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Snapshops of Extension's impact in our local communities

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Rebecca Crumrine promoted to Extension educator

It is hard to comprehend how many people’s lives have been positively impacted by Rebecca Crumrine since 2017 when she was hired by University of Illinois Extension as an instructor to teach Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Education). In five short years Rebecca worked her way up from instructor to program coordinator and now Extension educator. In January 2023, Rebecca was promoted into her new position that serves Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. She...
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Fulton County 4-H Livestock Judging Team delivers results

Communication. Confidence. Character. These are some of the skills and traits that Fulton County 4-H Livestock Judging Coach Robyn Hendel has been fostering in her team members since 2014. The Fulton County 4-H Livestock Judging Team is a 4-H Special Interest (SPIN) Club that focuses on judging beef, sheep, and swine. According to Robyn she has had anywhere from 6 to 15 members each year. The members work as a team to gain knowledge in these project areas, develop their critical thinking...
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Extension Master Gardeners partner with Phoenix Community Development to promote food access

Community focused, teamwork, and productive are words that Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) use to describe their Sow to Grow Garden project. This project started out growing fruits and vegetables in a giving garden at Glendale Commons. Now it has become a beautiful green space, a pollinator pocket in the city, an outdoor classroom, and an inspiration for additional community gardens in the neighborhood. The...
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The evolution of 4-H: Looking at the many ways 4-H impacts the lives of young people

Did you know that 4-H is the largest youth development program in the country?! According to the National 4-H website, “4-H serves youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation.” However, this impressive organization stemmed from modest beginnings. In 1902—more than 120 years ago—agricultural youth clubs began popping up in the Midwest. These clubs were a way to give young people hands-on experience tackling...
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Kevin Brooks returns to Illinois Extension as farm business management and marketing educator

After an eleven-year hiatus, Kevin Brooks returned to University of Illinois Extension as the farm business management and marketing educator serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. He previously served in this role from 2000 to 2011 in Effingham and Champaign counties. He brings a wealth of expertise and experience with him. “Our unit is leading the way in bringing the agribusiness team back to Illinois Extension,”...
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Master Gardeners take an active role to address food security and access

In 2022, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) serving in Futon, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties were challenged to dedicate a portion of their volunteer time and continuing education for addressing and learning more about food security and access. The direct impact they made within the year is very impressive and is expected to continue to grow. EMGs recorded 1,513 hours of service in nine local food...
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Trauma & Food training held through Food Pantry Network

When working in the charitable food system, one often focuses on a very important goal – nourishing neighbors in need. However, the needs of guests may go beyond physical nourishment. Food Pantry Network-HOI provided professional development to pantry managers and volunteers to help them better understand how past and present traumas can affect people’s health and wellness. Locally, University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Education Educator Rebecca Crumrine helps provide support to charitable...
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Master Showmanship opens up connections for youth; personally and professionally

To some, showing livestock may appear to be limited to the skills demonstrated within the show ring. But to those who have experienced it, they know the physical skills, life skills, and personal character development go much deeper. And participating in master showmanship contests takes it all to the next level. Master showmanship requires youth to show swine, cattle, and sheep; rather than just showing the one or two species youth are raising and involved with in 4-H. The goal of the...
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Extension Master Naturalists explore Prairie Hills Wetland Reserve and build new partnership with Prairie Land Conservancy

What began as an opportunity to explore a “new-to-them” hiking site turned into a new partnership for University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists (EMN). “In July we hosted a regional hike for all of the Master Naturalists in West Central Illinois,” explained Christine Belless, ag and natural resources coordinator. “We selected a site that was new for our Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell EMNs but is located right in...
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Healthy Cents curriculum teaches adult SNAP-Education audiences financial avenues to health and wellness

Educating people about nutritious foods and exercise is just the first step in helping people improve their health and wellness. Teaching people how to afford and cook the food, where to buy or how to grow the food, and how to have time to manage it all are other important pieces of the puzzle. Healthy Cents is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Education) curriculum that local...
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