2021 May PCEA-EC Minutes

Minutes: Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee Meeting May 10, 2021, 3 PM By Zoom

  • President Beth McEvoy called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.
  • Tech Tip from Emily:
    • Control F or Command F when in a document or webpage. A box will pop up and you can type in a word to find everywhere it is mentioned in the document. It also has a find and replaces function that will allow you to replace the word with a different word (or correct a misspelling).
    •  Emily explained how to change the virtual background
  • Secretary’s Report – Motion was made to accept as written and was passed.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Report accepted

Sheila Norman
Emily Mott

  1. We have new guidance from UMaine regarding the wearing of masks in our programming. Any indoor activity requires a mask at all times, though we do not have permission for indoor programming at this time. When outside, masks are recommended if 6-foot social distancing may not be possible at all times. When outside, masks are not required if 6-foot social distancing is possible. We are expecting further guidance and clarification today. 
  2. Our program with the Art of Math curriculum at Brownville Elementary School with the STEM Ambassadors has wrapped up. Special thanks to Ben Cookson for volunteering to help lead in this program in one of the 3rd-grade classrooms!
  3. The statewide public speaking tournament was held on April 17th and was a success! We had 31 presentations, including cloverbuds. Our own George McKay and Rick Cabot served as judges! The awards ceremony was live-streamed on April 18 and the recording can be found on the website (starting at 11 minutes 22 seconds). Note about the awards ceremony: Zabet N from Hancock county did a great job editing some clips of the kids’ presentations and we recommend watching it if you have a chance.
  4. The Tractor Supply Co. Paper Clover spring promotion started Wednesday, April 28th, and ends Sunday, May 9th. Be sure to check out our display and donate at the register if you can!
  5. Plans are underway for the Summer Learning Series. Virtual workshops on a wide variety of topics will be offered to the youth of all ages, mostly during July and August.  If you are interested in leading a workshop, speak to Sheila or Emily and we will help make it happen! Presenter forms are due May 14, so if you are interested please let us know ASAP.

Trisha Smith

Introduction to Garden in a Box and Guided Tour of the Resource Binder Virtual Workshop April 21 by Zoom went well. An attendee from Greenville, 3 of our coaches, the Thompson Free Librarian, and his wife.

Share Shed Piscataquis: Share Shed is back for another season. Fancy pussy willow rooted cuttings and seeds have been shared so far.

Sedomocha School Garden:
I’m doing garden activities every Thursday with the second graders. Garlic looks great! We have planted peas, spinach, and radishes outside, pumpkins and cucumbers are started inside.

Cliff Tumosa has wood chips at his place on Bear Hill Rd. We need a pickup load to layer on the paths in the school garden. 

Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard:
Distributions will be changing in June to first and third Thursdays. I will do One Tomato distribution on June 3.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training:
It’s almost summer, and this year’s cohort is off to a great start! They will fulfill their hours (40 in the first year) with no trouble, I’m sure. Two MGVs are working together on the Nature Trail, and one is part of the Garden in a Box coaching team.

Side projects:
Sedomocha Nature Trail: Carolyn Clark, MGV trainee, is the lead on this project. 

Incipient Kiwanis Park Project:
I have a small group of potential volunteers doing weekly Narcan distribution who could direct some energy toward revitalizing the garden space. We can start with clean up and weeding and maybe move on to the large specimens of non-native invasive species dominating the garden! I have mentioned this project in an email with Beth and will follow up. 

Donna Coffin
Covid-19 Era – Statewide Activities
April to May 2021

1. One to one contacts:
phone (19), email (22), Facebook (28), Face to Face (5), surface mail (2), message (2) from 64 people included questions on: drip irrigation, farm insurance, farm management skills, farming curriculum for prison, farm funding, garlic, CBD, soil nutrients, swine disease, wood harvesting info, poultry programs for NPIP, marketing ideas, pesticide information, pasture seeding, weed id, prices for farm products, wildlife management, plant id, plant diseases, growing seedlings, manure use in the garden, lawn management, contact speakers & program sites.

