Extension takes University research and education into people's lives, engaging Minnesotans to address many of today's complex issues.
In Extension, we envision a Minnesota in which strong partnerships, discovery through science and diverse perspectives combine to find smart, creative ways to address 21st century challenges. We are committed to achieving that vision, but we need your help. Your investment in Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign helps ensure that Extension will be here to help all Minnesotans adapt and thrive.
Extension's campaign priority initiatives
Extension's Driven campaign includes a number of special initiatives that will benefit programs all across Extension. Your gift will help these successful programs survive and thrive, making Minnesota stronger for its people, organizations and communities.
Extension Master Gardeners are the go-to experts when Minnesotans have questions about plants. More than 2,000 people across the state volunteer about 150,000 hours each year in their communities by sharing research-based, reliable information.
Master Gardeners do much more than answer questions; they advocate and teach about related issues such as pollinators, clean water, local food and access to green spaces and nature.
The Extension Master Gardeners program collaborates closely with the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to provide educational opportunities for Master Gardeners through seminars and workshops focused on up-to-date horticultural research and best practices. Master Gardeners bring their knowledge home to benefit their communities.
The partnership between University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has increased research-based continuing education opportunities for Master Gardeners.
All Master Gardeners:
- Complete a core course taught by U of M horticultural science faculty and Extension educators. 196 new Master Gardeners took the course in 2017.
- Share research-based horticulture in their communities. In 2017 they reached 150,307 adults and 56,816 youth. Out of those, 30,441 were people from under-represented audiences.
- Continue learning best horticultural practices in seminars and workshops taught by field experts. They earned 27,207 continuing education hours in 2017.
With your help, a new Extension Master Gardener headquarters will provide a place for learning and growth, in person and through distance learning.
Help Master Gardeners grow with a statewide education center
Master Gardeners’ work is essential to healthy, strong Minnesota communities. A central place for Master Gardeners to learn, share and explore new opportunities with plants will allow the Master Gardeners program to:
- Showcase the Master Gardeners’ work in a public setting
- Offer more distance learning opportunities for volunteer Master Gardeners without the added expense of travel for continuing education
- Create a central space where Master Gardeners from around the state can gather to share new information and teaching strategies
- Expand the Master Gardeners’ partnership with the Arboretum’s Adult Education programs to reach an even broader range of Minnesotans who are interested in plants
- Take advantage of the Arboretum’s new farmhouse campus where adults and children can learn and explore where food comes from and how it gets from gardens to their plates
- Create efficiencies through centralized administrative space
Minnesota’s $15 billion tourism industry depends on research from the Minnesota Tourism Center. Over the past 30 years, the Tourism Center has delivered hundreds of research studies and technical reports to guide local decision making, drive marketing strategies and inform policy. The Tourism Center has provided education to more than 100,000 people and its impact covers communities across Minnesota and beyond.
Five priority areas have been identified for the Tourism Center’s work in the coming years:
- Research on emerging trends
- Research on diverse audiences/markets
- Sharing economy
- Becoming a global destination
These programs address topics of importance to businesses and communities, including tourism development; festival and event management; and quality customer service. Our work has earned a national reputation, establishing the Tourism Center as a leader in applied research and education.
Help the Tourism Center grow even stronger
Demand for the Tourism Center’s research and programs is rising along with the cost of producing that programming, and traditional sources of financial support are no longer sufficient. We need your help.
Your investment in the Tourism Center will help us:
- Address trends and issues critical to Minnesota tourism
- Share practical knowledge and resources to support and sustain tourism
- Cultivate new or emerging tourism leaders
- Engage and retain students and educators
Our campaign goal of $2 million will allow the Tourism Center to:
- Create a “Tourism Marketing College” workshop to build industry workforce skills and knowledge. The weeklong workshop could address critical knowledge and skills such as marketing, leadership, research and emerging trends.
- Implement a statewide visitor profile process that will provide communities and businesses with systematically updated information on regional visitors every 5 years.
- Research the tourism needs/interests of Minnesota’s diverse and new immigrant populations and develop training for the industry to meet their needs.
- Sustain an educator position to establish and conduct agritourism programming that connects two of Minnesota’s strongest industries.
