University of Wyoming Extension News

UW Extension educator receives national achievement honor

UW Extension educator Mae Smith describes different plant parts to youths attending a recent  resource education camp.

UW Extension educator Mae Smith describes different plant parts to youths attending a recent resource education camp.

A University of Wyoming Extension educator serving the Big Horn Basin and Wind River Reservation has received the Achievement Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Rangeland resources educator Mae Smith, based in Greybull, received the award during the association’s annual meeting July 12-16 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Smith joined UW Extension in 2011, and said her favorite teaching opportunities are filming the “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming” educational videos, identifying plants in the field and organizing the Annie’s Project series for women in agriculture.

Smith is also coordinator for the national award-winning Barnyards & Backyards magazine. The magazine addresses resource management issues faced by Wyoming small-acreage owners. Smith has been an active member of the Society for Range Management for 10 years, serving on national committees and planning the Wyoming youth camp.

Smith serves Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park, and Washakie counties and the Wind River Reservation.

New extension educator based in Powell, serves northwest area

Jeremiah Vardiman

Jeremiah Vardiman

Jeremiah Vardiman will join the Park County University of Wyoming Extension office in Powell Jan. 5 as the northwest area educator for agriculture.

Vardiman has worked for UW at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center since 2012 and for the past year served as assistant farm manager.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental studies and a master’s degree in education, both from Chadron State College in Nebraska.

His new position will emphasize crop science. He will serve Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation. In addition to agricultural producers, this position provides educational programming to small-acreage landowners and supports the area’s Master Gardener programs.

Meetings explore small hydropower possibilities in Big Horn Basin

Milt Geiger

Milt Geiger

Opportunities for agricultural producers, irrigation districts and other water users to develop small hydropower resources at existing water infrastructure will be covered in a series of meetings and roundtables in Worland, Powell and Basin Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 7-8.

The Wyoming Business Council and State Energy Office partnered with University of Wyoming Extension and the UW School of Energy Resources to develop the Wyoming Small Hydropower Handbook, which is the foundation of the discussion, said Milt Geiger, UW Extension energy coordinator.

Geiger will offer an overview of the development process and typical characteristics of a feasible development opportunity.

 “Small hydropower offers water users the opportunity to make our Wyoming waters work even harder, producing electricity while serving the needs of irrigators and municipalities,” said Geiger.

The roundtables and presentation highlight the “where, what and how” of the evaluation process, including Wyoming case studies, he said.  Recent reports by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation identifying potential development locations in the Big Horn Basin will be discussed.  Incentives and a simplified permitting process will also receive attention.

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UW Extension educator’s work prompts diversity enhancement award

Educator Justina Russell

Educator Justina Russell

Innovative programs and responding to the needs of her clientele earned a University of Wyoming Extension educator the organization’s Diversity Enhancement Award.

Tina Russell, who serves the Wind River Reservation and Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties, was recognized Nov. 5 during extension’s annual training in Laramie. Russell, also a 4-H educator, is based in Ethete.

Russell’s specialties include agriculture and natural resources, forestry, energy efficiency and conservation and recycling education.

Her demeanor and persistence drew praise.

“She responds to the needs of her audience and collaborates well with community organizers and colleagues with quiet persistence, friendly professionalism and cultural understanding,” wrote one nominator.

She has many accomplishments. Russell assembled a committee of members of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to generate the first Wind River Reservation Leadership Program.

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Extension educator serving northwestern Wyoming begins Aug. 29

Caitlin Youngquist

Caitlin Youngquist

Caitlin Youngquist joins the Washakie County office of University of Wyoming Extension Aug. 29 as an educator serving northwestern Wyoming.

Youngquist, a member of the Agricultural and Horticultural Systems Initiative Team, will be based in Washakie County and also serve Big Horn, Hot Springs, Fremont and Park counties and the Wind River Reservation.

Youngquist was a farm planner-compost and manure specialist for the Snohomish Conservation District in Washington. She has worked as a research assistant with Washington State University Extension and a ranch manager.

She is a certified livestock adviser with WSU Extension, a trained compost facility operator, and co-owner/operator of a grass-fed beef and fresh market berry enterprise.

Her research includes agricultural uses and public perceptions of biosolids compost from rural wastewater treatment plants, large animal mortality composting, soil nutrient management, and several soil fertility, management and quality assessment projects.

Youngquist has a bachelor’s degree in animal science, a master’s degree in soil science, and completed a Ph.D. in soil science in May from Washington State University.