New online resources from UW Extension focus on community development, leadership

Photograph of man
Duane Williams

Two new online learning activities free from University of Wyoming Extension are now available online for Wyoming community leaders and anyone interested in working to improve their communities.

“Clues to Successful Community Development” focuses on core characteristics researchers have identified in thriving rural communities. Access it at

“Community Development: What’s HOPE Got to do With It” explores the concept of hope and how it is reflected in successful leaders. Access it at

Each self-paced program provides information, interactive elements and practical research and advice and can be completed in about 30-60 minutes.

Duane Williams, University of Wyoming Extension community development educator, said participants will take away tangible skills they can use in their communities.

He said, “Knowing how your community measures up on factors for success can be helpful in guiding future actions and investment. Successful community development is not magic or accidental but rather the accumulation of hard work and sound investments.”

Other free courses from UW Extension include “Wyoming Tax Facts” and “Personal Financial Literacy: Understanding and Avoiding Credit Pitfalls.” Go to and click the Extension Online Courses button.

UW Extension offers four-session, teen-focused diabetes programs in Lander, Riverton

Photograph of woman
Nutrition and food safety educator Laura Balis

Information to help teens with diabetes or pre-diabetes and their families is being offered during four-week programs this January in Lander and Riverton.

Learning to eat and live well with diabetes is the focus of the free “Dining with Diabetes in Wyoming” sessions, said Laura Balis, University of Wyoming Extension nutrition and food safety educator.

“The program helps individuals learn strategies to manage their diabetes through menu planning, carbohydrate counting, portion control and label reading,” said Balis. “Participants have the opportunity to sample healthy foods made using the concepts taught.”

Topics covered include What is Diabetes?; Carbohydrates and Sweeteners; Fats and Sodium; and Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber, said Balis.

Space is limited to 16, and dinners are provided. Lander enrollment is at, and Riverton enrollment is at, or by calling 307-332-2363 for either location.

Programs in each town are 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Riverton sessions are Tuesdays, Jan. 8-29, at the Fremont Center, 1010 Fairgrounds Drive. Lander sessions are Wednesdays, Jan. 9-30, at Lander Valley High School, 350 Baldwin Creek Rd.

Balis is presenting the sessions assisted by Hannah Kesterson, a Colorado State University dietetics intern.

The Riverton Lion’s Club is sponsoring the programs.

Training registration opens for those seeking new commercial applicator license

Photograph of man standing
Jeff Edwards, extension pesticide applicator training coordinator

Registration is now open for a three-day program to assist obtaining new commercial applicator licenses through the University of Wyoming Extension.

Wyoming statutes require anyone applying pesticides, restricted use or not, and receiving payment to do so, to have a commercial applicator license, said Jeff Edwards, UW Extension pesticide training coordinator.

This year’s training session for those seeking new licenses is Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 22-24, at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper. Those attending have the option of taking examinations on Thursday and receiving their licenses.

Topics covered include core materials, state statutes, application procedures, pest identification and management and other license category-specific information, said Edwards.

“This course is specifically designed to educate individuals who are new to pesticide application,” he said. “To receive your license, you must pass the core exam plus a minimum of one category exam with a 70 percent or better.”

Class registration fee is $95 per person.  Electronic registration is preferred and is at

Edwards also highly recommends downloading (for free) or purchasing the training manuals and reading them prior to class.  The training manuals needed are available at Printed materials can be ordered online using the order form link on the page or by contacting the UW Extension Office of Communications and Technology at 307-766-2115.

UW Extension bulletin explains soil moisture sensors for irrigation management

Man is looking at a soil moisture sensor in a field.
Vivek Sharma examines a soil moisture sensor used in a Powell Research and Extension Center field.

A new University of Wyoming Extension publication focuses on different methods and techniques of soil moisture measurement and how producers and water managers can determine soil moisture.

“Methods and Techniques for Soil Moisture Monitoring,” B-1331, shows how effective irrigation management combined with more efficient irrigation systems and soil moisture monitoring can lead to more efficient water use and reduced energy costs.

Vivek Sharma, extension irrigation specialist, provides brief descriptions of each soil moisture monitoring method and how sensors operate in order to know which sensors are suitable in a particular production setting and operation. Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the University of Wyoming and is based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

The bulletin is available in pdf, HTML or ePub formats. To view or download the bulletin, go to and click the Find a Publication link and type in the bulletin title or number.

Crook County 4-H educator receives UW Extension honor

Photograph of Sara Fleenor
Sara Fleenor

Increasing the depth and scope of Crook County 4-H and building the program through nontraditional ways has helped Sara Fleenor earn the University of Wyoming Extension’s Newer Employee Recognition Award.

Fleenor was recognized during the organization’s training conference Nov. 6-8 in Casper.

“Sara strives for excellence in her 4-H programming with a keen interest in developing leadership skills in youths,” said Mary Kay Wardlaw, associate director of UW Extension. “She is often behind the scenes making sure the youths are supported and successful.”

Nominators cited her work in providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lessons in local classrooms and in afterschool and summer recreation programs. She has also revitalized the Weston-Crook County 4-H Summer Program since joining UW Extension in 2012. The number of campers has grown from 15 to over 50 in 2017.

Fleenor is also credited for helping the success of the 307 Livestock Judging Camp in northeast Wyoming. The camp rotates between Weston and Crook counties year-to-year. The livestock judging series builds skills and increases participation in statewide contests by presenting scholarships and awards to the top 4-H members.

Colleagues also noted her fundraising efforts. She has grown the shooting sports program through grants and donations and has raised nearly $5,000 a year through community fund drives and competitive grant writing.