2021 Winter Newsletter


NACDEP Newsletter


Winter Edition


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2021 Winter NACDEP Newsletter

NACDEP Colleagues,

Greetings and welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of the NACDEP newsletter.  For that matter, welcome to the year 2021.  There can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that 2020 was a very difficult year.  But despite that, NACDEP members and the organization as a whole endured and even moved forward in important ways.

As for the newsletter, 2020 was a banner year, with the summer issue and the fall special issue on COVID-19 absolutely packed with great information about the successes we are having throughout the organization.  We have done a great job in demonstrating strength and flexibility in the ways we have pivoted to meet the needs of those we serve.  As we go forward, we need to do the job of telling our success stories, and the newsletter is a great tool for that.  The trend of increasing popularity of the newsletter continues, as the current edition has even more entries than the previous two editions I mentioned.  There’s just an enormous amount of information here.  I hope you find it interesting and useful.


Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Newsletter Editor


President's Column

Submitted by Adam Hodges, NACDEP President

Dear Friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you all safe and well in the New Year. As you can undoubtedly see by the number of articles and announcements this quarter, we in community development are busier than ever before. I can’t imagine another time in our nation’s modern history that has exhibited the need for community development more than the present. Our field and this organization, I believe, can and will play a critical role in our nation’s future. There has always been incredible adaptability and creativity in the community development field in extension. No two communities are ever exactly alike. These characteristics are what make us so resilient in these challenging times.

While we may not meet in person in 2021, it will not change the strength and spirit of our friendships through NACDEP. I see this as yet another opportunity for inclusion. Please make certain you spread invitations to our virtual conference far and wide. In 2020, we were honored to have participation from numerous individuals and institutions that have never been financially able to attend any of our conferences. We hope to see that spread even farther this year…. there is great strength in our diversity.




NACDEP 2021 Moved to Virtual Platform

Submitted by Katie McFarland

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that I will not being seeing you this May in Idaho. Due to current state restrictions, travel restrictions and budgetary concerns we as a committee decided that it would be best to move our 2021 conference to a virtual platform. We will still offer the same great quality every NACDEP conference has to offer and hopefully share a little western culture with you as well. The exact schedule will be released soon, but please keep the conference dates of May 16-19, 2021, blocked until it is released. RFPs for the conference are currently open and can be accessed until January 29th. Please consider putting in a proposal. And don’t lose all hope in ever visiting Idaho! We have been able to work with our hotel and will host NACDEP 2023 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

Social Media Survey

Social Media Survey

NACDEP Member Services and Comm Comm recently had an idea…why not take a moment to see where you get your news for NACDEP? That said, we teamed up and put together a quick survey, so please take a moment to take this two minute (or less), five-question survey:


The results of the survey will help us focus our marketing efforts for the upcoming NACDEP 2021 Conference. We will share the results via social media (see what we did there!) so you can know where we are focusing.

Thank you for your time, and for all you do! – Jaime Menon, NACDEP Comm Comm Co-Chair, Kansas State Research and Extension


Six Areas Where Covid-19 Causes Shifts In The Day-to-Day

Submitted by Gwynn Stewart, MS – Community Development Educator III
Ohio State University Extension – Noble County

I was contemplating the word shift following a conversation with an Extension colleague as it relates to COVID-19. The question posed was how did you shift as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? 


The verb definition of shift is, “to move or cause to move from one place to another.”  Prior to my work in Ohio State University Extension, I had a telework position with an eight-county regional council. The “shift” to telework was a welcomed one for me because it eliminated a 45-minute, one-way commute to the office. I had an existing home office all set and ready to go. However, it did mean the worlds of home and work office colliding. A new utility shelf from the local True Value Hardware, assembled with some help from my husband, my new telework buddy, holds the many books and project binders that are a reality for community development project work.


My new telework colleague, as mentioned above is my husband, who also works for Ohio State University Extension serving in our county. His new home office is our dining room. Shifting from the central point for family dinners, the dining room table is now HIS telework space. At the Christmas holiday, we simply decided to move everything from that space into the trunk of his car so we could gather the kids and grandkids for a family meal!

