MSU Extension invested in Marquette County residents through education and partnerships

MSU Extension offered educational resources and programs to Marquette County residents in 2018 in the areas of youth and community development, health and the environment.

Group of people in a classroom.
(S)Partners at Cherry Creek Elementary with Jim LaJoie, Executive Director of the Superior Health Foundation.

Supporting Health and Wellness in Marquette County

SPartners for Health is a school web based nutrition and physical activity program to pro-mote health in 5th grade students and their care-givers. 2018 completed the second year of three UP public universities’ (Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, & Lake Superior State University) collaboration on this academic service learning and applied research project through Michigan State Univer-sity (MSU) Extension. Educational programming, pre/post measurement and healthy school curric-ulum intervention were integrated into the three universities, their local schools, and the communities. 

This project is in partnership with UPHP, Marquette Food Co-op, MSU Extension’s Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center and was made possible through generous funding from the Superior Health Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

University health and education students were certified in mentorship and administering extensive pediatric cardiovascular risk assessment profile including a lipid panel, blood pressure, biometrics and evaluation. The university students used pre/post surveys for evaluation measures, delivered six academic service learning lessons, which coincided with each lesson to caregivers of the fifth grade students in Houghton, Marquette, and Chippewa counties. Each health lesson uses online goal setting, tracking and mentorship by the team of trained university students.

Marquette Master Gardeners

smart-gardeningAdvanced Extension Master Gardener, Jan Peck, trained also as a Smart Gardener Outreach Voluteer, provides MSU Extension's Smart Gardening resources to the public.

Nineteen Extension Master Gardeners and trainees from Marquette County provided over 1,400 volunteer hours in 2018.  Along with miles traveled, this amounts to over $37,000 donated to educating communities about proper gardening techniques.  Extension Master Gardener projects focus around Smart Gardening outreach, beautification, youth gardening, food and community gardening.
Marquette Master Gardeners will have an opportunity to attend the Master Gardner college at Michigan State University in June of 2020 to receive continued training to impact Marquette.

Community Development

Since June 2017, local governments, agencies, and community members in Marquette County have been engaged in a project with the goal of reducing human health impacts resulting from climate change. The project is being coordinated by Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and School of Planning, Design and Construction, in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Marquette County Health Department, Marquette County Climate Adaptation Task Force, and the Superior Watershed Partnership. The project is called the Marquette Area Climate and Health Adaptation Project and it is being led locally by Senior Extension educator, Brad Neumann, AICP. 

Marquette Area Climate and Health Adaptation Project is led locally by Senior Extension Educator rad Neumann, AICP.

To date, stakeholders have explored how climate-driven events, such as flooding, water shortage, wildfire, extreme cold, along with extreme weather events have impacted property, quality of life, and human health. These events impact certain groups in Marquette County the hardest; particularly vulnerable groups are the socially isolated, the elderly, and those living in poverty. Project team members have also developed a host of recommended policy, planning, and infrastructure interventions to address the interaction between climate change, health, and the built environment. The Marquette Area Climate and Health Adaptation Guide (Volumes 1 and 2) present example changes to the built environment addressing the community’s climate-related public health concerns and highlights policies concerning human health, access to resources, and the built environment.

In January 2019, local leaders were again engaged in the project through a facilitated workshop of setting priorities, identifying supporting organizations, and establishing timelines for implementation at the Marquette Township Hall. In this third year of the project, the goals are to continue to build a local network of collaboration on resiliency initiatives, explore opportunities for technical assistance implementing some of the policy recommendations and explore the development of a demonstration project in the county using recommendations in the Guide.  


Over the past year, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension partnered with Marquette County to continue strengthening youth, families, businesses and communities. Your MSU Extension staff members, grounded in local relationships, serve by bringing the university’s research and resources to provide outreach and education in the areas Marquette County residents need it most.

MSU Ballot Proposal Education

In 2018, Michigan voters faced three statewide ballot proposals. Across the breadth of Extension programming, a common theme is helping individuals make more informed decisions for their communities and supporting participation and engagement in public policy development. Education on statewide ballot proposals provides an-other opportunity for Extension to fulfill this mission. Extension is meeting a need in public policy education by providing valuable education on ballot proposals, helping voters be more confident in their ability to make an in-formed choice, and thereby inducing greater participation in public elections.

Extension’s trusted reputation in communities across the state as a neutral, non-political voice makes this pro-gram an ideal messenger to educate voters on public policy issues.

Ballot proposal education was done in two primary ways in 2018. First, written summary analysis was published on each of the three questions on the ballot. The summaries provide simple explanations of the potential impacts of each proposal as well as discussion of some of the key factors related to each topic and reasons people might support or oppose the proposals. Forums were also held on campus and broadcast to remote locations across the state, hosted by MSU Extension educators. Seven participants attended the forum hosted by a MSU Extension educator in Marquette County, which was located at Northern Michigan University.

Rising Lake Levels

Michigan Sea Grant, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers hosted an informational meeting on rising lake levels on 2018 in Marquette.   Ron Kinnunen, Sea Grant Educator, hosted the event.  Approximately 40 property owners and others interested in Lake Superior water levels at-tended.

This event was held due to Lake Superior breaking new records for high water levels in May, June and July likely causing property and structures along the shoreline to sustain damage during storms.  Participants interested in shore protection devices were provided with information on proper permitting for these types of structures.

Information was given concerning forecasted lake level change.  Additionally, MDEQ and U.S. Army Corp of Engineering personnel were present to answer ques-tions on shoreline structure permitting.

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