER VOLUNTEER PROJECT HIGHLIGHT: Juvenile Detention Center Garden Imagine being confined in a detention center with limited connection with nature. That was the situation for approximately 700 youth ages 10 to 18 who cycle through the Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC)....until the Extension Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists got involved. Beginning in May 2018, JDC reached out to Extension for help creating a garden and related educational experiences. Using a 40 x 50 foot concrete area, surrounded by brick walls, EMGs approached the design process using raised beds and containers. By August of 2018, residents assisted with planting fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in recycled plastic barrels. In spite of the late start, the 2018 garden grew enough produce to have several salad days in the cafeteria. Many of these boys and girls FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 10 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

come from underserved urban environments. Horticulture and natural resource skills are new to them.

“Our 2019 garden was very successful. The highlights included top dressing our beds and containers with locally produced compost, adding a second picnic table and two benches, rearranging the garden layout, adding a pond, and installing a vertical garden.�

Vertical Garden

Reused Containers

Karl Stach, project lead

The program operates year round. Residents learn in the garden during the growing season and in the classroom during the winter months.

Raised Beds in Plastic Barrels

Community Gardens More Than Just Food Throughout our four counties, our Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) are serving in more than 20 community gardens. These gardens’ top priority is to grow produce that is shared with others. These gardens produce a huge amount of fresh food. In just three gardens in Tazewell we weighed over 7,000 pounds of produce that was given to lowincome families and people living in food insecure areas. But in reality these gardens give much more than just food. Hands-on-learning Community members, youthprogram participants, and organization clients are examples of people who join the EMGs in the community gardens. Working alongside the EMGs as they plan, grow, and harvest is an excellent learning opportunity.


Master Volunteers 150 Master Gardeners  75 Master Naturalists

16,000 hours

volunteering reported 10,000 Master Gardeners  6,000 Master Naturalists

3,800 hours


continuing education

value to communities

2,500 Master Gardeners 1,300 Master Naturalists

$252,000 Master Gardeners $141,000 Master Naturalists

Health and wellness Working in a garden is a great way to spend time in nature. Research shows that time in nature boosts feelings of happiness and has benefits to people’s physical and mental health. Friendships The giving gardens are large and a lot of work, thus teams of volunteers are required to make them successful. Working together, serving others, and focusing on shared goals and interests are a perfect foundation for friendships.


Horticulture & Natural Resources


Photos by Anita Wilkinson


Duane Friend, Extension educator, and Dr. Paul Walker, retired ISU professor, taught a compost workshop to 35 participants in our unit. Pre– and postworkshop surveys revealed a good picture of how participants applied the science and practical application of what they learned to their home and community garden compost bins and piles. Trudy Yazujian (above) created three separate piles that are each at different stages of decomposition and can be turned by hand. Terry Knollenberg (left) brings in large quantities of organic material from his and his neighbors’ yards.

Experienced Composters Advance their Skills at Workshop Within a matter of days, the compost workshop offered by our unit filled to capacity. Composting is a “hot topic” literally and figuratively. Duane Friend, Extension energy and environmental educator, along with Dr. Paul Walker, retired Illinois State University professor, taught 35 people the practical application and the science behind composting at a workshop held in March at the Tazewell County office. “It was a nice mix of people,” mentioned Christine Belless, agriculture and natural resources FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 12 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

program coordinator. “We had a lot of Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists who will use the information for both their home composting as well as educating others. There were also 14 who indicated their composting practices are part of a community garden.” A pre-workshop survey indicated most participants (84%) were already composting. All of those composters were actively adding the correct type of materials into their mix. “From our post-workshop survey sent 5 months after

the workshop, we learned just over half of the group began applying the science of the carbon to nitrogen ratio to their composting practices,” mentioned Christine. “We also tracked behavior changes that indicated participants began adding additional materials such as shredded newspaper, old soil after repotting plants, husks, stems, and coffee grounds.” Duane taught a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 25:1 is ideal for rapid composting. Blending materials also plays an important role in speeding up the process.


Pictured above EMG Bob Coppernoll, EMG Bob Keene, and EMN York Phillips lead a group at Spring Creek Preserve in Tazewell County. Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Fair Highlights 4-H SHOW STATS










Projects Exhibited

1,100   100

560   67

900   177

1,200   124

State Fair Exhibitors general projects





State Fair Exhibitors livestock & dog projects





State Fair Award Winners





Teens in Leadership





Trophies and Awards

WELL ROUNDED APPROACH TO LEARNING Goats is just one of the many 4-H projects Lydia R. exhibited during the Tazewell 4-H Show and Jr. Fair. She also developed her skills through the swine, floriculture, visual arts, and interior design projects. She also exhibited at the State Fair in livestock and interior design. FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 14 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

Photo by Anita Wilkinson

4-H Shows and Jr. Fairs Provide Valuable Learning Experiences and Fun Family Times 756 youth and 421 adult volunteers join Extension staff to create a wide variety of learning opportunities at the fairs. Despite the hard work and hot weather, our 4-H members and volunteers look forward to the 4-H shows and junior fairs every summer. The events provide a fun learning environment where 4-Hers enjoy time with their friends and family while building leadership skills, exhibiting mastery of their projects, developing communication and collaboration skills, and many other character traits that will benefit them throughout their lives. Conference Judging Beginning with five year old Cloverbuds, our 4-Hers learn how to shake hands with a judge, look them in the eye, speak clearly, and think on their feet. The 4-H judging experience includes the opportunity to explain project challenges and successes, goals for the future, and receive constructive criticism and positive encouragement.

fair experiences. Each of our counties offer food stands that are run by our members and their parents and club leaders. Many years special community service projects, such as food drives, are a part of the fair. Setting up and cleaning up the fairgrounds is a major task that is only made possible by the help of our 4-H families. We see that servant leadership continue into adulthood as we have many 4-H alumni serve as volunteers at the fair.

Working as a Team Each county has multiple activities and special events that encourage 4-H clubs to work together for both the joy of it and to help make the fair a success. Examples include planning and creating 4-H promotional displays, competing in team games, and designing and maintaining club gardens on the fairgrounds. Serving Others Our 4-H families come together to serve others as part of their



4-H Beyond the Club

Emily Schoenfelder, 4-H youth educator, developed and piloted a new Illinois Extension 4-H program: Engineering Adventures. This venture provided classroom teachers with the new curriculum, supply kits, and training that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards. Students designed roller coasters, constructed windmills, and built solar ovens - just to name a few. These problem-based lessons built science content knowledge around Newton’s Laws of Motion, thermodynamics, and sustainable energy. Perhaps more importantly, the curriculum encouraged students to work in groups, try new things, communicate ideas, and explore the engineering design cycle as a problemsolving tool. Participating students were asked about their interests around STEM compared to non-participants. • 88% of participants said they learned new things about engineering • 72% indicated they knew how to define an engineering design problem

Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Teens Develop Leadership Through 4-H The 4-H youth development program prides itself on helping young people grow into outstanding leaders. A statewide study conducted in 2016 showed participation in any 4-H leadership opportunity leads to a significant increase in leadership skills, including: getting along with others, understanding yourself, working with groups, communicating, and managing skills. The more leadership opportunities in which youth engage, the more their skills increase. The 4-H programs in our unit offer a wide variety of leadership opportunities to allow participants plenty of ways to build those skill sets. 4-H Teen Teacher Program This year, Mason County teens joined Peoria and Tazewell in the

“In small groups at school, we are able to take charge easier than others. People who haven’t had these opportunities have a harder time getting involved.” Samantha Maslana, Mason 4-H Federation Member FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 16 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

Teen Teacher program. Here, teens undergo extensive training in positive youth development, classroom management techniques, and curriculum content in order to deliver lessons to younger youth. Unitwide, 28 teens taught over 1,000 youth at 30 camps or programs. 4-H Federation Seventy Federation members, grades eight and above, helped plan programs and community service projects in each county. They also volunteered at county, unit, and state-wide 4-H events. 4-H Show Jr. Superintendents Almost 100 teens stepped into leadership roles during the 4-H shows and junior fairs held in our unit. Teens play an important role assisting adult volunteers, leading special activities, managing food stands, and mentoring younger 4-Hers.


Three years ago, Jacob was an orphan in China. Today he is a Fulton County 4-H member showing cattle, participating in club and unit-wide activities, and having a ball. Along with his supportive family, Jacob is developing confidence, making new friends, and improving his English thanks to caring, supportive 4-H volunteers and staff and the many opportunities he has through the 4-H program.

Photos by Anita Wilkinson

Livestock Projects Help Build Strong Skills in Fulton County 4-Hers Youth in 4-H who care for and show livestock gain technical expertise and develop important soft skills that will aid them in future endeavors. Fulton County, in particular, has a large number of youth enrolled in livestock projects. Out of 312 4-H community club members, 182 of them were enrolled in at least one livestock project. Seventy-eight of them were enrolled in Beef. The county also has a 4-H Livestock Judging Club. In a recent Extension survey of current and former Fulton County 4-H livestock members, 98% of those responding said showing livestock increased their level of confidence. They reported interacting with and receiving support for

their livestock projects from many adults, including family members, 4-H volunteers and staff, business people, veterinarians, and others. Survey results also showed that youth either carried out or assisted with tasks such as buying animals, buying supplies, feeding and watering, cleaning pens and stalls, grooming, helping with veterinary visits, dispensing medication, determining feed rations, and keeping track of expenses and profits. Tasks such as these help youth develop technical proficiency and

increase their ability to make decisions and complete work. For 86% of survey respondents, participation in 4-H livestock projects also gained them new friends with youth who have similar interests.

“I feel fortunate to be in 4-H. I have learned leadership and responsibility and made friends.�

Braydon DeCounter, Fulton County 4-H member, Swine, Goats, and Rabbits projects FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 17

4-H STATS: Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit




Youth Reached



1,352 in 4-H Clubs

91 Extended Programs

46 Multi-project Clubs

2,327 in Extended Programs

6 One-day Programs

31 Special Interest Clubs

29 Short Programs

20 Cloverbud Clubs

849 in One-day Programs 1,574 in Short Programs


Adult Volunteers 128 Multi-project Club Leaders  77 SPIN Club Leaders  28 Cloverbud Leaders 130 Fair Superintendents 296 Program Volunteers

UNIT SERVICE LEARNING 4-H Ten Gallon Challenge

Photo courtesy of 4-H club

Members of the Smithfield Up and Coming 4-H Club in Fulton County were one of the clubs involved in a unit-wide service learning project called 4-H 10 Gallon Challenge. Service learning takes community service projects to the next level by adding inquiry, collaboration, and reflection to the process.

MASON SERVICE LEARNING Donations for Food Pantries

Photo by Joli Pierson

Mason County 4-H Federation members recognized a need in their community and partnered with other community volunteers to help meet it. The 4-H teens coordinated a summer-time food drive that brought in over 250 food items in addition to baby diapers, toiletries and monetary donations.

4-H GIVING GARDENS Produce for people in need

Photo by Anita Wilkinson


Peoria County has four 4-H garden clubs and Mason County has one Jr. Master Gardener club that teach members how to plan, grow, and harvest gardens. The produce is either used by club members or donated to others in need (i.e. other neighborhood families or local food pantries).

Partner Spotlights

Photo by Anita Wilkinson

Bradley University

Photo by Peoria 4-Her

Illinois Central College

For the past 30 years, Illinois Central College has played a large role in the success of one of our most popular youth development programs, 4-H Clover Clinic. They host the event and many ICC professors have volunteered as Clover Clinic instructors. More recently, we have expanded our partnership with ICC in the area of youth development when they became a host site for 4G STEM Camp and tour site during Havana and Fulton Health Career Opportunities. Another impressive project made possible through Master Gardener partnership is the ICC demonstration garden and horticulture workshops.

4G STEM Camp for middle school age girls was born through a partnership with Bradley University in 2013. Dr. Sherri Morris, professor and co-director for Center for STEM education, works alongside Extension educators Judy Schmidt and Kathie Brown to create a weeklong experience that exposes participants to a wide variety of careers that require science, technology, engineering, and math skills. “Our partnership with Bradley and Dr. Morris is a perfect example of synergy,” mentioned Judy Schmidt, 4-H metro youth educator. “By coming together we have created a great program that neither of us could have done alone.” 4G STEM Camp’s impact goes well beyond the limited number of girls who enjoy the camp. A teacher track has enriched the experience of youth participants

as well as provided valuable training for teachers to apply within their classrooms. So far, 30 teachers have participated since 2015, from six different counties. They reached over 750 additional students through their follow-up STEM career exploration activities. The partnership’s synergy carries over into the monthly Teacher Tuesdays events. Bradley’s Center for STEM Education has been a host site and resource fair participant. They also provide valuable insight into new STEM related educational opportunities and professional development. Bradley’s Nutrition and Dietetics department is also an important partner with Extension’s EFNEP and 4-H programs.


University of Illinois College of Medicine - Peoria Our partnerships with U of I College of Medicine - Peoria are cross-disciplinary and mutually beneficial.

Southern Illinois University-College of Medicine Much of our success in career exploration programming for youth and teachers can be attributed to the exceptional partnerships we have formed. SIU - College of Medicine is one of many partners involved in the innovative Havana Health Careers Opportunity program for high school students. The objective of HHCO is to introduce students to a wide variety of careers in the health field and give them hands-on learning experiences to gain a better understanding of the skills needed for those careers. By partnering with SIU-College of Medicine, students gain valuable connections that strengthen their potential college and career pathways which is critical to building a strong, talented pipeline to fuel the economy of our region. FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL 20 YEAR IN REVIEW 2019

