Learn to Preserve Your Harvest

April 10, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Learning to preserve foods safely can be fun and easy. This series, offered by UD’s New Castle County Cooperative Extension,  is designed for beginners who want to learn the basics of preserving food to retain product quality and product safety over time. Pre-registration is required. Call 302-831-2506 with questions or to register.

Making Jams and Jellies
Saturday, April 21
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
This program will review basic water bath canning techniques. We will practice by making jam.
Bring an apron, a snack for yourself and be ready to make jam.
Cost: $30
Presenter: Maria Pippidis, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences
Location: NCC Extension, 461 Wyoming Rd., Room 132B, Newark, DE

Water Bath Canning for Beginners
Saturday, June 30
9:30 am – 12:30pm
This workshop will provide you with the info you need to preserve food safely. We will cover freezing and canning using a water bath process.
Come and get hands-on practice. A textbook with recipes will be provided. Space is limited. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.
Cost: $30
Presenter: Maria Pippidis, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Location: NCC Extension, 461 Wyoming Rd., Room 132B, Newark, DE

Using your Freezer to Preserve Foods
Saturday, July 7
9:30 am – 12:00pm
Wondering what and how to freeze produce and other products so they are safe and of good quality? This workshop will provide information about how to do just that.
What works best for what types of products? We’ll review how to blanch and package as well.
Cost: $25
Presenter: Maria Pippidis, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Location: NCC Extension, 461 Wyoming Rd., Room 132B, Newark, DE


UD Extension Professionals Honored at National Conference

November 14, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Four University of Delaware Cooperative Extension professionals were recognized at the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences conference, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this fall.

Kathleen Splane receiving the National Early Childhood Childcare Training Award from the NEAFCS 2011 President Marsha Lockard

Kathleen Splane received the National Early Childhood Child Care Training Award and an editing team consisting of Maria Pippidis, Margo McDonough and Sandy Peralta received an Eastern Region Newsletter Communication Award.

Splane is Extension’s family and consumer science educator for Kent County. The child care training award recognizes Splane’s innovative online program, “Healthy Habits, Healthy Start.” Splane received funding from the state Division of Public Health for the program, which is designed for providers throughout the state who serve preschoolers. Some curriculum content was provided by Nemours Health & Prevention Services.

“There is a critical need for training materials about childhood nutrition and exercise,” says Splane. “Delaware has a very high percentage of children who are obese or overweight. In a state by state ranking, we rank 16th highest. Child care providers, in conjunction with parents, can play an important role in giving young children a healthy start.”

The Extension editing team, led by Maria Pippidis, was recognized for Two Cent Tips for Delaware, an email newsletter that focuses on consumer money management skills. Recent issues have covered such topics as retirement planning, getting along and saving money in multigenerational households, reducing the cost of holiday travel, and helping teenagers and young adults become credit savvy. Pippidis is the director of the New Castle County Cooperative Extension office, Peralta is an administrative assistant in that office and McDonough is a UD communications specialist.

Maria Pippidis receiving the Eastern Region Newsletter Communication Award from the NEAFCS Eastern Regional Director Theresa Mayhew

To learn more about “Healthy Habits, Healthy Start,” contact Splane at ksplane@udel.ed or 302-731-4000. To subscribe to Two Cent Tips for Delaware, send an email to TwoCentTips@udel.edu.


Cooperative Extension Annual Conference

October 19, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Cooperative Extension professionals from University of Delaware and Delaware State University met on Tues. Oct. 18, for their annual conference in Dover, to celebrate their unique partnership and excellence in Extension outreach programing that serves Delaware’s families and agricultural constituents.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Linda Kay Benning, executive director of Northeast Cooperative Extension Director and associate director for Extension and Outreach at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, located in Washington, D.C. Benning remarked on Extension’s rich history, the value of its current programming and the future of Extension funding at regional and national levels in the 21st century. Benning addressed the importance in raising awareness of the diverse programming that Cooperative Extension delivers to families, farmers, businesses and industry.

