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October 27, 2003

Extension educators awarded for leadership, community development

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Three Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service educators were presented awards in leadership and community development on Tuesday (10/21) during the annual Purdue Extension Professional Development conference on the West Lafayette campus. The awards were sponsored by the Indiana Extension Educators Association.

• David Trotter, of Clark County, was awarded the Leadership and Community Development senior award for starting a used-oil recycling program in his county. He began the oil recycling program in 1993 with the help of an oil recovery company and the Clark County Farm Bureau. In the 10 years of this program, more than 38,000 gallons of used oil were collected from more than 1,000 participants. Trotter's used-oil recycling program convinced the Clark County Solid Waste Management District to open a year-round collection container.

• Susan Tharp, of Clinton County, received the Leadership and Community Development Innovator Award for her involvement in the Learning Network of Clinton County. The learning network built an infrastructure that would provide participants with professional development, lifelong education and higher education. A mobile lab with laptop computers hit the road in September 2000. More than 1,700 students took classes, more than 400 participated in computer training and more than100 have taken classes for college credit. Tharp and other learning network personnel have shared their innovation with other counties and have presented at seven national conferences.

• Tom Springstun, of Scott County, was awarded the Leadership and Community Development Career Award for 25 years of service to Purdue Extension. During this time, he educated Scott County residents on the importance of recycling and waste management through spring and fall recycling days, which saved the community thousands of dollars. Springstun worked with the local government on various projects, including implementing the first Leadership Scott County program, developing the county government Web site, and establishing the YMCA and Life-Long Learning Center. He also was a past senior and innovator award winner.

Writer: Michelle Betz, (765) 494-8402,

Source: David Petritz, (765) 494-8489,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,
Agriculture News Page

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Publication-quality photographs of the Extension award winners will be available today (Monday, 10/27) at

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page