We also shifted in our mindset that our turn-of-the-century home and its limited electric panel couldn’t handle ALL of the electric current capacity needs for our high school student working from her bedroom upstairs, and two Extension teleworkers. Texting who has a space heater running in drafty spaces, when, is now the norm – as two at once trips (or fries) a breaker.


Our daughter, a sophomore at the local high school and a freshman enrolled in Ohio’s College Credit Plus program at the local community college, has certainly learned the full detail of “shift.” She has transitioned back and forth gracefully from in-person, to fully virtual, back to a hybrid school model multiple times pending the school’s COVID situations. She keeps up with schedule changes knowing which school “group” she is in and which days she is virtual or in-person, better than her parents! She’s also accepted disappointment at Spring track season being canceled as well as prom and in-person graduation of friends.

Oh, and we’ve learned that the on-line progress book with grades isn’t always 100 percent up-to-date as the poor teachers struggle to keep up with assignments and loading grades. So, giving the student the benefit of the doubt can be key and prevent arguments and stress on parent and child.

Our daughter has accepted the masks and grown her color and fabric options to include a mask made in Africa, a gift from a cousin who is a missionary there, one with her school mascot and another with the Cincinnati Bengals team logo as well. She has learned to keep one in her backpack, her jacket pocket, all of our vehicles and more so when Mom says, “do you have a mask,” she is covered!


We have learned an even greater respect for technology as a tool for telework, homeschool, and even a way to gather friends and family from afar! You CAN teach old dogs new tricks – who knew Zoom had SO many cool features or that branding means university-approved virtual backgrounds?!

We have embraced Zoom for staff meetings, one-on-ones with supervisors, for gathering at state and national association conferences and committee meetings, local and regional Board meetings and more. However, trying to sing Happy Birthday to a colleague over Zoom in Appalachia, with its broadband incapacities doesn’t work so well!

We have learned about a new tool known as blue-light blockers to save your eyes and now have them in 1.50+ reader options at each computer! We’ve also adapted to Skype phones and transferring calls from one home office to another, sometimes in another county, with ease!

We have moved past the inability to meet face-to-face and learned the best communication mode for key partners – whether it’s via email, text or telephone. We do our best to accommodate the ones who just prefer the in-person with Dean-approved exceptions, only as absolutely necessary.

Community Development

For the most part, the partners in our county’s Community Development work have made adjustments to telework and office closures gracefully. County Commissioners, Mayors, Planning Commission volunteers and others have grown accustomed to the Zoom links, some only choosing to connect via the more old-fashioned phone conference setting, but joining nonetheless.

Projects have continued to positively impact residents whether it is working through the details of CARES Act funding for equipment to supplant Appalachian broadband incapacities in schools and the community, hosting last-minute Ohio National Guard COVID-19 pop-up testing sites, offering virtual lunch and learns on available community financing or masking up to deliver no-cost JobsOhio-sponsored PPE kits to small businesses.

For small businesses, we’ve learned that recording and reposting classes often leads to hundreds of views, on demand when they can find the time, honoring the importance of the content but not necessarily the educator-preferred Zoom day and times. 

Personal & Professional Growth

The noun definitionof “shift is to change the position of one's body, especially because one is nervous or uncomfortable.”  To say that we have shifted from our discomfort is a certain understatement for 2020.

We have learned a dining room chair just doesn’t cut it for all-day in the office. We also saw that the search for toilet paper in small town Ohio isn’t nearly as challenging as in the suburbs of Atlanta so shipping some via USPS to help a sister may be considered “essential.” We have learned to decipher the handwriting of an 80-year-old mother’s shopping list (to keep her home and safe) and buying her brand preferences that were finely tuned over six decades of practice!

We have learned to show and give grace on missed deadlines, shifting directions from the offices “above,” changing office re-opening dates, canceled programming, extensions of “no travel,” news of insufficient funding for new positions or annual performance increases, lost packages and more.

