The popular monthly noon educational programs sponsored by the Finney County Extension Service return this week for the 22nd year! The program series formerly called Lunch and Learn is now known as "Knowledge at Noon." The updated name better reflects the Kansas State Research and Extension educational mission and motto, "Knowledge for Life."

The series of programs are designed to provide current information on a variety of timely topics in a convenient noon-hour format. They are held monthly, September through April, on the first Thursday of each month. The meetings are held from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. at the Finney County Public Library (except the April program which will be held at the USD 457 Education Service Center).

The schedule:

Sept. 2: "Embracing our Cultural Diversity" presented by Jonathan Galia, Coalition of Ethnic Minority Leaders; Velia Mendoza, Garden City Community College Refugee Program; and community members.

Finney County is one community made up of many cultures. Learn more about the ethnic and cultural diversity which enriches the Finney County experience. This program will feature a panel discussion by some of our newest community members and local organizations which strive to give them a voice here in their new home.

Oct. 7: "Prairie Land Food Program" presented by June Glasgow, regional developer.

Prairie Land Food is a program that was designed around the idea of volunteers giving a helping hand to people in their communities. In return, local volunteers are offered a nutritious grocery package at a low cost, helping to stretch their food dollar. It's a program where everyone wins! This is not a government program and there are no income guidelines. Learn more about the Prairie Land Food program and how you can participate right here at home.

Nov. 4: "Cookbooks as Family History" presented by Charlotte Bargdill.

Cookbooks not only provide delicious recipes for tasty treats, some also may preserve family history as well. Whether collecting cookbooks as a hobby or creating your own cookbook, your recipe collections tell many family stories. Learn more about family cookbooks from an avid cookbook collector and maybe you'll become inspired to launch your own family cookbook project.

Dec. 2: "Tiny Tastes, Big Calories at Holiday Time" presented by Linda Beech, Finney County Extension agent.

Does the holiday season seem like one long buffet line? Everywhere you turn, tempting holiday treats are waiting to derail your healthy diet plan. See how seemingly innocent tiny tastes can add up to big calories during this tempting time of year and what you can do to stay on track with healthy eating at holiday time.

Jan. 6, 2011: "St. Catherine Sleep Disorder Center" presented by LaDonna Sauer, St. Catherine Hospital Sleep Disorder Center.

Learn more about the services provided by St. Catherine Hospital Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Disorder Center. This program will explain the process of sleep disorder testing and the services provided by this specialized medical center to patients in the southwest Kansas region.

Feb. 3, 2011: "Spruce Up with Specialty Painting Techniques" presented by J&M Paint and Wallcovering, Garden City.

Ready to give your home a new look? Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room or your whole home. This program will provide pointers for painting success from the basics of interior painting to some of the latest specialty techniques for a designer look. Come and be inspired!

March 3, 2011: "Gardening for Success in southwest Kansas" presented by Shirley Buller, Master Gardener.

Maximize your gardening success in southwest Kansas! Shirley is a KSU Extension Master Gardener, a blogger who writes the "Hoe and Tell" garden blog and a 50-year veteran of gardening on the high plains. She'll share the benefit of her experience and training to inspire gardeners new and experienced to make the most of their southwest Kansas gardens.

April 7, 2011: "Beautiful Nails, Beautiful Hands" to be held at USD 457 Educational Support Center, 1205 Fleming St.

Enhance the beauty of your hands with beautiful nails. Learn about nail care for healthy nails, manicures and the different types of artificial nails. Put your best fingers forward for a whole new, beautiful you!

Knowledge at Noon programs are planned by representatives of the Finney County Extension Council who select the topics, identify presenters and plan the schedule. Speakers are generally local experts who willingly give their time to share useful information to improve the quality of individual, family and community life.

Those attending are invited to bring a lunch to the programs if desired. Coffee and iced tea are provided at each session. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend!

For more information about upcoming Extension programs, see my Living Well blog at http://swktalk.com/livingwell.