UI Extension educators get involved in their communities
No matter what their professional focus is, all University of Idaho Extension educators seem to have one thing in common — they love helping people and giving back to their communities.
Bradley Stokes, UI Extension educator in Elmore County, gives back to the community in more ways than one. The majority of his professional work consists of answering questions from the public, writing Extension publications and articles for the local newspaper and conducting research. His favorite part of working for UI Extension is the ability to assist people in the community.
Aside from giving back in his professional career, Stokes has also been nominated as a candidate to participate in the Real Men Wear Pink of Idaho fundraising event. He has vowed to wear pink every day throughout the month of October to bring awareness to breast cancer at a local level.
Stokes was nominated by Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce President Brandie Garlitz, whom he met through the UI Extension 4-H Youth Development program. He said if he reaches his goal of raising $2,500 for the American Cancer Society, he will color his hair pink.
For the past six months, Stokes has also volunteered as a little league coach for 9- and 10-year-olds in Mountain Home.
Stokes received a Bachelor of Science in plant science from the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), with a minor in crop science, followed by a master’s degree in entomology. He has been with UI Extension, Elmore County since March 2016.
Another UI Extension educator who gives back to the community both inside and outside of his professional career is Jim Church, UI Extension educator in Idaho County.
Church has his bachelor‘s and master’s degrees in agriculture and extension education with an emphasis in animal science from UI. He is now an animal science educator stationed in Grangeville, and primarily works with beef cattle producers in North Idaho.
“My favorite part is being able to work with and help people over the years. That has been the most satisfying part of my job — to actually see people apply some of the information that we supply them and to see that they have success with it,” Church said.
Outside of consulting, putting on classes and conducting research, Church also does radio play-by-play for high school sports. During football season, he narrates football games for Grangeville High School, and during basketball season, he calls the shots for four area teams during the district and state tournaments.
“It’s kind of a bucket list thing and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Church said. “The best part is still being able to be involved in sports and to also watch these kids grow up. I also enjoy being able to bring the game back home to people who can’t make it.”
Church has been doing play-by-play for 20 years, and recently won an award from the Idaho State Broadcaster’s Association for the best play-by-play broadcast for 2016 and 2017.
“I was completely shocked. It was very humbling,” Church said.
Ken Hart, UI Extension educator in Lewis County, also gives back to the community through athletics.
Hart earned his Bachelor of Science in biology from Seattle Pacific University, and a master’s degree in agriculture economics through CALS. He primarily works with crop farming systems and practices farm financial management.
He is also the assistant football coach for Highland High School and Nezperce High School, which together form the Lewis County Eagles. Hart volunteered as head coach five years ago, and has continued as assistant coach for the last two years.
“I really enjoy the physical activity of it and being involved in the boys’ lives,” Hart said. “I’ve seen some kids really come along. Between ninth and 12th grades, these kids develop so much. They essentially become young men, and it’s great to be part of that experience.”
Hart has also been a member of the Nezperce County School Board for the past 21 years, and chair for the last 17 years. He enjoys being involved in the community and building relationships with both students and other community members.
Story by Jean Parrella, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences