Panhandle Extension staff receive statewide recognition

Three UNL Extension faculty members in the Panhandle District were honored by their peers recently at the annual fall conference for Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association in Grand Island.

New Extension Dean Charles Hibberd presented the following awards: Extension Nutrition Specialist Lisa Franzen-Castle received the New Extension Employee Award, the second year in a row that someone from the Panhandle has received this award. Extension Educator Aaron Berger, based in Kimball, and Extension Educator Jenny Nixon, based in Harrison, both received Distinguished Extension Educator Awards.

The awards recognize achievement in areas such as program outcomes and impacts; innovations in planning, delivery and evaluation; supporting partnerships and linkages; and skills such as leadership, organization and teaching.

Franzen-Castle is an action team leader for the Food, Nutrition and Health spire of UNL Extension. She initiated a statewide, web-based nutrition and health programming series, and coordinated the revision of a Nebraska-based food, nutrition and health curriculum with 25 lessons that will be turned into a digital publication and made available on line for other health professionals to purchase and use. She also repurposes materials into a variety of formats for use in publications, on-line newsletters, and news media.

Berger is co-coordinator of the High Plains Ranch Practicum, as well as curriculum director and instructor; a team co-coordinator for the UNL Beef web site; team co-coordinator for the Extension Drought Management Team; team leader for Ranching for Profitability; co-authored six NebGuides; and was also recognized for his other accomplishments.

Nixon is an Extension educator based in Sioux County. She has been active in teaching in the area of entrepreneurship, working with an Extension team to produce curricula, adapt it for diverse audiences and formats, and present it to local, regional, statewide and national audiences. She also manages software for the Nebraska State 4-H Department. At the same time, with her location in the heart of cow country, she teaches and promotes range management topics. Some material on range plants that she has developed has been used abroad, in Mongolia.

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