I want to thank everyone who attended the Extension Symposium last week. I also want to thank the team that put the symposium together, and the dedicated faculty who conducted each of the in-service trainings. Even after all these years, I’m still amazed by the sheer range and quality of the programming UF/IFAS Extension provides for the people of Florida. Events like the Symposium are especially important because they allow us to learn about what our colleagues are doing throughout the state, to share experiences and form new collaborations that improve the reach of our organization. Like any diverse organization, we need cross-pollination—of ideas, innovations, and lessons learned—in order to thrive.
If there’s a downside to these events, it’s that we haven’t quite figured out the whole time/space continuum thing and can’t be in more than one place at one time! Each session was a must-see and no doubt there were more than a few we regret to have missed out on.
Fortunately, EPAF is just around the corner, and in the meantime we have Extension Connections. These live Zoom webinars are really symposia in miniature, allowing faculty to discuss new programs and initiatives. They’re also an opportunity to share news and discuss issues affecting all of us in Extension. Zoom is an open conference format, and I encourage everyone to join the webinars to ask questions and provide insights.
Beginning this month, Extension Connections is back with a full slate of sessions throughout the rest of the year.
On May 20, Wendy Wilber will join me to talk about what’s new in the Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program, and Katherine Davies, Director of Development, will discuss Extension fundraising efforts and explain the new system of in-kind gift reporting.
June 17 will be our semi-annual Statewide Discussion of Extension Initiatives and Opportunities. This webinar is targeted to our stakeholders, who are invited to join us at local UF/IFAS Extension county offices to share an update on our strategic initiatives, as well as the IFAS budget, Farm Bill impacts and other issues that are relevant to our Extension work throughout the state.
Internal Extension Connections sessions will continue June 24 and July 22.
In August we’ll break for EPAF (August 22-31), and continue with sessions on September 30, October 28, November 25, and December 16.
Faculty and administration guests will join me to discuss critical issues, including the Harmful Algae Bloom Initiative; the UF Herbarium; EFNEP Nutrition Education, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year; the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp pilot project; and the Pesticide Information Office update on Glyphosate. I’ll also provide updates on the Florida Legislative session and other news.
Recordings of each Extension Connections webinar go up on the website almost immediately, so you can catch up with the discussion even if you aren’t available at 11 a.m. for the live sessions.
As events like the symposium show us, open communication is the spark that ignites innovation, encourages collaboration and energizes our purpose. It’s important to keep that spark and that energy alive through Extension Connections. I look forward to Zooming with you.