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douglas county State Budget Reduction Prompts Change for Douglas County and UW-Extension U By James Anderson niversity of Wisconsin - Extension (or UW-Ex- tension) celebrated its centennial of service to Wisconsin in 2012. For decades, UW-Extension has been a valuable partner in Douglas County. This partnership has provided a variety of educa- tional programming and leadership that has impacted families, businesses, tourism and government services. The partnership between the Douglas County Board of Su- pervisors and UW-Extension is called Cooperative Extension. Cooperative Extension places UW-Extension educators in a county-based office to provide transformative education that is customized to meet the needs of each county. UW-Extension is now preparing to transform to meet the needs of all 72 Wisconsin counties and to address a budget re- duction from the State of Wisconsin 2015-17 biennial budget. The entire University of Wisconsin system was impacted by a $250 million budget cut in the latest biennial budget signed by Gov. Scott Walker. The Cooperative arm of UW-Extension needs to transform itself and reduce its operating budget by $3.6 million to meet this budget reduction. In Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension is primarily funded through the State of Wisconsin, Federal Smith Lever grant funds, other state and federal grants and county matching funds. Most participating counties in Cooperative Extension are contributing 40 to 45 percent of local Cooperative Exten- sion budgets, which contributes towards educators, support staff, curriculum, supplies and other core services that fund transformative education programming in the county. Douglas County UW-Extension UW-Extension office in Douglas County provides the full range of educational programming that Cooperative Extension offers, including: Family Living, 4-H/Youth Development, Com- munity & Economic Development, Agriculture & Horticulture and the Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP). In Douglas County, the educational programming that is often most visible to community members is the 4-H Youth De- velopment programs and coordination of the annual Superior Days event in Madison. Douglas County 4-H currently has nine fully chartered 4-H clubs. 4-H also offers after-school clubs, event-based youth education and activities, and the 4-H educa- tor coordinates youth participation in Superior Days. Altogeth- er, 4-H in Douglas County often provides youth development education to more than 300 Douglas County youth annually. In February 2016, Douglas County and the City of Supe- rior conducted the 31st Superior Days in Madison. The first Su- perior Days, held in 1985, was coordinated by Douglas County and then UW-Extension educator Geoff Wendorf. Since that 60 P.S. june.july 2016 2016 Superior Days youth delegation with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at the Madison Concourse Hotel. photo by Alec Zimmerman, policy advisor to Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. time, thousands of residents of all ages have participated in Su- perior Days – from identifying and developing issues to grass- roots lobbying. To this day, the penultimate success of Superior Days was the successful lobbying for a four-lane U.S. Highway 53 from Eau Claire to Superior. UW-Extension in Douglas County has been there since the beginning. In addition to these very visible examples of transforma- tive education, UW-Extension offers a broad array of other programs. The Nutrition Education Program for area elemen- tary schools, adults and seniors helps to develop healthy eating habits and healthy families. Family Living provides a variety of educational programming that supports healthy family rela- tionships and effective parenting techniques. The agriculture and horticulture educator supports the Lake Superior Master Gardener Association, whose work can be seen in gardens at Fairlawn Mansion and in community parks, and provides tech- nical assistance to area farms. UW-Extension is Transforming to Meet Future Needs As noted earlier, Cooperative Extension, a division of Uni- versity of Wisconsin - Extension, will transform and streamline itself to meet the challenge of the 2015-17 biennial budget. Co- operative Extension aims to cut $3.6 million of state funding from the division’s annual budget. Cathy Sandeen, chancellor for UW-Extension and UW Colleges, announced the changes on February 10, drawing on recommendations developed last fall and on feedback from county and tribal leaders, campus colleagues, agricultural com- modity groups and others with a stake in Cooperative Exten- sion’s future.