We shifted to virtual conferences in 2020 with NACDEP’s being one of the best! It was easy-to-navigate, packed with excellent speakers, programs and even networking options as well as needed break times! NACDEP Webinar Wednesdays also added to our professional and personal growth with a range of innovative topics.

We have also learned that personal and professional growth shouldn’t be reflected on the bathroom scales, but that our flexibility is key to maintaining relative sanity. We are reminded to “not sweat the small stuff” and that flexibility makes you stronger and more healthy, personally and professionally.

We’ve been reminded in 2020 that our friends and colleagues at NACDEP are ever-present, and just a Zoom away! They are encouragers, empaths and educators, no matter what the pandemic serves up. The professionals are there to share best-practices, curriculum and programs from one state to another through virtual means. Great work is happening in spite of the shifting world and great work will continue in 2021!


Kansas Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Offers "Essential Strategies for Building Racial Justice and Inclusion - A Six Week Webinar Series"

Submitted by Marlin Bates, Professional Development Committee Chair, Kansas Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, County Extension Director – K-State Research and Extension, Douglas County

The Kansas Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (KACDEP) invites you to attend their upcoming series of six one-hour webinars exploring core competencies of diversity, equity and inclusion in Extension work. We are once again proud to partner with the University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development to bring you lessons from their Community Toolbox. This offering will focus on lessons from their chapter on “Working Together for Racial Justice and Inclusion.”

This professional development opportunity is for any Extension Professional – regardless of your role within the Cooperative Extension System, so feel free to invite your colleagues and officemates. Through this approachable format to strengthening your cultural competence, you’ll gain exposure to new ways of viewing the world, strategies to employ in your Extension work and we’ll engage your connection between the lessons and your work.

Each webinar will cover one or more of the lessons listed below:

  • Understanding Culture and Diversity in Building Communities
  • Building Relationships with People from Different Cultures
  • Healing from the Effects of Internalized Oppression
  • Strategies and Activities for Reducing Racial Prejudice and Racism
  • Learning to be an Ally for People from Diverse Groups and Backgrounds
  • Creating Opportunities for Members of Groups to Identify Their Similarities, Differences, and Assets
  • Building Culturally Competent Organizations
  • Multicultural Collaboration
  • Transforming Conflicts in Diverse Communities
  • Understanding Culture, Social Organization and Leadership to Enhance Engagement
  • Building Inclusive Communities

Registrants will have access to all six one-hour webinars which will be held on Thursdays from January 28, 2021 – March 4, 2021 at 1:00 PM Central. The registration fee is $20. You can visit this site to register: https://tinyurl.com/y3d5kgfw.

NACDEP Officer Election Results

Susan A. Kelly, Past President

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 NACDEP Officer Team! The following board members will begin their new roles at the end of the annual conference in May. Many thanks to the Nominating Committee and all the NACDEP members who put their names into nomination for this important election.

  • President Elect – Rebekka Dudensing
  • Treasurer – Daniel Eades
  • 1890’s Representative – Joy Moten-Thomas
  • North Central Region Representative – Kara Salazar
  • Western Region Representative – Katie Hoffman-McFarland


Voter Education During a Pandemic

Public Policy Center - University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

By Kristin Higgins, Program Associate

Arkansas Extension agents have provided voter education on statewide ballot issues since 2004 through fact sheets and community presentations. County agents’ outreach traditionally piggybacked on community gatherings, something we quickly realized would be unavailable to us for the 2020 general election.

During training sessions for county agents on the program, we broke into small groups to talk about how to overcome the lack of face-to-face programs. We also talked about where our 38,000 printed voter guides could still be distributed across Arkansas’ 75 counties as many of our distribution points were closed to the public.

