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Rickart Retires after 30 years with 4-H

LAS CRUCES -- Kathy Rickart, Bernalillo County 4-H home economist, retired November 30, ending a 30-year career with the Cooperative Extension Service.

Rickart, a Colorado native, came to New Mexico State University's Extension in 1991. In Bernalillo County, she trained teams for fashion revue and consumer decision-making contests. She was involved with the State 4-H Leadership Team and students in the International 4-H Youth Exchange.

Rickart initiated the small animal livestock sale at the Bernalillo County 4-H Fair, providing a market for rabbits, chickens and other small animals raised by local 4-Hers. She invited Toastmasters groups to teach public speaking to county 4-H members. With their new speaking skills, the Bernalillo County 4-H Council hosted presentations titled "This is 4-H" for younger children.

Before coming to NMSU, Rickart worked 24 years for Extension in Colorado. She was one of the first women to direct a Colorado county Extension office when she was appointed director of the Elbert County office in 1973. She served five years as Elbert County 4-H home economist before being appointed director.

Rickart holds a bachelor's degree in vocational home economics from Colorado State University and a master's degree in psychology and counseling from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1978, she was recognized by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents for administrative excellence. She served as secretary for the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents from 1984 to 1986. She was Western regional director from 1989 to 1991, and again in 1998.

Rickart received the 4-H Distinguished Service Award in 1981 and the American Spirit Award in 1986 and 1997. She has been recognized for program collaboration and development by the Albuquerque Children's Museum and the Greater Albuquerque Volunteer Administration.

In retirement, Rickart plans to return to Colorado to be near her family. "They've already drawn up a list of things for us to do that is longer than my childhood Christmas wish list," she said.