Summer 2024 Newsletter - K-State Research and Extension Douglas County Staff smiling for the camera as they are awarded a workplace improvement check.

From the Desk of the Director

Marlin Bates

County Director

bottom perspective looking up at a circle of various hands joined in the middle

Welcome to the summer edition of news from your local Extension Center. We hope that you will browse the headlines and dive in where your attention is captured. You’ll see that we are geared up for summer in more ways than one – and we’re here to help you make the most of your summer, too! You’ll find articles celebrating the wonderful work of volunteers, tips for reducing damage from unwanted garden guests, a guide for summer soil conditioning, and invitations to join us throughout the season. 

Keep Reading...

In This Newsletter

  • Agriculture
  • Summer Cover Crop Strategies
  • Kaw Valley Farm Tour 20th Year
  • Community Development
  • Supporting & Celebrating Local Entrepreneurs
  • Health & Wellness
  • Kitchen Sale Success
  • Master Food Volunteer Training
  • Sleep is a Necessity
  • Sunflower Summer
  • Horticulture
  • Summer is Here & So are Aphids
  • LiveWell of Douglas County
  • Child Passenger Safety - SafeKids
  • Natural Resources
  • New Natural Resources Webpage
  • SNAP-Ed Nutrition
  • Into the Classroom We Go
  • 2023 -2024 Impact Highlight
  • Youth Development
  • Kansas 4-H Thriving Study
  • Outdoor Education
  • Upcoming Events


Summer Cover Crops Strategies

Margit Kaltenekker

Agriculture Agent

Summer is the perfect time to think ahead and plan your Cover Crops strategy for this fall. Cover crops are foundational to building Soil Health. Cover crops provide armor to the soil after termination, naturally suppressing weeds through a dead mulch; they add green cover and living roots between cash crops, reducing wind and water erosion over winter; in the process they increase soil organic matter and nutrient cycling, offering the potential to reduce inputs and increase yields. Cost-share opportunities are offered through our local WRAPS programs depending on which watershed you farm in.

There are multiple management options and cover crop varieties that can at first appear overwhelming. In learning to manage cover crops for the greatest benefit to soil health and maximum crop yields, in a manner that reduces inputs, there are three simple considerations to follow: Seed Early, Plant Green, and Terminate by Roller Crimping. 

farm land filled with greenery

Part 1 aims to discuss the first step: Seed Early with additional resources provided.

As with all agricultural practices, timing is everything. Commonly – winter rye is seeded far too late after soy or corn harvest in October, to get the greatest benefit of winter growth and biomass. While winter rye is cold hardy and will eke-out a green crown by December, the roots are unable to capture many of the excess nutrients leaching into the deeper layers of soil after the cash crop.

North Central Soybean Research program shared an article discussing research by Dr. Ray Weil at the University of Maryland.

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Kaw Valley Farm Tour's 20th Anniversary

Hilary Kass

Kaw Valley Farm Tour Coordinator

Since 2004 the Kaw Valley Farm Tour has brought regional family farms together with the general public on the first weekend in October. Last year 38 creative and hardworking farms opened their gates to over 3000 people eager to enjoy the fruits of their labor. People of all ages traveled from cities to get an up-close experience with the people, plants, and animals that bring such a wealth of nourishment and joy to their lives.

Kaw Valley Farm Tour Banner showing logo, grape farm, bee farm , goats, apple farm

We are currently signing up farms for this year’s tour happening on October 5th and 6th. This is a unique opportunity for regional family farms to share their farm life and sell the items that they produce. Interested in having your farm on the tour? Reach out to Hilary Kass, the farm tour coordinator at

Kaw Valley Farm Tour Website

Stay up-to-date on Douglas County's Agriculture news!


Community Development

Supporting & Celebrating Local Entrepreneurs

Marlin Bates

Douglas County Extension Director

six people sitting within a presentation room at different tables

In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Douglas County Extension hosted an entrepreneur summit to discuss the state of the ecosystem of supports that we have across the county. Those discussions led to the development of a coalition of entrepreneurs, service providers, and supporters. Through a series of listening sessions, Douglas County CORE surveyed the landscape of entrepreneurial support providers, identified gaps, and began building a reputation as an entrepreneur-led economic development catalyst.

This Spring, Douglas County CORE partnered with Black:30 to host the 2nd Annual Douglas County Pitch Competition. Organizers of the event received 56 applications from entrepreneurs but only had 18 pitch slots to fill. Regretfully, 38 entrepreneurs were turned away and encouraged to continue looking for opportunities to hone their pitching skills. 

