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The San Miguel Basin Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: 4-H/Youth Development, Ag/Local Food, Gardening, Natural Resources and Home, Family & Health.

Preserving San Miguel Basin History   arrow

Dear 4-H Community, 

I am writing to share with you a unique opportunity for our area youth to participate in a project focused on the history of our region, agriculture, 4-H and Fair. 

This project emerged from a recent deep dive into the San Miguel Basin Extension Office attic in rural Norwood, Colorado.  The  remarkable (re)discovery of nearly 100 years worth of historical items and documents during the cleaning process surfaced an unexpected treasure trove of materials.  Not only do we witness the unveiling of a rich tapestry of the office’s history, but also a look into our county’s history as it is: rooted in agriculture, fairs, rodeos, 4-H and its indigenous past.  We are excited to have the opportunity to engage young people, the broader community and its organizations to create an archival project to preserve decades of valuable records and artifacts.

Project Goals:

  • Preservation of Local History: Document, preserve, and share the unique history and cultural heritage of our rural area as it pertains to agriculture, fair and rodeo, indigenous peoples and the progression and influence of 4-H in the area.
  • Youth Engagement and Education: Engage and empower local youth in actively participating in the preservation process while educating them about their community’s history.  Offer resources and workshops that give youth the skills to host community events, engage with, interview and record the stories of local elders and preserve archival items already in our possession in addition to items donated/loaned to us through the community. 
  • Introduce Young People to Artistic Endeavors: Bring the arts of record keeping, archival restoration, interviewing, writing, photography, event planning and exhibit display to rural youth to instill skills that can carry them into higher education and their careers. 
  • Create Accessible Archives: Establish accessible and organized archival records that can be used for educational purposes, community engagement, and historical research.  Support youth in hosting a final event during our annual Fair and Rodeo days, in collaboration with and located at our local historical society for visitors and the broader community to view their hard work at project’s end. 
  • Forge Valuable Connections: Support rural, local youth in forging lifelong and valuable connections with area elders, local resources and workshop leaders, teachers and mentors.  Support mentor/mentee relationships between involved students at our land grant university, Colorado State University. 


  • Oral History Collection: Conduct interviews with elder community members, capturing their stories, memories, and experiences.  
  • Digitization and Archival Workshops: Train youth in digitization techniques, cataloging, and preserving historical documents, photographs, and artifacts.
  • Community Engagement, Interview and Writing Workshops: Train youth in ways to successfully engage the community (from social media to press releases and radio messaging for local stations), host “Art of the Interview” workshops to train youth in interview and conversation skills and writing workshops to train youth in how to share information in accessible and eloquent ways. 
  • Community Engagement Events: Host community events such as “show-and-tell” luncheons where community members can bring in saved archival items to donate or lend, storytelling sessions to share collected materials and engage the wider population and a final exhibit at the local historical society to take place during Fair and Rodeo days. 
  • Collaboration with Local Institutions: Partner with local libraries, schools, and museums to create a network for preserving and sharing historical resources related to 4-H and Extension.

Those who wish to participate will attend monthly meetings which will consist of “art-of-the-interview workshops, social media and community engagement workshops and instructions for tasks to be completed between meeting times.  I (Annika) will personally be overseeing the project’s trajectory with the help of local historian, Barbara Youngblood and CSU archivist, Linda Meyer and her student interns.  

Please let us know of your interest by no later than February 15th, 2024. This project is open to all area youth ages 13+ and may be specifically used by 4-Hers as a General Project (at no cost). 

Annika Kristiansen
4-H Program Coordinator | San Miguel Basin
Work Cell: 970-708-4798 | Work Phone: 970-327-4393

*CSU: An equal access and equal opportunity University.