The Cooperative Extension Service is one of the nation's largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. It's a network of colleges, universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving communities and counties across America. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service program areas are:
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Health and Human Sciences
4-H Youth Development
Purdue Extension is a service tailored to meet the needs of Indiana, needs we know firsthand. Our educators, specialists, and volunteers live and work in all 92 Indiana counties. We provide the link between Land Grant research and Indiana citizens. In doing that we provide practical solutions to local issues. We provide information and expertise that's available in the form you want, when you want it. That's Purdue Extension, Indiana's home team advantage.
What We Do
We improve lives and livelihoods by delivering tested and trusted educational resources. The Cooperative Extension Service is one of the nation's largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. It's a network of colleges, universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving communities and counties across America. The Purdue Extension focuses on: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Human and Health Sciences, Economic and Community Development and 4-H Youth.
Youth in grades K-2 (mini 4-H) and grades 3-12 are eligible to sign up! To learn more about 4-H and what projects are offered, visit the Indiana State 4-H Page linked below.Learn More Here
Wells County Newsletters
Check out Health and Human Science Newsletters with helpful articles on health, nutrition, family and finances.
The January-February 2022 edition includes the following articles:
Healthy homes: dealing with household clutter
What is Clutter?
Clutter is a collection of things lying around in an untidy mess, usually because we don’t have a designated place for it. It can be all kinds of different stuff that people buy, receive and/or collect over the years. Clutter can accumulate anywhere – it can start in one small space, like a dining room table, and eventually spread to take over a whole room, or in severe cases, a whole house. Some prime sources of clutter include paper (mail, bills, etc.), books & magazines, toys & games, hobby materials, shoes & clothes, tools & hardware, cleaning supplies, and laundry.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Clutter?
Household clutter has a big impact on your health and quality of life. It can be so out of control that people fall and injure themselves because they cannot reach things or maneuver around piles of junk. This can be especially hazardous for elderly people or people with limited mobility. Most people spend 90% of their time indoors – a lot of which is spent at home. Home is the place you start and end your day, the place where you spend time with family and friends. Research has indicated that a clean house can positively affect your physical and mental health. By cutting down on “stuff,” you make room to socialize with the people who matter to you.
Does Clutter Really Affect Indoor Air Quality?
Yes – piles of clutter that are left undisturbed for long periods of time can accumulate dust, dirt and allergens, including pet hair and dander, pollen, dust mites and other pests. Mold can also develop undetected if the area is damp. If someone smokes cigarettes in a cluttered home, the walls and furnishings can become tinged with yellow and smell of smoke. This is especially hazardous for people with asthma, children, and the elderly.
Do You Have a Problem with Clutter?
If you think you may have a problem with household clutter, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have to move things around or step over things to get around your house?
- Are tables and counters filled with so many items that you have few (if any) free spaces?
- Are your drawers, closets and other storage areas overflowing with “stuff”?
- Do you have piles of papers that you plan to sort through but never do?
- Do you lose things and have to search for them several times a week?
- Do you keep things in a storage facility on an ongoing basis?
- Are dirty dishes and empty drink cans left out for more than 24 hours?
- Are you ashamed to invite company over to your house because of clutter?
- Are your closets full of clothes and shoes that you no longer wear?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you have a clutter problem! Read on for steps you can take to de-clutter your home.
Take Charge and Clear Your Clutter
Assemble your very own Clutter Emergency Kit – stock it with large garbage bags, a broom and dust pan, a vacuum cleaner, storage boxes, a marker and labels, multipurpose and glass cleaners, a mop, paper towels, and laundry detergent. Why the cleaning products? After you clear the clutter, you will need to clean the newly exposed surfaces. You can also use different kinds of containers to help with your sorting – anything from boxes to different sizes of plastic containers or bags will work.
Start by sorting items into separate piles: keep, trash (or recycle), donate, sell, or uncertain. Experts estimate that people only use about 20% of the items in their home. This means the other 80% is potential clutter. Take a good look at your “stuff” and be honest with yourself about what you really use. Only keep things that you need and will use or that have a strong personal meaning to you. Don’t confuse things with memories. Our memories of people and events in our past will be with us long after the “stuff” is gone.
KEEP – put items you will keep in this pile. Sort like items together so they will be easier to put away. Create organized centers for things like cleaning products, office supplies, cooking, makeup, hardware, etc. The keep pile may be divided into two separate categories in some cases::
- Things to keep and put away now OR
- Things that are broken or need repair before they can be put away. If you haven’t repaired a “keep” item in two months, dispose of it.
GIVE AWAY – put items you will give to friends or donate to charity in this box.
TRASH/RECYCLE – put items that need to be thrown away in trash bags or recycling containers.
SELL – put items that can be sold for a profit on websites (like eBay or Craigslist), at consignment shops, or yard sales in this box.
UNCERTAIN – put items that you are unsure about in this box. If you have enough room, keep the box for 6 months. If you haven’t needed anything in the box after 6 months, get rid of it.
