Extension offers virtual ‘Where We Live’ exploration

By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County Extension & Outreach originally planned a fun-filled program for Jones County youth, grades fourth through eighth, to learn about Iowa and Jones County. “Where We Live” was a way to encourage youth to get outside and explore their local community and what Iowa has to offer.

     Due to COVID-19, the program is now being offered virtually, and intended for families to spend some quality time together.

     Registration for “Where We Live” opens on Friday, May 22.

     The curriculum for this particular program was written by ISU Extension in 2003.

     “Jones County Extension wanted to offer this program to educate youth in the summer about Iowa,” said Jacki Luckstead, Jones County Extension Youth Program Specialist. “It seemed to be a topic for older youth to learn about ‘where we live.’”

     The outcomes for those who participate include:

     • Increased interest in agriculture, natural resources, food systems, and health

     • Enhance lifelong skills such as respect, responsibility, critical thinking, communication, cooperation, decision-making, problem solving, learning to learn, wise use of resources, and healthy choices

     • Exhibit understanding and respect for connections between themselves, other people, plants, animals, and natural resources that exist together in communities

     • Gain an appreciation for tourism in Jones County and Iowa

     Initially, the program consisted of five in-person sessions. Now, those sessions will be done virtually:

     • Session 1 – Where Do I Live (maps) and My Favorite Food (prairie foods)

     • Session 2 – Rock Bottom (geology) and Soil, Tall Grasses, and Value of Trees

     • Session 3 – Food Supplies

     • Session 4 – Using the Past to Get to the Future

     • Session 5 – Day Trip

     The day trip on the final day was a planned bus trip around Jones County. Now, it will be done virtually. The youth program participants will plan the trip and serve as tour guides for their families, explaining Iowa and Jones County tour sites.

     Each week, the youth and their families will receive weekly lesson packets for each session.

     “Accountability will be by completion of the activities, recorded in some way,” explained Luckstead. “It could be by video, journaling, or a discussion that we (Jones County Extension) will host.”

     Luckstead said there is plenty of material for a full-day of programming.

     “I hope that we will engage youth and their families to create fun and educational family time,” she urged.

     The funding for “Where We Live” is provided by a grant from Theisen’s. This allows Extension to offer the program at no cost to participants. Registration is free, but there might be a cost for materials based on how many people register.

     Contact Jones County Extension at 319-465-3224 to register.

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