Sea Grant Rocks Cleveland

The Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t the only thing bringing people to Cleveland in early June. Ohio Sea Grant hosted seven other Great Lakes Sea Grant Programs and the National Sea Grant Program during the 26th Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Meeting. Over 80 scientists, educators, and communicators from all over the Great Lakes came together to provide program updates, share project ideas, and discuss future collaborations.

Julia fish

Photo credit: Tory Gabriel

The conference began with field trips showcasing some of the amazing educational and tourism opportunities in Ohio. Trips included a fishing charter where participants caught walleye (one of the most important sportfish in Lake Erie helping to contribute to a 1 billion dollar industry), a tour of Stone Laboratory (the oldest continually operational freshwater field station) and a bike tour of sustainable business on Cleveland’s famous West 25th Street. Sustainable business practices include:

  • Water reduction practices
  • Solar panels to heat water
  • Pervious parking lots
  • Rain gardens

Speakers included Jonathon Pennock, the recently appointed National Sea Grant Director, who discussed the new vision for the National Sea Grant Program and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor who spoke about the great work being done in Ohio and the Great Lakes to improve water quality, foster sustainable development, and continued work to improve the health of the Great Lakes.

Educational field trips on the second day showed participants some of the issues facing Lake Erie and offered on-the-ground solutions to solve problems. A boat tour of the Cuyahoga River led by Scott Hardy, Sea Grant Extension Educator in Cuyahoga County, showcased the work being done by local organizations in Cleveland and Ohio Sea Grant to remove the river from the Area of Concern list. Areas of Concern are highly impaired rivers as a result of industrial use over the past century. Local organizations work together to remove contaminated sediment, improve water quality, and repair fish, bird, and mammal habitats to improve the benefits offered by the river.

Boat tour

Photo credit: Todd Marsee

A second boat tour led by Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marina Program Manager, took several people to the Emerald Necklace Marina in Rocky River. The Emerald Necklace Marina is one of Ohio’s many Clean Marinas. Cleans Marinas are marinas that have gone through the certification process through Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to adopt business and property management practices that improve water quality, lessen a marina’s environmental impact, and work with their boaters to educate on safe and clean boating best practices.

Cleveland skyline

Photo credit: Jill Bartolotta

Some of these practices include:

  • recycling when possible
  • using living shorelines instead of hardened shorelines along the water to improve fish habitat
  • using cleaning products such as vinegar to clean their boats instead of synthetic chemicals
  • educating others about safe and clean boating practices

All in all it was a great few days filled with new project ideas, network visioning, and lots of fun in some of Coastal Ohio’s most beautiful areas.

 

Endnotes:

Ohio Sea Grant. Ohio Sea Grant Website. 2017. https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/

National Sea Grant Program. National Sea Grant Program Website. 2017. http://seagrant.noaa.gov/

Stone Laboratory. Stone Laboratory Website. 2017.  http://stonelab.osu.edu/

1 billion dollar industry American Sportfishing Association Report January 2013. http://asafishing.org/uploads/2011_ASASportfishing_in_America_Report_January_2013.pdf

Area of Concern. EPA Areas of Concern Website. 2017. https://www.epa.gov/great-lakes-aocs

Cleans Marinas. Ohio Clean Marina Program Website. 2017. https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/clean

Jill Bartolotta is an Extension Educator for Ohio Sea Grant.

BIG Skies, BOLD Partnerships

Visiting with a colleague recently, she shared that these uncertain times in our workplace, in our communities, and in the larger world around us require that we ask ourselves what we really are about.

For the past several days, nearly 350 practitioners, academics, and Extension professionals came together to share and learn and discuss how we can make a difference within the various communities we serve in the first-ever joint conference with NACDEP and the Community Development Society (CDS).

Big Sky, Montana, provided the conference venue for over 130 concurrent session presentations, 40 poster presentations and 3 IGNITE presentations. Five keynote presentations were included along with 8 mobile learning workshops focused on culture, local food, leadership and collaborative partnerships for economic development.

