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Your Extension office: valuable, accurate information

By Jim Smith
SUN Columnist

Do you sometimes feel like you’re on information overload? With hundreds of television channels to choose from, social media options such as Twitter and Facebook, and more and more websites popping up every day, it’s challenging to know which information to trust.

Colorado State University Extension can provide relief by offering reliable, research-based information to help you make informed decisions.

Wherever you live, Extension’s job is to determine what issues, concerns and needs are unique to each community, and offer sound and effective solutions. Whether you have a question about health, financial literacy, pasture or livestock management, weeds, pests or gardens, 4-H or youth development, renewable energy, elder or child-care issues, CSU Extension can connect you to the latest, most accurate data.

For nearly 100 years, Extension has helped people in Colorado find the answers they need-for a healthy home life and successful business. And now with our partners at eXtension.org, everyone with a computer has access to a nation-wide network of professionals who can help answer specific questions and solve distinctive problems.

There’s only one difference between Colorado State University Extension and the University itself: the entire state is our campus. Our system of county offices puts Extension resources within easy reach of Colorado’s 64 counties.

In 1914, Congress authorized land-grant Universities in every state to feed research-based information to Extension agents in each county. We’ve been in the education/information business ever since.

Faculty and staff with expertise in agriculture, horticulture, range, forestry, water, health promotion, financial literacy, business management, community development and 4-H youth-development-based in counties and on campus-are all part of Extension’s effort to bring the latest information to the people of Colorado.

Just a few of our programs:

• 4-H Youth Development.

Each year, nearly 100,000 Colorado youth benefit from Extension’s 4-H programs by participating in hands-on projects including: environmental science, rocketry, foods and nutrition, animal science, photography and more. As a result, they learn valuable life skills such as leadership, ethics, decision making, record keeping, responsibility and community service.

• Water Quality and Water Saving Education.

One example of how we help Colorado citizen’s understand and protect water resources in the state, Extension, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, developed guidelines to help Colorado crop producers employ Best Management Practices that protect the state’s water resources while allowing producers to remain economically competitive.

• Native Plant Masters.

After training and certification, volunteers educate the public about using and appreciating native Colorado plants; this fosters stewardship and sustainable use of plant resources.

• Nutrition Education.

Helping Colorado residents acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary to maintain healthy lifestyles; reduce the incidence and severity of selected lifestyle-related diseases; and improve safe food practices-from farm to table-to reduce food-borne illness.

• Clean and Renewable Energy.

Our network of Extension agents and specialists empowers Coloradans to make environmentally and financially sound energy decisions through hands-on workshops, online webinars, publications, field demonstrations, K-12 teacher trainings, and volunteer development.

Programs are just one way Extension delivers quality information. You can also access a huge database of downloadable resources from our on-campus Resource Center. Our publications are not textbooks, but easy-to-read booklets, information sheets, and brochures. The resources are specifically intended for everyday use and application, written by experts and based on the latest findings. To learn more, go to: www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs.html.

Answers are as close as the Archuleta County Extension office, located at the fairgrounds. When you are looking for straightforward, research-based, usable information, make your first stop CSU Extension. You won’t need to go any further.

Colorado Revised Statutes Title 23, Article 34 outlines the objectives of CSU Extension, “The objectives of the service’s programs shall continue to be the dissemination of information to the people of this state in order to assist them in applying the results of scientific research and technological developments, as well as lessons from practical experience to the solution of individual, family and community problems, drawing on relevant knowledge from various fields, including but not limited to agriculture, natural resources, home economics, nutrition, health, citizenship, and community and economic development.”

This act goes on to outline the authority to accomplish the purposes of the article. These include, under (e), “development of interstate and multicounty administrative or program arrangements, memoranda of understanding and agreements to achieve state extension objectives.”

Class schedule 

The CSU Extension Office in Archuleta County is offering Back to Basics Food Preservation. We are looking for all who are interested in attending beginner food preservation classes.

Jan. 28 — Jams and Jellies, 1 or 6 p.m.

Feb. 25 — Whole Fruit Canned/Frozen, 1 or 6 p.m.

March 25 — Pickling/Freezing/Drying, 1 or 6 p.m.

April 22 — Tomatoes and Salsa-Canned, Frozen/Drying of Fruits and Vegetables, 1 or 6 p.m.

May 6 —Vegetables/Pressure Canning, 1 or 6 p.m.

Each class will also cover basics of spoilage, food borne illnesses, high-altitude adjustments and canning basics.

Contact the Archuleta County CSU Extension Office at 264-5931 or coopext_archuleta@mail.colostate.edu to be added to the class list. Space is limited, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost will be $10 per class per person and each person will get to take home one jar filled with what was made during class.

According to the USDA “Nearly half of the vitamins may be lost within a few days unless the products are cooled or preserved. Within one to two weeks, even refrigerated produce loses half or more of its vitamins. If handled properly and canned promptly after harvest, preserved food can be more nutritious than fresh produce sold in local stores.”

Radon meeting

Colorado State University Extension will offer a free radon awareness class and free screening kits on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. Class will be held at the Archuleta County Extension Office.

Calendar

Jan. 18 — Archuleta County Christmas party, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 18 — 4-H Wolf Creek Wonders Club meeting, 2 p.m.

Jan. 21 — Extension office closed.

Jan. 22 — 4-H Food Preservation Project meeting, 4 p.m.

Jan. 22 — Archuleta County Democratic Central Committee meeting, 6 p.m.

Jan. 23 — Archuleta County Fair Board meeting, 6 p.m.

Jan. 25 — 4-H Cloverbuds Club meeting, 2 p.m.

Check out our webpage at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.

Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Colorado counties cooperating. CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.

This story was posted on January 17, 2013.