Upcoming Programs/Meetings/Activities:
a. Gardening Webinar Series – Wednesday nights at 6 pm. We are working with UNH to do the six-part series.
b. One Tomato – (aka Extension on the Road)– will be starting distribution June 2 nd. We have some seed packets to also give away with our seedlings. Aroostook County Homemakers are taking up this as a project this spring. Somerset is looking at it as a possible project in the future.
i. June 3 rd – KC Country Store, Parkman
ii. June 4th – Indian Hill Store, Greenville
iii. June 4th – Robinson’s Convenient Store, Brownville
iv. June 5th – Whitney’s Supermarket, Guilford
v. June 11 – Food Cupboard, Dover-Foxcroft
vi. Site TBA, Milo
vii. Piscataquis Extension Office, June 2nd to 11th while supplies last
c. Agriculture Survey Results – panel discussion with agencies/organizations who have recently surveyed farmers and agriculture service providers about the current status of agriculture in Maine. Date to be announced.


3. Past Activities
a. From Farm to Table Fare: Colt Knight and Chef Rob Dumas completed videos on cutting up poultry carcasses and beef cooking techniques. They are being released one per week through Facebook and they will all be added to the Extension
Livestock Website. Local farmers have provided meat for the videos.
b. Master Gardener Volunteer training program will be breaking for summer with the last in-person zoom on May 18th. I will be assisting with the vegetable Q & A sessions on May 4 & 5.
c. So You Want to Farm in Maine? –we have 70 farms and 87 individuals registered. About 50 folks tuned in each session. 18 signed up for the FSA certification for borrower training. I met with 6 of these folks (from 5 farms) with two of my colleagues. They presented enterprise budgets that indicated a total of $103,000 in revenue.
d. Cattlemen’s College Virtual Sessions – Colt Knight organized and I recorded a session on Selling Beef in Maine. We had 36 folks register for the sessions. The access to videos ended Monday, May 3rd.


4. Staff
a. With every other month’s executive committee meetings, staff will send regular reports of their activities every month. The Executive Committee will be meeting in odd-numbered months. May, July, September, November. Look in Google Drive for the reports.
b. Staff who have not completed their vaccination protocols are being tested weekly for Covid-19.


5. Newsletters & Social Media

Email Sent Open Clicked
Maine Farm News (May 1st) 2,881 26% 17%*
Central Maine Garden News (April) 2,801 28% 24%**
Maine Beef (April) 725 33% 20%***

*Tractor Check List
**Don’t do spring clean-up too soon
***Beef Cost Calculator

Facebook posts: 41 posts that reached 9,026 and 746 likes

Date Content Reach
4/6/21 Ticks are active 2,959
4/11/2021 Seeds in the Share Shed 1,870
4/9/2021 Share Shed is Back 1,813
  1. Written Reports appreciated
    • Trisha-MGV almost done for this semester. Volunteers working on the nature trail. The Kiwanis grant funds may be available for that project
    • Beth dislikes honeysuckle as it is non-native and invasive
    • Kiwanis Park stream is pretty and Beth would like to extend it. We may be able to do some demonstrations there. We will ask someone from IFW to talk to folks about clearing the area properly. Tim Obrey was suggested.
    • Donna-Face to face contacts with clients is up a little. One Tomato sites are set up except for Milo. 
  2. Judy is doing a program called So You Want a Horse for kids ages 6-9 and a Reading to a Horse program (books about horses with behavior issues) She is also working with veterans on a bee-keeping program. She has a new piece of equipment to help disabled people to mount their horse. She is going to be working with children who need OT services this summer.
  3. Donna:
    • Colt and Rob have been making videos and Donna recommend checking them out. The latest video is titled “Smash Burger”.
    • Cattlemen’s college update
    • Reminder we are meeting every other month
    • UMaine will be testing weekly for those who are not vaccinated for Covid-

      Unfinished Business

    • 2021 Piscataquis Program Plans
    • Calendar additions will be ongoing
    • Laurie will be doing pressure canning testing.
    • Big events in June include OneTomato, Extension on the Road
    • One Tomato Plans
    • Extension on the Road Plans
    • What can the Executive Committee do to assist staff to reach more people and be more effective?
      • EC may be able to help with OneTomato distribution.  If the EC finds a site they’d like to help with, connect with staff.
      • The Food Cupboard is going to start having work parties June 12 starting at 9 am.


New Business

  • New Covid-19 Protocols – we are waiting on details 

Next Meeting: July 12th, 2021 by Zoom and live in person?

We will be meeting every other month in 2021 at 3 pm by Zoom and live when possible.