University of Illinois Extension units across the state are celebrating a century of serving Illinois communities. In an effort to document the local history of Extension, the Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark unit will be collecting stories, photographs and more this fall.
“We would like to hear how University of Illinois Extension has been an important part of your life, family, or community,” said Tony Franklin, University of Illinois Extension director for the unit. “Help us record an important piece of history in our counties and commemorate the 100-year legacy of University of Illinois Extension and its impact on the people it serves.”
The statewide celebration kicked off earlier this year and continues through the spring of 2014, which coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act that established the Cooperative Extension Service.
University of Illinois Extension played an important role in many major events in history – from the adoption of hybridized corn and the creation of rural electric cooperatives to the start of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the introduction of Telenet, the first distance-learning system.
“Extension may have its roots in the rural agricultural community, but it has spread its wings to serve suburban and urban audiences as well,” Tony said. “Today, our local unit serves four counties, which are uniquely different communities that have evolved over the last several decades.”
Franklin said they hope to document memories of Extension experiences in all counties from various decades.
“We want to know your connection to Extension,” Franklin said. “Maybe you are part of a multi-generational 4-H family, or a Master Gardener tending to heirloom tomatoes? We hope to explore these local pieces of history with the residents we serve. What better way to commemorate our anniversary?”
To share your story, contact Becky Buckrop at University of Illinois Extension at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (309) 756-9978.