CSU Extension (Department 610)

Kali Benson, CSU Extension Agent

Description and Mission

The Elbert County Extension Office is the off-campus, informal educational arm of Colorado State University. We provide unbiased, practical, research-based education and opportunities for volunteer development through dynamic, flexible programs which serve a diverse rural and suburban mix of citizens. We offer access to experts in agriculture, natural resources, livestock, and family living. The Extension's 4-H Youth Development program teaches leadership, citizenship, and life skills, and its volunteers are active in leadership, education, positive mentorship, and more. Local businesses and individuals provide strong support for 4-H, the Extension, and the Elbert County Fair, which is the annual showcase for 4-H members’ projects.

Accomplishments, Goals, and Objectives

Accomplishments 2022

Elbert County's remains one of the finest 4-H and volunteer-based programs in the Colorado. The County fully funded two employees and formula funding for two CSU Extension agents, as well as professional development for all Extension staff.

In 2022, the Elbert County 4-H Youth and volunteers continued in-person club and project meetings, working closely with the county health department. Several graduating 4-H seniors have enrolled in post-secondary education. 4-H enrollment was 417, over 10% of the county population of eligible youth.

Master Gardener Volunteers grew by one additional certified volunteer, and the group continued to address client's questions via email and phone calls. Educational Seminars were hosted in hybrid modes, offering in person as well as a virtual option.

Goals for 2022 included strengthening the Master Gardener volunteer program through community education series. This was achieved through out the year, from January to September. The Extension Advisory committee did not get stood up in 2022. Instead, we shifted focus on facilitating the Elbert County Noxious Weed Board. This group will assist Elbert County Government with incentivizing good land stewardship in Elbert County, with the goals of education being met by stakeholder and extension education. Professional development of employees and volunteers enabled programming to increase participating and retention; communication was increased and targeted, and partnerships with external stakeholders were strengthened.

Goals and Objectives 2023

Goals for 2023 will be to develop the Extension Advisory Committee, strengthen the Master Gardener volunteer program through increased volunteer management. Additionally, we will fill the Formula Funded Agent position as well as the office admin position early in the year to bring our office back to full capacity.

Department Budget Summary