Everyone benefits when we volunteer!

Everyone involved in a volunteer program reaps the benefits. Over $60 billion is estimated to be contributed annually to the U.S. economy by virtue of volunteer services. Volunteering also helps various service organizations, for instance, by cutting down costs of operations and making services available to a larger audience.

Volunteerism promotes positive citizenship among youth by encouraging them to be more engaged in their own communities. Youth who volunteer feel more connected to their community, are more likely to show concern, and to stay in or return to their communities. Thus, youth volunteerism contributes substantially to community vitality.

Adults can help encourage youth to volunteer by sharing ideas and volunteer opportunities. Help youth find a service activity that fits their skills, interests, and passion. Be a role model and encourage the entire family to volunteer together.

We have a free list of 366 Community Service Ideas for youth (and adults). Visit https://lancaster.unl.edu/4h/serviceideas.shtml

The categories include:

  • Children, Family and Friends
  • Special Calendar Day Events
  • Crime Prevention
  • School Activities
  • Government
  • General
  • Helping Animals
  • Helping the Hungry and/or Homeless
  • Those with Special Needs
  • Neighborhood Enhancement
  • Performing Arts and Sports
  • Senior Citizens
  • The Environment

Check out these Nebraska Extension resources – free, online:

Contact your local extension office and ask about 4-H Programs in your community. 4-H adult and youth volunteers are difference-makers in our communities! Find your extension office here

Have a great day!!

Soni Cochran

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Source: Youth Volunteerism by Maria R. T. de Guzman, Extension Adolescent Specialist.

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Festive, tasty and kid-friendly green smoothie – Recipe of the Month

This recipe accompanied an article by Kayla Colgrove, MS, RDN, ACSM-CPT, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. It appears in the March 2019 issue of the NEBLINE Newsletter


Clover Power Smoothie

(Photo by Kayla Colgrove, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County)

For St. Patrick’s Day, I rename this recipe “Shamrocks & Gold Smoothie” to celebrate with a festive, tasty and kid-friendly green smoothie.

CLOVER POWER SMOOTHIE
(Makes 4 Cups)

2/3 cup 100% apple juice*
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach**
2 cups frozen pineapple chunks, no sugar added
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt***
1 banana

1. Add apple juice and spinach leaves to blender. Blend first to help make it smooth and avoid leafy chunks.
2. Place the remaining ingredients in the blender.
3. Blend until smooth and serve.

Kayla’s notes:
*You can substitute low-fat or nonfat milk or 100% white grape juice for 100% apple juice. Adding milk instead of 100% fruit juice will lower the calories and sugar while adding extra calcium to help strengthen bones.

**You can use kale instead of spinach. Kale does have a stronger flavor than spinach. I really like using spinach since it has little to no flavor.

***To make the smoothie even healthier, use nonfat vanilla yogurt or nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt instead of low-fat vanilla yogurt.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1 cup): 135 Calories, 1g Total Fat, 0g Saturated Fat, 35mg Sodium, 31g Total Carbs, 24g Sugars, 2g Dietary Fiber, 2g Protein

Read “Eat more dark-green veggies for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond” in the March 2019 Nebline Newsletter. Available free on-line!

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Small Flies Indoors During the Winter? Check Potted Plants

Fungus gnats are nuisance pests that occur indoors throughout the winter months. They breed and develop in overwatered potted plants. Many people do not realize plants take up less water in the winter, continue to water regularly, thereby creating a suitable habitat in the soil for the fungus gnat to complete its life cycle.

fungus gnats on dime

Fungus gnats are very small, often mistaken for fruit flies.

Adults are grayish-black, about 1/8-inch long and have one pair of wings. At first glance, they may appear similar to fruit flies, but they complete their development in top layers of soil. Females lay 100–150 eggs in moist potting soil and the larvae feed and develop on the fungi and organic matter. Fungus gnat larvae are white, slender, legless maggots with translucent bodies and dark heads. Larval feeding sometimes includes gnawing on the roots and stems of plants.

fungus gnat

When magnified, fungus gnats have dark-colored body, long antennae and Y-shaped wing vein.

In warm conditions, overlapping generations may occur, producing large populations which can cause spotting, curling, yellowing or plant death. After pupating in the soil, they emerge as winged adults, bothering people by flying around faces, lights, windows and food items.

In order to eliminate a fungus gnat infestation, the life cycle must be broken. This can be done by removing the fungus in which they breed, while simultaneously reducing the number of breeding and egg-laying adults. A non-chemical approach is to reduce the topsoil moisture by less frequent watering, drying out the soil and changing the plant medium to provide better drainage.

fungus gnats in jade plant

Fungus gnats breed in the moist soil of potted plants.

To catch flying adults, yellow sticky card traps are available at garden stores and placed at the soil surface. In addition, there are biological control products such as the microorganism, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is applied to the soil to kill larvae after ingestion. Bti (subspecies israelensis) is selective to insect fly larvae, non-toxic to humans, pets and contains no harmful residues. A product labeled to control fungus gnats in plant beds or pots include Mosquito Bits® by Summit Chemical Company.

