Extension educators earn recognition for special efforts on behalf of youths

Group photo with award-winners holding plaques
Bret Hess, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Mary Kay Wardlaw, UW Extension associate director-east; Mary Louise Wood, 4-H youth educator; and Abby Rux, Cent$ible Nutrition program assistant

Special needs students in Molly Martin’s class at Laramie Middle School learned teamwork, gravity, motion and food choices last year from Albany County University of Wyoming Extension educators Abby Rux and Mary Louise Wood.

For adapting and delivering science (Wood) and Cent$ible Nutrition (Rux) programming to students of varying skill levels and abilities, the two received the diversity enhancement recognition award from UW Extension Nov. 7 at its state conference in Casper.

“The students I work with have disabilities that vary from moderate to profound,” said Martin.

“Mary Louise engages them in lessons full of discovery and exploration and brings lots of fun and positivity to my classroom,” she said. “Abby uses visuals and props and is very dynamic as she educates students about making smart food choices in their daily lives.”

Eloise Riley, who nominated Rux and Wood for the recognition, said, “The cool part is the programming they do is traditional 4-H and Cent$ible Nutrition, but they make adaptations.”

Riley is the Wyoming senior family readiness support assistant with Cybermedia Technologies, Inc., a special needs contractor to Albany County School District #1.

School professionals and paraprofessionals described development of fine motor skills and goal setting and interaction with caring adults as outcomes of the extension education for these students in grades 7-9.

“This group is not generally considered your average 4-H population but can gain the most from the 4-H experiential model,” said Wood, who joins them at least once a month.

Rux first worked with the students last year, bringing weekly lessons for 16 weeks throughout fall and spring.

“I am a great advocate for the work of UW Extension,” said Riley. “And I think their work is exemplary in the world of really good work.”

For more information on University of Wyoming Extension in Albany County, see wyoextension.org/albanycounty.

Horse judging team takes top-ten spot in world’s largest horse show

Team members in group photo in front of 2018 Quarter Horse Congress backdrop
Front left to right: Paris Starn, Ashley Rinetti, Hannah Jankovsky. Back Jory Goetz, assistant, Mikaela Moore, Josey Bailey, Amy Olson and Lacey Lindsay, coach

The UW horse judging team took 9th high team overall at its first and largest show of the season Oct. 17. The All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, is the largest horse show in the world.

In the collegiate judging contest, UW placed 8th high team in performance and 10th high in halter and reasons. Mikaela Moore of Ranchester was 8th high individual in performance in a field of 55. Moore and Hannah Jankovsky of Cheyenne placed in the top 20 overall individuals.

Other team members are Josey Bailey, Moorecroft; Amy Olson, Baggs; Ashley Rinetti, Parker, Colo.; and Paris Starn, Honolulu.

Coach Lacey Lindsey says the team will compete at the Reining Horse futurity Nov. 27-28 and National Cutting Horse Futurity December 1-2.

For more information or to register, contact Lindsey at 307-760-3519 or lteigen@uwyo.edu.

New publications explore ups and downs of high-altitude cooking and baking

The publication covers, showing cookie dough  and spaghetti
From Beulah to Burns to Big Piney, from Aladdin to Lander to Laramie, cooking and baking at elevations above 3,000 feet is different. These guides can help.

Ever wonder why cakes rise to the oven roof before falling and foods are undercooked when you follow the directions exactly? Two new publications from University of Wyoming Extension let you blame it on the altitude.

They help curious cooks and bakers adjust for the effects of lower air pressures, humidity and boiling temperatures at higher elevations.

 “Cooking and Baking It Up! Altitude Adjusters” covers food preparation from cookies, breads and cakes to boiling eggs, deep frying, candy-making and canning.

“Baking It Up! Tested Recipes and Tips for Baking at Altitude” is a revised and expanded remake of the classic “Baking at High Altitude,” first published more than three decades ago.

