How I live with the 7 Habits

Have you ever had a to-do list longer than your grocery list? I know I have. It’s especially hard on those days when you walk into the office and immediately have to pick up the phone that’s been ringing, and fix the error message on the copier as you walk by, and maybe five other things before you even get the chance to get your coat off. Days like these have a tendency of pushing you to your limit, and it’s days like these that leave us emotionally exhausted. So what do we do to live with this?

Success/Stress SignWhat my team did was adopt Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We spent two days in a training learning about ourselves, our teams, and how to work more effectively with ourselves and each other. We learned in this training the 7 habits we can practice that will lead our lives down a less stressful path while maximizing our productivity. A couple of the habits I use every day are Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, and my team often uses Synergize.

I’m practicing being proactive by keeping my goals in my foresight while focusing on the tasks that will get me there. In my position as a project coordinator, this helps me plot out what my day-to-day tasks will be while still looking ahead to the end goal. This helps me better be able to begin with the end in mind because when I start a task I make sure I know why I’m doing this in the first place. By keeping in mind where I want to be in the future, I’m able to work together with my team day to day and let our vision of the future guide our daily decisions.

My team synergizes by working together on multifaceted projects, each of us bringing something unique to the table. Some of us have more relationship building skills and others are more analytical. We pride ourselves in cultivating these strengths and delegating tasks to the person whom we know will excel in that area. We are better teammates and more effective employees when we are able to do the things we enjoy.

The 7 Habits has, so far, impacted the way I work. I pay more attention to what is necessary compared to what is just a distraction. With the help from my team, we have been able to create processes that eliminate distractions which increase our productivity. With a director who cultivates a culture of efficiency and effectiveness, we are marching into the future with our new habits.

Reference:

Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic ([Rev. Ed.].). New York: Free Press.

Kori Montgomery is an Office Associate at the Alber Enterprise Center located at The Ohio State University at Marion.

13 Tips to be a Motivational Leader

Feeling valued and that your work contributions make a difference are two key factors in job satisfaction. What can we do to help colleagues feel motivated about their work? With workforce an issue around the globe and employers struggling to engage star employees, here are 13 tips to be a motivational leader:

  1. Create a fair and supportive environment.
    • Do you provide the tools and resources employees need to succeed?
    • If people are failing or if there is turnover, the first place to look is at the supervisor in charge. Good supervisors cultivate good, highly efficient employees, but the reverse is true as well. People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses! Watch turnover and connect the dots!
  2. Invest in your human resources!
    • Provide development opportunities.
      • Career training – internal and external
      • Support their attendance at conferences and other learning/networking opportunities
    • Work on health and wellness as a corporate initiative, invest in activities for healthy living (healthy employees are more productive and lower insurance premiums!), some examples:
      • Gym memberships
      • Gift cards for steps using Fitbit® or other measurement tools
      • You pick one!
  3. Reward them.
    • SAY “THANK YOU” or “GOOD JOB” FOR A JOB WELL DONE
    • After a vigorous project or particularly stressful time, offer some time off.
    • Gift cards — $5.00 to Starbucks goes a long way.
    • Present them with a certificate of thanks.
  4. Coach them for improvement.
    • When performance improvement is required, be sure to communicate that PROMPTLY. DO NOT wait for the annual performance review and use it as a area of improvement. A performance review should be considered a recap of information already communicated and a review of the results. A good leader does not blindside an employee with a never-before-communicated laundry list of complaints at their annual review.
    • Seek to counsel and to guide. Do not seek a “gotcha” moment! Value your team members. They are your most important investment.
  5. Make every effort to avoid shaming or embarrassing an employee when a difficult conversation is necessary.
    • Speak to them privately about performance related issues. They are people with feelings. Remember, most people want to do a good job and be considered a good performer.
  6. Strive for equal treatment of all employees.
    • Be careful to follow the same process in conversations and reviews with all employees.
      • Singling out an employee for special treatment, good or bad, sends a signal to other employees.
    • Be fair.
      • If you have a personality conflict with someone, dig deep into why that is occurring and work on yourself before you blame the other person. As Steven Covey says, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
  7. Avoid the perception of favoritism by being observant and perceptive of how your words and actions are being interpreted.
  8. Establish a culture of respect.
    • Treat people with dignity and respect.
    • Listen and work as a team to resolve issues. Do not jump to a conclusion after hearing one side of an argument.
  9. Communicate clearly and frequently expectations and how you measure success.
    • Do your employees clearly understand your expectations?
      • Are expectations written down?
        • Take responsibility when there is miscommunication particularly regarding job duties and expectations. Start with:
          • Is there a job description and if so, is it up to date?
          • Do employees understand the organizational Mission and Values?
  10. Provide annual reviews and regular feedback in-between reviews so employees know where they stand.
  11. Show up and be present.
    • Don’t be invisible. Let people see you.
    • Smile and be positive.
    • Ask about them, their weekend, whatever you know interests them.
  12. Make it personal.
    • What do you know about the people who report to you?
    • How do you recognize milestones and accomplishments?
    • Do you know anything that is important to that employee aside from work?
    • Is the employee in need of support due to a difficult life experience?
  13. Strive to create meaningful work.
    • Is the assigned work fulfilling – in any way? If not, what can you do to improve the situation?
      • Ask the employees – Communicate!
        • What improvements could make their job more rewarding?
        • What about their job do they like and do not like?
      • Work with employees to provide opportunities to do what they like and to improve their job if it is reasonable.

