Category: 4-H disaster education


Posted on April 8th, 2020

Extension educators have proudly been a pillar in their communities, whether that’s from attending city meetings to making guest appearances in classrooms. But in a time when communities are not gathering and Extension’s usual avenues for connecting are put on hold, how do you remain a local face in your community? Beth Chatterton, a 4-H program coordinator in McDonough County, Illinois has found one solution.

When the Coronavirus restrictions started happening, Beth knew she wanted to help: “I was trying to figure out what I could do to still be connected to my 4-H family. One of the things I was thinking about is during this time I’m in schools, I’m in public libraries doing storytime with my kiddos and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I’m an 80s-90s kid; I had Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers and thinking back, storytime was always just very comforting for me and something I really enjoyed. So I thought maybe we’ll just go on that.”

Beth’s top priority is keeping her connection to the community and supporting families navigating this difficult time. This goal, combined with her knowledge and experience led her to her solution: “I could do Facebook lives and read stories.”

Facebook live stories allow Beth to contribute from the safety of her home. She started doing Facebook live storytimes in mid-March. Though her process has adapted and changed, Beth is now doing storytime Monday-Friday at 12:15 CT. At the end of each story, Beth connects it back to 4-H with an activity because “one of the nice things about 4-H is there’s like a hundred projects. So if you’ve got a hobby, we’ve got a 4-H project to go along with it.”

Since starting storytime, Beth has been blown away by the response she has received. She has 15 families that tune in regularly and her videos get about 150 views on average. Families reach out to her with suggestions and requests, from both parents and kids.

“It’s something I think people can connect with. It’s just kind of an easy thing to just grab a story and try and figure out an activity to go along with it. As we do social distancing, it’s very easy to feel like you’re stuck and in a bubble and not really connecting with people. I’m hoping that them [families] seeing my face and having questions asked to them, they feel like there’s that connection still, that we’re still here.”

Beth is just one example of how Extension educators across the nation are adapting during this time. Many other educators are doing similar programs, but for those who are still exploring new options, Beth has some advice:

“Don’t get in the way of yourself. Sometimes when I talk to people about doing a Facebook live, it can be very intimidating because anything can happen and you can make a mistake and it’s there because it’s live. But I think that that’s one of the reassuring things—one of the genuine things. That when I hop on, I do make mistakes. I stumble over words when I read a book, one book I missed a whole page. But we’re all human and we all make mistakes and it’s just one of those genuine things. So just give it a go.”

See Beth’s Videos

If you or another Extension educator have adapted programming for COVID-19, responded to COVID-19, or just want to brag about your amazing innovations, be sure to fill out the form below to let the rest of the nation know just how awesome you are. Be sure to check out the COVID-19 page to see what other Extension systems are doing and find helpful resources from our partners.

Submit a response 
more COVID-19 resources


 Pat Skinner, EDEN web manager, is blog post author.

CLIMB HIGH (2)

The networking support team at LSU is pleased to have Debbie Hurlbert putting her energy into these two important growth areas, working primarily with the Information Clearinghouse Committee and the youth-focused members of EDEN’s Family and Consumer Science/4-H Youth PAWG. If you’ve been to either of the last two EDEN Annual Meetings you’ll remember Debbie as the person behind the 4-H youth
themselves presenting their mitigation program in Alabama (a first youth presence at an EDEN Annual meeting), and helping to convene a small youth programs group in Las Cruces, to see if the recent surge in youth programs is sustainable, and warrants a separate PAWG. As a result of that meeting EDEN now has a Youth and Disasters Pinterest board. The board can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/edenpins/youth-and-disasters/.

What YOU can do to help EDEN work better for you

Here are two things you can do!

The first thing you can do.

If you have youth-audience programs and educational/exercise/training materials, make sure Debbie knows about them. She has already scoured the past annual meeting agendas and found quite a bit, but we know there’s more going on than we hear about at these meetings. She reached out to Lynette Black, Ryan Akers and Susan Kerr, who have submitted a proposal for PILD. She’s even started posting in EDEN’s Youth and Disasters Pinterest channel. You can make simple entries here, and Debbie will get back to you for the details!

And now for the second.

If you have educational resources (all audiences) you’d like to recommend to other delegates, help Debbie get them into the Resource Catalog.  Start by seeing if they’re already IN the catalog.  From the Resource Catalog home page,  http://public.eden.lsuagcenter.com/ResourceCatalog , search for your state name. Find your Institution on the left “Filter List.”  For example, the search for Louisiana returns 29 items, of which 28 are for the LSU Institution and one is for Louisiana Sea Grant. Click on your institution name for a list of your institution’s resources.  Send Debbie your catalog suggestions here.