Both publications feature new, original photographs and food safety fundamentals. They’re free at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines high altitude as anything over 3,000 feet,” says Vicki Hayman, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator in Weston County. “That means parts of most western states and ALL of Wyoming.”

Since most recipes are created for sea level, success at higher elevations may require adjustments in time, temperature or ingredients, she says.

Hayman helped prepare the new guides, which join “Friendly One-Pot Meals from Your Pressure Cooker” and “Diabetes-Healthy Recipes Everyone Will Love” in extension’s “Cooking It Up!” series.

For more information, contact Hayman at 307-746-3531 or vhayman@uwyo.edu.

“Baking It Up!” and “High Altitude Adjusters” are among the many free guides, courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills from soufflés and strawberry jam making to master gardening, estate planning, critter care, and more. See bit.ly/UWEpubs. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”

University of Wyoming brings Western experiences to Cheyenne Frontier Days

Actually, lamb is very tasty! Pick up some recipes July 27 and 28 during Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Visitors to Cheyenne Frontier Days can build a ranch, change a stream flow, meet Wyoming’s most (un)wanted outlaw weeds, eat a beef stick from UW Cowboy Branded Meats and test their wool grading skills.

The University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is presenting displays and interactive activities at the Western Experience area of Cheyenne Frontier Days Park, July 21-22 and July 24-28. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Look for them next to the BLM horses.

July 21 and 22, visitors can explore native grasses, measure soil pH, gain perspective on the state’s rainfall, and learn what it means to be a headwaters state for three major river basins.

July 24 and 25 are beef days. Highlights include beef trivia, build-a-ranch, meet your meat and free giveaways.

July 26, visitors can view plants and insects and try their hand at determining which are friend and foe.

July 27 and 28 are sheep days. Highlights include sheep trivia, “not your grandmother’s wool,” meet your meat and key qualities of different fleeces.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources students, staff and faculty members will be on hand. Partners for these activities are the Wyoming Beef Council, Wyoming Wool Growers Association and Laramie County Conservation District.

Other organizations offer demonstrations of horsemanship and training, rodeo and other Western experiences.

For more information, see Western Experience at www.cfdrodeo.com.

Farmers can reduce extreme weather impacts, say extension educators

Field of yellow flowers with blue skies and clouds
Brassicas, such as this flowering rapeseed (brassica napus), can be used as cover crops. Shutterstock photo: Daniel Prudek

Farmers can’t change the weather, but two management practices can help buffer the effects of heavy rains, drought and other weather extremes, according to new guides from a team of extension educators at University of Wyoming, University of Nebraska and Montana State University.

“Minimizing Extreme Weather Impacts: Cover Crops 101” and “Using No-Till to Minimize Extreme Weather Impacts” are available free from UW Extension at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

Planting cover crops in rotation with primary agricultural crops can support soil quality and fertility, increase water infiltration and reduces erosion. A cover crop can be a single species crop or a mixed-species crop, such as legumes, grasses and brassicas (mustard family).

Other benefits may include reducing soil compaction, suppressing weeds, improving soil microorganism populations and providing habitat and food sources for birds, mammals and beneficial insects.

“Cover crops should be customized to the individual operation and objectives,” said Jerimiah Vardiman, lead author from UW Extension. He noted the potential exists for no benefits or even negative impacts, such as reduction in soil nitrogen, if cover crops are not managed correctly.

No-till farming is not new but is not widely used, said Tyler Williams of University of Nebraska Extension.

With a no-till approach, crops are grown with minimal soil disturbance, and the soil is kept covered with crop residue to conserve soil and water.

Advantages are soil moisture conservation, erosion control, reduced fuel and labor costs and benefits to soil structure and health. Disadvantages are increased dependence on herbicides, no incorporation of residue, manure or fertilizer and slow soil warming on poorly drained soils.

For more information, contact Vardiman at 307-754-8836 or jvardima@uwyo.edu.

These short introductions to field management systems are among the many guides, free courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills in cropping, small acreage management, irrigation, wildlife habitat and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”