Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SNRE profiles: Marsha Munsell to retire Dec. 31

During her retirement party, Marsha gets a hug from Beverly,
one of the participants in her senior yoga class.
Marsha Munsell will retire Dec. 31 after 22 years with Extension at the Tanana District Office.
For most of her career, she worked as a nutrition educator, teaching low-income families in Fairbanks how to prepare nutritious fare on a lean budget. She also taught nutrition education to thousands of students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

Two years ago, after district home economist Roxie Dinstel moved to the state office, Munsell became a program assistant. She taught food preservation classes and a variety of cooking and healthy lifestyles classes in the Tanana District, including Tok, Tanacross, Tetlin, Nenana, Delta Junction, Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. The classes ranged from berry identification and cooking with game to a food preservation series, cleaning with green products, radon, indoor air quality and access for the elderly.

Munsell picks blueberries for a Preserving Alaska's
Bounty Flash module.
Most recently, Munsell coordinated the visit of Sandor Katz, a fermentation expert, which attracted great interest.

“That was an awesome success,” she says.

Before joining Extension in 1992, Munsell cooked for mineral field camps all over Alaska and worked as a baker or cook for several Fairbanks restaurants, including The Cookie Jar, CafĂ© de Paris and Pike’s.

 “That gave me a lot of experience to answer questions here,” she said.

At Marsha’s retirement event Dec. 7, Dinstel said when she first started working as a home economist with Extension, she was stumped by a caller who wanted to know why her cheesecake cracked. Since her training did not include that bit of information, she forwarded the call to Marsha.

Speaking at the party, Dinstel said, “She has been a wonderful credit to Extension.”

People who have known Munsell through a variety of ways came to the party. These included folks who take her yoga class at the Senior Center and her Osher Lifelong Learning Institute yoga class, former clients, colleagues, members of the herb bunch at the botanical garden and other people who have taken her classes.

Munsell is known for a high level of energy. She has been teaching yoga for 10 years and in 2011, co-founded Heart Stream Yoga in Fairbanks. She teaches yoga twice a week at the senior center, twice a week at Heart Stream studio, where she also fills in as a substitute. That all adds up to teaching five or six yoga classes a week —and that’s before she retired. She also handles the books for the business.

She got interested in yoga in 1975, after reading Richard Hittleman’s book, “28 Days of Yoga” when she and her husband lived in the Bush. Munsell, who is from Utah, came to Alaska with her husband to trap on the Chisana River, south of Northway. During her time in Chisana, she meditated and practiced yoga daily.

In addition to yoga, Munsell studied Sudokan and Gosoke-Ryu karate for 23 years and holds black belts in Shudokan karate, laido and Gosoke Ryu and a brown belt in Kung Fu.

Although she expects to work more at her yoga studio, Marsha will continue working on a grant with Roxie Dinstel for a time. It concerns using social media to promote the SNAP-Ed nutrition program.

Marsha shows participants in her kids' cooking class how to make Biscuits in a Bag.

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