Skip to main content


Reflections from Program Conference 2018

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader

Wow, I can’t believe that 2018 Program Conference has come and gone! As with most conferences, we anticipate a conference with excitement knowing we will see old colleagues and meet new ones, share about our work and learn from our colleagues. As we attend conference sessions and keynote presentations, our minds are often fully engaged with new ideas, new partnerships and sometimes even a plan for next steps. As we leave the final session, our minds may start to wander back into our day-to-day norm—how many unanswered emails do I have? Do I really have two MORE days of work ahead of me? Perhaps we start to mentally formulate a “to-do” list. Some of us can put those thoughts right out of our minds and reflect a bit longer on all that we experienced. For others, a sense of urgency sets in, and the conference becomes a distant memory as we are drawn back into our routines. Which of these are you?

I have learned that carving out time for reflection fo…
Recent posts

Project breakFAST Toolkit now in the national SNAP-Ed library

By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator

In 2012, several University of Minnesota Extension staff started working with the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health Project breakFAST research study. The purpose of the study was to increase breakfast participation in high schools by implementing a grab and go breakfast. Breakfast participation in intervention schools increased by 49% more than comparison schools, and breakfast and participation by student breakfast skippers at intervention schools increased by 81% more than students at comparison schools.

New Developmental Parenting Highway online course is now available

By Ellie McCann, Extension educator, Becky Hagen Jokela, Extension educator, Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator, Kate Welshons, online learning specialist, Mary Jo Katras, program leader

Join author and researcher Jean Illsley Clarke, parent educator Lisa Krause, and a multidisciplinary team of University of Minnesota Extension educators in an exploration of dealing with overindulgence or any parenting problem by using the Developmental Parenting Highway. In parenting, like driving a car, it is better to stay in the center of the road, off the shoulders and out of the ditch. This class will teach parents, or professionals working with parents, about the four positive aspects of middle-of-the-road “driving” on the developmental parenting highway. Participants will also learn strategies for preventing overindulgence as children grow and develop.

Learn more about what this course covers at

New American Development Agency 4-H club enjoys first snow of the season at Buffalo River State Park

By Noelle Harden, Extension educator

On October 6, eleven diverse youth from a newly formed 4-H club participated in hands-on learning at the Minnesota State University Moorhead Science Center at Buffalo River State Park. State naturalist Paula Comeau provided an overview of the wildlife and natural amenities of the prairie landscape and guided a riverside hike during which the group got to enjoy the very first snowflakes of the season. Despite the cold weather, the youth had a great time learning about this wonderful natural recreation area just a few miles from Moorhead.

This opportunity was part of an emerging partnership between the University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the New American Development Agency, a nonprofit organization working to bridge cultures and help new Americans overcome language barriers and become integrated in the Moorhead/ Fargo area economically and socially. This partnership is sponsored by a Well Connected C…

Congratulations to Dean’s Award winners!

Karen Shirer, Associate dean

Dean Bev Durgan honored two of our family development employees at last week’s annual program conference. It is inspiring to recognize the work, dedication and impact of our colleagues.

Congratulations to this year’s faculty awards winners.

Congratulations to Jenifer McGuire and Antonio Alba Meraz who received a Dean’s Distinguished Award at #umnextpc! — Family Development (@UMNExtFD) October 2, 2018
Distinguished Campus-Based Faculty: Jenifer McGuire, associate professor and Extension specialist, Family Social Science

Distinguished Field-Based Faculty: Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension educator, family resiliency

Please reach out and congratulate Jenifer and Antonio!

Celebrating Minnesota’s schools and farmers

By Stephanie Heim, associate program director in health and nutrition

October is National Farm to School Month! This is a time when University of Minnesota Extension and statewide partners recognize the importance of farm to school practices as a way to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and teach children about where food comes from.