According to the June 13, 2017 Gallup Chairman’s Blog, 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. A separate Gallup Poll reveals that 70% of employee motivation originates with the employee’s manager. Imagine if employees were motivated and engaged because of their manager? According to Gallup, motivated employees are 31% more productive which results in an increase in sales of 37 percent. Additionally, motivated employees are 87% less likely to quit than their demotivated counterparts. Turnover is one organizational expense that can be limited via support and training by skilled motivational leaders.

In short, your leadership style has an impact on your organizational culture and environment. Take the time to better understand yourself so you can better support your teammates. Learning about yourself can be eye opening and life changing; and the risk is worth the reward.  After all, it does take heat and pressure to create a diamond!

Kyle White is an Extension Educator, Medina County & Western Reserve EERA.

Collaborating to Educate on Agriculture in the Community

How do you learn about agriculture and your community? With “two faces” in Clermont County – urban and rural – it is important to address how agriculture and the community work together to provide the necessary resources for everyday life. A diverse audience attends the Clermont County fair: rural, urban and suburban. This is due, in part, to the location of Clermont County in southwest Ohio (it is situated adjacent to the urban city of Cincinnati) and it being a county with rich roots in agricultural history.

As the need was identified to inform the diverse audience, the Clermont County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator and Community Development Program Coordinator collaborated to educate the public on agriculture and community development. The specific audience targeted involved the public and exhibitors who attended the Clermont County Fair in 2016 and 2017.

To educate this audience, posters (Ag in the Community) were created with facts from United States Department of Agriculture statistics, county statistics and various commodity organizations. Each poster has a QR code or barcode, which may be scanned with a smart device, linked to an online blog page for data collection. Posters were color printed on 11”x 17” paper and laminated before being displayed around the fairgrounds at designated locations.

Our specific AG IN THE COMMUNITY GOALS were to:

  1. Address the need for educational programming for the “two faces” of Clermont County (urban/rural interface)
  2. Educate the public about agriculture and the community
  3. Inform Clermont County, Ohio residents of the services offered through Ohio State University Extension
  4. Gain contact information from individuals interested in learning more about Extension programming
  5. Utilize blog and QR code technologies to measure reach and impact of the Ag in the Community posters

There were approximately 65,000 people who attended the 2016 Clermont County Fair who could have viewed the educational materials. We know that 376 fair-goers viewed the posters via the QR code. Results from the 2017 Ag in the Community posters are pending.