Screenshot 2016-01-12 10.32.45

 

 

What Kinds of Resources is EDEN Looking For?

Access to shared state resources was very high on the list of benefits of EDEN in the recent delegate survey, and the catalog is a primary means of doing that. As you have time, explore the tags, and see how the filters use tags to refine search results. The more you know, the more we’ll grow!

If you’re wondering what resources can be cataloged, here are the resource types:

  • Audio Production
  • Book-Handbook – Manual
  • Course – Curriculum
  • Demo – Showcase Facility
  • Disaster Plan
  • Disaster Report
  • Display – Exhibit – Poster
  • Fact Sheet – Small Brochure
  • Image Collection
  • Memorandum – Agreement
  • News Release
  • Newsletter-Bulletin
  • Presentation Materials
  • Program – Initiative
  • Promotional Items
  • PSA
  • Published Paper – Article
  • Resource – Data Collection
  • Tool – Application (Interactive)
  • Training – Exercise Materials
  • Video Footage
  • Video Production
  • Webinar
  • Website – Blog
  • White Paper
  • Worksheets – Guidebook

The Climate Prediction Center recently issued its 90-day outlook for temperature and precipitation for the U.S. It also updated the drought monitor tool.

off01_tempIn general the outlook calls for the next three months to feature above normal temperatures in the western third of the country and in the far southeastern states. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest will also be warmer than usual. Below normal temperatures are confined to much of Texas and areas of adjoining states. Most of the country will see an equal chance for above or below normal temperatures.

 

off01_prcpMuch of the nation may experience above normal precipitation from the southeast through the gulf states to the western plains and Rockies along with a good portion of Alaska. The above normal rainfall may bring drought relief to Texas and the four corners area. The Great Lakes states will see below normal precipitation and the potential of a developing drought. Lake levels and fire danger may be impacted.

 

drought 90The drought monitor shows little change in the near term for the hardest hit areas of the west, parts of Texas, and parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Over the 90 day period of the outlook, the drought may ease in Texas and areas northwest of there. However, drought conditions may expand in the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, little or no relief is seen for California.  Just this week water use restrictions of from 8% to 36% were enacted for some municipalities.

Late breaking news.  Tornadoes in Germany!

There was a fairly broad outbreak of severe weather including tornadoes in Germany on Tuesday, May 5.  Here’s coverage from the British newspaper, The Guardian.


Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Pat Skinner. 

Pat Skinner photo

1. How did you first get involved with EDEN?

In fall of 1997 the LSU AgCenter disaster mitigation and housing programs convened a conference in New Orleans called “Breaking the Housing Disaster Cycle.” Joe Wysocki, then program leader for CSREES housing education, mentioned that he was working with a North Central Region (NCR) committee called EDEN. EDEN’s three-year NCR committee life was coming to an end and the members wanted to explore taking the concept national. They joined our conference and – at the end – asked if Louisiana would take the leadership and begin expanding the membership. I became the first national chair and webmaster in January 1998.

2. Can you tell us a little about your role in disaster preparedness in your state?
My role in disaster management is primarily about risk appreciation and mitigation. I came to Extension in the early 1990’s for the specific purpose of conducting an education program associated with a river commission project to raise five structures “slab-n-all.” That program was funded by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for Hurricane Andrew. I had no Extension experience, but lots of experience with floods and the federal flood programs, primarily the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

In the late 1990s I led another project in which we developed and coached flood mitigation task forces in fifteen SE Louisiana parishes. The task-force project introduced our Extension agents to parish floodplain administrators (FPAs), and introduced both our agents and FPAs to their emergency managers and occasionally to local voluntary organizations active in disasters. The 1997 conference that brought EDEN to New Orleans was part of this task-force project.

My primary program since the 2005 hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) has been creation of an Internet-based Enterprise GIS system that provides flood- and wind-hazard information for any point in Louisiana; the point is specified by a user placing a pin in a map manually or by address lookup, using road and aerial base maps for reference. At www.LSUAgCenter.com/Floodmaps we host, read and interpret the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) of the NFIP for the entire state. We read the Basic Wind Speed (BWS) at a location from another Internet service we built for this application. We give the user ground elevation (consumed from the US Geological Survey), which the user can compare to Base Flood Elevation (BFE) on the FIRM to get an idea of how deep the 100-year flood would be at their point of interest. We even draw them a picture using our BFE Scenarios application. The BWS and BFE information is essential to people making building and restoration decisions because the statewide building code adopted in 2006 requires buildings to be designed and built to resist damage from these hazards.