Photos by Anita Wilkinson

Even though we are both part of the University of Illinois System our partnership is relatively new. Once it started, more and more mutually beneficial opportunities became evident. Extension staff in the areas of horticulture, community and economic development, 4-H youth development, and SNAPEd all have ongoing projects in which UICOMP is a partner. There are several efforts with the emergency food system where SNAP-Ed and UICOMP work together: Ending Hunger Together collaboration, Greenlight project, and Heartland produce bundles. Each of these projects helps make healthy food options and nutrition education available in a sustainable way. To help medical students gain real-life insights into community needs that play into the health of the population, volunteer hours are part of their medical school

experience. To help connect the students with community organizations, Extension joined forces with UICOMP to hold a volunteer fair at the college. In addition to making connections for volunteer opportunities, the fair also educates the students on the services available to their future patients and gain a better understanding of the community. The college is also a great supporter in our STEM education efforts through the Teacher Tuesdays program. The teachers are impressed with the new technology used at the college. The most recent partnership endeavor with UICOMP is the effort by Extension Master Gardener David Stotz. He is supporting the college’s work to revitalize several gardens that are used by professors and students to better understand the value of fresh, whole food in treating common illnesses.

Photos by Anita Wilkinson

University of Illinois Springfield Therkildsen Field Station As you drive through the Emiquon Preserve between Havana and Lewistown your eyes are drawn to the natural beauty of the preserve and you can easily miss the treasure that is located on the other side of the road. U of I Springfield Therkildsen Field Station connects researchers and students of all ages to the Emiquon Preserve by supporting education and exploration of its

complex wildlife and habitats. Extension Master Naturalists (EMN) have been long-time benefactors of our partnership with Therkildsen Field Station and vice-versa. EMNs are first introduced to the field station during their 10-day training, as one day is spent learning from their researchers and staff, exploring the preserve, and diving deeper into that learning

using the field station lab. It is a highlight for every EMN trainee. The field station is also one of the sites in which EMNs volunteer for school events and special events such as Emiquon Science Symposium. More recently, Therkildsen Field Station became a host site for one of our youth programs called 4G STEM Camp.

Spoon River College Spoon River College has been a long time supporter and partner of many Extension programs. Over the years they have been a frequent host site for the popular Gardeners’ BIG Day and Extension Master Gardener and Master Naturalist trainings. In 2019, SRC reached out to Extension staff and volunteers to assist with a plan to rejuvenate their arboretum. The arboretum is an outstanding living laboratory for college students, visitors to the college, and life-long learners like

Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists. A team of EMGs and EMNs are working directly with Dr. Curt Oldfield, SRC President, to lend their expertise to his vision for this space.

In addition to our programs centered around the environment, SRC is also a partner in several workforce development programs led by our 4-H youth development and community and economic development staff. FULTON, MASON, PEORIA, TAZEWELL YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 21



Anita Wilkinson Communications

Christine Belless Coordinator

Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle Educator

Ian Goslin Coordinator

Tara Agama SNAP-Ed Instructor

Nate Anton SNAP-Ed Instructor

Margaret Cover EFNEP Educator

Rebecca Crumrine SNAP-Ed Coordinator

Julie Dantone SNAP-Ed Instructor

Debra Donaldson EFNEP Instructor

Petra Eberle EFNEP Instructor

Irene Edwards EFNEP Instructor

Katherine Ellis SNAP-Ed Instructor

Krista Gray SNAP-Ed Instructor

Angela Jimenez EFNEP Instructor

Mari Lopez EFNEP Instructor

Skye Mibbs SNAP-Ed Instructor

Kellie Roecker SNAP-Ed Instructor

Cheryl Russell EFNEP Instructor

JoElyn Smith EFNEP Instructor

Kaitlyn Streitmatter SNAP-Ed Educator

Earl Allen County Director NUTRITION & WELLNESS



Janis Blout Coordinator

Katharine Girone Coordinator

Cathy Ludolph Coordinator

Joli Pierson Coordinator

Judy Schmidt Educator

Emily Schoenfelder Educator

Kaitlyn Curry Summer Help

Bailey Hoerbert Summer Help

Kate Kerr Summer Help

Elaina Sassine Summer Help

Deb Balagna Office Support

Sheila Bolliger Office Support

Paula Lane Office Support

Angie Sassine Office Support

Julann Schierer Office Support

Tia McKandes Janitorial

Patti Downs Sub-Office Support

Diane Roecker Sub-Office Support

Patty Wiegers Sub-Office Support



Kathleen Brown Educator

Aurum Lee Intern

Will Frank Intern


University of Illinois ~ U.S. Department of Agriculture ~ Local Extension Councils Cooperating | University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any program, please contact the county Extension office. The Illinois Nutrition Education Program is funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture by the Director, Cooperative Extension Service, and University of Illinois. Š Copyright 2019 University of Illinois Board of Trustees