2019 February PCEA-EC Minutes

Minutes: Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee Meeting  2/11/2019, 3-5 pm

Present: Members: Beth McEvoy, Karen Murphy, Carole Boothroyd, David Bridges, Gretchen Huettner.

Staff: Donna Coffin, Sheila Norman, Trisha Smith, Lisa Phelps via Zoom

Visitors: Ben Cookson, Shaw Road Farm, and Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director

Call to Order– President Beth McEvoy called the meeting to order at 3 pm. Karen Murphy selected as timekeeper.


  • Minutes of the December 10, 2019 meeting were approved, with no corrections.
  • The Treasurer’s Report was approved, with no corrections.

Program Updates

Lisa Phelps reports that the University has funded and is ready to advertise the Penobscot and Piscataquis 4H Professional position that opened up due to Barb Baker’s retirement. Lisa told the committee that the new Dean of Cooperative Extension, Dr. Hannah Carter, hopes to make the rounds of the counties after her start date of May first. Additionally, Cooperative Extension has purchased a 4H camp at Greenland Point in Washington County and expects to offer its first programs during summer 2019.

 4-H Program Update- Sheila Norman

  • SPIN Club Sew Much Fun is during school vacation, Feb 19, 20 and 21. Carole volunteered to deliver postcards to SEDOMOCHA to promote this club and the new horse club.
  • The county Public Speaking Tournament will be held on February 23, with 8 presenters from Piscataquis County and 7 from Penobscot County expected. Due to the larger numbers, the location has been changed to the Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft.
  • Four youth represented 4H in the Maine State Senate on January 31 at Page Day. A trip to the Maine State Museum followed.
  • 4H has STEM Ambassadors for the Milo afterschool program which starts March 12th and runs for 7 weeks. Some of the topics are forest and paper products and duct tape crafts. Sheila hopes to have a 4H volunteer offer one additional topic. The group will take its annual trip to UMaine during April vacation as part of the program.

Home Horticulture Report – Trisha Smith 

  • There are 6 prospective volunteers for the Master Gardener weekly classes, which begin February 26. Lectures and presentations are physically in Penobscot County but will be available via Zoom or Tandberg in Dover-Foxcroft.
  • Murray’s class harvested worm castings to make soil for microgreens. They planted kale and spinach January 17 and harvested February 7. Spinach failed, but students sampled baby kale along with mixed sprouts and a local honey vinaigrette. Students who voted “yum” planted more microgreen for harvest at the end of the month.
  • Trisha has been elected to the Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard’s Board of Directors and is participating in the “Cooking Matters” program at Central Hall through Piscataquis Regional Food Center.
  • A volunteer is sought to lead the weekly 4H exploration SPIN Club at Dover Cove Farmer’s Market for 6 weeks in summer.
  • Trisha will extend an invitation to Kacey Webber, PSWCD, to attend the Cooperative Extension Executive Committee’s next meeting to discuss a summer solstice (June 21) “Families in the Outdoors” program at the Law Farm.
  • Trisha is leading a program on container gardening for a low-vision group in Dover-Foxcroft in early June.
  • Trisha would like the committee to consider establishing a “Little Free Library”, with a GeoCache add-on, possibly near the student garden. Use of the “Little Free Library” name involves a one-time cost of $40 and construction, installation and maintenance would be the Extension’s responsibility.


Piscataquis Cooperative Extension December Activities Report- Donna Coffin

  • Donna reports 15 contacts Dec-Jan 2019. Questions included: tractor safety course, shipping pinecones, low cbd hemp, Maine Farmland Trust information.

Upcoming Programs/Meetings

  • Coop Extension will have a display at the MOFGA Regional Meeting, Feb. 16 at East Sangerville Grange, 10 am -3 pm
  • Small-Scale and Backyard Greenhouse Management with Dr. Matt Wallhead on March 21, 10 am to noon at Piscataquis Extension Office, Dover-Foxcroft. ($10 fee)
  • Produce Safety Training with Dr. Jason Bolton, March 29 (snow date: April 4) at the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church, 8 am-4 pm.
  • Pork 101: Beginners Guide to Keeping Pigs with Dr. Colt Knight is March 22 at the Piscataquis Extension Office in Dover-Foxcroft, 11 am- 2 pm ($10 fee)
  • Hay and Pasture Workshop with Rick Kersbergen is March 25 at the Piscataquis Extension Office in Dover-Foxcroft, 6-9pm (free)
  • Small Ruminant: Disease Awareness and Screening is April 13 at Foxcroft Large Animal Veterinary Associates in Dover-Foxcroft, 1-4pm. The program features Hands-on fecal testing with Drs. Catrina Ruksznis, Beth McEvoy, Karen Murphy and FAMACH with Dr. Colt Knight. Volunteers are needed to transport tables and chairs.
  • Colt Knight and Juan Romero Gomez, with a grant from Maine Agriculture Center, will present an afterschool program: Comparing Nutritive Value of whole corn, cracked corn and reconstituted corn over time.
  • Donna plans to offer three tomato varieties for the One Tomato TM 2019 program. The committee suggested venues to distribute plants. Donna will put together a sign-up sheet for the committee.
  • Donna reported her submission of an article on the One Tomato TM program to the Journal of NACAA and her request to the Faculty Laptop Incentive Program for funds to replace Trisha’s 8-year old laptop. If successful, Extension can use funds from the Orono gardening account and farming account to cover the $750 cost share.
  • Donna reported on the number of newsletters and social media posts produced and on public responses.

New Business

  • Donna provided a monthly activities calendar, AKA “UMaine Extension Presents” and the committee discussed upcoming events.
  • The committee voted to approve $25 for an exhibit at the Black Fly Festival in Milo June 1, 2019.
  • Carole will report on any progress on a Volunteer Fair at the March meeting.
  • The committee voted approval of Ben Cookson as the newest member of the Executive Committee. Welcome, Ben!
  • Walter Boomsma presented an outline of the GrowME Program and its mission to promote agricultural literacy in the classroom, K-3rd He discussed the curriculum and the schools involved. He made the committee aware of the program’s needs for a reliable volunteer base and for funding for supplies. Walter and members of the committee discussed the conflict between the timing of the program during Ag Week March 10-16 and MEA testing. In response, Walter is considering stretching GrowME over more than one week; Ben suggested moving to Grange Week in April and coordinating with other granges for volunteers; Gretchen suggests that the end of the school year is a better time to do these types of activities. Walter also discussed difficulties revolving around multi-grade classrooms and lack of discretionary time in the school year.


The meeting adjourned at 5 pm. Next meeting: March 11, 2019, at Piscataquis County Extension Office, Dover-Foxcroft 3-5 pm.

Submitted by Carole Boothroyd, Secretary 2/26/2019