Green Liaisons Sustainability Lecture features sustainable landscape expert

April 18, 2014 under Events

Sue Barton will give a lecture on Friday, April 25 on sustainable landscapesThe second University of Delaware Green Liaison Sustainability Lecture of the spring will form the climax for Earth Week 2014 activities and will feature Susan Barton, assistant professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in plant and soil sciences.

Barton’s talk, “Rethinking Laird Campus,” will focus on incorporating sustainable landscape practices into the UD grounds. The lecture will be held from noon-1 p.m., Friday, April 25, in the Perkins Student Center Alumni Lounge.

Barton will discuss the implementation of the project on the University’s Laird Campus and how this concept has been extended to residential and corporate entities.

Barton has worked closely for the past 12 years with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to research and implement new roadside vegetation management strategies.

She has also worked with partners to develop the Plants for a Livable Delaware Program, designed to provide alternatives to known invasive plants species and to promote sustainable landscaping.

She teaches on plants and human culture, nursery and garden center management and the environment, and coordinates UD’s landscape horticulture internship.

Barton also works closely with the nursery and landscape industry, writing newsletters, organizing short courses and conducting horticulture industry expos with the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association.

She received the Nursery Extension Award in 1995 from the American Nursery and Landscape Association and the Rutledge Award for service from the University of Delaware in 2007.

About the Green Liaisons Sustainability Lecture Series

Once a month, Green Liaisons are invited to attend a lunchtime presentation on the small steps that can be implemented by every student, faculty and staff member in order to make UD a greener place to learn, work and live.

All lunches in the Green Liaisons Sustainability Lecture Series are open to Green Liaisons and will be held from noon-1p.m.Topics and locations change monthly. Drinks and dessert will be provided.

Members of the campus community who are not currently Green Liaisons but want to represent their department can contact Francis Karani at fkarani@udel.edu or Amy Snelling at snelling@udel.edu.

More information regarding the lunch schedule, past events and general information on the Green Liaisons programs can be found on this website.

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Overnight Harness Racing Camp experience offered at Harrington Raceway in June

April 18, 2014 under Cooperative Extension

Harrington Raceway is hosting an overnight summer harness racing camp from Saturday, June 21 to Wednesday, June 25 for youth ages 12-14.  The camp is offered through a 3 way partnership formed between the Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF), Harrington Raceway and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

Campers will stay overnight at Harrington Raceway and spend a significant amount of time each day working hands on with the HHYF stable of Trottingbred racing ponies. Campers will participate in and learn about the daily care of race horses, racing equipment and harnessing, safety around horses and how to drive their equine athletes on the track.

In addition to HHYF and extension staff, local, professional drivers and trainers will be present at camp on a daily basis to help guide and instruct campers. The 5 day engaging camp experience culminates with campers partnering with professional drivers to race their ponies on the front track at Harrington Raceway, on the evening of Wednesday, June 25 in between the betting races.

Registration for the camp is $150 and covers all accommodations, meals and field trips.

Campers should wear long pants, solid toed work shoes or heavy sneakers, and t-shirts. No tank tops or shorts will be permitted while working in the barn. No previous horse experience is required.

Registration forms are available on the State 4-H Animal Science webpage and will be accepted through Thursday, May 15.

For questions, please contact Susan Garey at truehart@udel.edu or (302) 730-4000 or Ellen Taylor at the Harness Horse Youth Foundation at (317) 908-0029 or at ellen@hhyf.org.

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with  harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, visit their website.

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.  It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

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UD Cooperative Extension team presented award at national conference

April 10, 2014 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Dennis Calvin, chair, eXtension Governing Committee, and director, Penn State University Extension (left) presents the Be, Grow, Create Outstanding Institutional Team Award to (from left) UD's Michele Walfred, Adam Thomas and Christy Mannering.A University of Delaware Cooperative Extension team has been honored by eXtension as a 2014 Be, Grow, Create Outstanding Institutional Team Award winner. The award was presented at the National eXtension Conference and National Extension Directors and Administrators joint meeting on March 26 in Sacramento, Calif.

The UD team includes Carrie Murphy, Phillip Sylvester, Deborah Delaney, Kathleen Splane, Nancy Gainer, Adam Thomas, Christy Mannering and Michele Walfred.

Ask an Expert implementation was a major focus of the team’s work. Jeff Hino, from Oregon State University, worked with members who personalized a marketing concept developed by Oregon State and developed a video for use in a multimedia presentation at the Delaware State Fair.