Our Ag in the Community posters have enabled us to better educate the public on types of agriculture and community development issues and opportunities in Clermont County and gather contact data for our newsletter and blog page as well as to determine if a participant knows about Extension or has ever used Extension services.

Results indicate that audiences in Clermont County were interested in learning more about agriculture and the community. Most have attended educational programs and want to learn more about the work we do. This effort has aided in bringing the OSU Extension Clermont County blog site to nearly 1200 subscribers.

Through the Agriculture in the Community poster program, we were able to collaborate in educating the public on agriculture and their community. Reach out to other Extension program staff in your office today to collaborate in this one simple way.

Trevor Corboy is a Program Coordinator in Clermont County & Miami Valley EERA.

The US budget deficit, the national debt and the value of money

When someone decides whether to read something or not, including a blog post, they look at the title and determine whether it seems of interest. National income accounting (taxes, spending, the deficit, etc.) is not the most glamorous title in the world BUT maybe the part about money grabbed your attention. Conventional wisdom is that money is the root of all evil, but Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, “Money is not the root of all evil; the LACK OF MONEY is the root of all evil.” And besides, people perk up when the subject turns to money.

Humor aside for a moment, the topic of the deficit and the debt is extremely important. Remember back in 2011 and 2013 when the Congress of the United States seriously threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling? Remember the “fiscal cliff” of late 2012? These events caused shock waves to drive through the entire world and almost led to a catastrophe that would have severely damaged the world economy and cost hundreds of millions of people their jobs. And I am not talking about people in the financial sector. I am talking about people in all lines of work – people in communities throughout the United States. You want to talk about community development? Extension does a great job in this effort, but national recessions always rob communities of resources they need in order to thrive, despite the best efforts of elected officials, business people, or outreach educators. That is one of the reasons why I, as a faculty member in Extension Community Development, often teach and write about the national economy and government policies that can damage it or help it.

The difference between the budget deficit and the national debt

Each year the US government collects taxes from the public and spends money on everything from national defense to education. When the government spends more money than it takes in by way of taxes, it runs an annual deficit. If tax revenues exceed spending, we have a budget surplus. Budget deficits are the norm in the USA. Over the past 50 years, we only have had five years of surpluses, one under President Johnson and four from 1998-2001 under President Clinton. As deficits accumulate from one year to the next, the total amount the government owes is called the national debt. The government finances its debt by selling treasury bonds. We hear a lot of hype about who owns these bonds and what happens if they quit buying them. But the truth is that most treasury bonds are held in one form or another by the American public. Pension funds for example, put an enormous amount of the contributions they collect from workers into these bonds because they are such a safe investment. Commercial banks do the same.

Since the US almost always runs an annual deficit, it is obvious that the national debt increases over time. To many people, when they see these numbers, they become alarmed. The national debt first reached $1 trillion about the time Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. President Reagan created all kinds of useless descriptions about the magnitude of this debt – for example stating how high a stack of 1 trillion dollars would be if you piled them all up. This is not a very constructive way to describe any kind of economic phenomenon, but it does often succeed in scaring or angering voters.

The 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis

As I explained before, the US government acquires a debt by running annual deficits over time. Those deficits are the result of the policies in taxing and spending (called fiscal policies) passed by the Congress and signed by the President. But the Congress also passes laws that limit the amount of national debt the US can acquire. This limit is called the “debt ceiling.” A debt ceiling may seem strange to you, and it really does not make economic sense, but that is what they do. It does not make sense because the debt the US acquires is just a result of the fiscal policy the Congress itself has set. It would be like a family acquiring debt by financing a house, car, etc., based on a household budget it has developed, but then setting some arbitrary debt number that it cannot exceed. Over the years however, raising the ceiling had just been a formality. After all, the Congress had raised the ceiling an average of about 5 times each under President Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43. But that would all change under President Obama.

In 2010 the Congress set the debt ceiling at about $14.4 trillion. It soon became clear that the US would hit the ceiling by August 2, 2011. Once the ceiling would be reached, the US government would face the likelihood of default on its debt, and would have to take drastic measures, like refusing to pay bond holders, shutting down entire programs, refraining from paying government obligations like money to defense contractors, laying off government workers, etc. More importantly, it would almost certainly cause a US recession and a worldwide economic crisis like we had in 2008.

