Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes July 8, 2020

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
July 8, 2020
Virtual Meeting (9 AM – 12:30 PM)

Facilitator: Jon Prichard
Note taker: Dennis Harrington
Guests: Ryder Scott

Please note: Due to the confidentiality and sensitivity of some agenda items, these ELT minutes do not represent the full content of each meeting.

Extension Volunteers – Understanding and Reporting Domestic and Elder Abuse

Based on staff requests, it has been suggested that training for Extension volunteers include elements about elder abuse and domestic abuse. Dick Brzozowski will connect with Jennifer Lobley as Extension’s volunteer coordinator to review strategies which includes connecting with the UMaine Center on Aging.

Academic Affairs Annual Report

The ELT reviewed a draft document for the Academic Affairs Annual Report prepared by Jon Prichard, and discussed our anticipated challenges and opportunities during the upcoming year. Jon will flesh out this thinking and finalize the document for submission to upper administration and publication on Plugged-In.

Risk Management for Master Gardener Volunteers

Risk management has long been discussed by MGV individual program coordinators.  However, some recent questions have arisen. What should MGV’s know about risks and liability? What should staff know? Where and how should this information be posted (and dated) for the latest versions?  A significant amount of work has been done to articulate and manage risks. This work is available for our volunteers on Plugged-in at https://extension.umaine.edu/plugged-in/program-volunteer-resources/volunteers/. It covers event risk planning and what is covered and what is not covered via insurance. Jennifer Lobley and Fran Sulinski are a resource to program staff and will attend meetings to help when invited.

High School Students Becoming Certified as Master Gardener Volunteers

In 2018, the discussion began from FFA & CTE (Career & Technical Education) teachers in Maine regarding their students completing the Master Gardener Volunteer training.  A draft MOU was submitted for review (to Dennis H. and Jared W.) but never finalized.  At this time the ELT does not support licensing the program’s curriculum and credentials to schools. One option may be that the Master Gardener Program be made available to schools only through contracted arrangements to the University of Maine Master Gardener Program at a fee. Dick will work with the Home Hort Team to explore possibilities.

York Village Office Space Request

Both Angela Martin and Susan Jennings have a need for file and supplies storage for the Maine 4-H Foundation and an office space for Susan when she is on campus. They are wondering if either room 211 or 212 would work (both storage and office space for Susan).  The ELT approved the request for using either Room 211 or Room 212 in Building #1 of the York Complex. The Foundation will outfit the space.

Media Releases and Procedure for Distribution

When Extension staff members write and submit media releases for distribution, there are times when the media releases have been reduced due to UMaine Marketing and Communication guidelines.  As a reminder and to clarify our process:

  • Statewide media releases are submitted to UMaine Marketing for review, editing, and distribution by Dana Rickman.
  • Local media releases being submitted to a local media source do not need to be submitted to UMaine Marketing, though they should be submitted to Dana for editing feedback and comments.

It is important to note that there is a difference in length between a media release for a specific program versus a media release regarding a story about a program/research or program participant. Lisa followed up with Dana Rickman and she will send out a reminder to staff about the media release template with helpful tips that are available to staff on plugged-in.

Welcoming our new Provost John Volin

We discussed some ways that Extension might welcome Dr. John Volin as our new Provost, and coming on board in mid-August.  Some ideas about how we might welcome him:

  • Gift basket (Maine and/or Extension theme)
  • Extension 1-2 page reference document “quick facts about Extension”
  • Invite him to a couple of our virtual programs

Maintaining Contact with Extension Retirees

How might we keep in touch with Extension retirees? One idea is to offer retirees the option of getting our newsletter.  Fran Sulinski will connect with Sheila Vaillancourt (now retired) and ask her if she’d be willing to maintain a mailing list of retiree contact information and for her thoughts about managing the group from within. In addition, the University invites all former staff to an annual retirement fair.

Wildlife Questions to Extension

UMaine Extension no longer has a wildlife specialist and now refers the public to USDA Wildlife Control in Augusta.  However, Anne Lichtenwalner recently co-authored (with a biologist from USM) a fact sheet on woodchucks as a One Health Initiative effort.  Griffin Dill frequently responds to rodent questions (rats and mice). Does having a fact sheet on woodchucks conflict with our policy of not responding to wildlife questions?  The ELT agreed that the contact for factsheets should be the primary authored from the UMaine System.  It was noted that several years ago Griffin Dill began taking wildlife questions particularly as they relate to ticks, since tick life cycles are inextricably linked to their wildlife hosts. These questions have generally related to the management of wildlife around the home and home landscape, but have also included broader wildlife topics relating to populations and geographic distributions within the state. While these questions have primarily been in response to rodent and small mammal issues, Griffin also receives and responds to queries regarding many other species including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and large mammals. He is interested in continuing this role and is happy to serve as the point person for wildlife control questions.

An update on purchasing restrictions in the new fiscal year

Recent restrictions on purchasing and limitations on P and TCard use have not changed with the start of the new fiscal year. Current guidance limits purchases that:

  • Directly support COVID-19 response activity
  • Directly support online and remote learning
  • Are directly related to grant-funded, ongoing research
  • Fulfills facilities “on-call, pay-as-you-go” contracts for services required for maintaining our buildings with no cost unless the services are utilized

According to UMaine administration, we should be getting updated guidance later this month, but have no information about what the new guidelines will be. Your patience is appreciated.

Announcements & Congratulations

Maine 4-H and Maine 4-H Foundation Receives Award – UMaine Extension professional Tara Marble and five Maine 4-H teens received a $1,000, 2020 4-H Agriscience Community Action Plan (CAP) award. Tara and the teens will work on a project called: “How YOUth Can Make an Impact on Food Security: a start to finish video series.” This award is presented by National 4-H Council and Nutrien.

Recent Article – Kate McCarty, UMaine Extension Food Systems Professional, wrote an article about female brewery owners who are also representatives in local government in the Summer 2020 Edible Maine:  ediblemaine.com/editorial-1/Maine%E2%80%99s-Fermentation-Caucus

Search Updates

Assistant Financial and Operations Manager – Paused
4-H Youth Development Professional (Community Central) – Dana Dotson hired
Crops Entomology Educator – Paused
Extension Crops Specialist – Offer made and accepted
Sustainable Agriculture Professional – Aroostook County – Paused
4-H Science Professional (PT) – Advertising
Research Associate – Highmoor Farm – Approved

2020 ELT Meeting Dates

Meetings are from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, unless otherwise noted

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
July 29 Harrington Brzozowski Virtual
August 19 Brzozowski Sulinski Virtual
September 2 Sulinski Phelps Virtual