June conference surprise

Among the presentations were ten involving a dozen of Ohio’s Extension professionals. Topics and presenters (including those involving out of state collaborators indicated with an *) are listed below:

  • Credentialing Local Planning Officials: Master Citizen Planner Program (Wayne Beyea*, Myra Moss & Kara Salazar*)
  • Entrepreneurial Networking Competencies: Contemporary Perspectives on Social Capital (Julie Fox)
  • Energize Job Retention: Energy Management Strategies as a Component of Business Retention and Expansion Programs (Nancy Bowen, Eric Romich & David Civittolo)
  • Bold Partnering: Join a National Network on Leadership Programming (Brian Raison, Kyle Willams* & Elizabeth North*)
  • A New Tool for Increasing Marina Resiliency to Coastal Storms in the Great Lakes (Joe Lucente & Sarah Orlando)
  • Building Collaborative Partnership Around Critical Community/Stakeholder Issues: Watersheds, Agriculture, and a City’s Source Water Quality (Myra Moss)
  • Maximizing the Gains of Old and New Energy Development for America’s Rural Communities (Eric Romich, David Civittolo & Nancy Bowen)
  • Partnering for Community Health (Becky Nesbitt)
  • Exploring ways of using Community Arts, Cultural and Heritage businesses to stimulate Rural Community Economic Development (Godwin Apaliyah & Ken Martin)
  • Using Farmers Markets as a Tool for Economic Development: Increasing Healthy Food Access While Benefiting Small to Mid-Sized Farms (Amanda Osborne)
  •  A Dialogue Prompt for Housing and Land Use Policy in a New Administration (poster) (Anna Haines* & Myra Moss)

Three Ohioans were also installed as officers on the national NACDEP board: Nancy Bowen (re-elected Treasurer), David Civittolo (elected President-elect), and Brian Raison (elected north-central region Representative).

Two OSUE NACDEP members were also recognized with national and regional awards. Raison received regional and national recognition for using educational technology in developing  ‘A Virtual Farm Market Pilot’ and creating materials for ‘Top 10 Ways to Improve Online Teaching and Learning.’  He received regional recognition in the category ‘Excellence in CD Work’ for his effort, ‘Establishing an Impactful Local Food Council.’ Romich received regional recognition (honorable mention) in the category ‘Distinguished Career.’

Sunrise over Big Sky

Leadership, teamwork and collaboration were celebrated and cultivated throughout the conference. And after a very moving final keynote address by Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants, we were reminded again that working together we truly can move mountains. See you next year in Cleveland, June 10-13!

 

 

Greg Davis is a Professor and Assistant Director for OSU Extension Community Development.

Unleashing the Power of Group Wisdom

Why is it so difficult to make good decisions in groups? We know that the benefits of group decision-making are substantial: better thinking, more viable and sustainable action plans, a stronger sense of ownership for achieving a desired outcome. In fact, when done properly, group decision-making may be our best hope for solving difficult, complex issues. Unfortunately, group discussions often result in decisions that lack imagination, thoughtful consideration, or inclusiveness.

group discussionsSo why do smart, well-intentioned people often struggle with making good decisions in groups? According to Sam Kaner, author of Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, “the answer is deeply rooted in prevailing cultural values that make it difficult for people to actually think in groups.” Kaner explains that some of the obstacles to productive group interactions include a lack of good listening skills, a strong need to move to action without adequate consideration or discussion, and treating a difference of opinion as conflict that must be “stifled or solved.”

To move beyond these typical issues, Kaner suggests that groups employ a facilitator, a neutral third party who can help the group members do their best thinking. Good facilitators, he explains, “strengthen the effectiveness of the group of people who are there to get work done.” The facilitator “helps, serves, teaches, and guides,” while the group members themselves “resolve, decide, produce and act.” Good facilitators understand group dynamics, and value the process of group decision-making. They use their skills to help group members tap into their own collective wisdom.

group decisionsA facilitator can help a group move beyond the familiar, often unproductive, patterns of communication, and encourages a sense of shared responsibility, empowering group members to speak up, listen, and effectively participate in the process. According to Kaner, the group facilitator’s three core competencies include:

  • Building and sustaining a respectful, supportive atmosphere
  • Managing the process, but allowing the group to direct the content of the discussion
  • Teaching the group members new thinking skills to help build their capacity for collaboration

Are you interested in strengthening your facilitation skills? Contact Becky Nesbitt at nesbitt.21@osu.edu to learn more about OSU Extension’s facilitation training. For more info, visit the CD webpage.

