Human Environmental Sciences
Jo Britt-Rankin, PhD, program director and associate dean, College of Human Environmental Sciences
Human Environmental Sciences Extension (HES) faculty and staff provided direct and indirect education to more than 590,000 Missourians this year. Following are highlights of the many notable efforts conducted by HES in 2012.
The Missouri Agricultural Energy Saving Team: A Revolutionary Opportunity program completed 106 home energy audits for farm owners. Ninety-seven program participants collectively reported a 45 percent annual energy expense reduction and an average annual energy savings exceeding $1,000 each. Energy cost savings by all participants was $102,600.
The Missouri Taxpayer Education initiative helps lower-income Missouri families with free tax preparation. Tax specialists in the program helped participants complete 4,065 tax returns in 2012, resulting in more than $4 million in refunds to Missouri taxpayers.
In the book and video, Tomás the Tomato guides early elementary school age children on his journey from the farm to their table - encouraging children to think about where their food comes from and how it gets to the store, school or farmers market.
Focus on Kids and Focus on Kids Online help Missouri's separating and divorcing parents. After taking the Focus on Kids program, parents are more likely to work cooperatively for the sake of their children. This leads to more children being raised in healthy, low-conflict environments, which reduces the need of community health services for children of divorce. In 2012, more than 2,900 Missourians participated in face-to-face Focus on Kids programming.
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy is a fitness program designed for older adults. Participants take five fitness assessments before and after completing the 10-week class. During the year, 88 percent of participants improved in one fitness assessment and 76 percent of participants improved in three to five fitness assessments after completing the program. The health benefits from this program decrease the likelihood of participants entering a nursing home, which costs an average of $51,324 per year in Missouri. The money saved benefits individuals and communities. Participants remain active, live independently and contribute to society longer. It also keeps more discretionary income in circulation within the local community.
Before joining the Eat Well, Be Well With Diabetes program, only 13.9 percent of participants reported either frequently or always using the plate method or carbohydrate counting at most meals. After taking the program, 79 percent reported using one of the two measures. Prior to the program, 36.2 percent reported frequently or always eating the right amount of food to keep blood sugars in a normal range at most meals. This increased to 61.4 percent at the end of the program.
Early Sprouts, a healthy eating and gardening program for preschool students, develops kids' love for eating vegetables. The program - a partnership with Central Missouri Community Action - offers gardening experiences, sensory exploration exercises and cooking activities.
The curriculum From the Farm to You - richly illustrated book, coloring book and 2012 Telly Award winning video - was created for the kindergarten farm to school program, Food From the Farm. The curriculum supplements farm-to-school and school-garden programs, or forms the basis of a classroom farm-to-table unit.