Faculty and staff at the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service have improved techniques for animal and forage management, provided speedy and accurate plant diagnoses, and helped young ranchers succeed in their ranching operations.
What they all have in common is their innovative approaches to fulfilling Extension’s mission of connecting research to best practices.
The Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, recognized the efforts and excellence of employees at the state and county levels during the service’s faculty and staff conference on Monday at the state office in Little Rock.
Rick Cartwright, extension director, commended this year’s winners, who were nominated and selected by a committee of their peers.
“We have to tackle challenges and opportunities in a way that is very vibrant, very visible and very technological in the 21st century,” Cartwright said. This year’s winners, he said, have done just that.
Among this year’s winners were the following:
Early Career Award - Classified Employee: Sandra Kirk, Hempstead County. Sandra received two nominations for outstanding work with staff. Master Gardener Darla Irby said, “Sandra is the perfect example of service with a smile. She is always willing to go above and beyond on any task she is given. We are so fortunate to have her.”
Early Career Award - State Extension Faculty: Amanda McWhirt, horticulture. McWhirt’s modern approach to outreach has improved the visibility of Extension. Her Episode 1 video of Blackberry School had received nearly 20,000 views in early October. She has demonstration projects at several stations including Hope, Kibler and Clarksville. She was recently received the 2019 Young Minds Award for best presentation from the International Society for Horticultural Science in Zurich, Switzerland.
Employee of the Year – Addie Wilson, Family and Consumer Science. Since joining the state office as a program associate in December 2018. Addie has demonstrated leadership in grant management, agent technical assistance and training and program evaluation. She manages seven major programs: Extension Get Fit, Walk Across Arkansas, How to Talk to Your Doctor, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, Yoga for Kids, Chronic Pain Management Grant, and High Obesity.
In the past year, Wilson has contributed to strategic planning, simplified and improved evaluation reports, and improved programs that are not more widely adopted by agents and implemented. She has a passion for reaching underserved audiences, and her efforts have led to positive change in the lives of people served.
County Team Award – The Southwest Arkansas Cattlemen’s College Team receives this year’s County Team Award, which recognizes the county or counties whose staff best demonstrates a consistent and cohesive team approach to programs and county office operations within or across county boundaries. The Cattlemen’s College gives young and beginning ranchers the tools they need to be successful in their ranching operation. Each agent had a teaching role in this series.
Recipients include Sherry Beaty-Sullivan (Polk County), Jennifer Caraway (Miller County), Terrell Davis (Pike County), Rex Herring (Sevier County), Samantha Kroll Howard County), Darren Neal (Nevada County), Amy Simpson (Clark) and Stacey Stone (Hempstead County).
Distinguished Service Awards – Anna Goff from Washington County and Cindy Hamm from Clark County.
Lynn R. Russell Endowed Award of Professional Excellence – JoAnn Vann, Clark County.
Mildred and Liz Childs Professional Development Fund Scholarship – Amy Monk, Montgomery County staff chair.
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