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Stay Updated on our Community Development Efforts


Health & Wellness

Kitchen Sale Success

Kaitlyn Peine

Community Health & Wellness Agent

Kitchen Sale Team of 13 volunteers and staff standing for the camera before the Kitchen Sale event

Behind the scenes of many K-State Research and Extension programs, you will find a team of talented and committed volunteers. Extension volunteers enrich our community efforts and expand our reach. Thanks to the time and talent of the Extension Master Food Volunteers (EMFV) the 2024 Kitchen Sale was a success. 

While the annual kitchen sale is only one day of the year, a committee of gracious volunteers started planning for this year’s sale several months ago. The Extension Master Food Volunteers worked collaboratively to plan, market, and host the sale. In the months leading up to the sale volunteers sorted donations, implemented marketing plans, and ironed out details for the day of the event. Over 200 hours were put into getting ready for and actually having the sale.

The volunteers were not the only driving factor in the success of the kitchen sale. The community responded to our request for donations of gently used kitchen equipment in a big way. Volunteers agreed the donations increased in comparison to the 2023 sale. 

While all were welcome to shop the sale, our efforts were focused on helping our limited-income neighbors. Anyone who participated in a SNAP-Ed program hosted by the K-State Research and Extension’s SNAP-Ed team within the past two years received a $40 voucher and was offered early shopping the morning of the sale. Vouchers were given for the first time in 2023. Last year $220 in vouchers were redeemed. The 2024 sale provided $852 in vouchers to 34 households. 

The profits from the kitchen sale will support ongoing volunteer training for the Extension Master Food Volunteers. Each year the organization also commits to making financial donations to community partners who work to combat food insecurity in Douglas County. 

The Extension Master Food Volunteers are already making plans next year’s sale. Mark your calendars! The 2025 kitchen sale will be held on Saturday, April 5.  

More EMFV Information
Extension Master Food Volunteers cooking at the kitchen island. Extension Master Food Volunteer 2024 Training. August - November , Apply by August 9, 2024

What We do...

  • Collaborate with community partners to combat food insecurity
  • Increase access to fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Disseminate nutrition education information and advice throughout the community.
  • Assist SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educators in community outreach.
  • Nutrition-Based Youth Programming

If you enjoy food and want to give back to your community, the Extension Master Food Volunteer Program is for you! The training is for new volunteers interested in becoming an Extension Master Food Volunteer. After completing the training, volunteers will have an understanding of food safety, nutrition, and cooking techniques. Each class will be hosted at the Dreher Family 4-H Building on the fairgrounds and filled with hands-on demonstrations. For more information or to register, click here

Sleep is a Necessity

Savannah Bray

Community Health & Wellness Intern

alarm clock in foreground, blurred female in the background blurred sleeping

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Your body goes through multiple processes while you are sleeping and when you get enough sleep, your body will be able to fight off diseases more readily. It can also help you stay at a healthy weight, lower your risk for serious health problems, reduce stress, improve your mood, and help you think more clearly throughout the day (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2024). As most people know, getting enough sleep every night isn’t always easy, especially if you have children or work long hours, but hopefully, some of these tips will help you.  

First, how much sleep do you really need? As an adult, the recommended amount of sleep 7-8 hours of adequate sleep. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. do not get enough sleep each night according to the CDC (2022). It is very important that you have a schedule and try to go to sleep at a similar time each night because if your sleep schedule is inconsistent, you will be at risk for many health problems. Some of these health problems are heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. (NIH 2022). Another thing that a lack of sleep can lead to is an increase in mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Even people who are healthy have been shown to have an increase in anxiety when they don’t get enough sleep. 

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cell phone graphic with background of a sunflower field and various events highlighted for sunflower summer

Kansas Tourism,

Sunflower Summer

by Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institue for Rural Development at Kanas State University

“School’s out!”

Soon that joyous cry will be shared and heard by kids across the nation, as the school year comes to an end. Mom and dad might not be so excited. But what is next? Today we’ll learn about a Kansas initiative which is aimed at getting families out to enjoy summertime attractions in the Sunflower State.

Jordan RoemermanJordan Roemerman is marketing manager for Kansas Tourism, a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce. A native of Stafford, she went to Kansas State University and worked in communications for Kansas Wheat before joining Kansas Tourism in 2019. She has taken the lead on a new project called Sunflower Summer.