Seek Excellence logoBecky Nesbitt is an Assistant Professor and Extension Educator in Community Development with OSU Extension. 

Better land use decisions via the American Citizen Planner program

I like to volunteer in my community. Doing so enables me to make a difference in other people’s lives and make some small contribution in return for the benefits I receive. But, years ago when I was asked to serve on my community’s Planning and Zoning committee it felt like I was in over my head.

I kept asking myself:

  • Will I make wise decisions regarding land use in my community?
  • Will I understand the complicated zoning codes and different land use tools such as comprehensive planning?
  • Will I carry out my duties and responsibilities correctly and wisely – and legally?
  • How will I deal with heated community response in difficult circumstances?

At least I was in good company – many volunteer planners continue to express the same concerns and struggle to find where to turn for accurate, useful and easily understandable information.

To make matters worse, local land use issues are becoming increasingly complex, requiring difficult decisions of volunteer citizen planners who often have little preparation or training. Fortunately, the new American Citizen Planner Program (ACP) can help prepare and train these volunteer planners as well as others who are interested in the basic concepts of public land use planning and community development best practices.

eXtension Land Use PlanningJust recently launched online through the eXtension Community Planning and Zoning Community of Practice, ACP provides continuing education for paraprofessional planners and zoning officials, offering the nationally recognized credential of Master Citizen Planner.

American Citizen PlannerThe online program offers two courses – ACP 101 and ACP 201. ACP 101 is designed to help participants learn the foundations of planning and zoning, including the historical context, and their role and responsibilities as planning officials. The 14 units cover such topics as ethics, comprehensive land use planning, working with the public, data collection and analysis, and community sustainability. ACP 201, also 14 units, digs deeper into such topics as land use planning, legal and constitutional authority, the zoning process, conducting effective public meetings and dealing with conflict.

After completion of ACP 101 and 201, participants are qualified to take the Master Citizen Planner Exam. With an exam score of 70% or better, within 60 days of completing the courses they will receive the Master Citizen Planner Credential. It is recommended that the credential be maintained through at least 6 hours a year of continuing education.

Learn more about the American Citizen Planner program, its cost and how to access the online courses here or by contacting Myra Moss at moss.63@osu.edu.

Myra Moss is an Associate Professor and Extension Educator (Heart of Ohio EERA).

Education through Social Networking

Social MediaI have the best job in the world. As an extension educator for Ohio Sea Grant and OSU Extension, my job is to help communicate science in an easy-to-understand way to the public. When I started in this role, this was done mostly through in person meetings, phone calls, emails, and within educational settings such as outreach events. I still continue to communicate with the public and my stakeholders through these outlets, but I have added a new approach for reaching others to this list: social media.

When I created my first Twitter account and a Facebook page for our program, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing! I had used these platforms to interact with family and friends, but was unsure of how to engage the public. However, I soon found that by following other colleagues and programs there was a community well-versed in the art of social communication. In my case, I found a group of science communicators who have taken to social media to help engage the public around the topics that they are researching, and to aid in communicating the scientific process to the public. The #SciComm community – as they call themselves – has helped me to realize the value of social media as a method for education and outreach. Another great network of people who provide helpful guidance on social media is the Educational Technology Learning Network, or #EdTechLN. You can find their social media feed here: extedtechs.org/edtechln/.

I use social media to promote outreach events, share news about recent accomplishments in my organization, and to provide current and factual information on a variety of topics related to my program and organization. As a company, community, or citizen – you can use social media to promote your business, recognize an exceptional employee or colleague, and to provide up-to-date, reliable information to your audience. There are many ways that you can follow and interact with OSU Extension and Ohio Sea Grant on social media – I’ve listed a few below. Feel free to engage with us through these platforms – we’re listening and here to help!

OSU Extension and Community Development:

 Ohio Sea Grant:

Clean Marinas program collage

On our Ohio Clean Marinas and Clean Boaters Page, we promote marina businesses that take steps to improve air and water quality at their facility. We in turn encourage these businesses to use social media to promote themselves as a certified Clean Marina to their clientele.

Sarah Orlando is the Program Manager for the Ohio Clean Marina Program. She can be contacted at: 419-609-4120, orlando.42@osu.edu, or @SarahAOrlando.

