January 28, 2021 - 3:46pm -- stewart.1818@osu.edu

The Ohio State University Extension Noble County Office provided members of the Noble County Extension Advisory Council a semi-annual update in December. Noble County Extension celebrated 100 years in 2020! Program updates included reports from the Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Christine Gelley, M.S.; Community Development Educator, Gwynn Stewart, M.S.; 4-H Educators Nancy Snook and Samantha Schott; Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Samantha Schott and SNAP Ed Program Assistant, Lori Harris.

Christine with CowA&NR Educator Gelley hosted Monthly Farm Talk Virtual programs covering a variety of topics. Due to COVID-19, she provided 52 hours of Facebook “Live” programming reaching an estimated 2,550 individuals. She provided Pasture for Profit, Beef Quality Assurance and Farm Bill sessions, a Reading Royalty Stub program as well as Pesticide Applicator recertification sessions, just to name a few. The Master Gardener program has also conducted volunteer events.

At the Ag Madness Tournament of Education, she delivered virtual sessions on Cover Crops as Forage, Lamb Marketing, Sheep Nutrition and Flock Health. She also delivered Hay demonstrations and Getting Started with Sheep at the 2020 Farm Science Review. Gelley researched the purchase of a new teaching tool, a bovine simulator cow, with the mission of helping students practice appropriate beef cattle handling.

Gelley provided a weekly “Ag Line” column in The Journal and a monthly Forage Focus TV broadcast as well as periodical articles in Farm and Dairy, Ohio Cattleman, Progressive Forage, The Firelands Farmer, Ohio Country Journal and on Ohio State Beef and Sheep Team blogs.  Christine Gelley also noted her ongoing research and outreach project efforts.

“I believe that it is my responsibility to teach and conduct investigative research based on the current needs and desires of our community,” said Gelley. “I strive to continually collect feedback on how to tailor programming to fit those needs and convey that information.”

Stewart, the Community Development educator helped distribute 25 COVID PPE kits to small businesses and provide economic program updates as well as secured funding for matching federal funding through the ARC POWER program for a technical assistance grant that was funded at $71,500. ARC also approved a pre-application for a $250,000 grant for the East of I-77 water project. The downtown Caldwell Historic District was approved by the US Parks District and is now on the federal registry. JobsOhio funded the due diligence reports for the MAGNAM project area owned by AEP. In partnership with the Belmont County Port Authority, state leaders toured a potential Caldwell commerce park site and funded the engineering studies for the potential project. Noble County has nine properties in the JobsOhio Zoom Prospector database.

Ohio RCAP also completed the digital asset mapping for all county water and sewer systems providing technical training to operators on updating the digital GIS process. The CD educator also co-led the Noble County Census promotion effort. Stewart was appointed to serve on the Board for the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance as Secretary for 2021. Stewart also served on a regional rural economic development innovation planning team with Purdue University Extension to help develop the Buckeye Hills regional plan. The Noble County Small Business Loan program administered by CD has one active loan (Local Roots) and has funding available for eligible projects.

Stewart also serves as the Byway leader for the 5-county Appalachian Byway of Ohio, the state’s 27th Scenic Byway. In 2020, the byway marketing materials were developed including a brochure, now distributed at ODOT rest areas, a web site, video and a Facebook page. The Byway was also nominated for national designation in 2020, was awarded a regional Economic Development Tourism Award by the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance and a national Public-Private partnerships award from The National Scenic Byway Foundation.

Stewart completed training on the Trauma-Informed Care and Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing Curriculum to bring these programs to Noble County. Stewart is serving on OSU Extension CD state teams on topics including Energy, Business Retention and Expansion, the IMPLAN Economic Modeling software and the Building Entrepreneurial Communities curriculum. She had academic research posters accepted to the Ohio Extension Annual Conference and to the National Assoc. of CD Extension Professionals Conference, as well as authored or co-authored four Fact Sheets in 2020.

SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education) highlights included local promotion by Lori Harris of the new “Celebrate Your Plate” campaign designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and online SNAP-Ed lessons. In October, Extension staff and Noble Local Schools participated in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch promoting apple recipes and other materials related to Farm to School month.

Harris also completed training on a new reporting system for SNAP-Ed data as well as CPR/First aide, ServSafe Food Handlers and Occasional Quantity Cooks programs. Printed SNAP-Ed materials have been provided to a wide variety of stakeholders to be shared with senior meals, Samaritan House food boxes, GMN and Early Head Start preschool families, Food pantries and more. Harris worked with Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H Educator Sami Schott to co-host Freezer Meal and an Instant Pot Workshop.

