Author: Marci Metz

Join the 4-H Family!

4-H is a community of young people across Kansas engaged in learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. Caring adults who support our programs are essential for youth to achieve their potential. Adults can share guidance, knowledge and wisdom, as well as model respect and provide skills training. Contact your local extension office to learn about how youth can join 4-H and how you can get involved making a difference as an adult volunteer!

4-H is a nationwide program. Each of the four H’s of the clover represent ways youth can grow and develop.

  • Head, critical thinking, problem solving;
  • Heart, self-discipline, integrity, communication;
  • Hands, serving others; and
  • Health, choosing healthy lifestyles.

By: Nora Rhoades

Fall is the Perfect Time to Plant a Tree

You may have heard the Chinese Proverb “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”  Trees offer shade and beauty in our landscapes as well as reducing utility costs and providing food sources and habitat for wildlife. The fall season is an excellent time to plant trees! In the spring, soils are cold and may be so wet that there isn’t enough oxygen for adequate root growth. Fall soils are warm and moist which encourages growth. When planted in fall, the tree becomes established well before a spring planted tree and is able to withstand summer stresses.

To pick the perfect tree for your landscape, consult K-State’s recommended list: https://www.kansasforests.org/community_forestry/community_docs/NW%20Preferred%20Trees122016.pdf

By: Cassie Homan

Fall Mums

Nature always gives us signals as seasons change. When summer starts to shift toward fall, the leaves begin to change colors. Another sure sign that fall is right around the corner is the arrival of colorful and beautiful fall mums in garden centers.

Now is the time to plan how and where to use these plants effectively around your home and landscape. A newer trend for growers is to mix colors in containers, so be ready for even more decisions.

Watch this video for information on how to get your mums to last through the winter:

By: Cassie Homan

E-Cigarettes and Your Health

E-Cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid (containing nicotine or other drugs) and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air.  They come in many shapes and sizes; some look like regular cigarettes while others are disguised as everyday devices including USB flash drives, pens, credit cards or sweatshirt “hoodie” strings.  Using an E-Cigarette is often called “vaping” or “Juuling.”

Most E-Cigarettes contain nicotine – the addictive drug in regular tobacco products.  Research has shown nicotine to damage the adolescent brain, which keeps developing until age 25.  Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.  Each time a new memory is created, or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.  Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.

Scientists are still learning about the long term health effects of E-Cigarettes.  Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.  E-Cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor.”  The aerosol users breathe can contain harmful substances including nicotine, flavoring such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to lung disease), volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

E-Cigarettes are not legal for youth to use or possess under the age of eighteen.  To purchase a Juul device online, the customer must be twenty-one.  Despite these age restrictions, one in three Kansas youth have experimented with E-Cigarettes.  Parents, schools, health providers and law enforcement can combat the youth E-Cigarette use epidemic by becoming informed, updating public tobacco policies, and setting a good example by being tobacco free.

By: Ashley Svaty

The New Look of Nicotine Addiction: Talk with your kids about the dangers of vaping

While cigarette smoking among youth has declined, the use of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes has increased. In their efforts to eventually hook kids on tobacco, the tobacco and vaping industries target young people by using three primary tactics – making products sweet, cheap, and easy to get.

Talk with Your Kids. Talking with your kids about vaping is one of the most important things you can do. Below are tips to help you prepare for and start the conversation.

  • Be patient and ready to listen. Your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture.  So avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue.
  • There is no “perfect time” to talk. Driving in the car together or waiting at an appointment is often the best time. You can start by mentioning a news story, a TV show, or something that you heard about vaping. Or ask your child what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette, passing a vape shop when you are out, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement.
  • There is no “perfect talk.” Consider your talks with your child about vaping as a learning opportunity for both of you, and perhaps just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. You may have some facts about vaping at hand, but concede that you don’t know all the answers. It will go a long way to keep your kids from going on the defensive.
  • Ask what your child thinks. Show some genuine curiosity. Ask your child, “What’s your take on vaping?” or “Do you know kids who use e-cigarettes?”
  • Be open and honest. Be truthful about what you know about the dangers of vaping, and what you don’t. You can honestly say, though, “Vaping isn’t harmless. I hope you can steer clear of it.”

You can’t always control everything your children do when they’re not with you. Talking with your kids about vaping will let them know that you’re concerned about their health.

The information and resources shared in this article are from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at http://makesmokinghistory.org/. You can also find helpful resources, from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, at https://resisttobacco.org/.

By: Nora Rhoades

Do you Wash your Poultry?

The practice of washing or rinsing raw poultry can actually put you and others at a higher risk of foodborne illness. Quite simply, there’s no need to do this.

Participants in an observational study were observed in handling and preparation practices to see how bacteria moves from raw foods to other foods or surfaces. They were divided into a control group and a treatment group. Food safety messages were sent via email prior to observation sessions to learn how effective those messages were in preparing chicken.

Some reasons consumers feel rinsing raw poultry is necessary is to remove blood/slime, because a family member said to do so, or it washes off the germs or bacteria. Most do this under the faucet with water running without any other container. Because of this, water splashes onto other items or food causing cross contamination. Then, many improperly washed their hands by not using water or soap, or did not rub their hands with soap at least 20 seconds. They also were ineffective at cleaning and sanitizing equipment and countertops.

Bottom line. There is no need to wash poultry or meat prior to cooking. Cooking to safe temperatures is the best and safest defense against foodborne illness. All poultry should reach 165°F; ground meat should reach 160°F; and roasts, steak and chops should reach 145°F.

The final report of this study can be found at https://bit.ly/30qbG3h.

By: Ashley Svaty