Currently I have the privilege of managing a comprehensive disaster mitigation program that for the first time engages 4-H youth.

3. What was a highlight from your term as EDEN chair?
The highlight of working in Extension is always getting to work with really good, selfless people on a mission. That would be true for the early EDEN days, and still today. As I see how subsequent chairs have managed and led and hosted meetings I am horrified at what I didn’t know back then. But these are forgiving folk.

Louisiana took the leadership because EDEN asked us to. I took the lead role because my boss said I should. He believed in me, even though – or perhaps because – I knew nothing about Extension. I was unencumbered by notions of what was and was not possible at any level. So I guess the highlight was simply that over those early years we moved forward.

4. Can you tell us about the role you currently hold with EDEN?
My official role in EDEN is Web Manager and PD for the LSU AgCenter subcontract of Purdue’s NIFA funds for support of EDEN work. The LSU AgCenter hosts a number of EDEN Internet and Intranet web presences and provides networking support, working closely with the EDEN Communications group at Purdue. I gave up web-mastering many years ago and now just think up stuff for our very talented webmaster – Andrew Garcia — to do.
I am most active in the EDEN Exec and international committees, and now taking greater interest in the youth activities and disaster activation and communication planning arenas.

5. What was your favorite part of the 2014 EDEN Annual Meeting?
There were several high points, but my hands-down favorite part had to be bringing the 4-H’ers to the meeting and having the group receive them with such enthusiasm.


Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Dr. Andy Vestal, who will have a breakout session at the EDEN Annual Meeting. 

1. How did you first get involved with EDEN? Dr. Andy Vestal

I got involved in EDEN about a month before Hurricane Katrina, in July of 2005. I was immediately led to the effort because of a six-year grant for animal disease and homeland security response and recovery. Within a month of being in this position, Hurricane Katrina hit followed by Hurricane Rita, and we realized we had a lot to do preparedness-wise. The fall of 2005 was my first visit to the EDEN Annual Meeting in Fargo, North Dakota. It was an experience for me to see the overall mission and goals of the organization: to help people help themselves.

2. Without divulging too much of your annual meeting material, can you tell us how the strike teams were formed?

After any incident an after action report is filed. After [Hurricane] Ike the report stated there was high priority to establish mission ready teams of seasoned County Extension Agents, CEA, that were deployable. The first teams were established in the Gulf Coast, where 7 million Texans live.

3. What are some of the disasters that have affected Texas over the past few years and how have you been involved?

In 2008 when Hurricane Ike hit us it was a challenge; 32,000 families lost their homes along with a large agricultural loss. Hurricane Ike, though only a category 2 hurricane, was about 450 miles wide. It pushed an 18 foot wall of water 20 miles inland, covering mostly ranchland that had about 35,000 head of cattle. We realized that within 72 hours the cattle would have saline toxicity, because all they had to drink was salt water. We deployed our strike teams to create Livestock Supply Points, LSP’s, and from September 13 to 30 we received and distributed over 125 semi-truck loads of feed and hay. By week 3, we started shipping about 15,000 head of cattle into other parts of the state.

In 2011 every geographic region of Texas had challenges with wildfires; there were over 32,000 in the state, and dozens were 50,000 acres or greater; over 3 million acres burnt. Our Livestock Supply Points and CEA strike teams were again activated to stand up 13 LSP’s. Our goal was not to put out fires, but to help landowners with displaced livestock. We received and distributed approximately 120 semi-truck loads of hay and feed. We were much better prepared, because we had about 50 County Extension Agents that were seasoned, trained, and mission ready.

4. What has been the most rewarding thing you have done in terms of disaster preparedness for your state?

The Hurricane Ike recovery, “Operation No Fences” on YouTube shows the land and livestock owners response, along with county agents and other volunteer organizations. The support we built for them was rewarding to our county extension agents because we had farmers and ranchers that had lost everything. To find that we had a mobilized team supporting them was unexpected, but extremely helpful. We estimate we saved the USDA indemnity program more than $10 million by shipping cattle out, since it saved their lives, and it costs about $600 a head to bury cattle. Also about 80% of the cattle shipped out had brands and/or ear tags; we had brand inspectors to help identify the rightful owners. Through these efforts we were able to maintain the strong fabric of the local agricultural economy in that area.

