August 2003 // Volume 41 // Number 4

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
"JOE Is Here to Stay" discusses our policy on permanence and archiving, and explains where you can find our policy statement. (Authors preparing P&T materials take note!) "Read Any Good Books Lately?" discusses JOE policy on book reviews. And "August 2003 JOE" discusses just what the heading suggests.


Program Evaluation: Use It to Demonstrate Value to Potential Clients
Stup, Richard
Program evaluation is a powerful tool for demonstrating the value of Extension education to stakeholders. When presenting the results of evaluation, it is important to know exactly who the stakeholder is. As programs increasingly depend on client registration fees, it becomes essential to demonstrate to clients that they will receive return on their investment. This article points out an opportunity for Extension to improve programs and marketing by focusing evaluation to meet the decision needs of business organizations. Core evaluation articles and reports of successful Extension examples are reviewed.

Feature Articles

The Somewhat Flawed Theoretical Foundation of the Extension Service
Stephenson, Garry
Innovation diffusion theory is the foundation of Extension agriculture outreach methods. The theory predicts that an innovation will initially be adopted by a small group of innovative farmers and later diffused to other farmers. Over the past 30 years, the theory has been criticized for favoring large wealthy farmers and increasing the inequities in rural areas. By utilizing innovation diffusion theory, have we caused harm to the population we serve? Because this theory has such an influence on our approach to outreach, why haven't we kept up with developments in the evolution of this theory? What can we change to make our application of this theory consistent with current knowledge?

The New Adult Education: Bringing Peer Educators Up to Speed
Grudens-Schuck, Nancy; Cramer, Julianne; Exner, Derrick; Shour, Mark
Stereotypes about peer educators (farmers teaching farmers, parent teaching parents) may get in Extension's way. Problems occur particularly when it is believed that peer educators' "natural" abilities are what make them great. This article provides an alternative view of peer educators, with a focus on ways to increase the educational skills of this important Extension partner. The article summarizes a new approach to adult education (constructivist and transformative) that was introduced to peer educators in Iowa (farmer cooperators and pesticide applicator educators) through workshops and support materials. The article also discusses challenges associated with adoption of new forms of adult education.

An Assessment of Residents' Willingness to Pay for Green Space and Farmland Preservation Conservation Easements Using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM)
Blaine, Thomas W.; Lichtkoppler, Frank R.; Stanbro, Reed
In recent years, federal and state government agencies have required larger proportions of funding for environmental programs to be generated locally. Local officials want assessments of local public opinion in order to make funding decisions. Extension educators should take the opportunity to fill this important need. This article presents results of an Extension study of residents' attitudes toward programs to preserve natural areas and agricultural lands. The findings, obtained using the contingent valuation method (CVM), reveal that basic attitudes toward conservation, area of residence, and income are important predictors of residents' willingness to pay (WTP) for conservation easement programs.

Watershed Stewardship Education Program--A Multidisciplinary Extension Education Program for Oregon's Watershed Councils
Conway, Flaxen D. L.; Godwin, Derek; Cloughesy, Mike; Nierenberg, Tara
The Watershed Stewardship Education Program (WSEP) is an innovative, multi-disciplinary program in the Oregon State University Extension Service. Through educational materials and programs, WSEP helps watershed councils, landowners, and others work effectively together to understand multiple components of their watersheds and apply this knowledge to assessments, project development, and water quality and habitat monitoring. This article documents the need for and the development of this innovative educational program and discusses implications for Extension, including the necessity of multi-disciplinary programming and working with non-traditional audiences.

Intergenerational Programming in Extension: Needs Assessment as Planning Tool
Kaplan, Matthew; Liu, Shih-Tsen; Radhakrishna, Rama B.
This article presents the findings of a needs assessment study conducted to plan and develop a statewide intergenerational program. Twenty-eight Extension personnel, primarily Extension educators in the Family and Consumer Science and 4-H/Youth Development program areas, noted their preferences regarding program content and delivery format. Results were subsequently used in making several key decisions about curricular directions and program delivery strategies. To further explore ways in which intergenerational programming strategies can be developed to enhance Extension programming, it is proposed that additional research be conducted with a broader base of Extension personnel.

Barriers to Participation in Extension Expanded Foods and Nutrition Programs
Richardson, John G.; Williams, Jo Ann Y.; Mustian, R. David
Barriers to participation in Extension programs often influence the means of program delivery and approaches to developing educational programs. A study of Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) clientele in one of North Carolina's poorer rural counties accentuates the difficulties faced by these limited resource clientele in their participation in the EFNEP program, as well as challenges to Extension to recognize and overcome such barriers. The research found that essentially all of this limited resource audience expressed some level of barriers. These included logistical, social, situational, and emotional barriers.