Be sure to deal with sorted items as soon as possible after de-cluttering. For example, take bags of trash and recycling to the recycling center and give items to friends, the Good Will, or Salvation Army. If you are selling items on a website, list them as soon as possible. If you need to have a yard sale, try to plan to have it within a couple of weeks. Donate the stuff that doesn’t sell online or at your yard sale.
To maintain your clutter free home, the whole family has to understand that everyone needs to pick up after themselves. Doing a little cleaning and straightening every day can save you the hassle of going through this whole process again. Use the 60 second rule – if it takes no longer than 60 seconds to put something away, then go ahead and put it away instead of laying it down for “the time being.” Make a chore chart and assign age appropriate jobs for everyone in the house, so everyone knows that they are expected to do their part to keep things clutter free. Stay firm and don’t do anyone else’s share of the work or one of two things will happen – you will always do their share of the work or the clutter will slowly build back up. Remember, it takes two weeks minimum for a new chore to become a routine.
Source: University of Georgia Extension
Random Acts of Kindness week is February 14-20, 2022. Did you know there are a multitude of health benefits to practicing acts of kindness? Random acts of kindness can…
- Increase Happiness
- Increase Energy
- Increase Lifespan
- Increase Serotonin
- Decrease Depression
- Decrease Stress
- Decrease Anxiety
- Decrease Pain
- Decrease Blood Pressure
Need some suggestions to get you started? Here are some great ideas that won’t break the bank:
- Consider virtual kindness options like inviting someone new to a zoom call
- Send a text to your Mom and/or Dad letting them know how much they mean to you
- Make or take a meal to a family that is going through a difficult time
- Build a snowman outside the window of a resident of a long-term care facility
- Open the door or hold the door for somebody
- Write a note/letter to a teacher who has positively impacted your life
- Bake something for a neighbor
- Write a thank you note to somebody who works in the school office or cafeteria
- Text someone on your team and say, “I like having you on our team because _______________”
- Bring in the garbage cans for a neighbor
- Pay for the person behind you in line
- Tape a dollar bill to a vending machine with a note that says “your snack is on me”
- Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while and catch up.
- Place notes with positive messages in library books, on lockers or on the restroom mirrors at your school
- Put a note in your mailbox for the postman, thanking him/her for what they do
- Offer to help a teacher with a task
- Wash someone’s car
- Surprise someone by bringing them a favorite snack or drink they love
- Help a fellow student study for a test or with homework
- Sit next to someone who is sitting alone at lunch and have a conversation with them
- Do the dishes or another household chore unexpectedly
- Write a letter to your advisor or coach, listing your favorite 3 things about them
- Make a care bag for a homeless person (bottle of H20, toothbrush, socks, snack…)
- Go to a friend’s or family member’s sporting event or concert to support them
- Visit an elderly care home.
- Leave a “Have a Great Day” note on someone’s car in a parking lot
- Make two lunches and give one to someone
- Bring a treat to the local fire house and thank them for their service
- Compliment someone to their boss
- Help clean up trash at the end of lunch or around campus
- When in class or at practice and a partner is needed choose someone who is usually left out.
- Dedicate 24 hours to spreading positivity on social media
- Ask somebody over 50 to tell you about their best childhood memory
- Offer to help an elderly person with a chore
- Return shopping carts in a parking lot
- Hold up inspiring signs during rush hour or another location in need of inspiration
- Let someone go ahead of you in line
- Take a treat to your librarian or custodian and thank them for what they do
- Make a list of your favorite things about each person in your family and hang it on the refrigerator
- Give someone a book that you liked
- Give some flowers to somebody to brighten their day
- Make a playlist for someone
- Send a favorite quote to a person in need
- Volunteer for a non profit
- Spend 10 minutes cleaning up your neighborhood park
ServSAfe Food Manager Class & Exam Offered
ServSafe educates food service workers about food safety and focuses on five aspects:
- Foodborne microorganisms and allergens
- Personal hygiene
- Purchasing, receiving, and storage
- Preparing, cooking, and serving
- Facilities, cleaning/sanitation, and managing pests
upcoming trainings in our area include:
- February 4 - Allen County Extension Office - Exam Only - 9 AM
- February 23 - Noble County Extension Office - Exam Only - 9 AM
- March 16 - Allen County Extension Office - 1 Day Training/Exam - 8 AM - 4 PM, Exam @ 4:30
- March 30 - Huntington County - location TBD - 1 Day Training/Exam - 8 AM - 4 PM, Exam @ 4:30
- April 12 - Adams County Extension Office - 1 Day Training/Exam - 8 AM - 4 PM, Exam @ 4:30
- April 21 - Noble County Extension Office - 1 Day Training - 8 AM - 4 PM
- April 26 - Noble County Extension Office - Exam - 9 AM
- Training, Exam, and Manual - $165
- Training and Exam - $115
- Exam Only - $65
Register online at https://www.purdue.edu/servsafe or contact the Purdue Education Store at 765-494-6794.
4-H Enrollment Time is Here!
