UW-Extension celebrates 100 years of connections
E.L. Luther, the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s first agent, made his rounds to farms using a two-cylinder motorbike. He was hired in Oneida County in 1912.
Nellie Kedzie Jones teaching a University of Wisconsin-Extension foods class during the 1920s.
Photos Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Extension
ELKHORN -- Jack Krebs knows firsthand how 4-H can help change lives.
“I was introduced to 4-H at age 7 or 8, my mom took canning classes through the UW-Extension and both of my parents were involved in victory gardening in Winnebago County in the late 1970s and early ’80s,” the Omro native said. “I learned more about myself and about life skills. It did a lot for me and helped form who I am, so I always wanted to give back.”
Krebs is accomplishing just that as a 4-H youth development program adviser with the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Walworth County office, starting in 2010 after returning to his native state from Colorado.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
While 4-H was part of the organization’s foundation and remains one of its core programming areas, the extension offers much more.
Wisconsin residents benefit from more than 1.3 million educational contacts annually, including 500,000 related to agriculture and business, 497,000 to families and 356,000 to youth.
That collective, collaborative effort has been a tradition since E.L. Luther was hired as the first extension agent in Wisconsin in 1912, working in Oneida County. In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension Service and thus established relationships between counties, states and the United States Department of Agriculture, and just as importantly, made federal funds available.
That unique partnership and story will be highlighted throughout 2012 as extension celebrates its centennial the way it always has -- connecting communities with University of Wisconsin campuses and their research-based information through offices located in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and on three American Indian reservations.
Christine Regester has been the horticulture educator at the Walworth County office the past seven years.
Regester said the local extension is working on details for a centennial celebration this fall, but programming is nonstop throughout the year.
“The whole point of the extension and its mission is to reach people and meet their needs,” Regester said. “Sometimes we struggle with how we can help, but as residents’ needs change, we do our best to adjust. That’s a big reason why our programs have diversified so much over the years.”
Read the full story HERE.