Role of an Extension Soil Testing Program in the Development of Best Management Practices: A Florida Case Study
Mylavarapu, Rao S.
Extension faculty in many states, particularly those involved with soil-testing programs, are faced with the complex task of developing Best Management Practices (BMPs) that potentially minimize environmental impacts from inorganic and organic fertilizers. Experiences gained by Extension faculty at the University of Florida in developing nutrient BMPs based on soil-test recommendations are presented with specific applications to the middle Suwannee River Basin of Florida. The article illustrates practical dilemmas faced and lessons learned as grower-friendly BMP versions or Interim Measures have evolved. Scope and limitations of educational information should be documented as an aid to subsequent regulatory requirements.

Research in Brief

The Changing Landscape of Central Pennsylvania: Agricultural Industry at a Crossroads
Ferry, Natalie M.; Brock, William C.
Central Pennsylvania's agriculture community is facing increasing pressures from encroaching urban development and shrinking agricultural support infrastructure. As medium-sized agriculture seeks to expand and intensify production, pressure from local residents and townships have increased to keep farming operations small. A qualitative study identified the perceived barriers and challenges that agriculture faces in remaining profitable. The farmers appeared to be expecting a less favorable future, while large agricultural businesses viewed their future positively. The shortage of agricultural labor was the one theme that all sectors of the industry viewed as being a barrier to their future business success.

Distance Education of Pennsylvania Pond Owners
Schmidt, Katherine L.; Swistock, Bryan R.; Sharpe, William E.
Pennsylvania pond owners represent a large audience with a great need for educational programming and assistance. Penn State Extension attempted to reach this audience via a pond management program delivered by satellite. Evaluations by both program attendees and Extension professionals demonstrated that the program was successful. However, attendee respondents indicated that they wanted more in-depth information over a shorter time frame. A relatively small proportion (10%) of attendees did not favor satellite delivery. This level of dissatisfaction is quite low and may be improved by focusing on shorter, more focused satellite programs and by providing videotapes of satellite programs.

Information Sources and Extension Delivery Methods Used by Private Longleaf Pine Landowners
Radhakrishna, Rama B.; Nelson, Larry
Reaching forest landowners with useful information has become a challenging task for Extension educators. This task is even more complex when landowners have differing perceptions about the delivery method and usefulness of the information delivered. A study was conducted to determine the preferred educational delivery methods of forest landowners in South Carolina. We found that landowners do have preferences for educational delivery methods and believe educators should consider the preferred methods to maximize program efforts. Further, findings reinforce the need to modify delivery systems to fit the demographic profile of the intended audience and the changes occurring in technology.

Improving Urban Tree Care in the Great Plains: Impacts of the Nebraska Tree Care Workshops
Skelton, Peter; Josiah, Scott J.
Urban and community forests possess many benefits that enhance our quality of life. The Nebraska Tree Care Workshop is a tree care training program designed to enhance tree management in urban settings. This article describes the impacts that the workshop has had on Nebraska's community tree resources. Data was collected using a survey of past participants. The study found that creating a large cadre of people, well trained in tree selection and care, has had a positive impact on community tree resources across the state.

Why They Come, Why They Go, and Why They Stay: Factors Affecting Volunteerism in 4-H Programs
White, David J.; Arnold, Mary E.
The 4-H program depends on the work of thousands of adult volunteers. It seems prudent to understand more about the factors involved in an adult becoming a leader, factors contributing to the leader having a positive experience, and, in particular, the factors causing the leader to end his or her role. In order to better understand the experience of 4-H leaders and the factors contributing to their success, an exit survey was conducted with individuals who had terminated their leadership role. Key reasons for volunteering and leaving are identified.

Volunteerism, Community Service, and Service-Learning by Ohio 4-Hers in Grades 4-12
Safrit, R. Dale; Auck, Allen W.
This study reported here investigated volunteer service by Ohio 4-H'ers ages 10 to 19. The study's population was randomly sampled by each age category: 66,345 4-H community club members ages 10-14 and 18,233 ages 15-19. Study findings suggest that nearly 100% of 4-H'ers in both age categories are involved in community service. Respondents spent an equal amount of time volunteering through school, out of school, on their own, or through 4-H youth development experiences. The researchers conclude that 4-H youth development has an impact on 4-H'ers performing service but that it is not the only way members are helping others.

Extension Educators' Perceptions of Risk Management Training Needs
Martin, Steven W.; Vergara, Oscar; Patrick, George F.; Coble, Keith H.; Knight, Thomas O.; Baquet, Alan E.
This article reports selected summary statistics from a survey of county/area Extension educators from Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas. Major subject categories reported include: characteristics of Extension training, Extension educators' risk knowledge and evaluation of producers' risk management knowledge, Extension educators' interest in risk management education, and evaluation of producers' interest in risk management education. Findings suggest that Extension educators consider themselves deficient in terms of preparation in agricultural risk management. Ultimately, if Extension educators receive better training in risk management techniques, they will be able to better serve their clientele.

