By Chris Faulknor, Publisher & Benjamin Gohs, Editor
They’ve been around for over a 150 years and provide dozens of important programs and services—yet, many folks have never heard of it.
And that is something that the head of Michigan State University Extension Offices hopes to change through community outreach as he continues his tour of extension offices across the State of Michigan.
“We’re really the outreach arm of Michigan State University and it’s part of the land grant mission to take the experience, expertise, and opportunities of the university to every corner of the State of Michigan,” said Director of MSU Extension Jeff Dwyer. “Our job, working closely with faculties and others at the university is to do like we do here in Boyne City and this area—which is bring health programming, bring 4-H, bring product development expertise, and many other things to the area so that we can help communities and people in different parts of their lives.”
The MSU Extension offers a wide variety of services, programs, and educational opportunities locally as well as regionally.
“A lot of people don’t know that,” Dwyer said. “So, that’s an important example. It’s really a part of the underlying values of a great land grant university like Michigan State University.”
Land grant universities were established in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln in order to provide educational opportunities to people in more rural areas.
The Charlevoix County MSU Extension Office offers a number of services including diabetes education, classes on mindfulness, zoning laws, the impact of wind turbines, and even soil testing kits for home gardens and agricultural operations—$20 to $30 depending upon what you’re testing.
“This time of year people need to know—what’s the makeup of your soil in their garden before they plant,” Dwyer said. “They can come by here, they can follow the steps on the soil kit, and they can send it to our lab at Michigan State University and get a comprehensive printout of the results of their soil and recommendations as to how to amend it.”
People can also call in or go online for the MSUE’s “ask the expert” service.
“People can get answers to all kinds of questions,” Dwyer said. “And, if it’s not something that we do, (we) take the time to refer them to someone who does do that thing.”
He added, “We know that many of the programs and services we provide help people stay in their community, help people thrive in their community, help people build businesses in their community.”
Dwyer said the extension office can always use volunteers, partnerships, and financial support for scholarships.
MSUE is funded by various sources, including competitive bids and contracts, counties, philanthropy, and partnering with like-minded organizations which helps it utilize economy of scale.
The Charlevoix County MSU Extension Office is located at 319B North Lake St. in Boyne City.
You may contact them at 582-6232.
Their hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Go to https://www.canr.msu.edu/charlevoix for more information.