Schott also provided the Generation Rx program to Kindergarten to fourth grade. Fifth graders were provided a presentation titled, “It’s Not Cool to Juul.”  She served as the facilitator of the EMA’s Food, Water, Shelter task force facilitator during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also facilitated the Live Healthy, Live Well Email Challenge in Noble and surrounding counties. Schott continues to teach and proctor ServSafe Level 2 Manager Trainings and ServSafe Level 1 Employee Training for those who need the Ohio Department of Health certification.

In her role as a 4-H Educator, Schott coordinated the first-ever Noble “Virtual” 4-H Camp led by 31 student counselors.  The counselors completed online lessons to meet the required hours of training and designed at-home camp activities for the 28 campers participating.

Schott assisted the Noble County Junior Fair board with its successful Summer Sizzler Lamb & Goat open show. The Noble County Skill-a-Thon committee program was also offered online to approximately 80 participants. Schott assisted multiple 4-H clubs via Zoom and provided Zoom lessons on the new 4honline 2.0 program that members/families will now utilize to enroll. Schott also assisted 4-H Educator Nancy Snook with the Quality Assurance trainings to 400 students and with Successful Co-Parenting classes that are held every other month in Noble County. Schott also serves on the OSU Extension Teen Leadership Design Team adapting the Teen Leadership 20 curriculum to virtual options.

4-H Educator Nancy Snook coordinated programming for Red Ribbon Week, funded through a grant secured from the Gulfport Energy Fund. The Health and Opioid Abuse Prevention Education (HOPE) and Generation Rx Curriculums were delivered to students in grades Kindergarten through 5th at Caldwell and Shenandoah Elementary Schools.  

Noble County hosted a very different Jr. Fair following strict COVID-19 Standards and broadcast “live” on Facebook. The Junior Fair Livestock sale had a total of $450,600.50 with 100 fewer animals entered.

“That is outstanding considering all that small businesses have been through this year,” said 4-H Educator Nancy Snook. “In addition, over $4,000 of the proceeds were donated to charitable organizations selected by 4-H and FFA members.”

The annual 4-H Kick-Off event was attended by over 125 people in early March and helps youth and their families learn more about 4-H programming. 4-H hosted a Volunteer Recognition Breakfast replacing the traditional 4-H Banquet to recognize 4-H volunteers for their years of service. Attendance increased by 150 percent. The 4-H Teen Ambassadors program is a teen leadership group. They recorded radio PSAs for Ohio 4-H Week and video messages for National 4-H Week and assisted with annual 4-H project judging.  4-H project evaluation for Miscellaneous, Clothing and Food & Nutrition projects was conducted in a hybrid format this year with in-person judging as well as video submissions that were judged by the same judge as the in-person judge.  This offered an opportunity for all youth to be evaluated in the environment that felt comfortable in.

The OSU Extension staff is also active in promotion of research and programs via written articles, radio and television appearances, as well as a robust social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. OSU Extension staff and educators attend their respective national conferences and also serve on a myriad of local, state and national service committees.

The OSU Noble County Extension Advisory Council includes volunteers representing each Extension program area. Staff recognized Herman Grey for his term and leadership on the group representing Community Development along with Allen Fraley and Miranda Miser. Replacing Gray for CD in 2021 will be Richard Rutherford.

Agriculture members include Rita Mika, Tabitha Weisend and Pernell Saling; 4-H Youth Development members are Becky Massey, Jason Smithberger and Paige Carter. FCS representatives are Judy Weisend; Angie Feldner and Diane Dudley. Angie Feldner was recognized for her term on the committee and she will be replaced by Hannah Bingham in 2021.  Noble County Commissioners also hold Ex-officio seats. At the December Council meeting, the group reviewed the proposed 2021 budget and also voted to form an Extension Renewal Levy Support Committee to coordinate campaign details.  

To learn more, contact The Ohio State University Extension Noble County Office at 740-732-5681 or online at noble.osu.edu.

Noble County Extension Staff

The Ohio State University Extension Noble County Office team: front row from left:Lori Harris, SNAP Ed Program Assistant; Nancy Snook, 4-H Educator 4; Christine Gelley, M.S., Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator 2; and back row, from left: Carla Wickham, Office Associate; Gwynn Stewart, M.S., Community Development Educator 3; Samantha Schott, 4-H/FCS Educator and Tracy Blackstone, Office Associate.