2023 NACDEP Summer Newsletter


NACDEP Newsletter                                                                                    Summer Edition

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NACDEP 2023 Summer Newsletter

From The Editor

Colleagues:  The first thing I wish to do is say a big thank you to the organization for presenting me with the Distinguished Service Award in Coeur d’Alene.  It was wonderful to be able to drop into the conference via Zoom to receive the award.  It is truly an honor for me to serve as your NACDEP newsletter editor, and although I never really expected such accolades for it, I have to say that it feels quite nice to receive such recognition.  I have a full piece on that below in the body of the newsletter, along with other award winners.  We also have a link in that piece that goes to the Awards page.

And speaking of the newsletter - as usual, we have lots of information for you to read, including items about how you can participate in some new initiatives.  Enjoy the summer, and by all means, enjoy the 2023 Summer edition of the NACDEP newsletter.

Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Associate Professor
Ohio State University Extension
NACDEP Newsletter Editor



2022 NACDEP Award Winners

Submitted by Tamara Ogle, Purdue and Eric Walcott, Michigan State

Join us in congratulating our 2023 NACDEP Award Winners! In this newsletter, we are featuring our Distinguished Career and Service Award winners and the Excellence in Teamwork winner.  You can find the full awards program here. This is another opportunity to share some of the great community development work of our NACDEP members. 


2023 NACDEP Distinguished Career Award Winner

John Amrhein, Michigan State University Extension

Following a four-year stint as a County Extension Director in the 1990s, my early Extension work was focused primarily on local governments, in the areas of board governance, finance, and effective meetings, mostly with counties. I still provide educational assistance and serve as a quasi-executive director for an association of county commissioners from 34 counties in the northern lower peninsula. (The area one of my nonprofit friends calls “knuckles-north,” referring to the way we in Michigan often use our hand as a map of the lower peninsula.)

We were teaching concepts from a popular board governance model that turned out to not scale well to small rural townships. An attempt to find a one-size-fits-all governance model for local government boards led to combining the best of eight models and frameworks used largely in the nonprofit world. I added some great advice from David Renz, Director Emeritus of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and call this the Components of Extraordinary Governance. My work has expanded to include nonprofit boards, which I very much enjoy and which is now the major emphasis of my work with boards.

Two highlights of my professional career have been my involvement in the creation of both the Community and Natural Resources Development Association here in Michigan and NACDEP. As NACDEP approaches its twentieth birthday, conversations I had at our conference in Idaho confirmed that the dream of working together with others across the country to improve our service to people in our communities is alive and growing. Thanks for the Distinguished Career Award!

2023 NACDEP Distinguished Service Award

Katie McFarland, University of Idaho Extension

I have found my extension home within NACDEP. After attending my first conference, I was asked to serve on the recognition committee and am still serving today. Joining a national committee was a great way to meet NACDEP members and feel more connected. This led me to an opportunity to serve as the Western Regional Representative. I loved every minute on the board and working with my Western colleagues. Hosting a virtual and in-person conference came with its ups and downs, but it has been very rewarding to make a lasting impact on NACDEP. I have made great friends in the process. NACDEP isn’t like other larger associations. It feels more like family, and the best way to feel part of that family is by joining a committee or the board.

2023 NACDEP Distinguished Service Award

Thomas Blaine, The Ohio State University Extension

It was a moment of total surprise to me when I received notification this spring that I had won NACDEP’s most prestigious award.  Let me just familiarize you with my NACDEP story.

My first experience with the organization was when I attended the Annual NACDEP Conference in San Antonio in 2006.  I presented a poster there.  Over the next few years, I had limited interactions with the organization, but that all changed in 2011.

In August of that year, a group of NACDEP leaders, including Michael Darger and Michael Wilcox, approached some other leaders about finding a permanent appointment for someone to serve as NACDEP newsletter editor.  Given my experience in writing, publishing, and reviewing scholarly materials, representatives from Ohio State suggested that I be considered for the role. We had a telephone conference in which board members asked me a number of questions.  I must have answered them to their satisfaction because they gave me the position, and the following month, we published the first issue of the newsletter with me as editor.

It has been a great ride ever since.  I remember times when I would issue a call for submissions and not get ANY by the deadline.  I would then call regional reps, committee chairs, and board members and solicit items.  I am happy to say that in the 12 years I have been editor, we have not missed a single newsletter issue.  The number of submissions we get per issue has swelled over time as the newsletter has become such a prominent feature of NACDEP.  In recent years I have moved from the role of a “lone wolf” to working closely with the Communications Committee. This has been a fun transition for me.

