Welcome to Douglas County
Douglas County partners with Extension to deliver even more practical education and research right in your county. University of Minnesota Extension is a major outreach arm of the University, a land grant institution with a mission to serve the public through applied research and education.
Welcome to Douglas County 4-H!
4-H is an out-of-school, hands on learning program for youth age 5-19. Youth choose a project that's interesting to them and explore it with peers and caring adults. 4-H clubs are groups of youth who want to learn together and meet in every part of Minnesota. All youth are welcome in 4-H.
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We are excited you are interested in joining 4-H in Douglas County! As you get connected, you will find that there is a lot going on and many ways to get involved. It is our hope that the 4-H community will be a positive one for you and your family. Douglas County 4-H is committed to using experiential education methods to develop a passion for lifelong learning. Our program is for youth grades kindergarten through one year past high school. The primary way that youth get involved in our programs is through community clubs.
There are several ways to join or re-enroll.
- Join 4-H for the first time or re-enroll
- Enroll as an independent member
- Reach out to 4-H staff in Douglas County
Douglas County 4-H resources
4-H enrollment period
You can enroll in 4-H at any time, however some events like county fair and Minnesota State Fair require enrollment before May 15. If you would like to exhibit animals, those also need to be ID'd by May 15.
When you enroll, you will be asked to pick a club and enroll in projects. Members need to enroll in at least one project but we encourage youth to enroll in as many projects as they're interested in.
The 2022 Douglas County Fair is set for August 17-20 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Check back as we'll continue to add important information as we get closer to fair! We can't wait to see what our 4-Her's are working on and showcase all their hard work!
- June 1 - 4-H fair registration opens in FairEntry
- July 15 - FairEntry 4-H registration closes at 11:59 p.m.
- August 2 - Clothing/textiles/quilting/fashion revue/performing arts judged
- August 5 - 4-H Dog Show
- August 8 - Fair cleanup and Leader's Council at the Douglas County Fairgrounds
- August 13 - 4-H Horse Show
- August 15 - Static (general non-perishable building) exhibits judged, animal science interviews and pet/cat shows
- August 16 - Static (general perishable building) exhibits judged and livestock vet check
- August 17 - Rocket launch, poultry show and rabbit show
- August 18 - Goat show, dairy show, lamb lead, sheep show and livestock demonstration judging
- August 19 - Swine show, beef show, register for livestock auction deadline and last call to accept state fair trips
- August 20 - Market livestock auction, state fair meetings and round robin showmanship
- August 21 - Animals released premium checks available and static (general building) exhibits released
4-H Food Stand
4-H club leaders will receive shift assignments for the 4-H Food Stand during the Douglas County Fair. The Food Stand at the fair is our only fundraiser of the year. 4-H members and their families are asked to work at the 4-H Food Stand during their club's scheduled shift. Please make every effort to volunteer with other families of your club. Many hands make light work. Independent families will be assigned a shift to volunteer at the Food Stand with another club. Club leaders will also receive shift assignments to volunteer in the 4-H Exhibit Building during the fair. If you have any questions, please contact your club leader or the 4-H office.
- Resources to help you register for all 4-H fair exhibits in FairEntry. There are no paper forms, if you need assistance please contact the Extension office and we will help you.
- Resources to help you prepare for fair.
Every enrolled Douglas County 4-H family should have received a printed 4-H Premium Book in the mail. Access the electronic version here.
County Fair Volunteer Signups
Lake Mary Troopers 4-H Club Sponsored Silent Auction
Donations accepted in the 4-H Exhibit building at the fair Monday and Tuesday, August 15-16
Bids accepted Wednesday, August 17-Saturday, August 20 (bids close at 7 p.m.)
Please consider making an exhibit to donate. Full details here.
4-H Youth Development is a hands-on learning program for Minnesota youth. We offer online, small group and independent learning experiences for youth of all ages. In 4-H, youth choose the topic they find interesting and caring adults support their learning and leadership. From agronomy to space exploration and creative arts to outdoor adventures, 4-H has just the right learning experience for young people.
