Cooperative Extension Service
News and Events
August 21, 2012
Polk Co. 4-H gets $38K boost from American Electric Power Foundation
A $38,000 gift from the American Electric Power Foundation is the light at the end of the tunnel for the western Arkansas town of Mena, recovering from the 2009 tornado that killed three and reduced parts of the city to rubble.
The foundation presented the gift to the University of Arkansas Foundation to build a new Polk County 4-H Education Center. One of the spaces the 4-H program was using previously was damaged in the 2009 storm.
“We are pleased to present this grant of $38,000 to support youth and adult education and enrichment in Polk County,” said Brian Bond, vice president of external affairs for the Southwestern Electric Power Co., or SWEPCO.
On hand to accept the gift were Tony Windham, associate vice president-agriculture-extension of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Carla Vaught, Polk County extension staff chair for the division of agriculture and members of Polk County 4-H clubs.
Work on the Polk County 4-H Education Center began two years ago when the New York Says Thank You foundation and its volunteers spent a week in Mena helping with construction. They were able to get the building up, but progress since then has been slow and is dependent entirely on the individuals and companies that donate money, time and supplies.
“This $38,000 gift is the much-needed boost, the capstone gift, to complete this project,” Windham said. “Having a facility with wi-fi technology will provide a beneficial community resource for Extension’s educational programs and those of other organizations.”
Vaught said that extension “uses various facilities all over the county to conduct our classroom and workshop efforts. When this is completed, we will have everything we need to educate up to 100 people at a time in our extension program areas.”
This project will be the final mile of a long journey.
“This is literally the last building project associated with Mena’s rebuilding efforts,” Vaught said. “Finally, the citizens of Mena will be able to close the books on that devastating time and move on.”
The American Electric Power Foundation, based in Columbus, Ohio, is funded by American Electric Power, parent of SWEPCO. SWEPCO, based in Shreveport, La., serves some 114,000 customers in western Arkansas. The foundation has a special emphasis on improving lives through education from early childhood.
June 13, 2011
Rushing Honored as 2011 Recipient of the Lynn Russell Endowed Award
Jaret Rushing, county agent–agriculture in Calhoun County, was named the 2011 recipient of the Lynn R. Russell Endowed Award for Professional Excellence during the State Faculty Conference held on June 13. Rushing is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in wildlife management, with an emphasis on feral hogs.
Rushing intends to utilize his award to support his research. He intends to provide for Arkansas's landowners educational materials that outline proper management techniques to address feral hog infestation.
This endowed award is designed to recognize employees whose professionalism and commitment to excellence mirror the values upheld by the late Dr. Lynn Russell, retired assistant director of family and consumer sciences. In her letter of support, Assistant Professor Alexandra Locher, Arkansas Forest Resources Center, acknowledged Rushing's dedication and commitment to Extension. Staff Chair Linda Calhoun, Calhoun County Cooperative Extension Service, advised that Rushing's research has resulted in his appearance on various radio and television programs to share "his expert opinion about wildlife management with the people of Arkansas."
Congratulations to Jaret Rushing for his recognition as a recipient of the prestigious Lynn R. Russell Endowed Award for Professional Excellence!
March 17, 2011
Retirees Name Duggins as 2011 Scholarship Recipient
At their annual luncheon held during the Galaxy Conference at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Extension's retirees presented Brenda Duggins, administrative support supervisor, department of agricultural economics and agribusiness, with the 2011 Cooperative Extension Service Retiree Scholarship. A seven-year employee of Extension, Duggins is recognized for her professionalism, business skill set and diligence.
Duggins is pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In her application, she commented that she wants to set an example for her son. Pursuing a degree while working full time is not easy, ". . . .but it is certainly worth it in the end."
In his letter of support for Duggins' application, Robert Coats, professor – economics, commended Duggins for the efficiency and technical expertise she brings to the department. "Brenda is great with our Extension clientele, always courteous and assisting with their needs. Brenda simply demonstrates a commitment to serving the Division of Agriculture's clientele." Another colleague, Nikki Davidson, accountability manager/instructor, added that Duggins is respected among her peers, ". . . .[her] mentoring ability is truly a gift."
