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.”

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


UD Cooperative Extension offers class on pickles

July 25, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Let's Make Pickles class set for Aug. 22 in DoverAfter conducting food preservation classes on topics like salsas and jams, Kathleen Splane decided to change it up a bit and tackle a new topic — pickles.

“Let’s Make Pickles” is offered through the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences unit and will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Paradee Center at 69 Transportation Circle in Dover. The class is open to the public and the cost is $15 and includes all the materials participants need to make their pickles.

For the class, Splane has partnered with the Master Gardeners and the Master Food Educators.

When it comes to canning foods, Splane, Cooperative Extension’s family and consumer science educator for Kent County, said that one of the most important aspects is “encouraging people to know the latest techniques. Sometimes things that grandma did back in 1930 might not be the safest options, so we are really trying to get people on board with the most recent techniques.”

Those techniques are taught in the class, in which Splane discusses all of the sanitation instructions before getting started on the actual process of making pickles.

“We want to be hands-on with them to actually go through the steps of preparing the product from beginning to end,” Splane said. “In the beginning, I teach the principles of canning, the importance of the sanitary conditions and sterilizing the jars and surfaces, and also we go through the differences between hot water bath canning and pressure canning and what products need to be done in what kind of process.”

Once the students learn about the background information, it is on to the pickling. The participants roll up their sleeves and get started, cutting cucumbers, preparing the brine and going through the process of water bath canning for the pickles.

The pickles take a fairly short time to make but Splane explained that participants will have to wait 24 hours to pick up their pickles to make sure that their jars are totally sealed.

The canning itself is not very hard, Splane said, but it can be difficult to wait out the process. “Sometimes, it just takes patience. Patience and waiting for the finished product versus going to buy it at the store.”

To access a registration form for this class or to check out other classes offered by Cooperative Extension, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley


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.


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.


Dining with Diabetes Classes Start in March

February 9, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Adult-onset diabetes is a major public health issue in the U.S. and Delaware isn’t immune to the problem. In fact, Sussex County has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation. That’s why University of Delaware Cooperative Extension offers Dining with Diabetes classes in Sussex and throughout the state.

“The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes consume a healthy, low fat diet consisting of plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables,” says Kathleen Splane, an Extension educator in Kent County. “By keeping their blood glucose levels close to normal, people with diabetes reduce their risk of developing major complications.”
The three-part Dining with Diabetes program includes education, cooking demonstrations and samplings of healthy foods. The next session begins March 9 in Dover.

All of the dishes prepared at Dining with Diabetes classes not only are healthy but taste good, too. Recipes range from a beef stir-fry entree to reduced-fat, reduced sugar versions of desserts, including an apple cobbler with crumb topping. Before introducing a new recipe, Splane makes sure it is easy to prepare and uses inexpensive ingredients that are readily available at area supermarkets.

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

The Dining with Diabetes program costs $30 and will be held March 9, 16 and 23. Classes meet from 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. in the Kent County Cooperative Extension office in Dover. To register, or for more info, call the Extension office at 302-730-4000.