Check out our guide to help identify other common pesky flies that may be bugging you in your home. For help with vinegar flies or fruit flies, check out this blog post.screen shot 2019-01-22 at 10.13.35 am

Confessions of an Extension Entomologist: I have two plants in my home that have to get dry and droopy before I water them. I do not have a green thumb.

Keep calm and respect the critters,

Jody

Sticky situation: Using glue boards to monitor pests

by Jody Green, Extension Educator

IMM stuck to Pheromone traps

Pheromone traps use a natural chemical compounds from female moths to attract males to a sticky glueboard. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Now that it is winter, some may think the critters that bugged us through the spring, summer and fall are gone due to the cold weather. Unfortunately for homeowners and apartment residents, many insects and other arthropods remain quite active indoors during this time, where they become unwelcomed house pests.

Protecting your home

There are simple, non-toxic and cost-effective tools that can be purchased to monitor the presence of pests in your home. If something is caught, it should be identified to determine whether it is of concern and whether control measures are required. It is important to understand that while these monitors may catch pests in your home, they may not be enough to control or eliminate them completely.

Trapping

Sticky traps, glue traps or glue boards are inexpensive, disposable, non-toxic cardboard or plastic trays with special glue on one side to capture pests. These can be purchased at local hardware and grocery stores and may be labeled for insects, spiders and/or rodents, but a variety of crawling pests are likely to get caught on these traps if pests are present.

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Parenting information when you need it

Reading to young childrenAre you expecting your first child? Do you have children or grandchildren? Finding reliable parenting information and advice on the web can be overwhelming! How do you know what you can trust? Just in Time Parenting e-newsletters from our eXtension partners are reliable and relevant resources – and they are free!

Just in Time Parenting Newsletters include:

  • Easy to use guides on how your child is developing
  • Tips on raising a healthy, happy child
  • Tools for solving common parenting problems
  • Strategies for coping with the challenges of raising children

Why should parents choose Just in Time Parenting?

  • Timely automatic delivery directly to your inbox
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Access to full-color PDFs for printing and sharing
  • Links to podcasts, videos, and other resources
  • Commercial free — no toy or product ads
  • Based on research and written by experts who are parents themselves!

Visit Just in Time Parenting – https://jitp.info/

Here’s to a terrific 2019!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

NEBLINE Newsletter. Available free online.

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Put Your Christmas Tree to Good Use

by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator – Horticulture

Add fruit garland to your Christmas Tree

Add fruit garland to your Christmas Tree

Before taking your Christmas tree to the recycling center this year, consider using it to create backyard habitat for birds. To attract birds to your backyard, you must provide their three basic needs- food, water, and cover or shelter. Your old Christmas tree will provide excellent shelter for birds, providing protection from wind and predators. It can also serve as a feeding station, where you provide a buffet of food that our native birds love.

Before taking the tree outside, remove all decorations and lights, including tinsel. To provide the most shelter possible for the birds, place the tree on the south or east side of the house, sheltered from winter’s harsh north and west winds. Anchor the tree securely by setting the stump into the ground or a large bucket of damp sand, and securing the top of the tree with twine to nearby building, fence or trees.

There are several more ways to recycle your Christmas tree. Learn more, read the entire article “Recycling Ideas – Christmas Trees“.

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Chicken Noodle Soup – Recipe of the Month

This recipe accompanied an article by Kayla Colgrove, MS, RDN, ACSM-CPT, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. It appears in the January 2019 issue of the NEBLINE Newsletter


Chicken Noodle Soup

(Photo by Craig Chandler, UNL Communications)

January is national soup month. Try this recipe from Nebraska Extension’s Nutrition Education Program (nep.unl.edu) which includes whole wheat egg noodles. It is easily adaptable to beef noodle or chicken and rice soup.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
(6 Servings)

1 whole chicken*
1 teaspoon salt
Water, to cover
1 onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
3/4 cup whole wheat egg noodles, uncooked**

  1. In a large saucepan, place chicken and salt. Add enough water so the chicken is covered. Heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken from broth and cool enough to handle. Remove skin and bones and chop the meat. Skim fat from broth.
  3. Add additional water, if needed, to make 6 cups. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add chicken, onion, carrots, celery and noodles to the broth. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*Substitute 2 pounds roast or stew meat for chicken to make Beef Noodle Soup.
**Substitute 3/4 cup rice for noodles to make Chicken and Rice Soup.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 180, Total Fat 3.5 g (5% DV), 1 g Saturated Fat (5% DV), 80 mg Cholesterol (27% DV), 520 mg Sodium (22% DV), 11 g Total Carbohydrate (4% DV), 2 g Dietary Fiber (8% DV), 3 g Sugars, 25 g Protein, Vitamin A 100%, Vitamin C 15 %, Calcium 4%, Iron 8%.

Source: Nebraska Nutrition Education Program

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –