2020 September PCEA-EC Minutes

Minutes: Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee meeting 9/14/2020 3-5 pm (Zoom)

Present: Members: Beth McEvoy, Carole Boothroyd, potential member Rick Cabot
Staff: Donna Coffin, Trisha Smith, Sheila Norman, Emily Mott

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


  • Minutes of July and August tabled due to lack of a quorum
  • Donna discussed the Budget information, noting expenditures for a color copier, black and white copier and two window fans for the office. The Treasurer’s Report was tabled due to lack of a quorum

Program Updates

 4-H Program Update- Sheila Norman and Emily Mott

  • The virtual summer learning series offered a wide variety of topics with 58 workshops from which to choose. Piscataquis County 4-H members Gabrielle and Susannah led a workshop on how to make goat milk soap and Rebecca Huettner led a workshop on public speaking. There were 127 participants statewide.
  • Robert Betjemann is offering a workshop on making box kites. Twelve kits are being prepared, but are not yet ready to distribute. Trisha connected us with a professional videographer for an instructional video on assembling the kites. This is a partnership with Helping Hands With Heart, which is providing funding for the videographer and some of the materials. Sheila says the Blueberry Club and the Milo Afterschool program may be interested.
  • Plans for holding 4-H meetings in person have been approved for groups of 10 or fewer. Meetings must be held outdoors and a plan must be submitted to Sheila or Emily for approval. The Super Science Club has sent their application for a series of meetings; others have decided to meet virtually or to wait until larger groups are approved.
  • The National Youth Science Day activity, geared for grades 4-8, has been adapted to a virtual format. The theme is a base camp on Mars, offered in 6 lessons. The program will be available through STEM Ambassadors and staff. In this way, 4-H can offer to assist schools for youth on days that they are not physically in school.
  • The statewide dog photo contest will accept photos until the end of this week. Judging will begin the following week. Sheila and Emily look forward to seeing all the photos!

Home Horticulture Report – Trisha Smith 

  • Garden-in-a-Box- PRFC staff, Master Gardner Volunteers and Trisha are meeting next week to talk about this year’s wrap-up and to plan ahead for next year. The Home Hort team has produced a template/process for approval of certain garden projects, which Trisha can approve.
  • Share Shed Piscataquis- is getting a lot of notice. Lots of squash, cucumbers and tomatoes moved on and off the shelves.
  • Sedomocha School Garden- Trisha received a thank you note from Superintendent Shorey for keeping the garden going this summer. Sheila will find a handwash station so we can have it at the school garden this fall. Trisha is working with Kacey Weber from Soil and Water Conservation on the “Soil Your Undies” activity with Elizabeth Bisson’s pre-K class. David Murray and the second-grade team have clearance to be in the garden, with masks. Trisha is working with them on activities.
  • Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard- Volunteers and the Board are planning ahead for holiday and winter distributions and are expecting continued increases in food needs as the pandemic continues. The DFAFC has given out a survey in order to assess people’s wants and needs for the holidays. The survey is expected to help consolidate efforts between grocery stores and groups so that too many food donations are not duplicated-for instance, too many turkeys.
  • One Tomato- Sheila will be at DFAFC on 9/25 to capture data from folks who got their seedlings at the food cupboard distribution in June.
  • Sedomocha Nature Trail- Classes have planted flowers for native pollinators, from seed donated by the Soil and Water Conservation District. Carolyn Clark made a pictorial history of “Dot Warren’s Nature Trail” for the story walk portion of the trail. Beth encourages Carolyn to apply for a Kiwanis grant next year.