There are many ways to participate in 4-H!
Get involved in program and projects
Throughout the year, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to explore different project areas at the county level outside 4-H clubs including livestock, STEM, performing arts, food and nutrition, gardening and more. These events can be short-term, long-term, half-day, full-day, overnight and virtual. Pick and choose programs based on your schedule and interests. Check out the Douglas County 4-H program catalog.
Volunteers always needed
- One-time volunteering, such as helping out at a 4-H event
- Leading the youngest 4-H'ers - Cloverbuds in grades K-2
- Chaperoning at regional and state events
- Teaching a topic you know a lot about - once or regularly
- Leading a 4-H club
Most of our programs are led by adult volunteers, as a result, our programs depend on adults willing to share their time and talents. All adult volunteers are required to be screened before working with children. Learn more about volunteering with 4-H.
Douglas County 4-H Record Guidelines
Learning in 4-H is based on the experiential learning cycle of do-reflect-apply. 4-H records are a way of reflecting and applying what has been learned in the past year.
Records can take many forms; find the one that suits your learning style and how you like to share you story with others. In your reflection, include goals of your project work, process (what did you do), sharing what you learned-demonstration, community service, public awareness, challenges, successes and improvements, financial information if applicable and what life skills you learned.
There are many different ways to complete your records:
- Google form-complete the prompts in this form and email resume to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit a resume with your record.
- Written form-complete a participation summary OR write a story answering the following: what did you learn, what skills have you developed, what would you improve upon, how can you use what you learned in other parts of your life? You can also include supporting newspaper articles or photographs. Please submit a resume with your record.
- Be creative-make a scrapbook, or photo book, create a video or slide show answering the above questions. Please submit a resume with your record.
Record materials are due in the Extension office on or before October 1 of current year.
For more information on resumes click here
There are numerous awards youth leaders can apply for in addition to records.
Find the latest on Extension agricultural research and news you can use on your farm from local experts.
Statewide news and blogs
- Agricultural Business Management News -Business and financial resources for farmers.
- Beef News - Beef industry featured events, farm safety and animal health.
- Dairy News - Dairy industry featured events, farm safety and animal health.
- Fruit and Vegetable News - Local production and marketing of fruit and vegetable crops in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Crop News - Emerging issues affecting Minnesota row crops and forages.
Farm Information Line
For general questions or to set up a financial counseling session, contact the Farm Information Line. You'll get reliable, research-based answers from Extension agriculture and natural resources experts. It's a statewide service backed by a network of local educators, so you'll get information to meet your needs.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Afterhours: Leave a voicemail and we'll return your call the next business day.
Anytime: Email us at email@example.com.
Meet your local educator in horticulture
Because University of Minnesota Extension is part of the communities we serve, we can identify information needs early, set up related research as needed and develop educational programs to bring information and training to the community.
That’s true in Douglas County where Robin Trott is the consumer horticulture Extension educator, offering customized resources. As part of the University, Robin is a member of a diverse network of experts engaged in research and education.
Robin is an experienced environmental educator, market gardener and flower farmer and has worked in various positions in the floriculture/education industry for more than 15 years. As the consumer horticulture Extension educator in Douglas County, she answers questions ranging from insects and disease to landscape design. Robin has a passion for all aspects of horticulture, and especially loves the challenging questions that lead to research and revelation.
If you are a resident of Douglas County, send your questions to Robin.
Are you looking for garden inspiration? Are you a garden enthusiast looking for a great way to spend a beautiful summer day?
Join the Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners for their annual Tour of Gardens beginning at 10 AM on Sunday, July 24, concludes at 4 PM. This year's self-guided tour showcases five gardens in Douglas County. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions and provide helpful information. Visit the gardens in the order of your choice and go at your own pace. Cost is $5 per adult (children free) payable at the first garden you visit; receive a badge for entry into the other garden locations.
