Montana State University

MSU Extension agents in several counties win state awards

October 27, 2008

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Montana State University Extension agents around Montana received awards recently.

Sheryl Knowles, MSU Extension agent in Cascade County, received the 2008 Silver Buffalo Award in recognition of her exceptional service to the people of Montana. The award by Montana's Joint Council of Extension Professionals is the organization's highest honor.

Knowles received the Silver Buffalo Award because she "is the ultimate organizer and even-keel operator," said presenter Roni Baker, MSU Extension 4-H agent in Yellowstone County and secretary-treasurer of MJCEP. "She is unflappable and always has a positive attitude, and you can't say 'no' to her."

Knowles started in Extension in 1977 and became an agent in 1979. She is involved in many programs in Cascade County, from Action for Healthy Kids and after school programs to helping Campfire get a grant to run a babysitter camp. Her 4-H activities include 30 years of work at the State Fair, Montana 4-H Congress and National 4-H Congress, Junior Leader Camp, the 4-H military grant robotics program, the Cloverbud program, and as a volunteer recruiter, trainer and manager.


Dave Bertelsen, MSU Extension Agent in Wibaux County received the Distinguished Service Award of the Montana chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, a national fraternity of Extension educators.

Bertelsen's award recognizes his significant contributions to Extension programs, including work with 4-H, horticulture, family and consumer science and community development. Bertelsen is also active in the county weed district, fair board, and town council. He has teamed up with area agents to form and coordinate the Tri-County Leafy Spurge Project and helped establish some of the earliest populations of biological control flea beetles to battle the noxious weed. For 15 years, Bertelsen also has helped with the Winter Ag Series, a program connecting MSU researchers with area producers. In addition, he was instrumental in development of a visitor center and rest area that attracts freeway traffic into Wibaux.

The Montana's Joint Council of Extension Professionals also presented Adele Stenson, MSU Extension agent in Pondera County, with the Anne Wiprud Memorial Award, which recognizes an MSU Extension agent with less than 10 years experience who has developed outstanding special programs.

Stenson was cited for development of an outdoors camp and a new awards structure for the 4-H fair, her work with the Pondera County Shooting Sports Club, cooperation with the county health department on a program related to underage drinking, work with young mothers and numerous other projects. She helped initiate and organize an "Explore the Outdoors Through 4-H Camp."

"Adele has helped provide many new leadership and personal growth opportunities to numerous organizations and professionals she works with since she joined Extension," says Dan Picard, MSU Extension Agent in Pondera County. "Her area of emphasis is family and consumer science, but she doesn't hesitate to involve herself in any of the other program areas that will assist families."

The Montana chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi presented its Early Career Award to Joe Broesder, MSU Extension agent in Hill County. This award recognizes an agent in the first 10 years of his career for successful programs, including the Drill Box Survey project, which helps producers evaluate seed quality and the training of 4-H members to assist with quality assurance training.

Epsilon Sigma Phi presented its Mid-Career Service Award to Marko Manoukian, MSU Extension Agent in Phillips County. The award recognized Manoukian's work in programs including the Eastern Montana Wool Pool Consolidated Marketing project, the advanced 4-H market beef project, and the establishment of Noxious Weed Prevention Areas. Manoukian serves as a member of the hospital board, president of the Phillips County Economic Development Board and as part of the team working to improve irrigation water delivery in the Milk River valley.

The Montana Association of Extension 4-H Agents made the following awards:
--Achievement in Service Award: Wendy Wedum, MSU Extension Agent, Cascade County.
--25 Years of Service Award: Verlin Koenig, MSU Extension Agent, Valley County.
--Meritorious Service Award: Dave Bertelsen, MSU Extension Agent, Wibaux County.
--Distinguished Service Award: Nico Cantalupo, MSU Extension Agent, Fallon-Carter Counties.

The Montana Association of County Agricultural Agents made the following awards:
--Distinguished Service Award: Kent Williams, Custer County.
--Achievement Award: Eric Miller, Garfield County.

The Montana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences made the following awards:
--Continued Excellence Award: Marsha Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist.
--Distinguished Service Award: Jennifer Wells, Hill County Extension agent.

All awards were presented recently during the MSU Extension annual conference at MSU in Bozeman.

Contact: Rick Jackson at 994-5132 or jackson@montana.edu