The team developed the implementation process and the timeframe for delivery. By the time they rolled out Ask an Expert at the State Fair, over 30 staff and volunteers had been trained to respond to questions, “question wranglers” were in place, and a web presence had been developed.

All Extension staff participated in Adobe Connect training in relation to Ask an Expert prior to the State Fair. Since the rollout time period, the team has continued to enhance Ask an Expert with a question of the week feature and additional training sessions as new staff come on board.

At this year’s Delaware Extension Annual Conference, the Ask an Expert sub-committee members were selected and received the Director’s Leadership award.

Terry Meisenbach, eXtension communications and marketing leader, said, “The University of Delaware team, with the help of eXtension leadership members, was able to grasp the multitude of resources available from eXtension. Through Adobe Connect poll pods and a Qualtrics online survey, the team identified some immediate and short-term goals for eXtension implementation. They quickly met that first round of goals and the goals they’re considering now focus on social media development and online course development using Moodle.”

Elbert Dickey, eXtension executive director, added, “An Outstanding Institutional Team has demonstrated the planning, creativity, and commitment to making eXtension a ‘fit’ for its state and institution. An Outstanding team also helps eXtension know just what its state and institution brings to eXtension.”

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UD group visits New Zealand to learn about differences in agriculture

April 1, 2014 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Students study in New Zealand learning about pasture growth through cooperative extension and classroom learningA study abroad program in New Zealand during Winter Session brought together undergraduate learning and Cooperative Extension experience, two major aspects emphasized by the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

This unique study abroad program blended classroom, experiential and extension education to deliver a unique discovery learning experience focused on New Zealand agriculture.

The five-week trip was led by Lesa Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, and Susan Garey, animal science extension agent, who explained that the students divided their time between classroom learning and field experience as they traveled to farms and dairies to learn about the differences in farming and agriculture practices between the United States and New Zealand.

Garey said that she liked how the trip tied together the extension and undergraduate aspects of education. “We have the formal lecture in the classroom but getting out to the farm and looking at the blades of grass and seeing how pastures yields are measured and how you determine where to move the cows next in the grazing system, I just think really drives the point home to students.”

The students learned so much about New Zealand dairy and agriculture that two who went on the trip were able to present at Middletown High School at the annual meeting of the Delaware Holstein Association. The students talked about New Zealand agriculture and more specifically, about the dairy industry, such as typical farm size, how milk is marketed and the main products of the industry.

Pasture growth

Griffiths explained that the UD students learned a lot about pasture growth on their trip, both inside and outside of the classroom. Because the animals consume the grass available to them from pasture on farms in New Zealand, rather than being fed grain or harvested feeds, as is the case in America, understanding pasture growth is vital for that nation’s farmers.

The students stayed at Lincoln University in New Zealand, where they visited a 600-cow demonstration farm built to serve as a model for dairy farmers in the region.

Griffiths said the demonstration farm “serves more of an extension role — a place to try new pasture species, closely monitor pasture growth and animal performance, determine environmental impacts and share information with dairy farmers.”

Students learned from the farm manager about the concept of a pasture feed wedge, a graph of the current pasture status by ranking each paddock’s average pasture cover, she said.

“While the graph made it easy to see how much grass is out there for cows to consume, it was not so easy for students to visualize how the farmer gets his/her data on pasture grass production,” said Griffiths. To help farmers and students understand this, the farm staff would walk the pastures every Tuesday.

We showed up at the dairy and walked and measured weekly growth in each of the 21 paddocks. We stopped along the way and learned to evaluate the grass itself,” said Griffiths.

Jenna Wilson, a sophomore majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences, said it was clear that the farmers cared dearly about their grass. “They really want the grass to produce well so that the animals produce well. They talked about when they cut it and when they grow it, where they grow it, and how they divide up the pasture.”

Garey added that the need for animals to feed themselves through pasture originated out of necessity because the farmers “don’t have the soil types to grow as much grain as we do here.”

Dairy differences

One of the biggest differences the group learned about was in the management of dairy farms. “New Zealand exports a lot of milk but one of the big cultural differences is New Zealanders are not large consumers of fluid milk,” said Garey, who explained that a majority of that nation’s dairy production is exported in milk powders that are headed to Asia, as well as in baby formula and in products such as cheese and butter.

Garey added that while dairies in America tend to milk their cows 305 out of 365 days of the year, the New Zealand dairies milk their cows around 223 days a year.

