What’s It Like to Work with the eXtension Foundation as an NTAE Project? – Using Mass Media for Extension Messaging

eXtension recently announced the opportunity for nominations for the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) for Year 2 projects. The nomination form will be available on June 15th until July 20th, 2020. Selected projects will receive wrap around services from the eXtension Foundation to support, accelerate, and amplify the project/program outcomes. Wrap around services include:

  • Project/Program advisory support from a Catalyst (current or past senior program or administrative Cooperative Extension Service (CES) personnel).
  • Support to compose a formal peer-reviewed publication of resources and processes used by the project which might be an eFieldbook or ePub publication.
  • Evaluation support
  • Digital engagement support for digital learning and instructing
  • Leadership support and training for adaptation to a digital environment
  • Professional engagement and development by encouraging all projects to share their processes and products via connect.extension.org.
  • Optional Wrap Around Services for selected project(s)
    • Marketing efforts with an outside firm
    • Partnership development assistance

What’s it like to work with eXtension Foundation as an NTAE project? We caught up with one of our Fellows that is leading one of our Year 1 projects.

@Tom Smith is the Executive Director for the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). NPSEC supports and serves Extension Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs) to be the premier national source of high quality research-based pesticide safety education.

Increasing the level of awareness about pesticides and their impact on pollinators by the general public can help to sustain pollinators around homes, farms and businesses. This project led by NPSEC is targeting messaging about pollinators and using mass media (radio, digital, social) to reach a larger audience than is typical with most Extension messaging. The project directs the audience to additional Extension resources and has developed a methodology to measure audience engagement, including change in behavior and implementation of practices benefiting both native and managed pollinators. The pilot is in a select group of Texas communities and the content resources available through the Cooperative Extension program at Prairie View A&M University.

Nathan Hermond, Extension Associate with Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension is working to help curate the content and resources available through the university and working hand-in-hand with the NPSEC team, including @Kara Maddox – Creative Director – to drive the public to those resources through the mass media initiative.

According to Dr. Carolyn Williams, Associate Administrator for the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University, “we are excited about this great opportunity to expand our program outreach to target the millennial population in an urban county.  This partnership with eXtension and NPSEC has been an exceptional process working together to promote the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University and the Pollinator Pilot Campaign in an amazing mass media approach like never before.”

According to Tom Smith, “eXtension’s wrap around services have been very helpful. The eFieldbook provides an opportunity to create a unique and robust complementary resource. The NTAE catalyst team has provided us validation, support, and advice. The encouragement to design professional development webinars has allowed us to focus more purposely on the key components of our project.”

Thinking back to right before this team started working with the eXtension Foundation, Tom stated “eXtension has allowed us to accelerate our project and will hopefully provide proof of concept. During the course of the project, we had to make a pivot with one of our partners. The NTAE Catalyst team and others were supportive in really helping us convert a challenge into a real opportunity.”

Reflecting upon the value that the eXtension Foundation has brought to the project, Tom shared “one added value is the funding that has allowed us to take an idea and implement it as a pilot project. Additionally, the organizational support for scheduling meetings and professional feedback from the eXtension staff has been valuable. Connect Extension has also allowed us to have a great promotional and collaboration platform to engage with a broad group of Extension Educators and others interested in this project.”

Do you have an early stage, high potential project that you would like to nominate? Requirements of projects/programs are as follows:

  • Projects must be in early stages of maturity and have a high potential for making a significant local impact and providing a model for adoption by other Extension professionals regionally or nationwide. This means the project is likely to have objectives completed, audiences identified, outcomes identified and has had some early stage of implementation.
  • Each nomination should identify a lead (a Fellow) for the project that will serve as the primary contact.
  • All nominations must have the support of the Extension Director/Administrator.

Learn more about the application and nomination process here.