We brainstormed possibilities and shared that information with all agents, hoping to spark local ideas. For example, libraries in some communities offered curbside pickup. Voter guides went there. Some communities had drive-through voter registration. Materials went there. Farmers still had to pick up supplies at the local feed store and guides were placed there. We had less than 100 voter guides in the Public Policy Center remaining on Election Day and also saw the digital voter guide downloaded 18,587 times.

Arkansas’ Ballot Issue Education Program already included YouTube videos, radio scripts, and news articles in our communications plan. In past years, we also provided a few suggested social media posts and text messages. But as people tried to figure out how to apply for absentee ballots, and agents wanted more materials they could share online, we created a larger social media campaign to educate about the process as well as the ballot issues.

Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 12, 2020, the Public Policy Center created 33 social media posts for agents to use on their individual county accounts. Topics ranged from how to stay safe while voting to what to do if you changed your mind and no longer wanted to vote absentee.

Text and graphics were tailored to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and posted on an internal website accessible by all employees. We sent weekly emails sharing the topic of available posts.

We also shared these posts on the Public Policy Center’s social media accounts (#ARballot) and had a reach of 43,257 over those 10 weeks. Those numbers are wrapped up in an Extension-wide reported social media reach of 198,234 over that time for statewide ballot issues. At the same time, our ballot issue education website recorded 254,663 views over that time with a surge on the day before the first day of early voting (37,997 views on Oct. 18 alone.)

The Arkansas Ballot Issue Education Program is a good example of how a traditionally face-to-face statewide program can continue through a pandemic and succeed.




Submitted by Brent Elrod

NIFA has a new director! Dr. Carrie Castille joined the agency on January 4, 2021. The agency also has a new National Science Liaison (NSL), Dr. William (Bill) Hoffman. Many of you know Bill from his many years of service as NIFA’s Chief of Staff.  He’s taken on the new role to strengthen the social sciences and Extension expertise among the NSL team. This is great news for CRD! Drs. Castille and Hoffman are both based in Washington, D.C.

NIFA continues to hire other new staff in support of the agency rebuild. Openings are posted at https://www.nifa.usda.gov/career-opportunities. The most up-to-date Organizational Chart is at https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifaorgchart. And in the not too distant future, Kansas City staff will set up shop in the new office space at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sure, there’s plenty of good barbeque throughout the metro area. We can certainly meet up there… but the nearest dive bar is http://www.peanutkc.com/downtown-location-menu/. Visible from our fourth and fifth floor offices, this audience knows the value of walkability and proximity in promoting community and neighborhood development! I envision a future where vaccinated NACDEP members gather at the Peanut to celebrate their collective role in helping communities overcome challenges associated with COVID-19.

In the virtual meantime, it’s business as usual. The FY21 grant season is well underway. We have a projected RFA Publication Timeline for non-AFRI competitive programs posted at https://nifa.usda.gov/upcoming-rfa-calendar. Know what the opportunities are and the National Program Leaders (NPLs) who administer the programs.

If you’re not planning to be part of a grant application and would like to peer review, email [email protected] your CV and the program(s) of interest. I’ll forward to the designated national program leaders. Major props to the NACDEP members who have reviewed for the Agricultural Food and Research Initiative, Small Business Innovation Research programs, and Smith Lever Special Needs programs (to name just a few) in the recent past. Panel participation is a fantastic professional development opportunity, and dare I say, tons of fun(d)s! (Plus, we’ll acknowledge your service with your deans and directors!)

As we look ahead in 2021, the incoming Biden-Harris administration will soon formally announce its priorities. Expect pandemic control and relief to be one of the immediate focus areas. Workforce development, climate, and civil rights are other likely signature topics. Your efforts to build and strengthen communities across these and related areas will undoubtedly be called upon. Are you ready to seize the moment?

Demonstrating how your work aligns with administration priorities is one way to raise the profile of Extension community development (and the underlying research and associated teaching). Another is to highlight those efforts through presentations at NACDEP’s upcoming conference. Submit a workshop proposal at https://www.nacdep.net/2021-request-for-proposals. Emerging and experienced voices need to be heard. Make this the year you join a NACDEP committee. Membership organizations grow and flourish when members actively engage. What else?

