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The land grant university system and UMN Extension forestry
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The land grant university system and UMN Extension forestry


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A brief history and origins of the land grant university system in the United States, focusing on Extension and using the University of Minnesota Extension forestry unit as an example.

A brief history and origins of the land grant university system in the United States, focusing on Extension and using the University of Minnesota Extension forestry unit as an example.

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  • This version of the presentation was delivered to a delegation of Chinese forestry professionals on the University of Minnesota campus in March, 2011.
  • Photo of a managed red pine stand on the UMN Cloquet Forestry Center.
  • Typical northern Minnesota mix of aspen, birch, spruce, fir, and pine.
  • Typical central / southern Minnesota managed oak stand (Saint John’s University Arboretum, Collegeville MN)
  • The importance of applied research to the purpose and identity of the University of Minnesota as a land grant institution is clearly evident from this aerial photo showing active agricultural fields and research sites north of the Saint Paul campus. Image source: Google Earth.
  • Three foundational pieces of federal legislation creating the land grant university system as we know it today.
  • Teaching, research, and Extension: The three pillars of the land grant university system.
  • [Reference to a handout on UMN Natural Resource Science and Management graduate programs.]
  • Morrill Hall, on the UMN Minneapolis East Bank campus. This is the administrative center of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
  • MAES supports research on a wide variety of issues relevant to Minnesota citizens and businesses. One (of many) important examples is research into cold-hardy varieties of important fruit crops.
  • The Cloquet Forestry Center is an important center of forestry research, teaching, and Extension at the University of Minnesota.
  • Research at CFC addresses everything from tree establishment to the ecology and management of mature stands, including many considerations (wildlife, water quality, forest economics, and much more) in between.
  • A typical forestry Extension program at the Cloquet Forestry Center.
  • Cooperative Extension funding comes from a variety of sources. The only source that’s growing is grants, gifts, and other. Formula funds from federal and state governments have been flat or in slight decline in recent years.
  • By maintaining a presence in every Minnesota county, Extension makes resources from the University of Minnesota far more available and accessible to citizens, businesses, farmers, and others than it would otherwise be.
  • Some statistics on private forest land in Minnesota. A large portion of Minnesota’s forest is in private ownership, which is an important consideration in the content that follows regarding the role of the land grant university system in serving the needs of the state’s citizens and landowners.
  • Forest land in larger parcels has more management opportunities than a large number of small parcels. But property taxes, other financial realities, and in some cases legal issues (mostly upon transfer of ownership) can create real challenges to families hoping to keep their land intact and in forest rather than converted to other land uses. Our forestry program addresses these challenges through programming on the topics mentioned in the slide.
  • We also work hard to help landowners improve the health and productivity (broadly defined) of their forested land. The topics on the slide are some topical focus areas related to forest health and productivity
  • I’ll focus on the two areas outlined in red, primarily related to forestry.
  • Typical field workshop, perhaps the most common approach in our Extension forestry team. We offer 60-110 workshops per year, reaching about 1000 participants per year, many of whom attend more than one workshop. Workshops offer a high-touch, relatively high impact learning opportunity, but are costly to offer and inconvenient to attend, particularly for landowners who live far from the workshop location.
  • Not all workshops are field-based. Presentations like this one by Carl Vogt offer a different kind of learning opportunity, better suited to some types of content.
  • One of Extension’s important roles is building relationships and coordinating interorganizational collaboration. Meetings like this one are an important part of our work as well.
  • And of course formal presentations to professional audiences at conferences and other events.
  • A photo from a small-group, hands-on silviculture workshop. This is offered as part of the UMN (and partner org)’s Woodland Advisor program. Woodland Advisor is a master volunteer program that offers 40-45 hours of intensive training with a small group of individuals. Those individuals then become active volunteer, reaching out to their personal networks and others in their local areas to share their knowledge. This creates a powerful multiplier effect, increasing outreach capacity and also promoting dissemination of information from trusted local peers.
  • This figure depicts the two-step flow process that underlies the master volunteer model—substitute the land grant university system for the TV at the center as the source of content.
  • Logos from a variety of other forestry-related master volunteer programs from throughout the US.
  • There’s a national working group, supported by funding from the US Forest Service, at .
  • MyMinnesotaWoods: A UMN Extension forestry website. This site is a hub for just about everything our Extension forestry team does online and/or in digital formats. It’s meant to be a single site, aggregating Extension and non-Extension content, moderated and curated by our Extension forestry team.
  • Increasingly, digital content is adding to the Extension forestry repertoire. Peter Smallidge at Cornell Cooperative Extension is one of the pioneers and leaders in offering quality forestry-related web-based presentations, or “webinars,” to forest landowners and professionals. Webinars are recorded, giving learners far more convenience in when and where they access presentation content.
  • Sample screenshot from a recent UMN Extension webinar.
  • While higher-impact learning may take place during the longer, more personal interaction at a workshop, websites may be a more effective way to remind learners that we exist and can help them, so that when the time comes they will seek out Extension and their land grant university system.
  • Increasingly, Extension is involved in applied research to better understand the outcomes of our work. This kind of research is essential in order to be able to justify the public investments made by federal, state, and local units of government to support our work.
  • Example from research done by Shorna Broussard Allred and Gary Goff at Cornell University on outcomes of the New York Master Forest Owner program.
  • Transcript