In recognition of Delaware’s Extension contribution the past year, the 2011 Cooperative Extension Awards of Excellence were announced:

Integration of Extension and Research Award:

  • Gordon Johnson, Maggie Moor-Orth, Richard Taylor, Phillip Sylvester, Rose Ogutu, Brigid McCrea, Megan, John Clendaniel, Dahlia O’Brien, Mike Wasylkowski, Lakhe Paudel, and Joann Walston.

Positively Outrageous Service Award for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Individual:

  • Carol Scott – 4-H Educator Afterschool program “Moving Youth Ahead.”
  • Mary Argo – 4-H Educator in Sussex County.

Positively Outrageous Service Award for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Team:

  • Tracy Wootten, Maggi Moor-Orth, and Sussex County Master Gardeners:  Brent Marsh, Jessica Clark, Jane Casazza, Susan Trone, Tracy Mulvaney, Mary Perkins, Mary Noel, Mary Hall, Marge Lewis and Linda Peters for:  “Peter Rabbit’s Adventure in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden,” a mobile theatrical presentation for children.

Outstanding Programming Award:

  • Tracy Wootten, Laurie Wolinski, and Maria Pippidis – for “Annie’s Project” which supports and empowers women in agriculture.
  • Maggie Moor-Orth, Tracy Wootten, and Brian Kunkel – “How Do You Like Me Now – Insects and Their Damage” and;
  • Gordon Johnson, Maria Pippidis, Kathleen Splane, Phillip Sylvester, Anne Camasso, Tracy Wootten, and Cory Whaley – “Food Safety on the Farm”
  • Karen Johnston, Michelle Ernst, and Amelia Uffelman – “4-H Health Rocks Program – Youth tobacco prevention program.”
  • Bill McGowan, “The Resourceful Leader”-Community development and economic gardening initiative.

Recipients of the Director’s Spirit of Extension Awards: Ernesto López, Rhonda Martell, Kathleen Splane and Albert Essel.

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) the association of Extension professionals presented the following awards:

  • Adult Outstanding Volunteer Award- Hetty Francke.
  • Youth Outstanding Volunteer Award- Terra Tatman.
  • Group Outstanding Volunteer Award- Emerson Farms.
  • Friend of Extension- Agilent Technologies.
  • Meritorious Support Service Award- Sharon Webb.

Delaware State University recognized two Extension professionals:

  • Bridget McCrea – “1890 Administrator’s Award” for Extension Agriculture and Youth. Development.
  • Andy Wetherhill – “1890 Administrator’s Award for Diversity” in Agricultural Extension programs.

Earlier in the morning, the conference’s 100 attendees separated into agriculture, family and consumer science and 4-H youth development groups and discussed initiatives and exchanged new ideas on how to effectively reach their constituents’ future needs.

The ag group focused on how to enhance an $8 billion agriculture industry given current economic challenges.  Items of note included the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of the ag community, the capacity to engage those needs in a timely fashion and development and implementation of a strategy that creates an understanding and support for the value of Cooperative Extension.

Family and consumer science and EFNEP agents discussed what they see as emerging issues in nutrition, food safety, financial management and family well-being and how best to effectively communicate revised guidelines and research to local constituencies.

Through their diverse programming, 4-H reaffirmed that effective outreach to Delaware’s youth must rest on eight principles: a positive relationship with a caring adult, a safe emotional and physical environment, an inclusive environment, engagement in learning, opportunity for mastery, opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future, opportunity for self-determination and opportunity to value and practice service to others.

Tuesday’s gathering marked the last Extension Conference under the tenure of UD Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, Janice Seitz, who is retiring in April 2012. The ninth conference however, will not be Seitz’s last. In 2003, Seitz established the Lighthouse Award as a special honor bestowed to an Extension professional who “lights the way for others.” Each year, the holder of the Extension beacon has the responsibility to pass the award onto a deserving colleague. Doug Crouse, 2010 recipient, carefully considered his many options but concluded on one obvious choice, Dr. Jan Seitz, the founder of the award.

