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Extension Honors Three Faculty, Colville Tribes

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Cooperative Extension honored three of its faculty and the Colville Confederated Tribes Wednesday evening in ceremonies here at extension’s Strengthening Our Connections Conference.

The Award of Excellence went to Don Meehan, Coupeville; Jon Newkirk, Ritzville; and Christy Price, Ephrata.

Meehan was honored for work to improve the environment, develop youth, and work in agronomy and horticulture in Island County. He helped develop several volunteer organizations, including Master Gardeners, Waste Warriors and Beach Watchers. He has promoted mapping the hardening of Island County shorelines, conducts a lighthouse tour and gives ferry interpretive presentations.

Meehan also coordinates the 4-H youth program, including the Japanese exchange, and developed a Challenge Course in cooperation with the parks department. In addition, he conducts informal education programs in agronomy and horticulture. He has received over $294,000 in grants and donations.

Newkirk was honored for pioneering risk management education in Washington. His program has benefitted farmers and their families across the State of Washington, the Pacific Northwest and the nation. Newkirk has worked with this project in the Pacific Northwest for the last two years. Last year he helped secure significant additional federal funding for risk management education throughout the nation.

His efforts have secured $5 million annually for the next five-years for Cooperative Extension programs across the nation. His efforts in the Pacific Northwest have expanded the concept of risk management education beyond the normal parameters of the past. It involves the entire farm family in goal setting and risk management rather than just reimbursement for crop losses.

Price, who works in 4-H youth development, designed an out-of-school time program that is impacting the lives of high-risk youth. Price developed curriculum, trained volunteers, secured extra-mural funding and collaborated with the Community Opportunities and Programs for Youth after school program. Each year Price recruits and trains 50 teen volunteers who assist with the program activities.

Through the out-of-school time program, youth have the opportunity to make choices, try new ideas, learn new skills, make mistakes, and have a mentor to help them recognize the benefits and consequences of their choices. Grant County Sheriff records indicate a 47% decrease in juvenile problems for the Larson neighborhood following the program implementation in that area.

The Colville Confederated Tribes were honored for their outstanding partnership with extension. They have dedicated funds to a well-balanced extension program on the Colville Indian Reservation in Ferry and Okanogan Counties. Their funding supports the Cooperative Extension office and staff in Nespelem for programs on the Colville Reservation. Their funding also matches a private donor to pay the salary of a faculty member in family living.

Funding supports a 4-H Challenge ropes course and the salary for a 4-H program assistant on the Colville Reservation. They also have donated land and the 4-H Camp at Twin Lakes for the 4-H Challenge Course.

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