Although it’s cooler than usual outside, spring has arrived and we’re in the middle of preparing for field days, planting crops, end-of-school activities, fair and camp planning, and much more. Spring always brings with it a sense of renewal as we see the leaves begin to bud, hear the birds chirping, notice the bees and butterflies returning, and enjoy the sun being less evasive. Spring this year, perhaps more than any year for me, has been especially poignant and special following a year of tight regulation due to COVID-19. I relish being outside, preparing the garden, and looking forward to the continued expansion of our work and leisure activities as more individuals take advantage of the vaccinations and we continue to see our numbers in Ohio remain lower.
I have great optimism for our own renewal in OSU Extension, as we begin to move more fully back into our statewide campuses; expand our ability to offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid programming; and incorporate our lessons learned and skills acquired into the work that we do. We have demonstrated our resilience, our creativity, and our collegiality this last year and are stronger and more unified around our mission for the experience. Thank you for all of your efforts this last year—they were truly extraordinary.
These next weeks and months will require careful planning, ongoing consideration of one another, continued flexibility, and highly effective communication. I encourage each of you to have the necessary, proactive, and ongoing cooperative discussions in your units to optimally meet the needs of our clientele and communities, while balancing life/work demands. Discuss any needs for flexible work arrangements, schedule your vacations, take your lunch hour away from your desks, reduce the number of Zoom meetings when an email or phone call will suffice, schedule your week to allow for the unexpected so a 40-hour week (on average) is achievable and not evasive, and make time and space for walking meetings and other ways to enjoy what spring has to offer. All of these things are practicable – they simply take planning and communication with your colleagues.
I would also like to recognize all of our mothers in Extension this week, as Mother’s Day is this weekend. I know my mother has had a tremendous impact on my life, and I know that each of you as mothers have touched the lives of your children in ways that will stay with them forever.
Congratulations also to all of our families celebrating graduations. While it may look a bit different this year still, I can testify that the ceremony will still be very stirring and special.
Happy spring everyone!