Building healthy and productive lives together

Without a place to call home, it is difficult to build a healthy and productive life. And while being number one is usually a good thing; it is certainly not so in this case.

Franklin County has the highest number of evictions in the state, averaging 19,000 filings annually over the last 10 years. Matthew Desmond’s book, Evicted, indicates that evictions occur for a variety of reasons, including: a limited understanding of the tenant’s responsibilities and rights; lack of financial management and home maintenance skills; and, an untenable rent to income ratio.

Franklin County Extension is attempting to address this issue by offering to residents throughout the community a vast array of programs and services focused on, for example: HUD-certified home buyer education; money management; food production, preservation and nutrition; workforce development and much more!

To learn more, check out the materials shared on the Franklin County Extension website. To learn about what’s happening in your community and how OSU Extension can help, visit the OSU Extension website or call your local Extension office.

Susan Colbert is Program Director for Expansion and Engagement in Franklin County (Heart of Ohio EERA).

Organizational Change – make it real

One of the questions I get asked the most when working with an organization is, “How do you go about creating cultural change?” I think the reason we get asked this so frequently is because the task seems huge, outside the realm of the possible. There are a number of reasons a corporate culture needs or wants to change, but regardless of why, the process of making the change a reality is rooted in dialogue.

Human beings experience the world through language. It shapes our reality and defines our lives. The most cohesive organizations have a common language. Sometimes we call it jargon, and sometimes it is all but impossible for someone from the outside to understand, but the way the team (or company, or entire discipline) talks impacts its identity.

In the book Tribal Leadership, Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright outline five stages of organizational development which are defined by the conversations that members of the organizations have. Moving an organization through the stages is a process that can be managed, but requires that individuals become conscious of and responsible for how they communicate. If you work for or with an organization that is struggling, this book is a good place to start looking for solutions.

While the book focuses on the impact that corporate culture has on productivity, what I find in my work is that corporate culture impacts and is impacted by so many aspects of an organization. We may measure our success based on productivity, but in the end that is only a measurement, as are things like job satisfaction, recruitment, and turn-over rates.

How then, do we bring out real change in an organization? Is it really as simple as managing the conversations? Yes and no.

The first thing to remember is that leaders set the tone. Not just in the formal speeches like those made at the Annual Meeting of the Board, for example, but in every interaction they have with members of the organization. All too often, leaders are focused on themselves. On their work, their goals, their team. They use “I, me, and my” statements without realizing that this often sets up competition within the organization itself. In fact, they frequently see internal competition as healthy in a Darwinian way.

The authors of Tribal Leadership contend, and my own observations support, that this is not a conversation that allows for or supports positive organizational change, and yet it is the most common conversation that happens in an organization. Instead, positive change occurs within the conversation of vision. This is where teams come together and take on industry standards as the competition, not other parts of their own company. This is not an easy shift to make, but it is essential for both personal and organizational growth. We see this in many industry-leading companies and most successful social movements.  Simon Sinek may have said it best in his TED Talk, “Start With Why.”

If organizational change is something your organization is struggling with, know that there are a number of resources to help. For more information, contact your local Community Development Extension personnel. We would love to help you.

Laura Fuller is a county Extension educator in Noble County (Buckeye Hills EERA).

Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Set to Rock in Cleveland this Summer

University faculty, educators and staff involved in the Sea Grant College program throughout the Great Lakes region will converge in downtown Cleveland for the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network meeting hosted this year by Ohio Sea Grant from June 5-8.

GLSGN Meeting Logo

Credit: Ohio Sea Grant

Why is this important? For 50+ years, the National Sea Grant College program has worked to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy. The Sea Grant network includes 33 programs based at top universities in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The programs of the Sea Grant network work together to help citizens understand, conserve and better utilize America’s coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources.

A partnership between universities and the federal government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Grant directs federal resources to pressing problems in local communities. By drawing on the experience of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, public outreach experts, educators and students from more than 300 institutions, Sea Grant is able to make an impact at local and state levels, and serve as a powerful national force for change.

