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Sunday, May 28, 2017
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  • Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:20 PM
    Chances are you’ve noticed some new sights and sounds in the landscape with the warming temperatures. Bullfrogs are croaking, robins are singing, and tree frogs are chirruping. You’ve also probably seen hummingbirds flitting from tree to tree in backyards around the area. Hummingbirds are easily recognizable by their unique way of hovering (and humming), their distinctive ruby-red throats (on males), and their chaotic, frantic peeps and chirps. These tiny masters of flight overwinter in Central America and return to eastern North America for the summer breeding season around mid-April. 
    The distinctive ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only species of hummingbird that breeds and nests in Indiana. Nests are very tiny, no bigger than a thimble, and are composed of thistle, dandelion, spider silk, and pine resin. Oftentimes you can see bits of moss or lichens lining the outside of the nest, allowing it to blend in well with the bark of its preferred nesting trees: birch, hackberry, hornbeam, oak, or poplar. Nests may be difficult to find as they are often placed anywhere from 10 to 40 feet above ground. The birds will lay from 1-3 eggs in each brood and incubate them for about 2 weeks. After hatching, the tiny hummingbird chicks remain in the nest for up to 22 days before venturing out.
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  • Spice up your plate
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:17 AM

    My favorite thing about summer is smelling the charcoal being prepped and ready to grill up some good eats. I love the grill because it is so versatile, you don’t have to only grill meats, you can grill veggies for a delicious side, pizza for a healthy homemade dinner or fruit for a nice sweet after dinner treat. I love to experiment grilling with different foods, but you can really change things up by using herbs and spices. 
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  • 4-H youth give back to their communities
    Monday, May 08, 2017 4:00 AM
    The 4-H program continues to offer more to youth than just the week of the fair. Youth spend a majority of their year meeting with their local 4-H clubs or participating in after-school programs and activities. One of the major ways 4-H youth stay involved is by giving back to their community through a variety of community service projects. Within the 4-H pledge, youth pledge “their hands to larger service”. From the very beginning of their 4-H careers, youth learn the importance of giving back to the community and find the satisfaction in bringing joy to the lives of others. 
    Within the 4-H program, service is commonly defined as the voluntary action of an individual or a group without pay. Through research conducted by Tufts University, 4-H youth are four times more likely to give back to their communities and two times more likely to be civically active. Youth give back to their communities in a variety of ways and although it may seem like a small act of kindness, these small acts can have a large impact in Montgomery County. Just a small sample of some of the community service projects that youth are doing is the Clever Clovers 4-H Club recently spent an evening picking up trash at the Montgomery County 4-H Fairgrounds. Additionally, the Junior Leaders packed over 2,000 Easter Eggs and held a community-wide Easter Egg hunt for younger youth in the community. 
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  • Thursday, April 27, 2017 5:00 AM
    For many of us who have gardened for years, the name “Roundup” is synonymous with its active ingredient, glyphosate. This chemical is a non-selective herbicide, which means it kills almost anything green it lands on. Glyphosate can be used nearly everywhere that total kill of the vegetation is needed, such as in driveways, around trees, and where new lawns and gardens will be started.
    The name Roundup, though, has become almost a generic descriptor for “total weed killer,” just like people use the word “Coke” to mean any soft drink, or “Tylenol” for headache relief. And that can lead to many problems.
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  • On the hunt for the marvelous morel
    Friday, April 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    It is springtime in Indiana and that can mean only one thing: mushroom hunting season. We have seen many social media posts of people finding plenty of morels in our wooded areas of Montgomery County. Morels are fun to go out and find but are also yummy to eat. 
