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Agricultural News

Letters to Future Generations Part of OSU Cooperative Extension Time Capsules

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:03:19 CST

Letters to Future Generations Part of OSU Cooperative Extension Time Capsules
Members of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service gathered on Oklahoma State University's Stillwater campus recently to send a blast from the past to the organization's future generations.

"Extension just passed its centennial anniversary and among the many interesting items being included in the time capsules we are putting together are letters written by current-day educators and specialists to our future counterparts, giving firsthand accounts about what it was like to be part of Extension today," said Nathan Anderson, Payne County Extension director and agricultural educator.

A state agency that is part of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, OCES and its county educators and area, district and state specialists play pivotal roles in ensuring the university meets its state and federally mandated land-grant mission by developing science-based educational programs that help Oklahomans solve local issues and concerns, promote leadership and manage resources wisely.

"Extension has been called the 'front door to OSU' because we provide a strong local presence and work side-by-side with residents to improve the quality of life for them, their families and communities," said Brandi Krittenbrink, Kingfisher County Extension family and consumer sciences educator. "For us, it's personal; we are part of the communities we serve and our successes are, in large part, the successes we have helped others attain."

OCES is creating two time capsules: One will be opened in 25 years and the other will be opened in 100 years. The interior of each of the furniture-sized time capsules measures four feet by three feet by one foot, approximately the size of a typical credenza. Weighing in at 146 pounds apiece empty, they are constructed of impact- and chemical-resistant composite materials able to withstand temperature fluctuations from negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We're currently collecting a wide variety of items for inclusion into the time capsules, which will be sealed in May," said James Trapp, OSU Cooperative Extension associate director. "In addition to the letters, there are program-related clothing, photographs and other visual media, examples of technology, an assortment of educational and promotional materials, additional personalized communications to the future, personnel directories and even behind-the scenes accounts showcasing our activities."

All of which is designed to give future generations insights beyond what typically is available in history books and similar archives.

"In considering how Extension might work 25 or 100 years from now, I reflect back on our core values and their importance to our achievements and successes, foremost of which is to be true to the people of Oklahoma," said Thomas Coon, DASNR vice president, dean and director who was among the many letter writers. "Our Extension programming exists to serve them. They are our ultimate focus."

Coon also cited the ever-increasing amount of information available to people today, and changes in technology that make it more easily accessible than was possible in past decades.

"But is the information reliable?" he asked. "That has always been our promise to those we serve, to develop and disseminate the latest science-proven knowledge. I suspect that will remain one of our core values, and will be just as important in the future as it is now and has been throughout Extension's past 100 years."

Additional information, photographs and videos about the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service's centennial celebration including the Extension Centennial Whistle Stop and Festival last April are available for viewing online by clicking here.



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