BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — You can follow a road map of Extension projects that will lead you throughout Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties & beyond while traveling the entire state. That highlight is just one of the moments explored during the recent Extension county visits with University of Illinois College of ACES, Dean Kim Kidwell, Associate Dean & Extension Director Dr. George Czapar and many other team members this fall. From a jailhouse garden to a youth center, it was a day filled with new experiences.
While in our counties, campus staff was able to grab a map and experience just a glimpse of the current programming Extension has stretching from Bloomington to Eureka and more. The group first toured the Woodford County Jail
inmate ran garden project that our Horticulture team guides & teaches throughout the growing season. Food grown in the garden is used in the jail kitchens and inmates literally farm to table their own food. A few other stops
included The Refuge Food Forest in Normal where community members are invited to come harvest berries, currants & various other crops grown right in the middle of their city. Before that, the group explored a 4-H showcase at the McLean County Extension Office that included 4-H members and their projects from all three counties.
They had the chance to explain and demonstrate their projects while sharing stories about how 4-H influences their daily lives. Whether it was the welding job on a wrecked jeep or Dean Kidwell getting to test out Robotics projects across the room, it was a showcase of the great diversity of projects in 4-H.
The day concluded visiting with youth at the Unity Community Center in Normal, IL. The team got to sit down and listen to the stories that youth had to share about their time spent at Unity every day after school. One conversation even sparked up about favorite animals, a shark was mentioned! Not the most common favorite out there, but that same discussion later turned into the fact that she may want to be veterinarian or marine biologist working with those sharks someday. Aspirations and dreams of many were shared during the visit before the group snapped a photo in front of the welcome signs that Unity youth made especially for their visitors.
Thank you goes out to all that made the trip and helped us explore a road map of Extension right in our backyards.
University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 309-663-8306.
— University of Illinois Extension Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties
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