Wilson explained that a big difference between the two countries is that New Zealand farms tend to be more hands off and have fewer buildings for the animals.

“They don’t really interact as much with the animals as we do — except for dairying, obviously, because they have to bring them in twice a day. But a lot of the time, they just put the animals out in the pasture and leave them there until they need to shear them or breed them,” said Wilson.

Deer farms

Another difference between the two nations is that in New Zealand there are deer farms.

“At the deer farm that we went to, the farmer was raising them for the velvet. Antlers in the velveting stage get shipped to Asia for medicinal purposes. When they get older they use the deer for meat,” said Wilson, who added that these farms are easy to spot because they have very high fences to prevent the animals from jumping out.

Garey added that the deer on those farms are red deer, which differ from the white tailed deer found in Delaware.

Garey said the deer farms are what she calls a sign of “Kiwi ingenuity,” explaining that because deer — along with other animals — were brought to New Zealand from England, they had no known natural predators and their population exploded. Some New Zealanders decided to trap the animals and farm them in order to harvest either their velvet or their meat, usually focusing on one or the other.

“They do well in the harsher country so it’s a way to use the variability of land,” said Garey. “The south island of New Zealand is very diverse from the flat plains to high country and hill country. The high country environment is much harsher and that would not be good land, necessarily, for milking dairy cattle, but deer can do well in those environments.”

Because of the variability of the land, the farms also have multiple uses, sometimes housing sheep, deer and cattle, instead of focusing on one species.

Article by Adam Thomas

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April 9: Extension celebration

March 31, 2014 under Cooperative Extension

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will hold a volunteer appreciation event and celebrate “100 Years of Extension” from 3-7 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, at the New Castle County Extension Office, 461 Wyoming Rd., Newark.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was passed to provide funding for land grant universities, such as the University of Delaware, to establish the Cooperative Extension Service. Its purpose was to work within the community to address youth, family and agricultural needs.

Extension accomplished this through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state of Delaware and the University by connecting UD resources and research and by establishing programs such as 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Science, Agriculture and Horticulture.

This year, the New Castle County office of UD Cooperative Extension is not only celebrating this 100-year milestone anniversary but also showing its appreciation for dedicated and hard-working volunteers.

Invitees have been asked to bring along their favorite Extension story and will have the opportunity to record it on video so that in 100 years, others can learn about Extension’s 100-year history.

4-H will be providing games and activities for children, and the 4-H Junior Council will provide a special surprise for volunteer visitors.

An interactive timeline “When Did You Connect with Extension?” will highlight important Delaware Extension milestones and give volunteers the opportunity to add when they first joined Extension.

An “Ask an Expert” display will showcase a new way to get solid science-based answers to questions.

Guests can have their photo taken in front of the centennial logo in the photo corner, and a suggestion box will encourage people to “Forecast the Future.” At this station, people will be challenged to imagine what issues families, youth, and agriculture will be facing on Extension’s 200th anniversary and how its role will have changed in addressing these issues.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP by Friday, March 28, by calling 302-831-1239.

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Weed Science School builds on the basics

February 26, 2014 under Cooperative Extension

weed school training dates announcedDelaware Cooperative Extension has announced its 2014 schedule of Weed Science School training to be held from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 12, at the Kent County Extension Office, 69 Transportation Circle Dover, Del.19901, and from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Friday, March 14, at the University of Delaware Research and Education Center Annex (old office building) 16686 County Seat Hwy., Georgetown, Del. 19947.

The weed management training will focus on weeds and issues with agronomic crops and commercial vegetables. The training will be conducted by Mark VanGessel, UD Cooperative Extension weed specialist and his research and Extension team.

The objective of Weed Science School is to train agriculture industry professionals and those who work on weeds frequently. Topics will  include weed management concepts and principles.

Lunch is provided and resources will be made available. There is no fee for the training.

Participants are asked to pre-register by March 7 with Karen Adams at (302) 856-2585 x 540.

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UD Cooperative Extension aids UD researcher at Delaware Ag Week

February 10, 2014 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Professor Kent Messer and his team of researchers poll farmers at Ag WeekSometimes, an offer can seem too good to be true. The University of Delaware’s Kent Messer was worried that would be the case with his latest research project — one that promised land owners in the state who owned more than 10 acres of land $50 simply for completing a 30-minute survey and offered up to $40,000 worth of funding to support cost share and landowner incentives to help implement nutrient management practices on private property.

