National innovative program award to UNL Extension members

A team from Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota received an Innovative Program Award from the Community Development Society. UNL Extension staff from the Panhandle were among the Nebraska team members.

The Marketing Hometown America was one of two programs honored at the society's award banquet in July in Dubuque, Iowa.

The effort recognized the uniqueness of each small town and helped local citizens in creating a plan that is designed to attract new residents.  Its premise is to place marketing the community in the hands of the people who know that place the best – its current residents.

The team from North Dakota State University Extension, South Dakota State University Extension, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension collaborated in a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture to determine what causes people to move to small towns. The team then used those results to help develop marketing plans for a pair of small towns in each state.  The results have been the development of marketing plans based on the uniqueness of each community.

Working with the project from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension are: Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Randy Cantrell, Anita Hall, Connie Hancock, Charlotte Narjes, Rebecca Vogt, and Becky Brown.

Working with the project from North Dakota State University Extension are: Kathy Tweeten, Jodi Bruns, Nancy Hodur, Sharon Smith, and Helen Volk-Schill. From South Dakota State University Extension are: David Olson, Kari O'Neill, Peggy Schlechter, and Kenneth Sherin.

Others associated with the effort were community members Becky Bown and Tyler Demars of North Dakota, and Irene Fletcher of Nebraska; the Hot Springs, S.D. community team;  David Peters of Iowa State University, and Everyday Democracy, an East Hartford, Conn.-based project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation which works to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life.

This program also received the Excellence in Teamwork Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.