Ideas at Work

GIS and GPS Emergency Response Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
Brown, Stephen C.; Crum, Shannon; Foote, V. Stuart
In the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, several key lessons were learned about large-scale, multi-agency disaster response as it pertains to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS). This article discusses those lessons and reveals Extension education opportunities that can greatly streamline local interagency and intragency emergency response/homeland security efforts.

Hooks and Anchors in Youth Development Program Delivery
Wolfe, Kathy; Carroll, Jan B.
Hooks and anchors remind Cooperative Extension educators to engage participants so they will attend programming and learn. The hook brings them in and sets the stage for learning. The anchor is the weight or content of the presentation. Examples refer to Cooperative Extension professionals, volunteers, and youth. Experiential learning is a hook, and life skills are anchors for youth.

Motivating Change in Horse Owners: The Horse Farm of Environmental Distinction Awards Program
Nadeau, Jenifer; Meader, Joyce
The Horse Farm of Environmental Distinction Awards Program may serve as a model for other states and is an effective and innovative way to improve environmental stewardship abilities of horse owners. Changes in environmental management result when horse owners are educated about best management practices and offered rewards for their efforts. Winners may be more motivated to continually improve their practices. Sending additional educational material, providing on-farm visits, and offering educational workshops may also strengthen the program and help horse owners become better stewards of their natural resources.

Tools of the Trade

Participatory Workshops: A Book Review
Lev, Larry
Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas & Activities, by Robert Chambers, is a superb sourcebook for ideas and activities that can be used to enliven workshops and meetings. The book is organized like a cookbook and can be used in a similar fashion because it is easy to find specific activities, techniques, or ideas through both the table of contents and the index. Chambers presents 441 suggestions (21 lists of 21 items each) that range from the odd to the outrageous to the ingenious. It is reference book that will be used.

Celebrating Diversity 365 Days a Year: An Educational Calendar for Planning Programs
Guion, Lisa; Chattaraj, Samantha; Lytle, Stephanie Sullivan
This article describes the Celebrating Diversity calendar and its uses in planning community-based Extension programs. The Celebrating Diversity calendar covers an 18-month period from July 2003 through December 2004. It serves as a source of information on ethnic celebrations, holidays, and other significant events. Knowledge of those ethnic observances aid Extension professionals in planning their educational programs in several key ways. This article provides a description of the utility of the calendar as an Extension program-planning tool. Information on how to obtain the calendar is provided as well.

Building Community: A Tool Kit for Youth and Adults in Charting Assets and Creating Change
Garthwaite, Lucinda J.; Tucker, Beth K.
Extension workers around the country are discovering a new way to help communities become more of what they want to be, and link them to extension resources, through the use of Building Community: A Tool Kit for Youth and Adults In Charting Assets and Creating Change. Developed by the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development with Extension partners, the tool kit focuses on the gifts that a community brings to their desire for change--gifts of the past, place, people, and relationships--and has proven itself to be a powerful tool for sustainable community development.

Using a Retrospective Pre-Post Questionnaire to Determine Program Impact
Davis, Gregory A.
This article describes how Extension program impact was documented using a retrospective pretest. The method, employed with 35 economic development professionals involved in a traditional Extension educational program, illustrated change in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior. Characteristics of this type of program evaluation are discussed in relation to its implementation.

Single Commodity Stakeholder Groups as Valuable Advisors to Comprehensive Extension Programs for Crop Production in New Jersey
Infante-Casella, Michelle L.; Kline, Wesley L.
Single commodity stakeholder advisory committees are valuable tools in planning, implementing, and delivering Extension education and research programs in New Jersey. Crop production is a vast topic area for Extension specialist and agricultural agents to work in to meet the needs of farmers. Direct farmer input assists in focusing Extension research and education to meet key needs for specific crops. Additionally, stakeholder involvement has increased resources for Extension programs. Participants of these advisory groups find the processes to be an excellent tool for communication and cooperation among farmers and Extension personnel.

Web-Based Surveys
Archer, Thomas M.
Dillman states that one of the three most significant advances in survey technology in the twentieth century is the electronic survey. The other two are the telephone and random sampling. With such impact potential, Extension professionals should learn more about Web-based surveys. This article shares major advantages and disadvantages of Web-based surveys. It lists design guidelines, as well as tips for conducting Web-based surveys. A comparison of expenses of a traditional mail-based survey versus Web-based survey is made in today's dollars. Finally, this article shares examples of the administration of three Web-based surveys.