Posted on December 12th, 2022


2022 Annual Conference

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Extension Disaster Education Network took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from October 11th-14th. Nearly 85 delegates, points of contact, and first-time attendees gathered from land-grant and sea grant institutions across the country to share presentations and posters and highlight successful programs and projects.

The conference opened with an educational excursion, “Exploring the Dynamics of Water: Water Impacts & Management Practices Throughout West Central Michigan”. Attendees toured a water treatment facility, studied Michigan’s coastal management programs and learned about the World Central Kitchen Disaster Relief Training. The excursion ended on the Great Lakes aboard a floating laboratory, where Grand Valley State University conducts educational programming about the Great Lakes ecosystem, water quality, coastline erosion, and community planning and preparedness.

At the conference, EDEN delegates heard from keynote speaker Dr. Deanna East of Michigan State University Extension and Dr. Mark Harmon. Dr. Harmon was one of the founding members of EDEN, who recounted the creation and growth of the network’s response, recovery, planning, and preparedness activities originating from community needs discovered during 1993 Mid-West flooding.  EDEN grew into a nationwide network of Extension educators and professionals partnering with local, state, and federal agencies dealing with all phases of emergency management.

Dr. Ashley Mueller presented the USDA/ NIFA update and offered insight into future USDA topics of interest. Business meetings and committee meetings offered the chance for new ideas and updates to be shared among members. Plenary discussions highlighted tools, best practices, and programs for EDEN member institutions, a discussion of disaster responses from 2021 and 2022, and a strategic look forward into the future of EDEN’s service to member institutions and the clients, stakeholders, and citizens they serve.

Concurrent sessions were presented by points of contact and delegates from numerous institutions from across the country, covering a range of topics from earthquake preparedness, livestock and biosecurity management, managing mental health during disasters and community preparedness and resilience.

Tom Ball of Mississippi State University Extension assumed the post of EDEN chair, as Carrie McKillip of the University Illinois Extension completed her two-year term and was recognized for leading the network during unprecedented times of change and the international Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Angie B. Lindsey of the University of Florida IFAS Extension began her two-year service as chair- elect. Dr. Monty Dozier of Texas A&M University Extension Agri-Life was elected secretary. The conference ended with a professional development training provided by delegates from Florida A&M University Extension, University of Missouri Extension, and Mississippi State University Extension outlining the role and history of Extension Services during natural and man-created disasters as well as functioning in the National Incident Management System.

The conference was an excellent opportunity for delegates to network, share resources, and learn more about the value of EDEN to member institutions.

EDEN committees meet monthly throughout the year by video conference and for more information about potential committee service please contact national program information and marketing associate Claire Crum at or any of the EDEN officers mentioned earlier in this article.

The 2023 annual meeting will begin September 26 in Savannah, Georgia, and will be hosted by the University of Georgia Extension.


Upcoming Program 

Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination, helps them develop language and listening skills, and expands their vocabulary. Hearing stories read aloud boosts the part of the brain associated with visual imagery, story comprehension, and word meaning. According to the landmark “Becoming a Nation of Readers” report from 1985, “the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

This “extra-textual” talk also supports the development of key concentration and self-discipline skills, gets kids listening in order to comprehend, develops longer attention spans, and strengthens memory-retention skills. In addition, books read aloud provide an opportunity to talk about real-world situations in age-appropriate ways. Particularly, natural disasters.
Learning about crises, especially natural disasters, helps children gain understanding and control over events. Natural disasters may strike quickly, without warning, and can be frightening and traumatic for children if they don’t know what to do. To raise awareness on how to prepare, respond, and recover from natural disasters, Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University is pleased to offer its virtual story time series, Lend an EAR (Environmental Awareness through Reading).

Live via Zoom on the first Thursday of each month at 10:00 am CST, Extension staff, authors, and special guests read targeted selections, addressing specific natural disasters to school-aged youth pre-k through 5th grade. Increasing youths’ awareness of natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery opens discussions on how they can play a role in adequately protecting their families and loved ones. It also helps them understand how to seek help should their community be affected by a natural disaster.



2022 Operation Border Health Preparedness Exercise 

The 2022 Operation Border Health Preparedness Exercise (OBHP) is the State of Texas’ annual public health preparedness emergency response exercise. The exercise is held annually in July in the Rio Grande Valley and is a component of preparedness efforts of state and local public health, medical, Cooperative Extension, and veterinary medical emergency response entities. The basis of each exercise is focused on testing the state’s abilities to respond to an infectious disease incident or other types of incidents that would result in health impacts to human and animal populations. This is a unique exercise in that the foundation for each event is the actual delivery of human and veterinary medical services to populations that struggle to access human and veterinary medical care. A wide array of services including dental, nutrition, vaccinations, ophthalmology, school physicals, and veterinary medicine, are provided. 

The Operation Border Health Preparedness exercise provided an excellent opportunity for each exercise participant to engage in a large scale animal response operation from initial deployment and set up to receiving, sheltering and treating animals, to demobilization. The scope of the exercise required deployment of a wide variety of animal response equipment in order to establish and manage an animal response operation on the grounds of the Raymondville High School over an eight day period. This included receiving areas, animal sheltering facilities, triage locations, animal medical treatment rooms, post care facilities in addition to logistical equipment needs such as medical supply trucks, generators, radio communications, meals, sleeping arrangements, and daily fueling needs. This effort also required a large team.  An average daily roster of a 60 person team comprised of veterinary and Extension personnel ensured animals were received and treated as efficiently as possible.  On one day during the operation, our largest daily roster involved 75 team members. This scale and length of exercise provided an excellent opportunity for individuals to engage in a variety of hands-on experiences with animals and their owners. This experience was invaluable in preparing participants for future animal responses related to evacuations and sheltering operations associated with hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other natural and man-made disasters.