Luckily for Messer and his research team, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension — in conjunction with Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture — was holding Delaware Ag Week in Harrington at the Delaware State Fairgrounds and welcoming around 1,900 visitors, many of them land owners.

“We were able to piggyback on Extension’s work and trust with the farmers,” said Messer, Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics (APEC). “Our research was more believable because we were at Ag Day.”

“This is an excellent example of outreach and engagement within UD,” said Michelle Rodgers, associate dean for Cooperative Extension in the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Cooperative Extension is a key partner in the Ag Week event which provided over 97 educational sessions with over 1900 attendees. Students involved in the survey were introduced to Cooperative Extension programming and through the event were able to meet face to face with their desired survey participants. This is was a win-win for the researchers and the research participants.”

Messer’s project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economics Research Service and at Ag Week, his team conducted a field experiment on nutrient management practices and landowners’ attitudes toward and adoption of those practices.

The USDA project had funding to support cost share and landowner incentives to help implement nutrient management practices on the ground. Messer’s team asked landowners about conservation buffers, areas that are vegetated along streams and ditches either by grass or forest, and asked the landowners how much they would be willing to share the costs of those practices.

Messer singled out Jennifer Volk, extension specialist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, for helping to identify practices relevant to Delaware for the survey that are not currently available for cost share. “We didn’t want to fund practices that were already supported by state or federal programs; we want to learn about landowners’ attitudes and behavior related to new practices,” said Messer.

Messer said he combined this project with another one of his National Science Foundation (NSF) projects that focuses on the Murderkill Watershed, which has issues surrounding nutrients. If participants had property in the watershed, they were eligible for an extra $25 for taking the survey.

Survey team members included Walker Jones, a master’s degree student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), Maik Kacinski, a postdoctoral researcher in APEC, Linda Grand and Seth Olson, both seniors in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, and Michael Griner, a student from Delaware Technical Community College.

The research team set up shop in Harrington for four days during Ag Week. With four and sometimes six tablet computers available for survey participants, the team members set up through each day of Ag Week and was able to attract 80 people to participate in the survey, which Messer called a “home run.”

“One of the reasons I love Ag week is that it helped ensure our validity. Our booth had a bright blue University of Delaware sign on it. We were in a UD event. Because, in many cases, you could say that this was a too good to be true offer — $50 for a 30-minute survey. We’ll pay up to $40,000 for you to do nutrient management on your land. Most people will see that survey and throw it in the trash because they think there must be a catch.”

Messer said that he was very happy to be able to conduct his research survey at a Cooperative Extension event.

“I’m fundamentally committed to good research that has Extension components. I think that’s a wonderful pillar of the land grant and these are exciting opportunities to collaborate. This is a time when the Extension efforts helped the research project,” said Messer. “We wouldn’t have been successful without having Extension do what it does and having this program that is servicing the landowners. And we were really just able to take advantage of it and participate in it.”

The next steps for Messer and his team include collecting data via mail from participants who were not at Ag Week and finalizing the results of the study.

Article by Adam Thomas

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4-H youth from Kenya tour University’s CANR facilities

December 13, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Two 4-H youth from Kenya and their principal visited DelawareThe University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) served as host to three guests from Kenya on Wednesday, Dec. 11, as part of a joint effort by DuPont and the National 4-H Council.

Touring CANR facilities were Naomi Atieno Ochieng and Dancan Odhiambo Inda, two young 4-H members from Kenya, and Millicent Akinyi Obare, the principal of Nyaminia Primary School, which they attend.

The goal of the trip was for the students and principal to share the many ways that their club enterprises have helped generate life-saving revenue in Africa due to the unique partnership between DuPont and 4-H.

The guests were joined by members of Collegiate 4-H and Ag Ambassadors for a pizza party in the Townsend Hall Commons before taking a tour of the UDairy Creamery.

Prior to arriving at UD, the delegation also visited the 4-H After-School Program at George Kirk Middle School in Newark, which is run by UD’s Cooperative Extension, had lunch and a reception with DuPont leaders, and visited DuPont’s Stine-Haskell Research Center, which both of the students said was a highlight of the day.

Obare explained that the club in Kenya, which there is called 4-K, has “45 registered members but basically all the children in the school are members in a way because the club runs a school feeding program which feeds the whole school. The population of the school is 920 so the feeding program takes care of the 920 every day.”

Obare also said that the Nyaminia Primary School keeps the feeding program open on weekends so that if any child should stray into the school, they will have something to eat.