“It actually began in the Kansas Department of Education in 2021,” Roemerman said. COVID relief dollars were used to encourage educational summer activities. When that program was about to end, the results were so positive that the program was chosen to continue under the auspices of Kansas Tourism, beginning in summer 2024.

Read More

Stay up to date on Douglas County's Health & Wellness news!



Summer is Here and so are Aphids

Niki Kenniff

Agriculture & Horticulture Program Assistant

insects clustered along the stem of a plant

It’s finally summer! The plants are looking great, but then you see….little specks on your plants. 

A common insect pest seen on a wide variety of ornamental and food crops is aphids. Aphids are small (about 1/8 of an inch long), pear-shaped, and come in many colors such as green, black, gray, yellow, or red. Aphids have a unique pair of small, tube-shaped protrusions that look like tiny pipes on the back side of their bodies called cornicles. The presence of cornicles is an easy way to identify aphids. They feed by sucking sap from buds, leaves, twigs, and developing fruit. This feeding can cause leaves and fruit to be distorted or misshapen. As they feed, much of the sap is passed through their system and excreted as honeydew, a sweet and sticky substance that can adhere to any surface it falls on, such as cars or roofs. Honeydew can lead to the development of sooty mold fungus on your plants. Aphids can also carry several plant viruses and can therefore become a vector as they pass the virus on to the plant during feeding. 

Honeydew can lead to the development of sooty mold fungus on your plants. Aphids can also carry several plant viruses and can therefore become a vector as they pass the virus on to the plant during feeding. 

If you are unable to clearly see the insects on the plants, grab a magnifying glass or use your phone to take a picture and then zoom in. 

It is important to correctly ID insect pests for proper treatment. Any local K-State Research and Extension Office should be able to help identify insects found inside or outside the home. Bring a few of the insects in a sealed bag with relevant information about the location/plant type and where the insects were found.

Aphids have a few natural enemies that can help control the pest population. Insects that feed on aphids include syrphid fly larvae, green lacewing larvae-also called aphid lions, lady beetles (and their larvae), and very small wasps called braconids. It may take a bit of time for these natural predators to arrive, but they can be very effective. 

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WHY JOIN THE PROGRAM?  Master Gardener volunteers are educators passionate about strengthening vibrant local economies and livable communities by empowering individuals and families to cultivate healthy environments and food systems through horticultural practices. Passionate about gardening, life-long learning and community education? Then apply to be an Extension Master Gardener.  Information sessions  May 21 st and 23rd, 5:30- 6:30 pm  Douglas County Extension  2110 Harper Street  Lawrence KS 66046  Contact: 785-843-7058or email  Online Training Classes September 5 - December 5 Thursdays 1 - 4 PM  Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service  K-State Researcn and Extension 1s an equal opportunity provider and employer
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K-State Horticulture Newsletter

Reminder: Subscribe to the K-State Horticulture Newsletter for timely information on caring for your landscapes and vegetable gardens. 

Sign Up Here

Stay up to date on Douglas County Horticulture news!


LiveWell of Douglas County

Child Passenger Safety - SafeKids

Ginny Barnard

LiveWell of Douglas County

Executive Director

Many people are surprised to learn that preventable injuries are the number one cause of death to children in the United States and around the world, a child dies from a preventable injury every minute. Millions more are injured in ways that can affect them for a lifetime.

But these injuries and deaths don’t have to happen. Safe Kids Worldwide supports a network of coalitions and strategic partners committed to using education, public health interventions, and policies to reduce unintentional injuries in children. LiveWell Douglas County is excited to be a part of this network and serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Douglas County. 

four females standing in front of a demonstration table for booster seat safety

LiveWell Douglas County is excited to be a part of this network and serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Douglas County. 

The primary focus of Safe Kids Douglas County is increasing the number of children properly protected by a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) educate parents and caregivers on car seat installation and other vehicle-related topics, such as heat stroke and driveway safety. Safe Kids Douglas County also provides free car seats to families with low incomes or facing challenges. 

Read More

Connect with Livewell of Douglas Count online!

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Natural Resources

New Natural Resources Webpage for Douglas County

Sharon Ashworth

Horticulture & Natural Resources Agent

vast landscape filled with native plants

Douglas County Kansas is situated in an ecotone, a transition zone between the deciduous forests of the eastern half of the United States and the grasslands of the Great Plains. It is a landscape of reservoirs and rivers, wetlands and streams; prairies, pastures, and ponds; of woodland and farmland.

Residents of Douglas County, and those who wish to become residents, value the rural and agricultural character of the unincorporated areas of the county and the natural amenities that make this area a desirable place to live. K-State Research and Extension has the information and resources you need to enjoy and care for your property. 