5. Have you worked on any multi-state projects through EDEN and what have those been?

I have had two major multi-state projects through EDEN. Both were funded by the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, at Texas A&M. The goal of the first was to strengthen crisis communications. We adopted the Association for Communication Excellence, ACE, group’s curriculum called “Media Relations Made Easy.” We incorporated an animal disease issue scenario into the training and partnered with multiple land grant universities to host a series of six workshops using that curriculum. We had about 180 Ag communicators from 29 states and Canada attend.

The second project was partnering with 22 state veterinarians and extension programs to test and establish an animal health network in those states. This program is still up and running. The mission of that project was to improve upon the state veterinarian’s capability to have early detection and rapid response to animal diseases, especially in smaller, hobby farms.

6. What do you think is the most important thing EDEN delegates can do to help the citizens in their states?

Learn from other state’s experiences. There’s a lot of different material and experiences that states can learn from each other. When we learn from each other we may reinvent something we learned from Washington State to fit our state, but the fact that we have guidance is extremely valuable.

If you haven’t yet registered for 2014 EDEN Annual Meeting, follow this link to register.

 


Drought for Kids
Drought for Kids” from the National Drought Mitigation Center gives an overview of drought – the science, the impacts, and what people can do to prepare for drought.   An excellent resource for students, parents and teachers to learn more about the mitigation of drought, the development of drought, and the impact of drought on producers, communities, and individuals.

 

Kim Cassel


Disasters bring more than physical devastation, they also bring stress and related mental and physical illness.  And though hosted by the Drought NEIL the information presented by Sherry Nelson, LCSW and Missouri Extension Specialist is applicable to folks impacted by disasters other than drought.

The objectives of the webinar  Part I were for Extension staff to:

Identify signs/symptoms indicating stress; risk of depression & suicide.
Understand how stressors for farmers & their families are similar & how they differ from non-farmers.
Identify ways to reduce stress & when to seek professional help or refer others for professional help.
Learn about self-care tools to reduce their risk of unhealthy stress levels & its impact on their life.
Learn about national resources for help and how to identify local resources.
The objectives of the webinar Part II were for Extension Staff to:
Learn and recognize the signs of depression
Understand relationship between depression and suicide
Understand suicide risk factors specific for farmers
Understand the role we can play in preventing suicide
Learn about national resources for help and how to identify local resources
The webinar links and Resource List  may be found on the EDEN Drought Page — Individuals and Family Tab
Kim Cassel

Disaster Distress Resources

Stress, anxiety, and depression are common reactions after a disaster.

Call 1-800-985-5990. It’s Free. It’s Confidential.

Are you experiencing signs of distress as a result of a disaster?

Signs of distress may include any of the following physical and emotional reactions:

  • Sleepling too much or too little
  • Stomachaches or headaches
  • Anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others
  • Overwhelming sadness
  • Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why
  • Feeling like you have to keep busy
  • Lack of energy or always feeling tired
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual; using illegal drugs
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Not connecting with others
  • Feeling like you won’t ever be happy again
  • Rejecting of help.

You may be suffering more than you need to. We can help!

The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, year-round
crisis counseling and support.

The Helpline is staffed by trained counselors from a network of crisis call centers located across the United States, all of whom provide:

  • Crisis counseling for those who are in emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster
  • Information on how to recognize distress and its effects on individuals and families
  • Tips for healthy coping
  • Disaster-specific resources and referral information

Kim Cassel


Steve Cain, EDEN Homeland Security Project Director is chairing the NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) Drought and Wildfire Taskforce. The taskforce is charged with identifying problems and opportunities, aligning those with the VOAD mission and designing a process of engagement for members and states.

The taskforce has four working groups, community, family and individual, farm operations, and procedural. Needs and issues being examined are :

Loss of farmers
Migrant labor
Quality degradation
Crop and livestock
Cropping shifts
Locating hay

Economic stress
Family stress
House foundations
River navigation
River and reservoir recreation
Land and community reclamation
Scarce water
Bird migration
Future mitigation
Desalination
Rainwater harvesting
Population shifts
Drought long-term recovery
Wildfire long-term recovery
Emotional and spiritual care
Community development

For more information and team member directory go to the EDEN Drought Page – NVOAD .

Kim Cassel