Extension's retirees have established a new fundraising goal to raise the endowment to $25,000 over the next two years. Once the goal is reached, they will be able to award either one larger scholarship or two scholarships.
By investing in professional development opportunities for current Extension employees, retirees are strengthening the human capital of Extension to deliver quality educational programs to enhance the quality of lives for Arkansans.
April 15, 2010
Miller County Agent Carla Haley Earns Scholarship from Retirees
Carla Haley, a Miller County extension agent, was awarded the 2010 Cooperative Extension Service Retiree Scholarship at the annual retiree luncheon on April 15. Haley, of Texarkana, has worked for Miller County extension for 19 years. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Human and Environmental Sciences from the University of Arkansas.
In her application, Haley remarked that her work gives her the opportunity to fulfill her life's passion for helping people. "My profession allows me to make changes in the lives of individuals and families in the community by providing research based information regarding healthier lifestyles, diabetes education, safe food handling, financial management, parenting, aging issues, and many other family-oriented topics."
This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded. The scholarship fund was established to aid professional development efforts for extension personnel.
"We're in the education business, and since advanced education is for the benefit of both the employee and the organization, we thought it would be a good way to spend our resources," said Mike Wright, an editorial board member of the "Extension Cord," the monthly newsletter for extension retirees.
Wright said the idea goes back to when there was no financial assistance for extension employees doing graduate work.
To donate or for more information about the scholarship, contact Merritt Royal, director of development-extension for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, at 479-575-2322 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 3, 2010
Mildred Childs CES Professional Development Fund Endowed by daughter Liz
Mildred Childs was determined in the career advice and guidance that she gave to her daughter, Elizabeth "Liz" Childs: professional development is the key to a rewarding and honorable profession with the Cooperative Extension Service. Liz fondly reminisces of the many trips for professional development opportunities that the two, mother and daughter, took together year after year. "I am forever appreciative of the encouragement Mom provided to always improve my skills and knowledge. Mom not only believed it, but she also modeled the value she placed on advancing her career and service to the people of Arkansas through her involvement with many professional organizations."
To honor the memory of her mother, Liz Childs endowed the Mildred & Liz Childs CES Professional Development Fund in the University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. Awards from this endowment support professional development opportunities for county agents and faculty of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.
Mildred Childs was proud of educational roles she in bringing health matters to the forefront during her 27-year tenure with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, such as creating a youth dental program in Drew County and implementing nutritional awareness programs. She served the people of Arkansas as a home economist with the Cooperative Extension Service in Hot Spring, Saline, Lincoln, Bradley and Drew Counties.
Liz Childs is following her mother's longtime career with a 25-year tenure to date with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "This award honors my mother's commitment to education and her dedication to support other Extension professionals. We learn from each other. By sharing, learning and working together, we have unlimited potential to help Arkansans enrich their lives. I am proud to be a part of the Extension team."
June 8, 2009
First Recipient of the Lynn R. Russell Endowed Award for
Professional Excellence Named
The endowment was first established in the Agricultural
Development Council of the University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc.,
in June 2007. Named in memory of the retired assistant director of
family and consumer sciences, the Lynn R. Russell Endowed Award for
Professional Excellence honors Russell's commitment to higher
education and professionalism.
Retirees Award First Scholarship
At this year's annual retiree luncheon held at the 4-H Center, retirees awarded their first endowed scholarship to Vicki Shadell, a 4-H program assistant in Perry County. Retirees established their endowed scholarship fund to support current employees seeking to improve their knowledge through higher education or conferences.
The retiree editorial board selected Shadell because her passion is working with youth. She has told her own children and her 4-H children, "my kids too," that education is important. Knowing how important it is to be a role model, Shadell returned to pursue her associate's degree in January 2007 at the UofA Community College at Morrilton.
Once she completes her associate's degree, she plans to enter the University of Central Arkansas, where she hopes to earn a degree in family consumer sciences and then desires to become a county agent.
University of Arkansas • Division of Agriculture