Our new ‘Natural Resources’ page on the Douglas County Extension website has information on bees and pollinators, forestry, native plants, pond management, and wildlife.

The ‘Land Stewardship’ tab under Natural Resources has a collection of information including wildlife habitat improvement cost-share programs, well water testing information, suggested landscaping for septic fields, and information on brush management and windbreaks.

The term “natural resources” is commonly understood to refer to the raw materials of the land that are actively and passively used for the benefit of humans – clean water, plants, minerals, soil, and wildlife. The purpose of the webpage is to provide information about and beyond the utilization of the land in Douglas County. Understanding and caring for the land’s ecological, social, and cultural dimensions across generations is land stewardship. 

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Explore our new Natural Resources page by clicking the icon below!


SNAP-Ed Nutrition

Into the Classroom we Go

Sofia Diaz-Buezo

SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator

woman presenting at table with various bottles on it within a classroom

Something that the SNAP-Ed team had been trying to accomplish since pre-pandemic was to have the opportunity to go into elementary school classrooms and teach nutrition classes. Well, it finally happened. During the past two months, we were able to attend Hillcrest Elementary School and teach 4th graders our curriculum called Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF). 

CHFFF as we call it, engages youth in activities that encourage healthy eating and active play. It targets behaviors that can help prevent childhood obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Kids learn about health concepts, food preparation, MyPlate and its food groups, and how to make better choices at home and on the go. 

woman presenting nutrition label to a class of children

For us to bring this programming to the kids, a lot of communication and collaboration had to happen between the school district and our extension office. We were lucky to have found a “school champion” that created a connection between our team and Hillcrest Elementary, and once the connection was established, we were able to come and provide our services. What was once a barrier, now has become an opportunity for us to continue to provide nutrition education to younger kids. I want to give a special thanks to our “school champion” Emma C Sudbeck for her work, dedication, and enthusiasm in making this connection. 

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SNAP-Ed Impact Highlight

SNAP-Ed Nutrition 2023 - 2024 Impact Highlight Summary SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education has been impacting our community in tremendous ways! Kansas SNAP-Ed offers FREE classes to youth, adults and older adult Kansans who qualify for SNAP, KanCare, FDIPR, Free and Reduced Lunch Program, Head Start, WIC, TANF and TEFAP. Female Male Total Programs Non-binary 5 220 Choose Health: Food, Fun & Fitness Create Better Health Teen Cuisine Families Eating Smart Saving Money Walk With Ease Total Programs’ Participants Breakdown Ages 8 - 75 Participants of my programs often tell me that they are glad that the educational opportunities we provide exist. They cherish the opportunity to engage with other members of the community as they learn. My favorite moments are when participants proudly tell me stories of how they apply what they learn at home! Sofia Diaz-Buezo,  SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Total Participants

Connect with Douglas County SNAP-Ed online.


Youth Development

4-H of Douglas County

Kansas 4-H Thriving Study – We Want to Hear From 4-H Members!

Sarah E. Maass

Program Director

4-H Youth Development

head, heart, hands, health logo

In early June, Kansas 4-H will be conducting a 4-H Thriving Model evaluation. Members in grades 3 and up will be invited to participate in a survey to tell us about their experience in 4-H. The survey is designed to help Kansas 4-H understand how youth are thriving in 4-H. While the survey is optional, we would love to hear from every member. 

Emails will be sent to the parent emails we have on file in 4-H Online with an electronic survey link. Parents will be asked to share the electronic survey link with their child(ren). The goal is for the first survey to go out the week of June 9. Two reminders will be sent to all participants who have not completed the survey. The survey will close mid-July.

Full Article

Outdoor Education & 4-H Youth Programming

Nancy Noyes

4-H Youth Development

Program Assistant

4-hers in nature. on a path with large trees on both sides of it.

The National 4-H Program has consistently been a leader in offering projects with research-based project guides and programs such as camps and events that incorporate outdoor learning education and experiences. Now, more than ever, parents, teachers, and caregivers share concerns about the amount of time young people are spending in front of monitors and on devices. There has been an increase in the amount of research conducted on outdoor education as it relates to mental wellness and beneficial physical activity expressly for our youth. Ten of the top benefits to come out of research are listed below. 

