Located in the north central part of Oklahoma adjacent to the Kansas border, the Osage Nation Reservation was established by treaty in the 1800s. Encompassing nearly 1.5 million acres or 2,300 square miles, the Reservation is coextensive with Osage County.
The primary focus of the Oklahoma State University FRTEP extension program on the Osage Reservation is helping tribal youth to become more productive citizens and leaders while giving back to their community, improving their lives and the lives of others. Extension delivers educational programs for young people and adults related to agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families, community and leadership development, business and careers, and emergency management.
The Osage FRTEP extension program is heavily focused on 4-H youth development, both in school settings and outside of the school. 4-H teaches basic life skills along with providing young people with practical tools and abilities that will help them become responsible, successful community members.
4-H brings adults and youth together through instruction, skill development, and hands-on training with a strong focus on natural resource conservation, the environment, agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). One of the key areas of focus is economic and workforce development, which helps youth become more acquainted with employment opportunities and equip them with the skills to take advantage of those opportunities, including the development of food systems, and farm and community markets, to better serve the citizens of the Osage community.
Extension provides education on human nutrition and the importance of reducing childhood and adolescent obesity, helping youth and their parents to change patterns of behavior for eating and exercise that will help young people be healthier. Native culture and language preservation is also taught in order to equip younger tribal members with the skills to speak their traditional language and pass it on to future generations.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Osage extension efforts are aimed at helping farmers and ranchers obtain the skills they need for maximum productivity today while also protecting natural resources for the future. Conservation and adaptation to environmental change is crucial for the long-term health of the community, and multiple learning opportunities are being provided in this regard for youth and adults.
Osage farmers and ranchers are obtaining the skills needed to raise healthy livestock by establishing good management practices. Extension provides opportunities for hay testing and soil testing to analyze nutrient content and fertility status. Additional tests are available for nutrient management plans, environmental issues, potting mixes, compost, manure and water usage. Extension also offers pesticide applicator training.
Nancy Johnson – Program Director