OBHP served as the training vehicle to strengthen multi-state animal response capabilities and capacities. Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) members and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment and Recovery (DAR) agents and County Extension Agents participated along with other Extension and Veterinary professionals from outside of Texas. Team members from out of state included Cooperative Extension and veterinary personnel from Nebraska, Indiana, Colorado and California.

OBHP introduced first timers and more seasoned participants, alike, to the challenges of caring for animals, their fellow team members and themselves during a large-scale and complicated animal response incident. Mobilizing as a Type I Team, the team followed an Incident Command System format throughout the exercise. Participants rotated through planning, logistics, and operations positions to receive cross training in a variety of deployment jobs. The Exercise began with transporting of mobile inventory approximately 350 miles in the trying condition of extreme heat. Upon arrival in Raymondville and after review of the base camp location, the team was able to set up an operational base camp using some hardened structures of the high school combines with mobile tents and trailer resources transported from College Station.

The exercise was very successful from the perspective of the animal care provided. There were 503 case admissions representing 564 patients. These 503 case admissions were distributed between 416 Canine admissions, 83 feline admissions, and 4 rabbit admissions. These admissions included the following activities:

• 406 Rabies vaccine administrations
• 341 DA2PPL vaccine administrations
• 42 DA2PP vaccine administrations
• 72 FVRCP vaccine administrations
• 11 FeLeuk vaccine administrations
• 14 Heartworm tests, 5 of which were positive
• 479 treatments for internal parasites
• 129 treatments for external parasites
• 464 patients received external parasite preventives
• 65 cases with what were considered major issues

From an exercise participant stand point, OPHP provided an excellent opportunity for all to practice many animal response and care technique and use a variety of technologies under real world and, at times, tough conditions. The exercise also provided a great opportunity for veterinarians and veterinary technicians to work as a team with Extension personnel. This team approach allowed the veterinarians and vet techs to focus on health of the animals while Cooperative Extension personnel maintained their focus on customer service, record keeping, and pre and post treatment sheltering care of the animals. Such team work led to the success of the exercise and could be used as a model for other Land Grant Institutions to follow. 



EDEN Development Grant Funds Purdue University Rainscaping Education Program  

As the frequency and intensity of severe weather events increases, it is essential communities increase their resilience. To do so, it is necessary to integrate resilience efforts into community planning. One method of increasing resilience to events adverse water and heat related events is the implementation of green infrastructure. These engineered systems capture and naturally infiltrate water, provide cooling, improving water quality and reduce runoff peaks after major storms.

In June of 2022, Purdue Extension, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and the City of La Porte worked together to establish a Purdue University Rainscaping Education Program. It was part of a larger effort to build resilience in La Porte County through the updating of ordinances and installation of green infrastructure and was partially funded by an EDEN Development Grant.

A Purdue University Rainscaping Education Program was held with representatives from the La Porte’s Wastewater, Stormwater, Parks, and Engineering Departments, the City of La Porte’s Sustainability Commission, the La Porte County Soil and Water, and the La Porte County Library to support city-wide green infrastructure education efforts. The workshop was broken into multiple sessions with active learning throughout and the construction of a demonstration rain garden.

Throughout the workshop, participants worked on teams to design their own rain garden based on a given site. They brainstormed, asked questions, and created informal presentations about their design for each session. All participants were able to listen to each team’s unique perspectives, ask questions, and provide advice. After all sessions were complete, participants then took part in the hands-on experience of assisting in the installation of a rain garden near City Hall. Let by the program leaders, this installation provided to opportunity for participants to bring to life a rain garden design and realize potential issues they may encounter when installing a rain garden of their own. At the end of the workshop, program participants left with the knowledge, skills, and experience to advocate for green infrastructure, and in particular, rain gardens. 



EDEN 2023 Committee Chairs 

Standing committees and task forces are essential to EDEN achieving its mission. Standing committees and task forces are voluntary and open to EDEN delegates, retirees, and affiliates. Each committee elects its chair and vice-chair to serve one-year terms, with the chair limited to three consecutive terms. The committee chair is responsible for helping the committee set its annual goals and organizing its work, which can be done at the annual meeting, by email, over conference calls or through other means. 

EDEN standing committees and 2023 Chairs:

Agriculture-Tommy Bass
Natural Resources- Josh Gunn
Community and Economic Development-Cheyanne Geideman
Disaster Resilience Training and Exercise- Gregory Martin
Family and Consumer Science- Faye Griffith-Smith
4-H Youth Development-Michelle Krehbiel
Marketing & Membership- Elizabeth Kiss
Professional Development-Kimberly Davis
Secretary- Monty Dozier
Chair-Elect- Angie B. Lindsey

To learn more about EDEN’s committees and EDEN’s structure, click here



Call for Webinar Submissions

Online learning opportunities can help Extension professionals learn about disaster resources and programs used by their colleagues, keep up-to-date on federal disaster programs, and assemble a toolbox for building disaster resilient communities. If you have a webinar proposal that you

Webinars should be developed by EDEN, by one of its state-based member Extension programs, or by one of its partners. All slidesets must be submitted to the EDEN Project Coordinator, Abby Lillpop (, at least 24 hours prior to the webinar.

Follow the link below to submit your webinar proposal! 


Annual Conference 2023

The 29th EDEN Annual Conference will be held September 26th-29th in Savannah, Georgia. The host institution, the University of Georgia, in conjunction with the EDEN Annual Meeting Committee look forward to seeing everyone for a week of professional development and fellowship!



Follow EDEN on Social Media

Stay informed with EDEN by following our pages on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter! EDEN is always looking to share our  delegates programs, projects and news! Send potential content to share on social media to Claire Crum, EDEN’s National Project Associate, at