The award assures Seitz’s continued involvement in outreach programming and a return to next year’s conference to once again confer the award. But Seitz’s future participation was never in any doubt.  Though stepping out of her leadership role, Seitz plans to lend support and resources whenever needed.   “This is the greatest job I have ever had,” Seitz said. “I love Extension so much.”

Images of the conference are available on the UD Carvel Research and Education Center Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carvel/sets/72157627800614733/

Article submitted by Michele Walfred.


Learn heart-smart eating at Cooperative Extension program

March 11, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Cardiovascular disease and stroke will cost the United States an estimated $503.2 billion in 2010, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). That figure includes both health care costs and lost productivity due to death and disease.

The AHA says many of these cases could have been prevented, citing risk factors that include obesity, too little exercise and poor diet.

“Scientific evidence indicates that if you eat right, you may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers,” says Kathleen Splane, a University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educator. “But limited time, limited money and limited knowledge can get in the way of healthy eating.”

Splane and Extension colleague Cheryl Bush are helping Delawareans combat these impediments to nutritious eating with the Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart program. The next session begins Monday, May 2, in Newark and will be led by Bush, who is a registered dietician.

The three-part program includes education, cooking demonstrations and samplings of healthy foods. The first class focuses on desserts, the second on main dishes and the final class on side dishes. The program also includes basic information about heart disease, including risk factors, and other measures, such as exercise, that can impact cardiovascular health.

Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart features recipes with little or no saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol; little salt; low-fat sources of protein; and plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“We teach that there are no ‘bad foods,’ that there are many creative ways to modify beloved old recipes into new, healthy favorites,” says Splane. “Class participants learn ways to reduce the salt and fat without sacrificing the taste.”

Splane has been cooking a heart healthy diet for her own family for more than a decade. Through plenty of research and trial and error, she has discovered how to present healthier versions of familiar foods without sacrificing taste.

Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart will be offered on Mondays, May 2, 9 and 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension Office, 461 Wyoming Rd., Newark. The series costs $45 and is limited to the first 30 registrants. All child care providers who attend are entitled to receive continuing education credits. To register or for more information, call 302-831-1327.

This post is also available online on UDaily by clicking here.


UD Extension receives $5,000 grant from Fund for Women

June 1, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has received a $5,000 grant from the Fund for Women of the Delaware Community Foundation. The grant was distributed at the fund’s annual awards program, held in late May at the Deerfield Country Club in Newark.

The grant was awarded to Kathleen Splane, an Extension educator for family and consumer science, to fund a series of workshops for family meal providers. This innovative initiative will give low-resource parents the tools they need to prepare healthy and cost-effective meals at home. The program will be offered at two state of Delaware Housing Authority locations in Kent County.

“The benefits of shared family meals are myriad,” says Splane. “Children who eat regular meals with their families are more likely to consume more dairy products and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Beyond the nutritional benefits, research has shown that children and teens who eat meals with their families are less likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or use marijuana and other drugs.”

The Fund for Women awarded grants to 13 nonprofit organizations this year. More than 90 nonprofits applied for funding. The fund was established in 1993 as an endowment of the Delaware Community Foundation. Since then, it has awarded more than $1.3 million in grants to Delaware nonprofit programs that help women and girls avoid abuse and poverty, improve their physical and mental health and gain financial independence.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, said she is doubly proud of the Extension grant because she is a Fund for Women founder.

“When I learned how the Fund for Women harnesses the collective philanthropy of women, I knew I had to get involved,” recalls Seitz. “This group has helped more than 220 nonprofits do very important work to improve the lives of Delaware women. I’m honored to be a Fund Founder and honored that Extension has received a 2010 grant award.”

For more information about UD Cooperative Extension programs, including nutrition programs, contact your county Extension office, (302) 856-7303 in Sussex, (302) 730-4000 in Kent or (302) 831-COOP in New Castle County, or see the Extension website.

View the original story on UDaily by clicking here.


March 3: Delaware 4-H, local high schools hosting forum on healthy lifestyles

February 25, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Appoquinimink and Middletown High Schools along with Delaware 4-H are hosting a community issues forum on “Weighing the Options, How Can We Encourage Healthy Weights Among America’s Youth” on Wednesday March 3, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Appoquinimink High School, Commons Area, 1080 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown Del. 

This forum is open to the public to share their ideas and thoughts on how to help youth live a healthier lifestyle in the Middletown, Odessa & Townsend (MOT) area.  A $2,000 grant is allotted for solutions made through the discussion and conclusions from this community forum.  All residents of the M.O.T. area are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions on this issue.   We hope you’ll come out to share your ideas and support today’s students (tomorrow’s leaders) who are seeking grass-roots solutions to the challenge of increasing the nutritional health of youth in our area.

 If you have any questions about this event, please contact Appoquinimink High School Agriscience Teacher Stephen Scheib at Stephen.Scheib@appo.k12.de.us , Middletown High School Agriscience Teacher Kellie Michaud at Kellie.Michaud@appo.k12.de.us, or New Castle County 4-H Educator Katie Daly Jones at kdaly@udel.edu   

The funding to support this program comes from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2005-45201-0332, through a grant administered by the National 4-H Council. This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2002-45201-01528.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Appoquinimink and Middletown High School FFA Chapters are local chapters of the National FFA, a dynamic youth organization within agricultural education that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.  For more information, visit www.ffa.org  

4-H is a community of young people across Delaware and America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  For more information visit www.4h.com


Refocus Your Job Search — Tips from UD Extension

February 15, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

As if being unemployed isn’t tough enough, there’s more bad news for those who have found themselves out of work. It’s taking longer than ever to find new job. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in management, professional and related occupations who had lost their jobs in March of last year were unemployed for a median of 19.6 weeks, nearly 5 months. That’s longer than in previous economics downturns.

Even though a number of indicators show that the econony began improving in mid 2009, employers are continuing to be cautious and slow to add workers.

For job seekers, this means they need to be especially resourceful and creative in their search for employment, says Maria Pippidis, a University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educator for family and consumer science.

“It’s not enough to send your resume to online career boards that might receive thousands of applications for a single position,” says Pippidis. “You need to do a targeted job search and utilize every tool available, including newpaper and online ads, job fairs, headhunters and personal contacts.”

If you have been out of work for a while, here are some recommendations from Pippidis on how to refocus your job search:

  • Personal Contacts are Paramount. Some studies show that about 60 percent of all jobs are found by networking.  Network with everyone — people who work in your field, neighbors and friends and those you know from social, civic and religious organizations. Don’t ask for a job – unless you know the person is actively hiring. Do ask for information about how to proceed with your job hunt or improve your resume, and referrals to others who might be able to help.
  • Treat Job Hunting Like a Job. Make your job search the first priority of every weekday. Expect to spend 15 to 20 hours a week looking for work.                                                   
  • Give Your Resume a Makeover.  Make sure your resume reflects current terminology for your field and includes all necessary key words. Ask a colleague   in your field for constructive criticism. Also, ask an English teacher or other wordsmith to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes you may not have noticed before.    
  • Give Yourself a Makeover.  No, Pippidis isn’t suggesting cosmetic surgery or expensive beauty products. But you do need to make sure that your interview suit fits well, that your shoes are polished and that your hair is well groomed. Go to a local beauty school for budget prices on hair cuts, perms and color treatments. 
  • Consider Freelancing, Temp and Contract Jobs. All of these short-term employment solutions provide income but they offer additional benefits, including expanded opportunities to network. Some temporary jobs lead to permanent employment. A short-term job also gets you out of the house, with other people, and thus can help to keep your spirits up at a stressful time in life.    

For more tips on job-hunting, ways to save money and stretching your dollars, sign up for Two Cent Tips for Delaware, a free monthly email newsletter from University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Send an email to [TwoCentsTip@udel.edu] with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.