    Morel hunting is a time-honored tradition in the Midwest. They are known by many names, including dryland fish, miracle, sponge mushroom, and hickory chicken. These mushrooms generally pop up when the soil starts to warm and before trees have fully leafed out, usually between the end of March and the first of May. They are found in and around forested areas, sometimes at the forest’s edge. Look for dead or dying hardwood trees, such as oaks and ashes (if you can find them). It is said that they can be found more frequently just after a soaking rain. Early in the morel hunting season, look for them on south facing slopes, where the soil temperature will be warmer. Later in the season, look on north facing slopes, where soil temperatures are still cool enough to support the fruiting bodies. Be careful while hunting for mushrooms and going off of marked trails – it’s not unheard of to come across a copperhead snake (one of Montgomery County’s venomous snakes) while searching for morels.
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  • Wednesday, April 19, 2017 4:00 AM
    Each year, thousands of volunteers in Indiana donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during the 43rd anniversary of National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017. 
    Research conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that 25.3 percent of adult Americans (62.8 million) volunteered 7.9 billion hours of service worth $184 billion in 2014. In 2015 in Indiana, more than 1.47 million volunteers contributed 132.14 million hours of service, valued at $3.1 billion. 26.9 percent of Indiana residents volunteered ranking Indiana 25th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the Indiana 4-H Program. In 2017 nearly 15,000 youth and adults are volunteering in some capacity with 4-H. In Montgomery County, 111 volunteers, both youth and adult, will serve as club leaders, project leaders, committee members, and in advisory capacities for the 4-H Youth Development Program.
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  •   Spring species - who is the Eastern box turtle?
    Sunday, April 09, 2017 10:31 PM
    With spring finally getting off to a solid start, chances are you’ve noticed the song of the chorus frog, the flight of the question mark butterfly, and the blooms of many spring ephemeral wildflowers. Soon, you’ll notice many more animals emerging from hibernation, including many of Indiana’s native turtle species.
    One of our most beautiful native turtles is the Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina). Found primarily in the central and southern parts of the state, this turtle is almost entirely terrestrial, living out its life in woodlands near small streams and ponds. Sometimes this turtle can be found soaking in streams and ponds to keep cool on the hottest days of the summer. These omnivores have a diverse diet, consisting of fruits, insects, worms, slugs, and fungi. They occasionally even scavenge dead animals for a meal. 
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  • Friday, March 31, 2017 4:00 AM
    This month is National Nutrition Month and I have been writing about different nutrition topics that are important for a healthy diet and weight. This year’s theme is to ‘Put Your Best Fork Forward’, giving me the idea that no diet or eating style is ever going to work unless it gets your best effort and you are committed. Many people in an attempt to drop some pounds pick up the latest fad diet in hopes of reaching that goal weight. The problem here is, this diet may not work for you, for your schedule, or for your lifestyle. Therefore, making it nearly impossible for you to succeed or ‘Put Your Best Fork Forward’. 
    This week I was reading a blog from one of my favorites, (NutritionOverEasy with Monica Reinagel) and she was addressing the use of elimination diets. Elimination diets are something many people turn to because they feel it is the only way. So they start on this journey of never eating anything with sugar, dairy, or carbohydrates. They are going 2 days strong and a friend calls them up and says hey lets go out for dinner and drinks. Panic sets in. You see this is the problem with diets and especially elimination diets. When you have restricted yourself so much, life gets in the way of you being successful and guess what, life depends on you eating and enjoying it. 
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  • Monday, March 27, 2017 4:00 AM
    As a registered dietitian and farmer’s daughter, nothing excites me more than National Agriculture week falling during National Nutrition Month. Learning about nutrition and healthy foods is not complete without having a good understanding of the agriculture practices that are used to provide us with a safe and affordable food supply. This week I wanted to take some time to shed light on some of the “health” claims that you may find on the grocery store shelves. I am sure everyone is trying to make the right decisions at the grocery store; but the “health” claims can sometimes have us confused and possibly spending more money than intended. 