    • 2.  
    • 3.  
    • 4.  
    • 5. OUTLINE About the land grant university system University of Minnesota Extension and private lands
    • 6. THE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY SYSTEM Source: States were granted (given) land by the federal government to establish and endow "land grant" colleges. Mission: to focus on the teaching of agriculture, science and engineering rather than higher education's historic core of classical studies.
      • Year 1855:
      • First land grant universities established
      Land grant college stamp source: Wikimedia Commons. US map: EPA
      • Morrill Act of 1862
      • Hatch Act of 1887
      • Smith-Lever Act of 1914
      Federal government grants land to states to TEACH agriculture, science, and engineering Creates the agricultural experiment station system to foster RESEARCH Creates cooperative EXTENSION : Practical application, instruction of improved practices, technology
    • 10. THE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY SYSTEM Teaching Extension Research
    • 11. UMN photo library TEACHING
    • 12. NRSM programs UMN photo library
    • 13. Morrill Hall UMN photo library Source: University of Minnesota photo library
    • 14. RESEARCH
    • 15.
      • Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station
    • 16. RESEARCH MAES images
    • 18. RESEARCH
    • 19. EXTENSION Flickr photo from Oregon State University archives
    • 20. EXTENSION Flickr photo from Oregon State University archives
    • 21.
      • Demonstrating practical applications of research, improved technology
    • 22. UMN EXTENSION 2010-2011 BUDGET
    • 23. EXTENSION OFFICES IN MINNESOTA 5 campuses 16 regional offices ~90 county offices
    • 25. PRIVATE FORESTS 33% of Minnesota’s forest land 5.3 million acres (2.2 million hectares) Supply 35-50% of Minnesota’s annual timber harvest Wood products: 4 th largest manufacturing industry
    • 26. EXTENSION FORESTRY PROGRAM: TWO PRIMARY OBJECTIVES Keep forest land forested Improve forest health and productivity
    • 27. KEEP FOREST LAND FORESTED Source: Tree Farmer Magazine, July/August 2007 Intergenerational land transfer Property taxes New products & services: NTFPs, Carbon credits, etc
    • 28. FOREST HEALTH & PRODUCTIVITY Silviculture Climate change Nontimber forest products Windbreaks & shelterbelts
    • 31. WORKSHOPS
    • 32. WORKSHOPS John Peterson photo
    • 33. COMMITTEES
    • 35. TWO EXAMPLES
      • Master volunteer programs
      • Internet-based content delivery
    • 36. WORKSHOPS
    • 37. DIFFUSION MODELS: TWO-STEP FLOW Source: Watts & Dodds 2007, J. Consumer Research
    • 39. NATIONAL WORKING GROUP: Join us!
    • 40. TWO EXAMPLES
      • Master volunteer programs
      • Internet-based content delivery
    • 41. WEBSITES
    • 42. WEBINARS Peter Smallidge, Cornell Cooperative Extension
    • 43. WEBINARS
    • 44. WORKSHOPS VS. WEB: STATS Workshops: 1-2,000 people / yr Website: ~26,000 people / yr
      • New delivery systems to complement traditional
      • Applied research to understand outcomes and impacts of various instructional and learner engagement strategies
    • 46. What did you do, in part, as a result of your contact and communication with a NYMFO? Broussard Allred and Goff 2009
    • 47. OUTLINE About the land grant university system University of Minnesota Extension and private lands
    • 48. CONTACT Eli Sagor University of Minnesota Extension, Saint Paul [email_address] (612) 624-6948