Let me just say that it is a real privilege for me to serve as your newsletter editor.  And thanks to all of you for recognizing me with the Distinguished Service Award.

2023 NACDEP Excellence in Teamwork Award

Jenny Nixon, Jordan Rasmusen, Amanda Tupper, Marilyn Schlake, Jason Tuller, Rex Nelson, Shawn Kaskie, Lee Will, Chuck Beck, Brian Cox, Amy Topp, Angie Heller, Hilary Miracle, Carrie Gottschalk, Marla Marx,

Rural Prosperity Nebraska Extension educators continue to follow up with several very small towns after presenting on the program “Helping the Smallest Communities Access Critical Resources: Nebraska’s American Rescue Plan Act-ARPA Response Effort and Follow-up Assistance.”  During the peak of the pandemic, many small towns were unaware that American Rescue Plan Act funds were available to their communities. A quickly organized group of Nebraska Educators worked with the State to find and assist 90 communities and secure $2.2 million to fund community improvement priorities. In the end, all but 18 of Nebraska's 531 communities claimed the available funds. “Extension’s work in reaching 90 rural communities helped secure an additional $1.6 million that will help these small rural communities become more resilient in the future,” according to Lee Will, State Budget Administrator.

The resulting impact of the 72 communities receiving their federal funding allocation that may otherwise have missed the opportunity was more than $24,000 per town, on average. Community infrastructure projects using these funds included water and sewer system repair, broadband, and other community priorities. Incredibly this effort led by Nebraska Extension contributed to 99.75% of this funding being secured by Nebraska communities.  “This award really highlights and exemplifies the value of our local Extension relationships,” said Kaskie. “Relationships with community members, community leaders, community officials, all of them.”


The Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit

Submitted By Jason Tuller
University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension

The Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit has put out an RFP for refereed presentations.  The summit will be held in Grand Island, Nebraska on November 7th, 2023.


Call for Refereed Presentations
RFP Closes August 1st, 2023 | Notifications by September 15th, 2023

Do you have an innovative, exciting entrepreneurial program or initiative you'd like to share with Nebraska educators, resource providers, economic and community developers, and policy makers? If so, want to hear about it!

Theme Growing the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Session Tracks
     1. Building the Pipeline K-12
     2. Entrepreneurship amongst the Trades
     3. Adult/Community Learning
     4. Changing the Entrepreneurial Mindset (what research/practices are helping to further the field of study)
     5. Innovation and Creativity in the Classroom (or lessons)
     6. Inside/Outside Entrepreneurship - Expectations of Employers/Builders
     7. Roles for Entrepreneurship (mentorships, coaching, advisory councils, “how-to's”)


National Extension Tourism Conference
Set for Sept. 24-27, 2023
“Envisioning the Future of Extension in Tourism”

Article coordinated by: Gwynn Stewart, MS (Ohio State University Extension) – NET Design Team

The National Extension Tourism (NET) Conference is set for Sept. 24-27, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Hosted by Wisconsin Sea Grant, the conference will feature a variety of speakers and hands-on workshops including full and half-day options. 

According to the NET Strategic plan, “for more than 50 years the Cooperative Extension Service has been engaged in research, educational programming and outreach to support communities engaged in tourism efforts.” This year’s event will focus on envisioning the future of Extension in the tourism sector.

Named as one of National Geographic’s best travel destinations around the world for 2023, Milwaukee is perhaps best known for its breweries, but it is also rich in historical and cultural attractions. You won’t want to miss the 2023 NET Conference!

NET is partnering with the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association to feature the state as a premier agricultural tourism destination. In fact, the NET conference coincides with Wisconsin’s Agricultural Tourism Week. This northern state is also home to the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newest National Marine Sanctuary.

Since 1995, the NET conference has taken place every two years and rotates around the country. The gathering brings together nearly 100 Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant professionals from around the United States to share the latest research and innovations in tourism and outdoor recreation.

The Early Bird Registration rate of $275 ends July 15. To get the best registration deal and secure your room atthe Hyatt Regency Milwaukee https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/wisconsin/hyatt-regency-milwaukee/mkerm?src=corp_lclb_gmb_seo_mkerm. Don’t delay!

NET Tourism Conference regular registration of $325 ends August 25. For information about scholarship opportunities, please visit the website at https://extensiontourism.net/2023-net-conference/.

The first day of the conference coincides with Yom Kippur and the conference planning team apologizes for the scheduling oversight. If your ability to participate fully in the conference is affected by your observance of Yom Kippur, please contact the conference chair, Natalie Chin, [email protected], before registering.