The Republican leadership of the Congress informed President Obama that they would only raise the debt ceiling under certain circumstances. Many insisted that the President agree to a dollar for dollar cut in government spending (one dollar cut for each dollar increase in the ceiling). Realizing the urgency of the situation, the President agreed to large budget cuts, but only those that would take place in the distant future. As a result, an agreement was reached and the ceiling was raised to $16.4 trillion, which would put off any further crisis until after the 2012 election. Essentially, the parties agreed to “kick the can down the road.”

Junk Economic Science Meets Junk Politics

One question you might be asking is why would the Republican leaders of Congress risk pushing the economy to the brink of a crisis like this? Well that is a great question. Some people really do become alarmed when they see very large numbers, say in the trillions, especially when they are tied to debt. Unfortunately, very few people and as we shall see, including economists, understand the role that national debt plays in an economy of a country that issues its own currency (see my previous blog “Could America Become like Greece?”).

It turns out that a year before the 2011 ceiling crisis, a pair of very well-known economists (Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff  – hereafter R&R) published an article in the American Economic Review that purported to show that countries with high debt levels experience low rates of economic growth.

Now, if this notion were true, it would provide quite a bit of rationale for “deficit hawks” and others who wish to maintain a debt ceiling or impose a balanced budget requirement on the US government. But some enterprising and skeptical economists soon got hold of the data that R&R used. Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin – (hereafter HAP) showed that R&R had omitted a great deal of the data and had coding errors in other parts. These are egregious mistakes, and when HAP corrected them, they showed that the conclusions R&R had made were completely false. R&R acknowledged some of the mistakes fairly quickly, but they denied others, and have since doubled down on the basic claim that high national debt is associated with low growth, even though scholars like HAP have shown that this is simply not the case. Unfortunately, the erroneous view provided by R&R continues to provide cover for politicians who want to maintain the national debt as an issue over which to fight.

The 2013 Debt Ceiling Crisis

At the end of 2012, just after the re-election of President Obama, the US was about to reach the new debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion it had set in 2011, along with a related threat called the “fiscal cliff.” The Congress and the President agreed on a set of continuing resolutions that kept the government funded until October 1, 2013. On this date, the government began a partial shutdown by laying off slightly more than three quarters of a million workers. The Treasury Department warned that even with the layoffs, the government would default by October 17th. On October 16th, the Congress passed a resolution that suspended the debt ceiling. All federal employees went back to work and received full payment for the time they had been laid off. The crisis was over. Seeing the public opinion numbers, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) vowed that the Congress would not force a ceiling crisis or a government shutdown again. A dreary and completely unnecessary saga in the history of American political economy had finally ended.

Aftermath and Outlook

And the national debt? Well it has risen from $16.7 trillion in October 2013 to $19.8 trillion in July 2017, and is currently rising at $602 billion per year. So, why don’t we hear much about it anymore? I mean, if the debt was a problem at $14 trillion in 2011, and worth a partial government shutdown at $16 trillion in 2013, surely it is a tremendous threat at nearly $20 trillion now – right? It stands to reason, doesn’t it? No, the truth is, it doesn’t, because the national debt was never a problem to begin with. And the alarmists who said it was, whether they were economists who were incompetent or worse, or whether they were politicians who had an axe to grind with a President they wanted to humiliate, dragged the country through years of uncertainty and alarm over nothing.

So you might be wondering – if the government can just run up debt to pay for what it wants, why have taxes? Just borrow the money, right? The answers to those questions lie in the final part of the title to this blog – the part about the value of money. Taxes are used in part to pay for government expenses – that is true. But taxes are what provide the foundation for the value of money. That’s right, the reason that those paper bills and coins you carry around, or those digits on your computer screen when you check your bank account balance or make an online purchase have value at all is because of taxes, as we will see in detail in my next blog.

References

Herndon, T., Ash, M., & Pollin, R. (2014). Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 38(2), 257-279.

Reinhart, C. & Rogoff, K. 2010. Growth in a time of debt, American Economic Review, 100 (2), 573-578.

Tom Blaine is an Associate Professor, OSU Extension.

What the HACCP?

The title says it all. Most people probably haven’t heard of the HACCP process before, and those that have are likely familiar with it in the food service industry. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and it was developed in the 1960’s as a way to prevent astronauts from being exposed to food borne illness. The process was since adopted by the FDA thanks to its effectiveness in preventing the spread of disease via processing and packaging of food.

So why is this Sea Grant fish guy talking about astronaut food?

In a dramatic turn of events, folks from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network adopted this process years ago and used it to prevent the spread of invasive species and diseases and ensure quality control in the Great Lakes seafood and bait fish industries. Other thoughtful Sea Grant and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees morphed the process even more to address the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in natural resource management activities. (If you’re not familiar with AIS, check out my previous CD blog on Alien Invaders.)

Invasive goldfish in a Lake Erie wetland- How many potential vectors of spreading AIS do you see in this picture?
(Some answers: boat, buckets, waders, net, coat)

As it turns out, this process is pretty successful in preventing the spread of AIS. So much so that there are a number of folks across the country that are certified to train natural resource managers on using the HACCP process in their work. That list includes my colleagues Jenny Roar and Eugene Braig, who along with myself will be hosting an AIS-HACCP workshop at Stone Laboratory August 28-29, 2017.

If your work finds you in the field, then you are a potential vector for spreading AIS, and you should strongly consider taking this workshop. If you know a natural resource professional, please forward along the information so they can help us protect our natural resources from the scourge of invasive species. Even if you’re not a professional in the field but enjoy outdoor recreation, remember to always take steps to prevent the spread of invasive species!

  • Learn to recognize AIS and report new sightings to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
  • Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!Clean, Drain, Dry! When using boats or other aquatic recreational equipment, before leaving the water access: inspect and remove foreign material, drain water from all containers (bilge, livewell, etc.), clean with high pressure and/or heated water, and allow to dry for at least five days before transporting between bodies of water. Learn more at stopaquatichitchhikers.org/.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait, worms and fish parts in the trash.
  • HabitatitudeGet Habitattitude! Never dump aquarium pets, plants, other organisms, or water, including bait, from one water body into another. Learn more at www.habitattitude.net/.

For more information on AIS-HACCP, or AIS in the Great Lakes, contact me at gabriel.78@osu.edu.

Credits:

Title stolen from the creative brain of Sarah Orlando.

Photos and captions from USF&WS AIS HACCP Manual

Tory Gabriel is an Extension Specialist, Program Manager for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

non-target species

Technology, Automation, Work & Extension

With rapidly changing advances in technology and automation, the nature of work is rapidly changing too. How will these changes impact jobs and the communities in which we live (and serve)?

As an example, Amazon’s recent move to purchase Whole Foods made headlines not only because the merger will impact how people shop for food, but also how people shop in general. With goals for Amazon-Whole Foodsincreased efficiency, convenience, and personalized experiences, such business models stand to significantly impact traditional workforce and community development models. Given such challenges, how might we go about changing the way we partner with individuals, organizations, businesses and communities to secure and strengthen community vitality?

Or consider this: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers (or 79.9 million workers) age 16 and older in the US were paid at hourly rates. How will this workforce be affected by new automated technologies, especially those paid an hourly minimum wage? How will an increased use of automated technologies drive pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, over 40 percent of STEM-related jobs go unfilled due to an unqualified applicant pool in the United States.

Extension professionals work “to create opportunities for people to explore how science-based knowledge can improve social, economic, and environmental conditions.” (OSU Extension, 2017). There is little doubt that the nature of work is changing and what the workforce of tomorrow wants in the way of work is changing too. We are facing some significant challenges… Who is ready to get to work?