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  • Friday, March 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    During National Nutrition Month it is important to not only help the adults eat healthy but also our children. We spend many hours worrying about what we eat, and we exhaust ourselves thinking about how our kids won’t eat their vegetables, and we just give up. Well don’t give up and better yet, spend less time thinking about it. I recently read a book about Intuitive Eating. It is all about how to eat without feeling guilt. If we listen to our bodies and only eat when we are hungry and stop when we are satisfied we would all consume a lot less food. Just think about when your children were babies and nursing, they would scream out and tell you they are hungry, and when they push away they are finished. We have no idea how much the baby has eaten but yet we trusted them that they knew what they were doing. And that’s because they did, children are natural intuitive eaters.
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  • Monday, March 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    It has been two months since we made our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, get healthier, or whatever yours might have been. Are you still following your New Year’s resolution? Maybe not, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has conveniently dubbed March as National Nutrition Month. This year the theme is to Put Your Best Fork Forward. All this month I will be writing articles to help you put your best fork forward and continue your healthy living. 
    This week it’s all about protein. My husband and I have been concentrating on our protein intakes because he is trying to bulk up for a power lifting contest and I am just trying to maintain muscle mass and boost my metabolism. This has inspired me to share with you the importance of protein in the diet. 
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  • Monday, February 27, 2017 10:05 PM
    Parenting can be challenging. Parents want to protect their children but still equip youth with the skills that they need to help resist the peer pressure that leads to risky behaviors. Research shows that protective parenting improves family relationships and decreases the level of family conflict, contributing to lower levels of substance use.
    Purdue Extension is partnering with the Youth Service Bureau to offering the Strengthening Families Program. This program is for parents and youth 10 to 14 years old. Strengthening Families is an evidence-based parent, youth, and family skills building workshop. Families will learn how to show love while setting limits, how to listen to their child and how to help family members show appreciation to each other. Evidence shows that this program helps prevent teen substance abuse and other behavior problems. This program also helps strengthen and improve parents/youth communication skills, increase academic success in youth and prevents violence and aggressive behavior at home and at school. If you are a family who would like to better your family communication, please join us for the “Strengthening Families 10-14” Program.
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  • Friday, February 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    Are you an early education childcare provider and looking for new and creative ways to help your students learn? Join Purdue Extension on Sept. 30 for a one-day event, Growing Health Active Children: Childcare Provider Seminar. Teachers will earn certificates for Department of Education license renewal or Paths to Quality. Registration and lunch is $25 and is being funded by the Montgomery County Community Foundation for Montgomery County Early Education providers. The seminar will be held at the Wright Center in West Lafayette, Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the seminar is from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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  • Monday, January 23, 2017 4:00 AM
    Last fall and winter, Montgomery County fourth- and fifth-graders participated in an after-school STEM club called “How It Works.” Participants at Hoover Elementary met for an hour after school nine times throughout September to December. They explored with activities to explore how things worked. 
    Some of the topics and activities that youth learned about were what makes a bouncy ball bounce, engineering and design principles to build a free-standing structure, centripetal force making a balloon “scream”, Oobleck that had Non-Newtonian properties making it both a liquid and solid, and much more!
    After-school STEM programs are a great way to increase student’s curiosity and motivation to STEM learning. After-school STEM programs impact youth by cultivating “students’ interest in STEM and build STEM skills and proficiencies among diverse groups of young people.” (Krishnamurthi, Ballard, and Noam, 2014). Each week youth were excited to learn what hands-on activity we would be doing and eagerly looked forward to the next club meeting. Participants were enthusiastic about learning STEM-related concepts in a fun, hands-on environment and were interested in another offering of this club in the future.
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  • Thursday, January 05, 2017 4:00 AM
    Purdue University Extension and University of Illinois Extension are collaborating to offer the annual Bi-State Gardening Conference, being held at The Beef House Restaurant at 16501 Indiana State Road 63, Covington, Indiana, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. EST (4:30 p.m. CST), and the presenters will begin promptly at 6 p.m. EST.
    This year’s conference will consist of two presentations:
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