Piscataquis Activities-June-July – Donna Coffin

  1. One to one contacts – face to face (12), voice mail/phone (32), email (60), Facebook (21), surface mail (1) – from 115 people included questions on poisonous plants, buying freezer meat, poultry disease, plant insects, livestock budgets, compost business, pick-your-own farms, goat information, wholesale herbs, pesticide test accommodation, bringing back a hayfield, plant identification, soil testing, animal id meeting, selling a farm, barn ventilation, farm enterprise ideas, vertebrate pests in the garden, plant quarantine, season extension in the garden, pollinator plants, plant disease, source of livestock feed.
  2. Upcoming Programs/Meetings/Activities
  3. Fourth Friday Plant Clinic – We will continue to offer through Zoom and Live Stream with Facebook as well as go to communities when we are allowed to by the location. September 25th is Greenville Town Office.
  4. Greenhouse Plastic Recycling Drop Off Point at Office postponed to September.
  5. Nip Livestock Disease in the Bud: Create Your Own Contact Tracing Program with MDACD by Zoom
  6. Beef Photography – for MBPA members who want to get photographs of their animals for a virtual market opportunity. Trying to get the person who did the 4-H session this summer.
  7. Cattle Handling at Shaw Road Farm. TBA
  8. Selling Meat in Maine – January a red meat and poultry session with MDACF staff, Extension, and processors/farmers. g. Cuts of Meat and cooking demo – Colt Knight and Rob Dumas are working on this for next year.
  9. Past Activities
  10. Guidance for COVID-19 for migrant and seasonal workers … What we have learned so far. Zoom session with MDACF – 17 attended. 51 views on YouTube.
  11. Livestock Nutrition – by Zoom – with Cumberland County and Colt Knight – 58 registered and a total attendance of 59 people. Some folks attended more than one session. Beef, Small Ruminant, Swine, Poultry, and Processing Expectations. 60% currently have animals.
  12. Fourth Friday Plant Clinic – Zoom that was live streaming through Facebook. We reached 554 folks and had 76 engagements and 220 views. Very similar to last month.
  13. Maine Beef Producers Association Meeting by Zoom – 6 attended – No live fall sale, but will offer virtual market opportunity.
  14. Staff
  15. The office has been reopened, but the meeting room is not available yet for meetings. We are starting the process to open the meeting room for meetings with Extension staff and clients.
  16. Staff attended a Civil Rights training, getting ready to prepare our annual civil rights report.
  17. Reminder to Executive Committee and other volunteers there is a website that you can go to and report your hours of volunteering for UMaine Extension here. https://extension.umaine.edu/piscataquis/report-volunteer-hours/ Email 48% Voice mail phone 25% Facebook 17% Face to face 9% Surface mail 1% ONE ON ONE CONTACTS
  18. Laurie tested 7 pressure canner gauges from Piscataquis County Anette has directed 13 people to inquire through calls, private messages, and emails on canning and dehydration to food preservation/food safety staff. She has also sent news releases on the upcoming food preservation Zoom sessions to local news media as well as our social media.
  19. Newsletters & Social Media

Title of Email Sent Open Clicked Weekly Ag News (Sept 5) 2,610 23% 20% Central Maine Gardening (September) 2,551 % % Facebook posts: 58 posts that reached 9,408 and 676 Likes Date Content Reach 8/25/20 Corn Smut 3,471 8/23/20 Tomatoes in Share Shed 1,582. Next Meeting: by Zoom, I misinterpreted the meeting room information. Our meeting room is not open for meetings, yet.

Unfinished Business

Donna reported on County Carry-over Funds- Responses from 7 counties

Carry-over funds ranged from

$39,300 to $130,000 (4 counties reported)

Annual funding for operations and building

$67,000 to $114,000 (5 counties reported)

Carry-over funds as a percent of annual funding

10% to 200% (7 counties reported)

New Business

Executive Committee Terms- Donna emailed the current members’ terms. The secretary of the committee has completed her 3-year term and will not be renewing. Carole thanks everybody for all the experiences!

Ideas for Prospective Executive Members- Discussion about possible evening or every other month meetings, whether to continue meeting by Zoom. Welcome to Rick Cabot!

The meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm.

Submitted by Carole Boothroyd, Secretary 9/25/2020