Block two hours on your calendar to nominate one of your colleagues for an award. You’ll feel so good when you see the individual’s or team’s name in print and know that you contributed to their recognition. While nice, it doesn’t have to be about winning. Collectively, you can help elevate CRD by recognizing one another’s achievements. It might just be you who earns the next nomination!

If you’ve read this far, be prepared to submit or work with partners to submit applications to funding announcements from NIFA, AMS, RD, as well as those from ARC, DRA, EDA, EPA, NEA, etc. that can further support and grow the field and its reach. If you’re unfamiliar with the alphabet soup (and everyone is to start), get to know your federal funding agencies and introduce yourselves to the respective program officers.

We enjoy hearing about your achievements and ideas. We may be able to connect you with opportunities that take those ideas to the next level. But before all that – any of that – continue taking good care of self and others – be it pandemic defined and/or the daily grind. We need your kind contributing, leading, and innovating in 2021 and beyond.


Webinar Wednesdays

Submitted by Michael Dougherty

There are still three sessions left in the Webinar Wednesday Series for 2020-2021 presented by the NACDEP Member Services Committee. Here’s the schedule of monthly webinars for -2021:

Each webinar will take place on the third Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m. ET. The schedule of webinars is below with title and lead presenter:

  • February 17, 2021: “Communicating our Message to Stakeholders.” Lead presenter: Kenzie Johnston, Ohio State University.
  • March 17, 2021: “Seizing Opportunities for Community Readiness.” Lead presenter: Eric Walcott, Michigan State University.
  • April 21, 2021:   “Agritourism Success Factors for Entrepreneurship and Community Development.” Lead presenter: Lisa Chase, University of Vermont

 Additional details, including the full list of each presenter and the Zoom link, will be shared via email blasts leading up to each scheduled session.

These webinars are one part of an effort to add value to the NACDEP membership.

The Member Services Committee is looking at continuing this series in 2021-2022.  If you have ideas for future webinars – or would like to present – please contact Michael Dougherty ([email protected]), the committee chair. 


Minnesota Webinars

Submitted by Michael Darger

UMN Extension Center for Community Vitality

What do 1 Million Cups, destination marketing, telecommuting, and impacts on Latino businesses have in common? Well, nothing really except these are some of the disparate topics the University of Minnesota Extension’s Community Economics team has hosted webinars about in this pandemic time. The free webinar series has provided a way for UMN and other experts to connect with economic development audiences. The series is titled Sustaining Your Local Economy In Turbulent Times with the intention of connecting people to learn together but make it short with zippy half-hour sessions.

The goals of the webinars are 1) to connect UMN expertise to our audiences and 2) to inspire people during a dis-spiriting time. Although they are Minnesota-based experts and researchers, the webinars are open to anyone. Many people from other states and foreign countries have attended. In fact, one session found about 35 folks from India joining in. Find out more at https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/sustaining-your-local-economy-turbulent-times including pending webinars and recordings of our past events.

Feel free to contact me if you think you might like to learn more from our experience and maybe start up a webinar series in collaboration with the university experts in your area. Michael Darger - [email protected]


Community and Economic Development Online Courses

Submitted by Michele Archie

Registration for The Harbinger Consultancy’s winter online courses is still open!

Our New Timeline Institute online courses are geared toward the unique needs of small towns, rural communities and organizations that support local culture, conservation, education, trails and public lands. They combine instruction, coaching, group learning and step-by-step templates based on 30+ years of working with communities, regions and supporting organizations, and offer guided access to proven approaches we use in our work and models from other communities.

We sometimes offer courses in collaboration with other practitioners (some with Extension roots!) and are open to new collaborations. If you have a course idea that you’d like to explore developing together, please contact me at [email protected].

Early registration discounts are still available. Use the code NACDEP at checkout for an additional 10% discount on any of our winter courses. We also offer group discounts for two or more from the same organization or community to encourage collaboration.