Sea Grant invests in high-priority research, addressing issues such as population growth and development in coastal communities; preparation and response to hurricanes, coastal storms and tsunamis; understanding our interactions with the marine environment; fish and shellfish farming; seafood safety; and fisheries management. The results of this research are shared with the public through Sea Grant’s integrated outreach program which brings together the collective expertise of on-the-ground extension agents, educators and communications specialists. The goal is to ensure that vital research results are shared with those who need it most and in ways that are timely, relevant and meaningful. For more information, please visit the Ohio Sea Grant website above or the National Sea Grant College program website.

Joe Lucente is an Associate Professor and Extension Educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Conveying a Tradition of Philanthropy

“Service is the rent we pay for living.” -Marian Wright Edelman, 1993

Traditions – every person and every family has them. Most of us think of a tradition as something that we do during the holidays or special events. What if one of those traditions was philanthropy? What if philanthropy was something that not only occurred with families during a holiday but also was a part of our lifestyle? As adults, we can teach the children in our lives a tradition that will become a part of their lifestyle and a part of their value system.

There are a variety of ways to teach children to respect the needs of others and do kind things. Children need to know that it is important to give of ourselves to others. As adults, we can teach philanthropy every time we talk to children and by demonstrating compassionate behavior through giving. We can demonstrate how to give our time, talent, or treasure.

How can adults be philanthropic role models for children? One way is through volunteering one’s service in a community. Volunteering or providing a service is one of the best ways an adult can be a role model for lifelong philanthropic giving.

Character and self-esteem are enhanced when children are engaged in volunteering. Many times when children volunteer they acquire new skills, develop confidence and maturity. Helping others helps children put their own problems in perspective. Children also meet people from other backgrounds and learn teamwork and civic responsibility. Research shows that youth who volunteer early in life learn that service or philanthropic giving is a part of their lifestyle.

Remember philanthropic traditions do not have to be elaborate. Volunteering with young children can be singing at a nursing home or as simple as putting spoons in a container at a soup kitchen. It is the basic idea of seeing philanthropic giving as a tradition that adults are teaching children.

Cindy Bond is an Assistant Professor and County Extension Educator in Guernsey County (Crossroads EERA).

If You Want to Go Far, Go Together; and If You Want to Transform, enVISION Fayette County

Even with all the high-tech aids at our disposal, getting from the proverbial ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ these days can be a daunting task. There is one old-school approach, however, that still has its merits. That is, one can still find direction and goal-setting to be much easier with a little bit of planning.

Strategic planning is a tool that is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions and also for evaluating progress and making course adjustments along the way. Its principles can be applied on a personal, organizational, or community level.

On a community level, it could be referred to as comprehensive land use planning. Why would one want to create or update a comprehensive land use plan?

  • To revisit the vision of what residents want for the future of their community
  • To see the big picture of how the community’s economy, environment, and culture are intertwined
  • To obtain a reassurance that everyone in the community shares in its improved well-being
  • To select and agree on some common goals of the community
  • To find out how much time, money, and other resources are needed to support positive community change
  • To gain the support of Federal, State, private and non-profit partners in developing one’s community
Fayette County enVISION sector groups

Sector groups in discussion

Strategic planning principles were applied as part of the recent enVision Fayette County effort. Fayette County Extension played a central role in convening local and external resources and community residents to revise and update the Fayette County comprehensive land use strategic plan.

One of the partners was OSU’s Knowlton School. Graduate students from the City and Regional Planning program helped with data collection and development of the final report. In addition, to engage a diverse group of county residents, students used an online survey to collect feedback on priorities and goals and a website and Facebook page to communicate the planning process and opportunities for engagement. They participated in community events and engaged with residents to discuss community needs and concerns. Furthermore, they hosted four interactive public meetings to familiarize community stakeholders with the planning process.

The participating stakeholders were many, and included, for example: townships, villages and municipalities, county government, school districts and the non-profit/for profit organizations and agencies. In addition to identifying directions and resources available for pursuing them, participants realized the value of working together in pursuit of community goals.

Fayette County Leaders and OSU Students

Fayette County local leaders and OSU grad students

‘Old-school’ strategic planning mixed with high-tech tools for engaging a variety of stakeholders; a winning approach for moving a community from point A to point B.

To learn more about this local effort, contact Godwin Apaliyah. To learn more about ways to engage others in organizational or community planning, see OSU Extension’s organizational capacity programs.

Godwin Apaliyah is a County Extension Educator in Fayette County (Miami Valley EERA).