Local Interest

By Sarah Paulos, Nebraska Extension Educator

      “Don’t get dirty.”

      “Wash your hands!”

This has been the request of parents throughout the ages aimed at children coming in and out from outdoor play. But is this good advice? Can getting dirty and being exposed to germs actually benefit children? The answer is yes.

The Centers for Disease Control stated that the number of Americans with asthma grew by 28 percent from 2001-11. Research has also noted that children who are exposed to more microbes (or germs) early in life develop better immune tolerance to things like asthma and allergies.

By Gary Stone, Extension Educators, Panhandle Extension District

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potential invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

By Cynthia Gill, Extension Educator, Cheyenne County

High school students have many choices facing them about further education after graduation. Four-year degrees, junior colleges or certificate programs – which is the right choice for their next life chapter?

To help with these life-altering decisions, Nebraska Extension has partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Admissions to create a statewide program called Next Chapter, a college-readiness program delivered through the Nebraska 4-H program that helps students prepare for and succeed in college by providing the skills students need to reach their academic goals.

By Kelley Rice, Extension Educator and 4-H Coordinator for Panhandle Extension District

4-H is the largest youth organization in the nation. 4-H serves more than 7 million youth, working in partnership with national, state, and local partners to provide meaningful experiences where youth learn by doing.

As we celebrate Nebraska 4-H Month, I would like shed some light on how Nebraska 4-H is dedicated to teaching life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, social skills, communication, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership in order to prepare our youth for a successful future.

As Nebraska Extension Educator Jim Schild prepares to retire from a 35-year Extension career – 30 of them spent in Scotts Bluff County – he says what he’ll remember most is the connections he’s made with people over the years.

“I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of in my career,” Schild said. “Meeting a lot of great people, developing lifelong friendships, helping people, making their lives more productive, helping them save a tree or shrub, seeing 4-Hers growing up to be leaders in their communities.”

Schild is retiring at the end of January.

The peppers were harvested weeks ago from a small research plot at the Panhandle Center where a type of fabric mulch is being tested for potential use in USDA certified organic produce fields.

During the off season, researchers are checking to see what becomes of the biodegradable mulch, an experimental product from 3M that is being tested to see if it is suitable for USDA-certified organic vegetable production.

Last spring, six rows of peppers were planted through 3-foot-wide strips of mulch. Two different types of mulch, one black and the other white, are being tested. Recently, workers were busy in the plot setting up six different treatment regimens for the harvested plots, to see if the fabric mulch will disintegrate differently under different conditions.

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