Urban Extension: A Professional Development Offering

Natural Resource and Conservation, and local government and producers, this timeless program continues to play an important education and community development function.

The Annual Farm Frenzy is host to over 2500 students, parents, community members. This event, located at the CES facility, provides youth and adults the opportunity to observe livestock, crops and farm equipment that are utilized on Boone County farms, as well as other local food system demonstrations. The Boone County 4-H Fair celebrated its 76th anniversary in 2019. The fair is managed by a non-profit Board of Directors with close historical ties to CES. Approximately forty thousand people visit the Fair every year. Extension has a large presence and high visibility during this important community event. Success by Six is a county-wide project emphasizing kindergarten readiness, and Boone is a top-ranked Kentucky county known for the same. Partnerships exist between Boone County’s public libraries, public schools, the county government, United Way, and Extension, all focused on preparing children for kindergarten.

How Boone County CES attracts, develops, retains, and structures competent talent:

Boone County CES has been a leader in pioneering new staffing positions and structures for Kentucky Extension. In Kentucky, most counties have a three-agent base staffing pattern, consisting of an Agriculture & Natural Resource Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent and a 4-H Youth Development Agent. Because of a growing and comprehensive staffing pattern and multiple facilities, Boone County CES became the first county in the state of Kentucky to embrace local county management. The “County Manager” supervises all agents and most support staff, manages facilities, serves as a contact with local officials and the Extension Board of Directors. In Boone County, there is a highly staffed horticulture education program. This consists of a Horticulture Agent and three program assistants who respond to the constant flow of questions from citizens on plant- and tree-related insect and disease questions. The staff also provide species recommendations, planting instructions and design advice where requested.

The horticulture program also utilizes social media and video to market Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and to educate others interested in learning how to grow their own food.

Another non-traditional CES position is that of Environmental Education Agent. This position was created to help address the growing interest in protecting our natural resources. Utilizing the CES Environmental and Nature Center (and in partnership with other community agencies) CES offers both overnight environmental camps (during the Fall for 5th grade students) and environmental day camps (during the spring for 4th grade students). Over 2000 youth attend one of these camps annually.

The Environmental Education Agent also works to provide wildlife, native plant, and related programming throughout the year to a variety of audiences.

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