Good day! I am so excited to join the blogging team on While I’m addicted to email and Facebook, I have never blogged-so be patient with me. My name is  JoLynn Miller and I work for Gallatin County 4-H in two capacities: 1. as the 4-H  Military Program Coordinator and 2. as the Montana 4-H Mentorship Program Site Coordinator. I’ll explain my roles and get you more familiar with the programs I run in later blogs.  Before that though-you need to know the basics about the Extension System and 4-H.

The Morrill Acts in 1862 and 1890 created land-grant universities to educate “the people” about agriculture, home economics, and other vocational professions. The Smith-Leaver Act of 1914 created the Cooperative Extension Service connected to each states land-grant university. The Cooperative Extension Service became the main source of practical education to rural Americans. Today the CES covers topics ranging from agriculture, economic development, positive youth development (4-H), environmental science, community development, and more!

We are lucky to have a land-grant university right here in Bozeman: Montana State University. The MSU Cooperative Extension Service’s mission is to be a  “statewide educational outreach network that applies unbiased, research-based university resources to practical needs identified by the people of Montana in their home communities”. Our Extension Service serves 56 counties and seven reservations in varying capacities.

Here in Gallatin County we have a staff of seven who conduct various programs. Cyndi Suhr is our Administrative Assistant and is the first contact for public questions.  Ron Carlstrom is the Agriculture Agent who deals primarily with production agriculture and producers. Crystal Hagerman is our Natural Resource Agent and she works with landowners on natural resource issues and coordinates grant programs that pertain to wildfire safety and forest health. Michelle Passmore is the county’s Small Acreage Field Technician who helps run our Master Gardner program and answers small acreage and horticulture questions. Dee McDonnell is the SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator and provides nutrition education to youth and adults in Gallatin and Park counties.  Danica Jamison is the 4-H Agent who plans, promotes, and organizes (along with a strong volunteer base) most 4-H youth events in the county. I work on two grants that allow me to engage youth in military families as well as “underserved” youth in Bozeman.  Because we are connected to MSU, we have state specialists in almost every subject you can imagine as resources. We are here to help you - Gallatin County residents- any way we can. Please call Cyndi at (406) 388-3213 to be directed to the staff member who can help you the most.

--The format for this and future blogs will include an information piece at the beginning, but will always follow up with upcoming events. Please read below to see what is coming up!!

**Parents Night Out (Saturday April 9th)-Drop off your kids, ages 6-12, at Spire Climbing Center and 4-H Teens will watch them from 6:30-9:30. The costs are $25 for 1 child, $35 for 2 siblings, $40 for 3 siblings, and $5 more per additional sibling.  Space is limited so signed up today by calling 388-3213!

**Public Demonstration Day (Sunday April 10th) - 4-H Members of all ages ranging from 6-18 will be presenting demonstrations on topics they have researched such as Origin of the Charolis Breed, Origami Paper Folding, Taekwondo, Making a Robot, and Genetic Mapping.  Demonstrations will be held from 1:30-5:30 at the Belgrade Middle School Cafeteria followed by a 4-H Music Performance and 4-H Fashion Revue.  Potluck Dinner, music, Fashion Revue and Awards Ceremony starts at 5:30pm and ends at 7:00pm.  All are invited to join the event.  Please RSVP to the 4-H Office at 388-3213.  FREE.

**READ to a Dog (Saturday April 16th) at the Belgrade Community Library from 11:15 to 12:15. This regularly scheduled event allows youth to read to a trained dog in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. Use books from the library or bring your own. To commemorate Month of the Military Child we will have books on deployment, and military life available for those kids who have a loved one in the military. All youth are invited and this event is FREE.