New extension leadership hired in northeast Wyoming
Both Crook and Weston counties have recently hired new extension agents to spearhead their respective programs, with a third agent slated to join the Crook County team on April 30.
Lander native Brian Sebade, is based in Crook County, but also covers Campbell, Johnson, Sheridan and Weston counties in his capacity as Sustainable Management of Rangeland Resources Extension Educator.
“I have my bachelors and masters from the University of Wyoming in rangeland ecology and watershed management, and thought this job would be a good fit in part because I have always loved being outside. With this job I get to go outside and meet with people who deal with natural resource issues,” explained Sebade.
Sebade started last June, and has concentrated much of his efforts on getting to know the communities and individuals in his designated counties.
“It’s a unique area because of what is here as far as natural resources go. There are pipelines that may be coming through, a rare natural elements mine is going in the Bear Lodge Mountains, and numerous other things. Those unique attributes provide a diverse working environment as far as how to help educate people about best management practices, and what needs to be done in specific situations to maintain a profitable, sustainable working environment for agriculture,” he noted.
Thus far, Sebade has been heavily involved in multiple management schools and programs located across eastern Wyoming, in addition to starting research projects of interest to local producers.
“One project I’m working on is if forage kosia weed can be a viable plant source for winter grazing in this area, for both cattle and sheep. Right now we’re looking at how well it established, and if it will spread outside of where we planted it,” he explained.
As spring and summer months arrive in Wyoming, Sebade is also planning to focus on some gardening related projects and activities, including a community garden in Sundance, and a hoophouse workshop.
“I’m still trying to figure out exactly what people actually need and want as far as information goes. I try to put anything I’m hosting or working on in the local paper, on local radio, and always have flyers at my office,” he said of how people can find current extension projects and programs being offered.
Stacy Madden took the reins as the Weston County Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator three months ago, and is also maintaining a busy schedule as she learns the community’s wants and needs.
“I am originally from a small town in western Nebraska, went to school at the University of Wyoming, and was a 4-H member for 10 years. After I was a member, I volunteered as a leader when my time and schedule would allow, and eventually decided I wanted to make a career out of what I did on the weekends,” she stated of why she applied for the job.
At present, Madden says she is focusing on getting to know everyone, and the local 4-H program, in an effort to pinpoint what goals people have, what new components could be introduced and what traditional components are important to keep. She is also trying several new ideas and getting involved in the community to aid in her efforts.
Starting a Farm School Program is one of Madden’s current ideas that is in the early phases of completion. It would allow youth who don’t have the facilities to house livestock animals at their home to keep them at the fairgrounds. She is also busy planning the Weston/Crook county 4-H Camp for this summer, and is working with Sebade on a potential 4-H forestry project as well.
“I am also currently building the website to make it more accessible to Weston county parents, 4-H members, volunteers, and anyone else who may use it. Adding a Facebook page, email list and smartphone app are also things I’ve done in an effort to get partners, volunteers and members the information they need in the most convenient way for them,” she explained of enhancing communication within the county.
“I’m also getting involved in the After School Program, Double AAces, by partnering with their Summer Rec program and planning some fun and education summer workshops, and will be teaching a five-part science experiment in schools at the end of April. It’s being called, “4-H Myth Busters,” and it will be focused on middle school aged students,” she said of her efforts to partner the 4-H program into other youth education outlets.
“I am excited about working with volunteers and youth leaders. Volunteers are a special group of people; they are so motivated and their experiences teach me new things, which is really exciting. Working with youth leaders is also very motivating. They also have such a passion, and it’s fun to see them grow and evolve as young men and women,” said Madden of what’s she most excited about in her current position.
Both Sebade and Madden said they are open to input, and hoping to tailor their efforts to the needs and interests of community members.
“The big picture of extension in my position is to bring sound, scientific information to the public, and I’m hoping to find programs that people want and need to learn more about. I have lots of ideas, but am always open to input, ideas and comments, and encourage people to talk to me,” said Sebade.
“I’ve only been in my position for three months, and it’s hard to say where I’ll be going with programing at this point. I have so many different projects to potentially incorporate into the program, but I want it to fit people’s interests. I am looking for people to let me know what they want to learn, and for volunteers with specific interests that can help present those ideas and skills to 4-H members,” added Madden.