  1. Allows a break from screens, in and out of school. 
  2. Learning is made relevant through practical experiences. 
  3. Young people engage in unstructured play. 
  4. Outdoor Education improves physical and mental health. 
  5. It increases cooperative learning and social interaction. 
  6. Outdoor Education accommodates different learning styles and abilities. 
  7. It can improve focus and academics. 
  8. Fosters a love and appreciation of the natural world. 
  9. It can increase community engagement. 
  10. Outdoor Education is fun!

These benefits contribute to the overall mental and physical wellness of young persons. They have better learning retention, improved self-esteem, and increased understanding of their place in the world around them. Sounds like a pretty big deal? It definitely is, so much so, that it’s become a huge industry to provide “outdoor excursions”. However, it’s a pretty inexpensive fee to become a 4-H member in Douglas County ...

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Connect with 4-H of Douglas County online!

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4-H Foundation Highlights!

We interviewed two Douglas County 4-H Foundation Board members to learn who they are and ask, "Why 4H Foundation?" To answer these questions and a few others, Kelly L., Chair of Douglas County 4-H Foundation, and Megan P., 4-H Foundation Secretary give their answers.

Image of Kelly L.
Photo of Megan P.

What led you to become involved with the 4-H Foundation?

Kelly L. - I value the opportunities 4-H gives its members and wanted to ensure the Douglas County youth had the chance to participate in the activities of their choice. 4-H helps build young people into strong leaders and productive adults. The Foundation provides them the opportunities to explore and further their education.

Megan P. - I was asked and honored to be considered! But, I said yes because my personal and professional life has been so greatly enhanced by my experience as a 4Her as a youth. I learned technical skills (like baking and sewing), soft skills (like patience while training my dog in obedience), and professional skills (like how to run a meeting). It is important to me to give back!

Describe the impact of 4-H Foundation.

Kelly L. - The impact we make as the Foundation is yet to be revealed because we play a role in the future leaders of the county. We provide opportunities for 4-Hers who will learn and gain memories that can help shape their futures; and, we oversee scholarships for college students, allowing them to further their education and pursue future goals. So, in reality, our impact is yet to be seen.

Megan P. -It is a thrill to help young people access growth experiences and pursue their dreams. From attending camp at Rock Springs Ranch (one of my favorite places on earth), to leadership trainings, to rising to the challenge in competition, I think it’s important for young people to learn the balance between working hard, doing their best, and having fun. And, as post-high school education gets more and more expensive, I’m glad 4-H scholarships can help ease the burden.

Any exciting future goals?

Kelly L. - It's inspiring to work with such a great group of people focused on providing opportunities to Douglas County 4-Hers. Our board has fresh perspectives along with a dedication to the founding purpose of the Foundation, making the time we spend together memorable.

Megan P. - 2024 is a great year for the Douglas County 4-H Foundation to grow! We have exciting plans to build capacity to help more youth and their adult leaders do great things…. Making the best better!

Learn More About or Donate to the 4H Foundation

Upcoming Events







Fair Entry Due Date

Are you interested in entering something into the Douglas County Fair? See how here: Fair Entry Instructions



Independence Day




Douglas County Fair - July 29 - August 3rd

The Douglas County Fair will be opening on this day at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Special Douglas County Fair Number:

ONLY from July 29 - August 3rd: 785-841-6322

Please note that this number will NOT work before or after the above dates. It is only active during the active fair days!

For other fair-related questions outside the above dates, please call our office at 785-843-7058!

Official Douglas County Fair Website | More Fair Info

2024  Douglas County Fair July 29th - August 3rd
Have a food-based business? | Want Business Planning Assistance? | Need help with market access and expansion? New Resource Helpers are Ready To Help Entrepreneurs! Heartland Regional Food Business Center is here to help! This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Kansas Local Food Summit August 28, 2024 Wichita, KS

In the mood for a road trip to our friends over at Kansas Local Foods? Kansas Local Food Summit, coming up in late August in Wichita, KS. The event will include a networking reception the evening of August 27th and then a full day of learning on August 28th. More details and registration information will be coming soon, so save a place on your calendar in August for learning, connecting, and growing our local food systems in Kansas! More information to come here!

Stay Informed by connecting with us online!
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K-State Research and Extension is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services, and activities. Program information may be available in languages other than English. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, including alternative means for communication (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, and American Sign Language) may be requested by contacting the event contact our main office or the event's program leader four weeks prior to the start of the event at 785-843-7058. Please see the full Douglas County staff list for detailed contact information. Requests received after this date will be honored when it is feasible to do so. Language access services, such as interpretation or translation of vital information will be provided free of charge to limited English proficient individuals upon request.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.