Reaching Underserved and Nontraditional Audiences with RREA Programs

Date & Time (Eastern): 
Oct 22 2020 - 1:00pm

Webinar Summary:

Extension educators develop programs with audiences in mind. These are the folks whose needs we aim to meet, to whom we market our programs, and with whom we engage. Some audiences are willing, eager, and reliable. And some we hope to reach, but haven’t yet figured out the best way to do so. A few we might not even have considered as potential audiences. How can we design appropriate programs and attract audiences who might be new to our Extension activities? How can we build partnerships with organizations that can support a suite of new programs? Similarity between the change agent and the audience is one of the cornerstones of Extension -- how can we work successfully with people who don’t look like us?

Reference Materials:  

This webinar will highlight:

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, RREA Programs and the 1890 Land Grant Institution.

Ms. Tiffany Hopkins, Coordinator, Women Owning Woodlands Network and Master Woodland Manager program, Oregon State University, Reaching New Audiences: A case study featuring the Women Owning Woodlands Network

Join the discussion

For Tiffany: How is your WOWnet program funded? Long-term funding has been a challenge in our state.

Most of the people participating today are from 1862 institutions. What is the best way to open the door to conversations with 1890 and 1994 institutions? Considering some of the challenges, what resources should we consider offering to make collaborations more successful?

In this era of Black Lives Matter and new awareness of systemic racism, Some extension agents, particularly those from traditional natural resources fields, may be less inclined to venture into "new audiences" for fear of making mistakes and getting something wrong. Can you offer any advice for how and where to start?

It was a great webinar. For what it's worth, my efforts around invasive species' common names are so emotional folks keep tearing up (myself included). It's been really really hard working with our Foreign Born Affinity group colleagues (and we recently learned, hard for them too) and that's when we're all within the same organization, generally like, trust and have respect for one another. Without those things the world gets even more scary, emotional and hard. 

I find myself wishing I understood more about managing grief and stress as I do programming. Now the grief and stress is around diversity and inclusion, politics and personal safety (COVID) but a year ago it was often around climate change and in my worm experience it's around invasive species. 

For everyone: Where have you had successes with taking a step to develop a new program for a new or underserved audience? Where have you experienced barriers, and how are you working to overcome them?

I've been wondering if we should be thinking more intentionally about managing emotions. Tiffany mentioned this related to WOWnet. I've been doing this in a citizen science project related to jumping worms - lots and lots of emotions.
WOW is a great program, and my awareness for women not feeling safe, heard, and valued is amplified. Do you sense that these vulnerabilities need to be evaluated, or should it be assumed that this is the case?

I'd be interested to hear of successful 1890 & 1862 collaboration. What was the initiative and what was the key to successful collaboration. I've tried many times and had very limited success and I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or it just takes two to tango.

What is the relationship between Virginia State and the VCE Master Naturalist Program? Does that program interact through Virginia State at all?

From Michelle: We haven’t had a ton of collaboration between VSU and the VMN program, but there has been some. Mainly it has been interaction between VSU specialists and the VMN chapter that is in that part of the state. I’m hoping to find more ways to interact, though. I’ve dreamed of having a chapter (or maybe a satellite group of the existing chapter) on the campus there so that we could have VSU students become VMNs.

Supported By

This work is supported by the Renewable Resources Extension Act Program [grant no. USDA-NIFA–EXCA-005457] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture
The project to update the 2012-2016 RREA Strategic Plan was awarded to The Rangelands Partnership in 2016.