Our winter session, which starts later this month, includes:

Do-It-Yourself Visitor Surveys for Parks, Trails, Heritage Sites and the Towns that Serve Them (starts Jan. 19)

Get a handle on how locals and visitors use trails, parks and heritage sites —and what that means for your community—without breaking the bank or tearing your hair out. Gather information and generate insights that help you attract more visitors or encourage them to return, manage the visitors you already have, help local businesses generate more business from nearby trails, heritage sites and parks; plan and fine-tune programs; tweak your marketing; raise money and forge partnerships. You’ll learn a resource-efficient approach that yields reliable, high-impact information.

Tell the Economic Story of Your Trails and Conserved Lands Without Hiring an Economist (starts Jan. 28)

You don’t need to hire an economist and wade through piles of complex data to understand the economic benefits of your programs. This course will help you learn to paint a broad, research and data-based picture of the economic effects of your trail system or conserved lands—or project the benefits of a proposed trail or conservation program. You will also learn how to tell that story to support advocacy, fundraising, conservation-based economic development, and stronger community relationships. You will learn and adapt a proven approach that engages community resources without hiring an economist, consultant or communications shop.

Using Scenarios to Overcome the Failure of Traditional Nonprofit Planning in the COVID Era (starts Jan. 25)

Scenario planning works better than traditional, linear planning approaches when uncertainty is high and the future seems unpredictable. This course will help you identify alternate future scenarios and conditions that could shape your work in very different ways; identify action steps that will be effective and relevant in a variety of these alternate situations; gain enough insight to make choices with confidence; and identify key inflection points to help you identify when changes in conditions signal a need to take change direction 

Creative Placemaking: Creating Communities We Love Through Arts & Culture, Diverse Partners and Community Spaces (starts Feb. 23)

Make the most of creativity in your community. Creative Placemaking leverages arts and culture to engage, revitalize and reshape communities. In this course, you will learn how to use the Creative Placemaking process to identify and leverage overlooked assets in your community, highlight and deepen your community’s unique character, integrate arts and culture into planning, expand participation for greater equity, and engage creativity and local knowledge to make your community a great place to live, work, play and visit.

And finally, a course we can all use:

Activating the Heart of Resilience: HeartMath® Science-Based Strategies for Adapting and Thriving in Our New Ways of Being, Working & Living Together (starts Jan. 27 or Jan. 30)

In this course, you’ll learn HeartMath’s science-based tools and strategies for taking control of your mental and emotional well-being—reducing stress, feeling more energetic, sleeping soundly, and being more resilient, adaptable and able to keep your cool. Based on over 29 years of research and supported by more than 300 independent peer-reviewed studies, these techniques will help you take charge of how you feel and use your renewed clarity to become a stronger and better influence for others in your sphere: your family, co-workers, class, team, church, volunteer organization or neighbors.

Please email [email protected] with questions, and feel free to share with your networks.



Award Winners

Submitted by Tamara Ogle


YOU do good work!


Yes, I am talking to you, all of you!  One of the great aspects of being a NACDEP member is getting to celebrate our colleagues successes in making a difference in communities.  We all do good work that should be recognized, celebrated, and shared!  So take some time between now and February 26th to nominate you and your colleagues’ good work for a NACDEP Award.  You’ll find award descriptions and everything you need to apply on the awards portal.

This year we will be featuring a few of our National Award winners in each of the newsletters.  This is another opportunity to share some of the great work of NACDEP members in community development.  We want to congratulate all of our National and Regional Award winners for 2020!



2020 NACDEP Educational Technology Award-Team Winner

Engaging Residents in Participatory Photomapping

Kathee Tifft and Kirstin Jensen, University of Idaho Extension

Overweight and obesity have been universally established as among the most critical public health issues in the United States.

Idaho Educators implemented a childhood obesity prevention study using participatory action research tools to engage rural residents in exploring and improving the obesogenic contexts where they live.