The enrollment window to participate in Wells County 4-H is October 1, 2021-January 15, 2022. You can enroll at www.v2.4honline . Please feel free to call the Extension Office at 260-824-6412 if you have any questions or if you need assistance.
HHS Newsletter PDF version available HERE.
News Notes for Parents is a newsletter geared towards parents with children ages 8 and under. You will find articles about parenting, early childhood education, nutrition and much more.
In the January 2022 issue of News Notes for Parents, you will find the following articles:
HOW TO KEEP KIDS ACTIVE IN WINTER
Anna Lorenzi, MPH, encourages families to get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Exercise is essential, no matter the season. It helps kids maintain strong muscles and bones, builds cardiovascular strength, reduces the risk of illness and improves mental health. Don't feel pressured to block off a full hour for exercise. Instead, aim for several 15-20 minute bursts of movement throughout the day – and keep it fun.Remember that most kids enjoy exercise more when it is part of a game. Incorporate movement into games like hide-and-seek or indoor tag and relay races. "That way, they're squatting and jumping and moving under and around things, so they're getting bodyweight exercise through play," Lorenzi adds. To help your kids avoid excessive, couch-bound screen time this winter, look for fun, simple ways to make movement a part of their everyday routines.
Indoor winter activities
Play video games that incorporate movement.
Just Dance or Wii bowling – or games that get participants up and moving.
Incorporate dance parties throughout the day.
Put on a favorite song and dance!
Do a clean-up sprint. Encourage kids to declutter as many rooms as they can in 10 minutes.
Hold a scavenger hunt. Get kids moving throughout the house on a race to find items on search lists.
Outdoor winter activities
Take family bike rides or walks. Make sure you dress for the weather.
Make a nature collage. Collect interesting rocks,leaves and twigs in your yard.
Have backyard relay races.
Enjoy the snow. Build a snowman or snow fort, and go sledding. Use spray bottles to "paint" the snow with food coloring and water.
To view full article:
11 WAYS TO TEACH YOUNG KIDS THE VALUE OF CLEANING UP - AND GET THEM TO DO IT WILLINGLY
Kids who start doing chores early are more likely to have relationship, academic and career success.
1.Toddlers may not be able to clean, but they can still help
2.Banish the concept of cleaning as punishment
3.Communicate why cleaning is important on a strictly hygienic level
4.Give them options
5.Keep it small and realistic (this is helpful for adults, too!)
6.Make it a family affair
7.Use a timer to “race” your kids in clean ups
8.Have your child factor clean up time into play dates
9.Implement ‘Grandma’s Rule’
10.Make allowance dependent on housework
11.Inspire your kids to declutter by letting them pick a charity
Read full article at:
A PDF Version of News Notes to Parents is available HERE.
The January 2022 issue of the Wells County 4-H Newsletter includes the following information:
- 4-H Club Financial Record Forms will be mailed to the primary club leaser this month. All clubs must complete the form with beginning and ending balances for 2021 no later than February 1st. Some of the clubs will be audited and others will not. Please read your letter carefully.
- Now is the time to enroll again for Wells County 4-H! Visit v2.4honline.com to enroll. If you need help, please contact the Purdue Extension Office in Wells County at (260) 824-6412.
- Mini 4-H Enrollment is open! Mini 4-H is a program designed to encourage positive development of children in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Visit v2.4honline.com to enroll. If you need help, please contact the Purdue Extension Office in Wells County at (260) 824-6412.
- The Rockcreek Rollers 4-H Club is looking for a new leader! Have questions? Interested in leading? Contact the Purdue Extension Office in Wells County at (260) 824-6412.
- 4-H Camp Counselors Needed! Applications to be a 4-H Camp Counselor are now available for 4-H members in grades 9-12. Applications are due February 1st and are available at bit.ly/4HCounselorApp
- 4-H Scolarships for current 4-H seniors are due January 25th. Applications are available at bit.ly/4hscholarship
Upcoming Wells County and State Extension Events
Local Extension News
Learn how to create a positive environment & inclusive experience in all 4-H mission areas.
State Extension Events
See how Dr. David Wallace-Hare used knowledge from his Purdue Urban Ag courses to further his research in urban beekeeping. Purdue’s online Urban Ag Certificate program is flexible and highly ranked.
August will mark 50 years since President Richard Nixon signed the Rural Development Act of 1972, creating the Rural Regional Development Centers located throughout the United States.
In celebration of National Houseplant Appreciation Day, Karen Mitchell, consumer horticulture Extension specialist, shares these helpful tips to ensure your plants stay green and healthy.
The spring 2022 Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) basic training program will begin Feb. 1 as a series of live virtual webinars.
Do you often work with Amish and other plain communities? Purdue Extension, Penn State Extension and Elizabethtown College are presenting “Working with Amish and Other Plain Communities” for Extension and related agency professionals.
When the holidays are over and the needles begin to fall from your natural Christmas tree, continue to spread holiday cheer by returning your tree to nature. Jarred Brooke, Extension wildlife specialist, and Mitch Zischke, fisheries specialist,...