NET’s mission is to integrate research, education and outreach within Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant to support sustainable tourism, thus contributing to the long-term economic development, environmental stewardship, and socio-cultural wellbeing of communities and regions.

Overview of Local Food Systems

Submitted by Hannah Dankbar
NC State Extension

Are you interested in playing a more active role in your local food system? Do you work with local food projects, but are unsure of the research about their impacts or the resources available to support you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be interested in N.C. Cooperative Extension Local Food Program’s Overview of Local Food Systems Online Professional Development Training. The Training Program consists of three courses. Register this summer for the first course in the series: 

  • Foundations in Local Food Systems Development, 20 hours (prerequisite to Courses 2 and 3): Price = $250 (register here starting 7/18, course begins 8/15)

Registration for Foundations will be open from July 18 to August 15, and participants will have four months (from August 15 to December 15) to complete the course at their own pace.

Registration for the other two courses in the course series, Farm to Fork: Foundations in Local Food Supply & Value Chains (15 hours, $200) and The Bottom Line: Economic Realities and Other Considerations of Local Food Systems (15 hours, $200), will open in late fall and will run in early 2024 (Jan. 15 - April 15).

This online training program is designed for those who are just getting started in their local food systems career, or for those who have experience but want to gain a broader or more complete perspective. The training program is housed at NC State University, and is a partnership between N.C. Cooperative Extension, Clemson Cooperative Extension, and Virginia Cooperative Extension. 

We are continuing to offer four optional synchronous sessions while courses are running (held this fall via Zoom on 8/29, 9/26, 10/31, and 11/28 from 12-1:30pm EST), led by course instructors and featuring guest speakers, to help participants network while expanding their knowledge of current local food issues. This year, we are also adding evening virtual office hours (days/times TBD).

Upon successful completion of each course, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion from NC State University.or more information, including registration, please visit our website (www.localfoodcourses.org) or contact the course coordinators at [email protected].


Registration Open for Community Coaching Learning Circle

Submitted by Tanya Hall
Purdue University 

As a community development practitioner, at some point we will all be involved with coaching or guiding community groups. Oftentimes, folks think they can just wing it based on experience or it seems “easy”. I’d encourage you to consider being intentional with this work by honing your community coaching skills.

Through participating in this learning community, you will:

  • Increase your knowledge of the principles and practices of community coaching
  • Reflect on and increase your self-awareness of your role in different groups
  • Identify your community coaching style and personal philosophy
  • Deepen your capacity to coach community groups in a variety of situations
  • Build a network of colleagues to support continued learning and practice
  • See/hear several of your colleagues featured in the videos or podcasts

Once registered, access to the learning community non-credit course will open on August 14th and have live Zoom meetings every other Monday, 2:00-3:30 pm ET from August 28 - November 6, 2023.  The meetings will include small group discussions. To be fair to fellow group members, participants must be available to attend all Zoom meetings. Participants will have approximately 1.5 hours of online coursework between meetings consisting of reading, videos and self-reflection exercises. Space is limited.

A prerequisite to the Community Coaching Learning Circle is experience working with community groups/teams, in particular guiding these groups/teams through the process of achieving their goals.

The cost for the course is $450. Group registration of four or more individuals from the same organization is available at a rate of $350 if registered by July 14, 2023, using code CC2023. Registration closes on August 14th, 2023. Registration can be accessed at http://www.eventreg.purdue.edu/online/CCLCFall2023.

If you have questions, please reach out to Tanya Hall at [email protected].


YouTube Channel 2023 Conference Content

Submitted by Jan Steen
Kansas State

Couldn’t make it to Coeur d’Alene for our annual conference this year? Want to relive some of the experiences if you were able to attend? We’ve already uploaded a highlight reel and the capnote speaker presentation with more anticipated in the coming weeks. You can see it all here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6jgLtvNTItp0ucgmrw4XPA

If you have any community development programming content already on YouTube you’d like for us to share through our playlists, or if you have content that isn’t online yet but feel our channel would be a good home, send your links to [email protected].


From The North Central Region

Submitted by Jan Steen
Kansas State

NACDEP North Central Region members should have received a survey recently to aid in the planning of upcoming quarterly Zoom meetings. Those meetings are set for August 17th and November 9th at 1 PM Central/2 PM Eastern. More details on content will follow closer to the dates.

If you didn’t receive the survey and/or the calendar invitations for the meetings, please let me know and I will get you on the list – [email protected].

Have a great summer!