Ochieng said that the 4-K program has provided her the opportunity to “learn skills that will help me in the future, and it has led me near a brighter future.” She said that her favorite part of 4-K is horticulture, while Inda said that he enjoys the livestock, specifically the cows.

Obare said that since they have been in the U.S., she has taken a look at what kinds of activities the 4-H program runs for American youth and will try to incorporate some of those activities in the 4-K program when they travel back to Kenya. “Many of our projects are agriculture based but we could have children who have other interests, maybe scientific or otherwise. So we are going to sit down and explore ways of incorporating such kinds of projects so that we can bring on board other children who are not really interested in agriculture,” she said.

About the partnership

In 2011, DuPont partnered with 4-H in five African countries to engage youth in development activities aimed at building skills to address the challenges of food security.

The Kenyan 4-H, or 4-K, club was initially designed to help sustain the feeding program of Nyaminia Primary School, which often provides a child’s only meal for the day.

Today, the club’s enterprises include gardening, maize growing, dairy production (cattle and goat), poultry, horticulture and forestry.

Club enterprises also include a barbershop, as well as printing and photocopying.

The club uses the revenue generated from these projects to subsidize the school feeding program; to provide milk and other sustenance to reach local communities affected and infected by HIV/AIDS; and to hire four adults to assist with forestry and animal projects.

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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Delaware 4-H hosts students from Colombia, Ecuador

November 7, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

4-H hosted the 2013 Youth Ambassadors ProgramThe University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted 24 students and four adults from Colombia and Ecuador as part of the 2013 Youth Ambassadors Program.

The program is funded by Department of State through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

The participants stayed with host families for three weeks, from Oct. 6-27, and participated in various activities that included visiting historic sites in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, meeting with officials including U.S. Rep. John Carney, visiting Delaware schools, taking in a live showing of the theatrical production Spider-Man: Turn Off the Darkand touring Times Square in New York City.

Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H program leader, said the participants learned a lot about American culture during their stay, perhaps most of all from the host families with whom they stayed. “It was interesting to hear, after they had stayed with host families for awhile, how their opinions changed,” said Manno, noting that a lot of the students came to the country with preconceived notions about the United States and American families.

One participant, Felipe Solano Paute from Ecuador, said, “One of the things that I have learned from this trip is a lot of history about the United States, many things that I didn’t know before, and I have changed the way I think about some aspects of the United States. American people have been very kind and very open to welcome us — and not only our host families but, in general, they have been very kind.”

Colombia’s Luna Sierra said she enjoyed talking with officials, as well as spending time with young people in America. “There is a lot of respect to other people and there is a lot of technology. In America, you have to work hard but you will find success at the end of the road.”

Sierra said that she and her classmates will be “taking with them the best of the American culture.”

Daniel Quinones, also from Colombia, agreed with that assessment, stating that his favorite part of the trip was “the way in which the host families have welcomed us into their homes. They have taught us a lot about how they as a family behave and the family culture.”

The visits to Delaware schools were equally interesting to the students, as Quinones said that he was surprised about how much technology is used in American classrooms.

Manno, who picked up one of the students from St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, said, “The kids went to really great schools and they were really impressed. The kids were a huge hit in the schools, especially in the Spanish classes. They loved to have a Spanish speaker there. At the end of the day, I went to St. Elizabeth to pick those kids up and when I got there, there were all these St. Elizabeth kids gathered around them, so they made a lot of friends in a hurry and it was a really good project.”

Manno also pointed out that one of the best experiences the students had was attending a 4-H leadership camp in Sussex County the first weekend they arrived in the United States along with Delaware 4-H members. Manno credited Mallory Vogl, New Castle County 4-H Educator, for putting the camp together.

“We ended up with about 60 kids and it was terrific. Even though we had 7.5 inches of rain in Sussex County that weekend, the kids just bonded. The South American kids got to spend a whole weekend with the Delaware kids, and that was just terrific. They just really hit it off, so I have to give credit to Mallory Vogl for that –she really stepped up,” said Manno.

The experience was equally positive for the adult chaperones who accompanied the students on the trip.

One of the chaperones, Cynthia Orna Ladd from Ecuador, said that while the students visited schools, her host family took her to see Longwood Gardens in nearby Pennsylvania.

