October 31, 2008

The eXtension Initiative, on behalf of the Cooperative Extension System, was presented with a Secretary's Honor Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Secretary's Honor Awards are the highest and most prestigious awards offered by the USDA.

The UK College of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Service are partners in eXtension, a web-based arm of the Cooperative Extension System that draws on an extensive knowledge base from the nation's land-grant universities. Information-seeking consumers can connect with experts through various online Communities of Practice that include, among others, equine, entrepreneurship, livestock, horticulture and parenting information.

The 61st Annual USDA Honor Awards Ceremony honored 26 groups and six individual winners from across the country for exemplary service and achievements. Cooperative Extension was honored in the category of Supporting the President's Management Agenda and Civil Rights. The citation for the eXtension award reads, "For excellence in leadership and commitment to bringing Americans the best research-based, objective and reliable information and education resources 24/7/365 online through eXtension and the Cooperative Extension System."

The eXtension award went to a team of 25 people. UK team members who were on hand to receive the award were Craig Wood, associate director of eXtension, Carla Craycraft, former associate director of eXtension and now on a post-retirement contract with the initiative, and family of the late Larry Turner, who was associate dean for extension in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Turner was instrumental in the initiative's beginnings and served on the eXtension financial task force in Washington, D.C. that worked to acquire the necessary federal funds. His wife Lois and son Clay were present to accept the award on his behalf.

"This was a great honor," Wood said. "We should also recognize others in the college who, through their work with eXtension, have contributed to our receiving the award. That's the leaders and the members of the Communities of Practice who have contributed content for the live site. It's not just the 20-some people who were listed on the award. It's a much broader group that contributed."

Those in the college who have contributed to the success of eXtension include Amy Aldenderfer, Donna Amaral-Phillips, Les Anderson, Paul Bachi, Ty Back, Lynn Blankenship, Nick Broady, Fernanda Camargo-Stutzman, Jeanne Davis, Ivelin Denev, Winston Dunwell, Rick Durham, Ashley Griffin, Candace Harker, Martha Jackson, Mike Klahr, Chad Lee, Lisa Lewis, Jack McAllister, Henrietta Ritchie-Holbrook and Kenny Seebold.

More information about eXtension is available online at http://www.extension.org.

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