Meghan Thoreau is a County Extension Educator (Pickaway County and Heart of Ohio EERA).

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017, April 1). BLS Report: characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2016. Retrieved from United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2016/home.htm

OSU Extension. (2017, July 07). Vision, Mission, Values. Retrieved from Ohio State University Extension: https://extension.osu.edu/about/vision-mission-values

Smithsonian Science Education Center. (2017, July 07). The STEM Imperative. Retrieved from Smithsonian Science Education Center: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Communities that Rock! NACDEP Conference coming to Cleveland!!!

To borrow an old baseball phrase, “you’re on deck” means you are the next person to bat against the pitcher. As yet another reminder of the pace at which time passes, it does not seem all that long ago that Ohio was “on deck” to host the 2018 NACDEP Conference.

Now that the 2017 NACDEP Conference is behind us, it is our turn to bat.

NACDEP 2018 LogoIn June, 2018 (June 10-13 to be exact), Ohio State University Extension will be hosting over 250 practitioners, academics, and Extension professionals in Cleveland, Ohio to engage, learn and share how we make a difference in the communities in which we live and work.

The OSU Extension planning team has been hard at work for the last six months preparing for the conference.

Mobile learning workshops and pre-conference workshops and tours are being planned that include a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the city where rock was born), the Great Lakes Science Center, and a visit to Stone Laboratory (on Gibraltar Island) to name a few.

For our foodies we are also exploring food-related options such as a visit to a vineyard in Cleveland, a tour of the historic West Side Market, and dinner in ‘Little Italy’ where you can dine, recline, and catch up with colleagues.

Like Beer? Like local microbreweries? If so, you will enjoy learning about the Great Lakes Brewing Company and its famous Christmas Ale.

Are you ready to roll?  How about a short drive to visit Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world?

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

 If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018 contact: David CivittoloAssociate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics (civittolo.1@osu.edu) and NACDEP 2018 Conference Co-Chair.

No yard? No problem! Compost your food waste anyway!

Food. It’s what’s for dinner (and, well, breakfast and lunch). Until, that is, it becomes food waste. Did you know that more than 50 million tons of food waste goes to landfills every year, or that roughly half is generated at the household level (ReFED)? We can help reduce food waste through better meal planning, proper storage of produce, and preservation methods through canning or freezing. However, no matter how well we implement any of these strategies we will always have corncobs, carrot peels and ends, and other such waste that ultimately ends up discarded.

backyard compostingWhat can we do? A compost pile is an option if you own your home and have a small space available in your yard. Backyard composting is common in United States, but is best suited for those who own a home with a yard. The renter and apartment dwellers without a yard face the greatest challenge. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 35% of residents (111 million people) in the United State rent the property they live in.

The only city to truly address this challenge is San Francisco with its curbside composting program; one part of the city’s zero waste initiative. There, food waste is picked up by the city the same way they do for recycling and trash, but to be composted. In Cuyahoga County, we do not have curbside composting or a class II composting facility. As such, food waste has become a very salient issue in Cuyahoga County with many apartment dwellers looking for a compost option.

To address this challenge, OSU Extension and two local partners have teamed up. The Cuyahoga County Extension Office is hosting a Food Waste, Recovery, & Education project this summer at the Tremont Farmers’ Market. Farmers’ markets are great community spaces and provide the perfect location for educating residents on the full life cycle of food. In partnership with Rust Belt Riders, a local composting business, and StoneSoupCLE, a non-profit focused on food recovery, we are providing residents the opportunity to stop by the farmers’ market every Tuesday from June 20th through August 15th to drop off their food scraps for composting by Rust Belt Riders. When residents drop off their food scraps at the market, the scraps are weighed so we can track the pounds of waste diverted from landfills and provide residents with real data describing their individual impact and reduction in their carbon footprint.

What will you do to reduce your food waste? To learn more about food waste and food recovery systems, contact Amanda Osborne (osborne.414@osu.edu), County Extension Educator, Cuyahoga County & Western Reserve EERA.

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.