Jan Sennhenn, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Montezuma County office director, was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s annual awards luncheon on Oct. 16.
The award is given each year by the Cooperative Extension professional fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Phi, to recognize a Cooperative Extension professional in the state who shows continuing leadership and excellence in planning, delivering and evaluating Cooperative Extension involvement and education in their community. The award is given to an employee with more than 20 years of service to the organization.
"Jan is an example of someone who truly feels that Cooperative Extension is their calling and who embodies the organization’s mission to strengthen communities and individuals in every task she attempts," said Milan Rewerts, Colorado State Cooperative Extension director.
Sennhenn was recognized for her work in Cooperative Extension, which focuses on family, consumer and youth issues. Sennhenn began her career in Montezuma County in 1978, and since then she has built numerous partnerships and started or assisted with projects that have been of great benefit to the community.
For example, Sennhenn provided help for a group of 52 local agencies that address the needs of welfare-to-work residents in the Montezuma area. The group, called POSE, or Project of Self-Empowerment, was recognized by Vice President Al Gore as an example of successful and effective community partnerships. Sennhenn also helped secured a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to fund a partnership among local agencies to teach youth about nutrition and exercise, food safety and food preparation. In another project, Sennhenn taught community members about how proper nutrition can reduce the risk of cancer.
She also played a significant role in helping develop a demonstration project of fruit trees and vineyards as an alternative crop for farmers in the area. She has assisted multiple farmers in the area to establish their own vineyards as a profitable crop.
Sennhenn also provides leadership to and coordinates 4-H members and adult volunteers in the county 4-H program.
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension brings the resources of the university to you. As part of a nation-wide system, we call upon the latest research to help Coloradoans learn more about gardening and commercial horticulture, healthy eating, personal finances, community resources, agricultural technology, food safety, dealing with changes in their community, family relationships and managing small acreages and natural resources. Our youth development program annually reaches more than 115,000 children in Colorado. Our 57 county offices, serving 59 Colorado counties, help people use university expertise on the job, at home and in their community.