December 1996 // Volume 34 // Number 6

Previous Issue Back Issues Next Issue Toggle Abstracts On or Off

Editor's Page

Editor's Page

Feature Articles

Barriers to Adopting Sustainable Agricultural Practices
Drost, Daniel Long, Gilbert Wilson, David Miller, Bruce Campbell, William
Land management practices used by and attitudes toward change to sustainable practices by Utah farmers and ranchers are described. A questionnaire was sent to 964 farmers. Despite the apparent use of sustainable practices by farmers, the majority stated that economic factors, availability of information, and Federal farm programs were primary constraints limiting adoption of sustainable practices. Without a greater effort by Cooperative Extension, sustainable agriculture practices may not be adopted by Utah farmers and ranchers. It is believed that extra effort is needed to focus on specific groups of farmers to help transfer information about sustainable farming practices.

Drawings as a Method of Program Evaluation and Communication with School-Age Children
Evans, William Reilly, Jackie
This paper presents a projective drawing activity developed to incorporate children's perceptions into program evaluation. The activity is being used as part of a five-year, multi-modal evaluation of a school-age child care program that includes qualitative and quantitative components. This school-age educational program targets low income at-risk children and their families to prevent early school drop-out and sexual activity, violent behavior, and drug and alcohol abuse. The curriculum focuses on promoting school involvement, and enhancing conflict resolution, self-responsibility and communication skills. Implications of the drawing activity for Extension specialists are discussed.

Research in Brief

The Influence of Experiential Instruction on Urban Elementary Students' Knowledge of the Food and Fiber System
Mabie, Rachel Baker, Matt
This research compared student knowledge of the food and fiber system of three groups of inner-city, minority, fifth, sixth, and fifth/sixth combination students in Los Angeles during a ten-week instructional unit in science. Two groups were taught by way of experiential learning (including short, in-class projects and gardening projects). A control group was taught in a traditional expository manner. Both experiential treatment groups were positively impacted when pre-test data were compared with post-test data on food and fiber competency. Extension professionals possess the expertise to assist teachers in introducing experiential activities into their science curriculum.

Leadership in Nonformal Youth Groups: Does Style Affect Youth Outcomes?
Astroth, Kirk A.
Adult styles of leadership significantly affect member outcomes in 4-H clubs. While a number of previous studies have failed to find significant life skills differences between 4-H participants and non-members, the reason lies in failing to consider the style of adult leadership in research design. A year-long study of five clubs from three randomly selected counties in Montana used adult leadership style as a discriminant variable. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to triangulate results and conclusions.

Predictors of Effectiveness of Collaborative Relationships of the USDA Youth At Risk Coalitions
Jackson, Daney G. Clark, Richard W.
This research studied the relationships that existed between situational factors and structural characteristics with the perceived effectiveness of the collaborative relationships that existed within the Youth-At-Risk Coalitions. The study found that the best predictors of effectiveness were Consensus among members, Formalization of Agreements, and Resource flows from the respondents to the coalition.

Implementing a Wellness Weekend Program
Maginnis, Berdine Boeckner, Linda S.
Using a weekend retreat format, a seven-year educational effort has successfully reached rural Extension audiences with topics that address national extension health and wellness priorities. Major objectives of the program are to encourage participants to adopt healthy lifestyle practices by reducing high risk behaviors and taking responsibilities for health decisions. Program evaluation data gathered from participants in the sixth year indicated that positive lifestyle behaviors have been adopted. Program planners have continued to adapt program format and direction to meet clientele needs and attract new audiences.

Ideas at Work

Diversion Excursion
Archer, Thomas M. Ewbank, Lourrae
Two juvenile diversion programs are described as conducted by county 4-H/Youth Development Agents in Kentucky and Ohio. The purpose is to share ideas and insights with others who might be considering conducting similar programs. Ten "Qualities Needed to Conduct a Juvenile Diversion Program" are shared, which include: [a] Get on their level; [b] Know when to refer; [c] Be organized; [d] Know the subject matter; [e] Model what you teach; [f] Listen; [g] Be Sensitive; [h] Be Adaptable; [i] Schedule sessions close together; and [j] Do not label. Also, four other problem area factors that youth agents should realize before the initiation of a juvenile diversion program are emphasized.

Teen Safety Docu-Drama
Brahm, Barbara A. Collins, Richard Villard, Judy
Teen Safety Docu-Dramas have been initiated in several Ohio counties in response to growing concern of youth traffic safety. Students from local high schools assemble in a central location to witness a dynamic and life-like "mock crash," complete with make-up and costumes, emergency response units, and life flight. Collaborative groups of Extension staff and other key community leaders work together with over 100 professionals and volunteers to plan, organize, and conduct the event for audiences of 1000 to 1700 students. Ohio State Patrol statistics in two counties show a decrease in fatalities and fewer alcohol-related accidents among 16-19 year olds.

Tools of the Trade

Guidelines for Change
Etling, Arlen
This book review of "Taking Charge of Change," by Douglas K. Smith describes principles useful to Extension workers who supervise volunteers or other professionals. The eight principles discussed include: focus on performance, emphasize teamwork, empower team members, personalize needs and actions, embrace improvisation, learn by doing, harmonize initiatives, and lead by living the desired changes.