The Scotts Bluff County Extension office has moved from one side of the building to the other at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.
The Extension office had been on the east side of the building, just inside the main entrance, for the past 20 years or so. The office is now on the west side, where it will have additional space to accommodate the growth in programs that serve Scotts Bluff county residents.
Entrance to Scotts Bluff County Extension is through the parking lot and doors on the southwest side of the building. To get to the southwest parking lot, continue past the parking lot on the east side of the building. A driveway along the south side of the building ends at a parking lot outside the southwest entrance. Signs will be placed to make the way clear to drivers who haven’t been to that side of the building before.
An open house is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2018, from 3-6:30 p.m.
The east entrance is still the way to reach the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, which offers – as the title indicates – a broad range of research and extension activities for the entire Panhandle Extension District. The Panhandle Center has about a dozen faculty members with appointments through the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The Scotts Bluff County Extension office’s move to the west side of the building allowed for district business support staff to move to the east side, in the former Extension office, where they can be closer to the administrative staff of the Panhandle Center, according to Extension Educator Jackie Guzman, the unit leader for Scotts Bluff and Morrill counties.
On the west side of the building, the county extension office gains more space for programs and activities that serve both youth and adults, according to Guzman. There’s an open, airy foyer and several large rooms where 4-H activities and various meetings are already held on a regular basis.
Many local residents associate Extension with 4-H and the county fair. 4-H and other youth programs are a large and visible share of Extension’s mission locally, but the range of programs is for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Guzman is a member of Extension’s Learning Child Team and serves the southern Panhandle in this role, providing training for early childhood providers and families. She supervises staff, implementing 4-H programs that are grant funded. As a member of the Reaching One, Reaching All Interest group, Guzman is a trainer for the Navigating Difference Diversity training for Nebraska Extension Staff.
The office is staffed by Office Manager Stacy Brown and Receptionist Jeanne Yeoman. A group of Extension professionals work with a wide range of clientele to organize activities, share research-based information, and work with clientele to develop and prioritize Extension activities. These professionals and some of the common programs include:
Extension Educators Gary Stone and Jim Schild work in a number of areas related to both home and city landscape and agriculture. Stone coordinates the Master Gardener program in Scotts Bluff County. Schild has been organizing the High Plains Turf and Landscape Conference for years, and will be handing the event over to Stone in 2018. They also answer local residents’ questions about lawn, garden and landscape issues. Stone also conducts private and commercial pesticide applicator training and chemigation training, and helps farmers with soil water sensors and irrigation management.
Kelley Rice is an Extension Educator for Scotts Bluff, Morrill, and Box Butte Counties. She is also the 4-H Coordinator for the entire 16-county Panhandle Extension District. Her programs center around Career and College Readiness, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and 5 Choices. Additionally, she works with after-school programs providing staff training focused on Positive Youth Development.
Jana Schwartz is a Scotts Bluff County 4-H Assistant. In addition to helping coordinate the 4-H Club program and the Scotts Bluff County Fair, she organizes a variety of 4-H programs focusing on ag literacy and STEAM. Embryology and Entomology are programs taught through the schools teaching youth about life cycles and the science process. She coaches three Robotics teams which teach engineering, programing, and core values such as teamwork.
Erin Kampbell is the SNAP-Ed Assistant for the Nutrition Education Program. She brings a range of healthy living programs to local clientele. Adult education covers the USDA guidelines for nutrition and physical activity, smart shopping, meal planning, food safety, understanding the food label, portion control, and cooking at home. After-school youth programs focus on cooking skills, healthy choices, and physical activity. Other programs include Go NAP SACC (Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care), which promotes a healthy food and play environment in early-child care settings and food environment projects such as the Cultivating Health Our Way (CHOW) donation garden. Food environment projects seek to make healthy choices easy in the chosen focus area such as child care, convenience stores, or food pantries.
Leo Sierra coordinates the TEAMS and 4-H mentoring programs. TEAMS (Together Everyone Achieves More Success) is designed to improve middle-school and high-school students’ chances of staying in school, graduating, and attending college. TEAMS is a partnership between UNL Extension, Western Nebraska Community College, and the Minatare and Scottsbluff School Districts. It provides students and parents with experience in skill building, networking, mentoring, resources and exposure to the college atmosphere. 4-H believes all youth need positive, caring, nurturing adults to reach their optimum potential in Head, Hands, Heart, and Health. 4-H Mentoring is available to students in grades third through fifth at the Roosevelt elementary. It models peer and small-group mentoring, and it is driven by volunteers.