Help for Pierce and Dunn extension agents arrivesHeidi Vanderloop began assisting Pierce’s 4-H and Dunn’s Family Living agents last month.
Help for Pierce and Dunn extension agents arrives
By Bill Kirk
A relationship between the University of Wisconsin Extension (UWEX) and the American VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) Corps has debuted in this area of the state, to the advantage of two UWEX agents and a volunteer who may make extension her career.
Heidi Vanderloop began assisting Pierce’s 4-H and Dunn’s Family Living agents last month. Vanderloop said Friday she’s enjoying the shared position, especially the variety of projects and assignments.
“I’d like to eventually work either in extension or parks and recreation,” she said.
The Menomonie native’s background well suits her role in the Pierce 4-H office. She said she was a 4-Her herself from age six into high school. As one of approximately 25-30 members of the Sunset Valley club, she showed rabbits, entered creations in clothing and knitting, as well as in cultural arts at the Dunn County Fair.
“I love knitting…making mittens is my favorite,” she said.
She also was the 4-H intern in the St. Croix County UWEX office in 2005, she said. It was Chippewa County’s 4-H agent who contacted her about pursuing the VISTA opportunity in Pierce and Dunn.
“I’ll spend half of my time in each place, but a little more here during the summer because summer’s a busy time for 4-H,” she said.
Vanderloop said she’s doing “lots of things” for Pierce’s 4-H program. She’s been promoting Older Members’ involvement in their silent auction at the upcoming county fair. She recently sent requests to professional sports teams such as the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins to donate items to the auction.
The volunteer is also getting a 4-H after-school offering established in area schools, particularly Elmwood and Plum City, she said. The offering’s open to all students, not just 4-Hers, and targets youth who’d find no one home if they went there when their school day ended. She’s occasionally helping with a similar effort in Pepin County, where an example of the offering’s activities is a garden project; the participants grow vegetables and make watering cans out of milk jugs, for instance.
“It’s like 4-H in that it develops leadership skills and instills pride in the students in what they do,” she said.
Action on a Healthy Living grant obtained through Wal-Mart will have her emphasizing healthier options in area schools, especially those in the eastern half of Pierce County, she said. Nutrition and exercise will be part of the focus.
Read more in the print version of the Herald July 22.