Sarah Owen recently joined the WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources team as the 4-H youth agriculture program coordinator, a role for which her expertise and experience have well equipped her.
Owen, who grew up on a family farm in Tennessee and participated in 4-H as a child, is no stranger to the role youth agriculture programming can play in a person’s life.
“Youth agriculture and natural resources programs are really so much more than their names imply. They provide kids with confidence, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the ability to work as a team and accountability, just to name a few,” said Owen. “I’m happy to be working with West Virginia’s teens and kids, helping them connect with programs that allow them to build these valuable skills while having fun with agriculture and West Virginia’s spectacular natural resources.”
Owen holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of the South and a master’s degree in forest resources with a focus on wildlife from the University of Georgia. But, it was her experiences living and growing up on the farm that most strongly steered her career toward conservation and outreach, making her a great match for WVU Extension Service.
Prior to taking this role, Owen worked with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service promoting pollinators on agricultural lands. Before becoming a West Virginian, she was the state herpetologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“We’re excited to have Sarah in this role and helping us grow our youth agriculture and natural resources programs,” said Ronnie Helmondollar, program director of WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources unit. "She is a champion for our state’s young people and understands how important their involvement in these programs is to the future of agriculture and conservation in West Virginia.”
On the faculty side, Jesica Streets, WVU Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Tucker County, was promoted from agent-in-training to Extension instructor, a tenure-track position.
“This is the next chapter of my career with WVU Extension Service, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in Tucker County,” Streets said. “I’m excited to keep working with our people, especially our producers and youths, to offer programming and resources that help meet their needs.”
Streets will continue to help deliver research-backed knowledge to the residents, businesses and agricultural producers of Tucker County and identify opportunities to expand WVU Extension Service’s reach throughout the community.
“Though Jesica’s day-to-day role as an agent probably won’t change much, I’m happy to see her recognized with this promotion and be in a more permanent position now,” Helmondollar added. “She has served Tucker County well, and I know she will continue to work hard to bring WVU Extension Service programming to the county’s residents.”
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.