#1 Lucretia & Bruce Campbell, 3744 Little Ida Beach Rd NW, Alexandria. Hardy cactus by the driveway are gradually spreading throughout the rock garden, where you will also find a miniature hydrangea. Lucretia’s houseplants are moved outdoors in May and provide color and variety in her beautiful gardens and landscape. Behind the house, the gardens showcase mammoth mums, iris, poppies, allium, tansy and more. Tiers of hostas love the shade at the back corner of the house. Don’t forget to walk through the rose garden by the lake. A variety of trees bring color throughout the seasons – a Korean Lilac tree, a Japanese Lilac tree and a weeping shrub, among others.
#2 Connie Simons, 907 Curt Felt Drive, Alexandria. A burst of color awaits you when you visit this yard! From repurposed planters to many flower gardens, you will find a variety of plants and colors interspersed to create a backyard paradise. Connie loves succulents and they’ll be found in many locations from unique planters to wreaths. She has nine rain barrels and grows many kinds of vegetables in galvanized tanks. A Tatarian Hot Wings Maple tree, a Kentucky Coffee tree, a Heritage Birch tree and a Toba Hawthorne tree are a few of the unusual trees found around the yard. Vista “Bubblegum” Petunias are another of Connie’s favorites and are included in many of the garden areas and planters.
# 3 Ron & Ann Branch, Berry Ridge Farm, 1301 Firemen’s Lodge Rd SW, Alexandria. This year (2022) marks the 35th anniversary of Berry Ridge Farm. Ron and Ann sell vegetables, fruit and flowers directly to customers at their 11-acre farm as well as being a part of the Alexandria Farmers Market. Their high tunnels allow an early May start and a longer fall season. Their crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, beets, green beans, strawberries, several varieties of blueberries and much more. Watering is done with drip irrigation. Check out their mini cranberry bog which was started three years ago.
# 4 Warren Schmidt, 1709 Firemen’s Lodge Rd SW, Alexandria. Warren moved to this location a few years ago and has transformed a neglected yard into a beautiful site. He enjoys growing hybrid tea roses and dahlias and is always trying new varieties. You’ll find giant cannas, gladiolus, hosta and iris around the property. The colorful moss rose garden reseeds itself every year. Another of Warren’s projects is over-wintering geraniums which now brighten the landscaping around the house. He is also growing a tomato plant and a cucumber plant hydroponically, which will grow to over seven feet tall.
# 5 Barb & Bob Friederichs, 3400 Latoka Bay Rd SW, Alexandria. Daylilies and strawberries welcome you as you enter their wonderful yard and gardens. You’ll see gnomes and fairies tucked in here and there around the yard (but never together)! As you walk around, you’ll find various combinations of vegetables (tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, celery, etc.) and fruit planted in the tiers and the back yard. The terracing project in the back has been a six-year project. Hosta, ferns, lady’s mantle and perennial geraniums have been used to fill those terraced areas. A garden with a great assortment of herbs is located close to the house for easy access to the kitchen, so they can be included in meals being prepared.
For more information or tour brochure, call University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County at 320-762-3890 or stop by and see us in our new location at the Douglas County Courthouse 305 8th Ave W, Alexandria (2nd floor). Visit us on the web at www.extension.umn.edu/douglas . Hope to see you there, held rain or shine!
Douglas County Master Gardeners are very active in their community. They share best practices in gardening that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods and healthy lives. They have completed a University-taught core course and contribute a certain number of hours to teaching research-based horticulture practices in Douglas County. The Master Gardeners are from all walks of life and volunteer on behalf of their University.
There's a good chance you or a family member have participated in one or more of their programs or classes. Some of their most recognizable includes Let's Get Growing, Tour of Gardens, Lunch and Learn, Brown Bag workshops, Terrace Learning Gardens, annual plant sale, bus tours, Ask a Master Gardener booth (county fair and farmers market), Woodland Gardens and numerous community education classes.
This group of over 55 Master Gardeners meet monthly. They are extremely dedicated and put in time and effort toward continuing education. If you believe that you have the skills and passion it takes to be an Extension Master Gardener, applications open in early July!
