Leading an organization, community group, or gathering of any size can be stressful and frustrating without the skills necessary to engage and manage a group.
To help make meetings more productive, Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a two-day training that teaches effective facilitation principles and practices.
The Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills training offers participants the opportunity to learn and demonstrate facilitation skills, observe facilitation challenges, and identify practices that will prepare them to develop and guide the facilitation process. Those who have completed the program report feeling more comfortable planning and leading meetings.
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The 2017 Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show will take place May 10, at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Abingdon, Virginia. The 73rd annual show will begin with the steer exhibition at 9 a.m.
The event is a partnership between Virginia Cooperative Extension and University of Tennessee-Tennessee State University Extension, and it includes 4-H and FFA members from both Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
Youth exhibitors will compete in steer, heifer, and showmanship classes; project record books; and an educational beef skill-a-thon, as well as for college scholarships. Participants have been caring for their project animals for several months in preparation for the show.
The Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show is a time-honored event that started in downtown Bristol in 1944. Goals of the event include teaching youths about the beef cattle industry, where their food comes from, and life skills. Participants learn responsibility, decision-making, communication, relationship building, and teamwork.
For more information, contact Walter Malone in the Sullivan County Extension Office at 423-279-2723. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
Course participants may attend an optional field trip. Retired forester Charlie Huppuch (left) explains concepts of active forest management to participants.
Virginia forest landowners looking to gain an understanding of how to keep their woods healthy and productive can do so in the comfort of their own home.
Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment are offering an online course to help private landowners become better stewards of their land.
The 12-week Online Woodland Options for Landowners course, which runs from May 15 to Aug. 4, teaches basic management principles and techniques for both novice and veteran private forest landowners. Materials provided include four reference books and access to an online a tree identification tutorial.
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Dr. Leonard Githinji, VSU’s Urban Agriculture Extension Specialist, is spearheading the new academic-based certification program to help urban farmers and educators successfully grow safe food in an urban environment, while increasing their marketability in this growing field.
Urban agriculture is hot. And for good reason. It can help alleviate urban food deserts, make our food as “local” and fresh as possible and decrease the “food miles” associated with long-distance transportation. From rooftop gardens and aquaponics centers in converted warehouses, to growing crops on abandoned properties, urban agriculture provides a wide range of community benefits, including closer neighborhood ties, reduced crime, education and job training opportunities, and healthy food access for low-income residents.
“That’s why,” say’s Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia State University’s Urban Agriculture Extension Specialist, “It’s no wonder we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of urban farms from Brooklyn to Boise and everywhere in between.”
But training hasn’t kept up with demand for these urban cowboys. As Githinji explains, a lot of non-profits, churches, businesses and municipalities are putting a great deal of resources into getting urban farms up and running. So much so that last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an Urban Agriculture Toolkit to provide informational resources to these group leaders, many of whom have never farmed before or know a nematode from a horned toad. (For the record, a nematode is parasitic worm that often causes damage to garden crops like tomatoes and peppers. A horned toad is actually a desert lizard.)
But there’s a lot to learn, he explains, from business planning, legal issues and market development to soil quality, pest management and plant health. And while an online tool kit is a great resource, we need more science-based, boots-on-the-ground training for these urban pioneers.
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Virginia Cooperative Extension will be holding a Christmas Tree Primer on March 31.
Attendees will get an overview of Christmas tree production techniques; identification and control methods for common Christmas tree pests and diseases; financing and market analysis; labor and liability issues; and grower experiences in Christmas tree production. Demonstrations and presentations will be given by industry professionals and Extension faculty.
The meeting will be held at the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center located at 33 Calhoun Street, Warrenton, Virginia, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $15 and includes lunch and materials. Participants may register by contacting the Virginia Cooperative Extension Culpeper Office at 540- 727-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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