Orna Ladd said it was fun to see the reactions of the students as they saw America for the first time, and that she enjoyed spending time with an American family. “I’ve only been in an Ecuadorian family environment but to be with American people, to be part of the family and such is great,” she said. “I’m living with a couple of retired people so they have all the time to talk to me and the mom used to teach home economics, so she cooks very well. I went with them to Longwood Gardens and that was very nice — that’s the thing that I’ve appreciated the most.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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UD Cooperative Extension presents awards at annual conference

November 6, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension 100th anniversary celebration and awards ceremony held at the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth, Delaware.University of Delaware Cooperative Extension kicked off a Centennial Celebration at it annual conference held at Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

At the celebration, UD Cooperative Extension recognized four Director’s Friend of Extension Award recipients as well as the recipients of the 2013 Director’s Leadership Award.

The following were the recipients of the Director’s Friend of Extension Awards:

Nancy A. Cotugna

Nancy A. Cotugna is a professor of behavioral health and nutrition at UD and in 2004-05 she spent her sabbatical with UD Cooperative Extension researching where other states obtained matching funds for the Food Stamp Nutrition Education program (SNAP Ed) and identifying potential sources of funding in Delaware.

Her graduate students have also conducted research to further Extension programming efforts.

Michelle Rodgers, associate dean for Cooperative Extension in the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said Cotugna has been “extremely helpful in assisting with the University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension nutrition education programs. When the nutrition department had a coordinated dietetic internship program, Dr. Cotugna was instrumental in placing dietetic interns with Extension. Additionally, she assigns one to three community nutrition students each semester with various staff members to volunteer for Extension.”

Fifer Orchards

Fifer Orchards, a fourth generation family farm that features a farm and a country store in Camden-Wyoming and a local fresh market in Dewey Beach, was presented with the award thanks to its support of 4-H and Cooperative Extension over the years.

4-H youth have been given the opportunity to gain educational knowledge and value from various operation tours provided by Fifer Orchards staff. These youth have been able to develop and showcase their presentation skills as well as their culinary skills through the Front Porch Demonstration program.

Through the program, members of 4-H prepare recipes using fruits and vegetables in harvest and showcase them on the front porch of Fifer Orchards. They also have been allowed to share their knowledge and skills with others through the Animal Showcase program.

Fifer Orchards has also been a donor of funds and products to various 4-H events, including the peach ice cream donation booth at the Middletown Peach Festival that provides $1,100 annually to support the county program.

Fifer Orchards has also allowed Extension to host tours at its site and has provided speakers for various Extension events, all in an effort to promote agriculture and to share knowledge and information with their clientele as well as to the clientele of Cooperative Extension.

Fifer Orchards has been instrumental in providing land and labor to do various vegetable trials. In addition, Fifer family members participate on various Extension committees and boards.

Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) is a low-income public housing community with 10 locations throughout Kent and Sussex counties. UD and DSHA have collaborated to provide 4-H Afterschool Programs to youth at seven of those locations.

For the past twenty years, 4-H and DSHA have operated a site at Hickory Tree in Selbyville and the success of that program has convinced the state agency to partner with 4-H to reach all their eligible children.

DSHA provides the community rooms, computer labs at some locations, recreational space, heat/air conditioning, maintenance of facility, water, and monthly pest control at each location at no cost to UD.

The housing manager and social worker at each location assist in identifying children to attend the afterschool programs and serve on the afterschool advisory board.

David Marvel

David Marvel is a grain and vegetable farmer focused on fresh and processing vegetable production. He is the past president and current vice president of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (FVGAD).

As an officer and member he continues to serve on a number of boards and committees that connect the issue of healthy living and family farming. Under his leadership, the FVGAD started the first farm to school program in Delaware and continues to lead the way in getting farm fresh food into rural public schools in the state.

Marvel has always been a strong supporter of Delaware Cooperative Extension as evidenced by his involvement with on farm extension demonstrations, his input and overall vegetable science extension and research programs, and current and past membership on the UD and Delaware State University County Extension Advisory Boards.

Marvel is a graduate of the first Delaware LEAD Class organized by Delaware Cooperative Extension and has assisted with recruiting and training with subsequent classes. Marvel also served on the UD CANR advisory committee that provided input in the selection of the dean, Mark Rieger.

Delaware Cooperative Extension Director’s Leadership Award

The Delaware Cooperative Extension Director’s Leadership Award was given to Katy O’Connell, Michele Walfred, Adam Thomas, Christy Mannering and Troy Darden.

Rodgers cited their collective work on the successful rollout of the Cooperative Extension “Ask an Expert” service as the catalyst for the award.

Photos by Evan Krape

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