Check out the Douglas County Master Gardener Facebook page for more information.
2022 University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County Scholarship Now Open
Application Deadline: April 22, 2022. The Scholarship Selection Committee will meet after the deadline to make a recommendation to the Master Gardener membership.
- All information submitted should be typed, mailed and postmarked by April 22, 2022. An electronic copy of the application form can be requested by contacting the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-762-3890.
Applicant should be pursuing a future in a horticulture or horticulture-related career. (examples include floriculture & nursery production, plant breeding & genetics, turfgrass science, horticulture, landscaping, plant biotechnology, arboriculture, environmental studies or viticulture) An agriculture or agriculture-related career path may be considered at the discretion of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County Scholarship Committee.
- Applicant must be graduating from an area high school in 2022 and be a resident of Douglas or Pope County; or a resident of Douglas or Pope County who is currently registered at a post-secondary education institution.
- Applicant must be planning to enroll or be enrolled in a two, three, or four-year post-secondary education institution.
- Applicant must provide a summary of education and career plans.
- Applicant must provide a summary of community or school activities he/she has participated in.
- Applicant must provide a letter of reference.
- The scholarship amount is $500.
- If awarded, the recipient must submit their college transcript upon completion of the fall 2022 semester or quarter of college and must have achieved a GPA of 2.5 or better. The full scholarship award of $500 will be issued to the school of record or the student upon receipt of this information. (The check will be mailed to the student to use for payment of his/her expenses at the college.)
Please mail completed application by April 22, 2022 to University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners, 305 8th Avenue West, Alexandria, MN 56308 or email to email@example.com. Please call 320-762-3890 with questions.
Health and nutrition
Extension offers a variety of educational programs about nutrition and health in Douglas County. These programs are open to families and individuals of all ages who are eligible for benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or who meet Extension’s program income guidelines.
Programs are offered in community settings such as food shelves, schools, community centers and public housing sites. The programs are free to all individuals and families who meet income guidelines, and may be offered in multiple languages, depending on the audience needs and availability of educators.
Extension's Center for Community Vitality engages Minnesotans to strengthen the social, civic, economic and technological capacity of their communities. We help create vibrant communities and enhance skills and knowledge in economics, leadership and civic engagement, and tourism.
Check our community research page for reports on county and community-focused topics relating to local economics, retaining businesses, growing retail markets, developing tourism, and more.
Local programs can be offered in collaboration with local community organizations and government agencies. Current programs include:
- Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (MARL)
- Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program (ELP)
Contact an educator in your area for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.
Minnesota is a great place to explore, understand and conserve the natural landscape. Extension education, volunteer and community science programs encourage people to become stewards of Minnesota’s public and private lands.
Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) connect Greater Minnesota communities and University of Minnesota knowledge and resources to support local sustainability projects. Working in partnership, RSDP supports community-driven projects in four focus areas: agriculture and food systems, clean energy, natural resources and resilient communities. Projects are supported by boards made up of local community members and University faculty and staff. Learn more about RSDP’s recent work in your county and neighboring communities, and how to submit a project idea.
Join us at an event in your community.
Find opportunities to learn about the natural environment, how to care for your forest lands, and how you and your family can get out and explore nature around the state and in your own backyard.
Find information on community-focused news.
Find out how to take care of your trees and enjoy Minnesota's beautiful woodlands.
From preserving our wetlands to combating invasive species, read about protecting and enjoying nature.
Learn more about community-driven sustainability projects happening across Minnesota.
Douglas County Extension
Erin Anderson, Office Support Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-762-3890
Jodi Hintzen, Extension educator, 4-H Youth Development
email@example.com or 320-762-3890
Jackie Kokett, Extension educator, 4-H Youth Development
firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-762-3890
Kim Taveirne, administrative & program specialist
email@example.com or 320-762-3890
Robin Trott, Extension educator, Horticulture
firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-762-3890
Extension brings Minnesotans together to build a better future through University science-based knowledge, expertise and training. Learn more about Extension by visiting our about page and by browsing this website.