Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

CNP educators, partner honored for improving healthy food choices in Wyoming

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

At the annual University of Wyoming (UW) Extension conference early in November, Wyoming’s Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) recognized staff who provide exceptional programming to their communities. 

CNP offers nutrition programming to Wyomingites with limited resources and works with local and state partners to make the healthy choice the easy choice. 

“We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of CNP educators statewide,” says Mindy Meuli, CNP director. “Recognizing those that go above and beyond each year is especially rewarding, due to their commitment and dedication to Wyoming’s families.” 

Terry recognized for contributions to childhood health programming

Natrona County CNP Educator Cristina Terry received the CNP Newer Educator of the Year Award. Terry has led partnerships with childcare centers since she joined CNP in 2022, in addition to delivering strong nutrition education programs.  

Terry provided mini-grants to 13 different childcare centers to improve access to nutritious food and physical activity. 

“She has a natural ability to teach and has great rapport with her participants and partners,” says Meuli.

Evans awarded Educator of the Year 

Platte County CNP Educator Mary Evans was named this year’s Educator of the Year in recognition of her excellent programming, outreach and dedication. 

This year, all community members who took a class with Evans improved on at least one nutrition practice. Meuli reports on average, they increased their vegetable intake by almost a full cup. 

Evans also worked with the UW Extension’s Community Vitality and Health Team to widen CNP’s reach. She taught 183 youth – the highest number of youth reached by a Wyoming educator. 

In addition, she worked with the local high school to establish a food pantry. 

Park County educator cultivates new community partnerships

Debbie Kelly is this year’s winner of the Community Impact Award. 

This summer, Wyoming’s First Lady Jennie Gordon selected Kelly to be the Wyoming Hunger Initiative (WHI) regional director. Over the last several years, she has enriched her local programming by working with the Powell Research and Extension Center on gardening projects.

In addition, Kelly has connected with local Head Start centers and her local library to increase youth physical activity. 

“Debbie is a community player and cultivates positive relationships with her partners and community,” says Meuli. 

Person receives CNP’s highest honor

Laramie County CNP Educator Jill Person, recipient of the Linda Melcher Award, exemplifies excellence and dedication. 

Since 2009, Person has led many CNP committees. She is the chair of the CNP committee which spent the last year developing a technical assistance guide for partnering with childcare centers. 

“Jill’s attention to detail and ‘get it done’ attitude make her a leader in our program,” says Meuli. 

Additionally, 94 adults and 47 youth graduated from classes Person taught this year. On average, adult participants saved $149 a month on groceries – the highest savings achieved by any educator in the state.

WHI improves food access

This year, the Collective Impact Award went to the Gordons’ WHI. This award recognizes a CNP community partner who goes above and beyond to address food security in Wyoming.

“WHI has been an incredible partner for leveraging resources and building on the successes already happening around the state,” says Meuli. 

Together with CNP, WHI increased healthy food and fresh produce availability in food pantries; educated consumers about food preparation, storage and safety and disseminated information about using produce and wild game. 

Maya Gilmore is a writer and editor for UW Extension and can be reached at This article was originally published in UW Ag News on Nov. 30.

Back to top