4-H is thriving, especially in outdoor sports and wildlife.
In 2004, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources forecast a decade-long decline in the number of hunters and anglers. But 4-H’s outdoor recreation programs did the opposite and grew.
The pride of Minnesota is our lakes, parks, trails and rivers. 4-H is the youth organization best equipped to engage young people in programs that build a love of—and appreciation for—the outdoors. With your help, even more Minnesota young people can have high-quality experiences exploring the outdoors.
Currently, more than 12,000 young people—one in five Minnesota 4-H’ers—participate in shooting sports, wildlife biology, water and wetlands, ATV safety, fishing, entomology, geology, and forestry projects.
While young people learn and explore their interests through these projects, adult mentors help them develop leadership and communication skills, self-worth, and conservation ethics.
Minnesota 4-H’s outdoors work is led by a team of 20 adult volunteers, 25 content experts, and one 4-H staff member. This team ensures that 4-H’s outdoors programs are grounded in science principles that help young people get excited about learning.
Help grow participation in 4-H outdoors projects
Demand for 4-H programming is rising along with costs, and traditional sources of financial support are no longer sufficient. Your investment helps ensure that 4-H’s outdoors programs can continue to adapt and thrive through:
- Support a full-time 4-H staff position to lead and advocate for statewide outdoor sports and wildlife programming.
- Support 4-H youth attendance at state and national events.
- Fund the Shooting Sports and Wildlife Ambassadors—an opportunity for youth leaders to promote and enhance our programming.
- Expand the 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl and Skill-A-Thon competitions.
- Provide resources for developing new 4-H curriculum and events that improve the knowledge and skills of our young people.
- Create summer internships for older youth and organize wildlife and conservation learning events across the state.
- Create training and learning opportunities for adult volunteers
Anyone who has ever visited the 4-H Building at the Minnesota State Fair has surely heard the unmistakable sounds of trumpets, singing, laughter, and applause surrounding the Harkness Stage at the heart of the building.
For 50 years, 4-H State Arts-In has been offering a positive, life-changing experience for Minnesota youth. Arts-In brings together young people from around the state for an immersive arts experience that few, if any, schools or community programs can replicate. Many young people struggle to find a place to express themselves, try new things, and meet good friends. Arts-In is a youth development immersion opportunity for young people ages 15-19 with an interest in the arts.
Youth development professionals and college- age youth (aka “assistant directors”) serve as mentors for Arts-In participants. The presence of arts experts working directly with youth is a key component of the program.
Participants live the theater experience working each day for three weeks to execute every aspect of a live musical stage production at the State Fair. The first week is prep—the show is learned, the set constructed, costumes sewn, and the band rehearses. Youth spend 60 hours working in their “major” area of learning (performing, band, costumes, or theater tech). They also spend time learning about leadership, team building, and personal growth.
Over the next two weeks, participants perform 3-4 shows each day of the Fair’s 12-day run. That adds up to 40 shows for 12,000+ audience members. Youth run the sound and lighting for three stages, wash and mend 40+ costumes, and greet the public.
The stage show incorporates a positive and inspirational message. Participants meet each day to process what they are learning and explore lessons on leadership. In addition to the stage show, youth welcome 50+ county 4-H performances and talent show acts to the 4-H Building.
Help grow participation in 4-H Arts-In and keep the program strong for the future
Demand for 4-H programming is rising along with costs, and traditional sources of financial support are no longer sufficient. Your investment helps ensure that 4-H performing arts programs can continue to adapt and thrive through:
- Program support: Food, lodging, costumes, sets, educational speakers, and more are essential to the success of Arts-In. Gifts and endowment proceeds fund these needs, and help keep the Arts-In program fee affordable for all participants.
- Scholarships: As the cost of attending Arts-In has risen, participation has declined. A decade ago, Arts-In had over 90 participants; in 2016 it had just 68. Scholarships allow 4-H to include youth whose family cannot afford the full program fee.
- Equipment and supplies: Arts-In relies on special technical equipment. From time-to-time we must replace stage lights, sound equipment, sewing machines, and other supplies. And some years we rent special musical instruments.