Finney County Extension agents

Alli Burns, family and consumer sciences agent, will present "A 'Pinterest' Inspired Holiday" from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. Dec. 6. The Knowledge at Noon programs are held at the Finney County Public Library, 605 E. Walnut St.

What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. This program will feature Pinterest-inspired holiday decorations and recipes. You won't want to miss it!

The public is invited to attend this program. Bring a sack lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.

Medicare reminder

Open enrollment session ends Dec. 7.

As a SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas) volunteer, Alli Burns, FACS agent, offers free unbiased Medicare counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, families and caregivers. The best way to choose a Medicare Part D plan is through the plan finder on the Medicare website. Individuals may schedule an appointment with Ms. Burns at the Extension Office. At this appointment, you will go through your drug list to find the best Medicare drug plan for you. It is important to re-evaluate your prescription drug costs each plan year. You will be helped in considering the Three Cs:

* Coverage Does this plan cover all of my drugs, does it have quantity limits, prior authorization, step therapy?

* Cost How much does the plan cost? What are my copays?

* Convenience Can I go to the pharmacy I want?

If you have any Medicare questions or would like to schedule an appointment to review your prescription drug coverage, please call Alli Burns at 272-3670.

Low-cost trees available

The Kansas Forest Service is taking orders for low-cost tree seedlings offered through their conservation tree planting program. Orders for the spring season will be taken Monday through May 6, 2013. The fall order season is September through October. Landowners are encouraged to place their orders as early as possible to ensure they get the plants they want. Before ordering, please check the current list of available species and prices.

Approved uses for the plants include: windbreaks, woodlots, riparian plantings, wildlife habitats; home and/or livestock windbreaks; living snow fences; Christmas tree plantations; and other conservation practices. Seedlings may not be used for landscape (ornamental) plantings, resold as live plants or give-away promotions.

The program offers one- to two-year-old species, which are selected for hardiness in the central high plains. The seedlings are mostly 12- to 18-inch tall container-grown stock, depending on the species. Fall planting is ideal due to moderate temperatures and ample rainfall. Trees can be planted as long as soil temperatures are above 40 degrees. Trees should be monitored and watered throughout the spring, summer, fall and winter to ensure survival. Protective tubes are available for purchase to protect new plantings from rabbits.

Order forms and more information on tree planting is available at any Kansas State University Research and Extension office, Finney County office at 501 S. Ninth St., 272-3670, or can be downloaded at

Youth in service

Through its pledge of "hands to larger service," 4-H historically has given back to the community by encouraging young people and adults to volunteer.

In 4-H, service is commonly defined as the voluntary action of an individual or a group of individuals without pay. Service to the community through food drives, raking the yard of an elderly neighbor, adopt-a-highway programs, teens teaching younger youth, teens mentoring children or youth determining community needs and helping solve community problems helps young people learn caring, leadership and citizenship.

Every year, millions of Americans volunteer at more than one million nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Why is it important for all of us to be involved in service? Our U.S. society is based on the idea that we are all responsible for the well-being of our community, country and world. Even before the founding of our country, the willingness to serve was evident in the hearts of many. Later, the Great Depression brought out opportunities for service throughout the nation, and the forming of the Peace Corps in 1960 by President John F. Kennedy further reinforced the eagerness of citizens to get involved in helping others. While the people served certainly benefit from community service, the volunteers who engage in serving others benefit positively in many ways. 4-H youth development continues in that tradition by involving young people in a variety of community service-learning projects and programs.

What youth gain from community service learning: By giving back to their communities, young people learn the value of helping others; develop leadership, communication, organizational skills and a sense of empowerment; learn how important the connection is between subject matter and life in the community; learn how to cooperate with one another and work as a team with diverse groups of people, including adults, peers and others with different backgrounds and experiences;

Succeed in an area different from academics, athletics or popularity; build self-esteem from the positive results of their service; develop problem-solving and decision-making skills by applying their knowledge to real-world situations; develop a sense of being responsible for their community and a sense that citizenship requires them to actively participate in their community; receive recognition for their efforts and possibly college scholarships; experience the world of work.

Not only do young people gain by being involved in community service, the clubs and groups that they are in also experience benefits from planning and carrying out service projects.

Carrying out service activities can strengthen a club or group because it boosts member commitment and involvement by giving members meaningful activities; can involve families and youth in a joint activity; fulfills the "hands to larger service" part of the 4-H pledge; builds unity among members, allowing them to function better as a team; allows members to get to know one another better as they work together on a common goal; helps youth become invested in their club and community; shows the community how youth can be resources and how they can get things done.

Community service is an important part in every youth 4-H career. It allows for them to learn and experience civic responsibility, while helping others. Through community service projects, 4-H members develop life skills in sharing, empathy, volunteering, being a responsible citizen, service learning and others. The other great thing about community service it can be fun!

A list of youth community service ideas is available at the Finney County Extension Office.

K-State Research & Extension Finney County is the front door source to your everyday questions for information and knowledge. Every question is of value to you and us. Give us a call at 272-3670, or better, walk in our front door at 501 S. Ninth St., for information to help you make a better decision.