2020 April PCEA-EC Minutes

Minutes: Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee meeting  4/13/2020, 3-5 pm via Zoom.

Present: Members: Beth McEvoy, Carole Boothroyd, Gretchen Huettner

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

Call to Order– President Beth McEvoy called the meeting to order at 3 pm.


  • Minutes of 3/9/20- approval postponed
  • The Treasurer’s Report-approval postponed

Report from Lisa Phelps

Lisa reports that UMO staff are working on moving programs to virtual formats for June/July. The National 4-H Citizen Washington Focus event has been canceled. Gretchen has questions about Piscataquis qualifiers for Eastern States, she asks “How will teams be picked equitably?”. Lisa says that animal science staff are discussing how to go virtual if it becomes necessary, but as of now, the event is still scheduled. There was a discussion about summer fairs. Lisa says she will direct staff to check with all local fairs, but at this point, there have been no cancellations. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the university has put in place some spending restrictions.

Program Updates

 4-H Program Update- Sheila Norman and Emily Mott

  • The Piscataquis County Public Speaking Tournament on March 14 was cancelled. The State Public Speaking Tournament will be held on April 25, via Zoom. Youth have the option of presenting in a small Zoom room with 3 judges and 2 other youth presenters or they may enter by video.
  • The Sew Much Fun SPIN Club program during April school vacation has been cancelled.
  • The Choose Health: Food, Fun and Fitness SPIN Club at Guilford Library has been canceled.
  • The Super Science 4-H club has continued to meet by Zoom. Although disappointed that Envirothon was cancelled, they continue to learn environmental science and are looking to do a needs assessment survey for our county, that may be offered to other counties.
  • 4-H summer camps are still taking applications in hopes that they will be able to offer programs, as usual, this summer. They may have to adapt to a daytime format.
  • 4-H offers many programs for kids being homeschooled: QuaranTEEN Café is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when university faculty and staff give live presentations relating to their areas of expertise by Zoom. “Mainely Dish” Mondays is a video series done by EFNEP which provides step-by-step directions for recipes for kids at home. “Wednesdays in the Woods” is a Facebook Live video series from 4-H Camps and Learning Centers for outdoor adventures. 4-H Friday Fun Videos offers hands-on activities that can be done at home with simple materials.

Home Horticulture Report – Trisha Smith 

  • Garden-in-a Box workshops are being offered via Zoom and will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube and DVDs for those who cannot attend or don’t have a way to view sessions live. MGVs will contact participants by phone and supporting documents will be mailed.
  • The Nature Trail Restoration Earth Day event is cancelled.
  • Trisha will soon plant peas and carrots in the Sedomocha School Garden and start seedlings at home. She will re-purpose seeds purchased for an Adult Ed class into mini microgreen kits for Sedomocha elementary students, about 200 kids. Each student will get a cup, soil, seeds, and instructions.
  • The Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard has shifted to a no-contact, pick-up only system using infrastructure PRFC has for distributing commodity foods. Additional funding has come from Good Shepherd and United Way and from community members’ gift cards and Facebook fundraisers.
  • Trisha held a 4-hour Zoom for Fourth Friday Plant Clinic in March. The next is on April 24, 10am-2pm

Piscataquis Activities-March-April – Donna Coffin

  • Donna reports contact with 53 people, with questions about starting seeds and gardening, hydroponics, maple syrup, insect ID, soil testing, farm grants and financing, and more.
  • Keeping Small Ruminants Healthy workshop on April 18th has been c Donna is working on an enhanced sheep and goat website and short videos of practice.
  • The SWCD plant sale will go on with drive-up/pick up, but educational displays are cancelled. Soil test boxes/instructions and factsheets will be provided. Gretchen suggests that gardening and soil sampling information be publicized with a phone number that connects to Donna’s email.
  • Slow Money Maine, which was scheduled for April 28 at The Commons at Central Hall from 9 am to 2 pm is probably cancelled. There is no alternate date right now.
  • The Greenhouse Plastic Recycling Drop Off at the Coop Extension office is postponed until June 15.
  • Maine Garden Chat is offered online Monday at 9 am, Wednesday at noon and Thursday at 6 pm at https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/gardening/gardening-chats/
  • Weekly Maine Farm Zoom occurs every Friday at 7 pm. Over 100 people have attended since March 27. A poll is being conducted to find what daytime may be better for folks.
  • Growing and Utilizing Hemp in the Home Garden by Zoom had 44 people viewing live and 22 who viewed the recording. Participants were offered 12 free seeds.
  • Donna is sending an online weekly newsletter: Maine Farm News.

Unfinished Business

  • Piscataquis County Extension expanded hours have been postponed. The Open House at the Extension Office has been postponed. Annual Meeting planning is postponed.
  • Dean Carter is scheduled to meet with Donna and Trisha on March 12.
  • Extension events- Ruminant Seminar, Swine Program, One Tomato, Earth Day- Donna encourages all to strategize how Extension programs can continue to have a positive impact during COVID times and how we reschedule/postpone/cancel events so that we are ready to resume normal operations whenever health restrictions are lifted.

New Business

Gretchen says some pig farmers are interested in getting milk that is being dumped as bulk milk markets dried up, especially since breweries are currently closed.

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm.

Next meeting: May 11, 2020, at 3-5 pm.

Submitted by Carole Boothroyd, Secretary 4/29/2020