December 8, 2023 - 2:52pm --

The Ohio State University Extension Noble County Office provided members of the Noble County Extension Advisory Council a semi-annual update in late October. The Advisory Council includes volunteers representing each Extension program area. Agriculture members include Rita Mika, Jessie Radcliff and Greg Bergman; 4-H Youth Development members are Oliva Hendershot, Ruby Schockling and Kim Gibson. FCS representatives are Diane Dudley, Hannah Bingham and Melanie Schott. Community Development volunteers include Darrell Crum, Julie Caldwell and Richard Rutherford. Noble County Commissioners also hold Ex-officio seats.

The 2023 Advisory Council President is Ruby Schockling, Vice President, Diane Dudley and Secretary, Julie Caldwell. Rita Mika was also honored for her service of two three-year terms to the Council.

The Council approved the 2024 Extension annual budget as well as a new program assistant position to support Family and Consumer Sciences and Agriculture & Natural Resources. In addition, they shared input on needs and opportunities for programming in the county as well as areas where staff can collaborate and network.

Program reports by from the Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) Educator, Christine Gelley, M.S.; Community Development (CD) Educator, Gwynn Stewart, M.S. and CD Program Coordinator Dawn Schultheis; 4-H Youth Development Educator Nancy Snook, M.S.; Samantha Hull, M.S. 4-H/Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Educator and SNAP Ed Program Assistant, Lori Harris; Office Associates Tracy Blackstone and Carla Leonard were presented. 

Highlights included new equipment purchases to support ANR Educator Christine Gelley’s work and to be shared by the Eastern Area Research Station. She noted a wide range of programming and attendance at two national conferences.

Community Development Educator Gwynn Stewart noted the success of the Village Vistas program and an international award from the Community Development Society to the East of I-77 Business Park, now under construction, as well as grants received for the Village of Sarahsville storm water construction and CR 56 sewer projects. Work is also underway for three large projects to the Appalachian Community Grant program.

CD Program Coordinator Dawn Schultheis assisted with a variety of grants and projects for Noble CARES coalition, the Village of Batesville, Belle Valley’s Park grant implementation, and ArtsRise grant for the Appalachian Foothills Festival and a grant for the Historic Jail Museum.

4-H Youth Development Educator Nancy Snook reported Noble County reached over 1600 youth through regular 4-H clubs, special interest clubs and other programming. Noble has 35.46% of its youth participating in 4-H programs, the highest per-capita program in the state of Ohio! In addition, the Noble County Junior Fair Sale hit a new record of $979,008 with 559 sale lots.

SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education) highlights included direct education by Program Assistant Lori Harris to agencies meeting the program requirements and a variety of indirect education through printed materials in senior meals, food pantry boxes and participation in a wide variety of community events and through social media. Harris, with FCS Educator Sami Hull, is also active with the Noble Wellness Coalition and events like Popsicles & Play, the Freedom Walk/5K, and a new community event at Caldwell Lake.

4-H & Family Consumer Sciences Educator Sami Hull’s report noted 4-H enrollment of 501 with 330 club members, 93 cloverbuds and 78 volunteers. 4-H Camp was held in June with 70 campers and 24 counselors. She 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. 

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

The next meeting of the Noble Advisory Council will be March 12, 2024, at noon at the Extension office. To learn more about Extension, contact 740-732-5681 or visit online at