Community members used camera-enabled GPS units to photograph, and thus map, the resources in their home communities they determined made eating healthfully and/or being physically active most every day easy or hard for themselves and their families.

Through focus groups and community conversations, the “mappers” prioritized photos and descriptive notes identifying resources accessed via walking, biking, and motor vehicle routes used regularly in their community.

The GPS files were compiled into a photomap audit depicting the data in illustrative maps. This mapping model helped rural residents have an organized voice in addressing community context and determining community-led actions aimed at improving access to healthy eating and physical activity.  Find out more about the project in this JOE article.            


2020 NACDEP Education Technology Award-Individual Winner

Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Project

Joe Lucente, The Ohio State University & Ohio Sea Grant

Ohio is the only Great Lakes state that has no dedicated underwater preserve to protect its valuable maritime heritage. OSU Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program worked collaboratively with a multitude of state and local agencies as well as with a citizen advisory committee to address this grave concern relating to the protection, preservation, promotion and educational opportunities that existed for the State of Ohio. It was decided that the OSU Extension/Ohio Sea Grant College Program would take the lead to develop a highly interactive and educational web site as well as four interactive digital kiosks placed along strategic Lake Erie shoreline visitor locations to aid in alleviating the problem.

Ohio Sea Grant Extension was successfully awarded a grant totaling $67,000 for the development of this project from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management. The name of the project is Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail (www.ohioshipwrecks.org).  The goal of this project was the development of an educational website and four interactive digital kiosks that were designed to help Ohio residents and visitors locate the many historical, cultural and recreational shipwrecks and unique underwater habitats in Ohio's Lake Erie waters, and to promote eco-tourism and economic development. Both products will not only effectively serve to promote cultural and eco-tourism as tools to expand Lake Erie tourism revenues, but will also be valuable assets in the conservation and protection of important shipwreck sites.

The website highlights known, popular shipwrecks in four separate sectors of Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline. The four underwater trailway systems are: (1) The Erie Islands Trailway, (2) Vermilion-Lorain Trailway, (3) Cleveland Trailway and (4) Fairport Harbor Trailway.

2020 NACDEP Education Materials Award-Team Winner

Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing

Eric Romich and Peggy Kirk Hall, The Ohio State University

Utility-scale solar is on the rise and many farmers are being approached to lease large tracks of land. Although solar energy is “green” and “renewable,” it is not without conflict.  Leasing land for a solar energy development raises both positive and negative implications for the land, family, farm operation, and community.  Typically, lease agreements between solar energy developers and landowners require a long-term legal commitment of 25 years or more.  This long-term action can require changes in a farm operation, remove a generation from the land, affect farmland availability and reuse, and significantly alter the character of a community’s landscape.  On the other hand, leasing farmland for solar energy can satisfy demands for renewable energy, create economic stability for farmland owners, and generate revenue for a community.  With support from USDA and the National Agricultural Law Center, we've written a guide to help farmland owners decide if leasing farmland for solar energy is a good decision for the farm and family.  Check out the guide here, and go here for our solar leasing checklist.


2020 NACDEP Education Materials Award-Individual Winner

The Changemaker Playbook

Lori Rothstein, University of Minnesota

The Changemaker Playbook is a guide founded on the Innovation for social change model that shepherds program participants from an idea to an innovative action. The playbook contains learnings, skills and processes that challenges and supports participants in building leadership confidence, connections and competence to become a changemaker in their communities.

Find out more about Changemaker Playbook and the innovation retreats by contacting Lori Rothstein at [email protected]. And preview a sample of the playbook here



Arkansas Local, Regional and Safe Foods

Submitted by Amanda Perez

The University of Arkansas Local, Regional and Safe Foods team under the direction of Dr. Amanda Philyaw Perez developed a number of educational resources, webinars, guidance documents and best practices to help farms, food businesses, and other clientele to navigate the changing health guidelines, policy restrictions, and shifting markets. Please visit https://www.uaex.edu/localfoods to find these resources. Explore the navigation tabs to find information that could be relevant to your clientele.