Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes May 16, 2024

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: May 16, 2024
Time: 10 AM to 3 PM
UMaine Farmington

Facilitator: Jim Dill
Note taker: Jon Prichard

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

Meeting Focus

Agenda items relate to one of these three goals with corresponding action items and/or priorities.

  • Make Extension a sustainable, equitable, purposeful and enjoyable place to work
  • Work on structural, (county offices, staffing patterns), cultural and leadership issues that will lead to this
  • Focus on employee experience
  • Restructure Extension
  • Right size based on budget
  • Mission delivery that is current, and responsive to changing demographics/community needs
  • Overall efficiency and effectiveness
  • Define focus areas
  • Make PFAS a priority for Extension (define what this means; not necessarily a piece of everyone’s job, but an organizational priority nevertheless).

Guests: Pamela Hargest & Abi Griffith



  • Hannah
  • Jason
    • Needs assessment rollout in early June
    • Faculty appointments
    • Planning and reporting system discussion for alignment
    • Estabrooke move
    • EDEO update


  • Presque Isle Friday- IPM program projects with Kutay, discussions with Pam.


  • Combined Extension/Research Station annual report was submitted to NIFA May 1
  • Combined Extension/Research 5-year POW will be submitted to NIFA June 1
  • I will be sharing copies of the AR and POW with all staff; once NIFA approves the submissions I will be able to share expanded copies with program narratives & links, etc.
  • In June I will be making the request of all program staff to share their results/citations for publications and grants to meet the data annual request from Provost Volin.
  • Ongoing work with upgrading the Planning and Reporting System (PRS).
  • Somerset has had a soft reopening and will fully reopen Monday, May 20


  • Maine 4-H Foundation Annual Meeting will be held in Wells on the UMaine Campus on Thursday, May 23rd


  • Waldo County Extension Association meeting to discuss strategic communications and marketing. It was a great group with lots of energy around new members and looking forward to an exciting year, including bringing back Rural Living Days. Will meet with Viña and Sadee when they are ready to talk about planning.
  • Extension for All Collaborative meeting to discuss DEIA in marketing and communications. Open and ongoing conversation around how to incorporate DEIA principles into strategy and tactics, including updating the brand manual with guidelines on inclusive language and imagery, being more intentional about target audiences, thinking about how to measure and track success.
  • Supporting Tracey as she works through all current publications to determine which ones need to be updated or archived. This will be a long process (up to a year) and Tracey will reach out to faculty as she works her way through the list of 700 publications.
  • Shout out to Matt and Tayla for their work on Volunteer Week – Matt worked with Jen Lobley to revamp the volunteer websites and Tayla developed posts to run during the week.


  • Maintenance staff member is recovering after a medical incident at BP; still in ICU at Maine Med.
  • BP Summer Camp Director Reid Johnson – starting June 2.
  • Summer Camp enrollment is strong; spring school programming also rebounding
  • Tick monitoring sites at Blueberry Cove, Greenland Point and Bryant Pond
  • Maine Outdoor School for All – incorporating as a non-profit org.; funder convening;
    • Meeting with Oregon Friends of Outdoor School Executive Director
  • Rural Futures Fund published final report on 6-Year Aspirations Incubator Pilot
    • Data on higher ed. Attainment is compelling (ROI)
  • Salesforce; privacy concerns
  • Question: Legal Counsel??
  • WORC US DOL grant 2025 – ELO Coordinators, Youth Mentorship, possibly Oxford, Waldo and Washington Counties


  • Seafood Technology & Food Safety Specialist Search Update
  • York County move, etc.
    • Performed an orientation (Note this will be helpful to generate training materials for EDEO)
  • The MGV Program is again considering our background check policy for volunteers. It’s been a requirement for trainees for a few years now, but we’ve been including long-time volunteers in batches annually. There is push-back from some, but I am even more convinced they should be universal as we become more hands-off with projects moving forward. We are moving forward with 100% compliance for all MGVs.

Annual Tidewater Farm Update

Horticulture Professional Pamela Hargest and Horticulture CEA Abi Griffith provided an update on their activities at Extension’s Tidewater Farm, which is a southern Maine learning hub. Last year the TW Farm site hosted 12 programs and events attended by over 400 people; hosted 2 Maine Horticulture Apprentices (Annika and Vanessa); was supported by over 40 volunteers including one who gave a generous gift of $40,065; grew over 1500 lbs. of produce, plus cut flowers. TW Farm undertook several infrastructure projects including building a high tunnel and in 2024 are focusing on growing their partnerships, building a welcome kiosk, expanding their gathering and picnicking spaces and trails.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Update

Alisha updated the ELT on the DEI education group and her DEI activities; we need to develop strategies for all our staff to receive training and resources around such things as gender and sexuality inclusion (perhaps such things as training events, videos, mandatory training for all staff, etc.)  The policies and procedures group is looking at gender and sexuality policies and how our practices need to be retooled to align with USDA. How do we dehumanize participants by how we collect their registration data in terms of gender, and how can we fix this?  How we collect REG (race, ethnicity, gender) data is currently not outlined in our policies and procedures (e.g. sometimes our REG is collected at registration, sometimes “in the room”, or online); and how do we protect REG data? Guidance from NIFA is not completely clear and so we are forging ahead as best as we can using the University and other resources to create our own resources and tools that Alisha will share with our organization.

Discussion Items

Professional Development Funds

We discussed our Flexible Staff Development funding, recognizing the value they bring to staff, and how we can maximize their accessibility and use.

Planning and Reporting System Update

Jon and Jason are leading this effort. We are basing some of our system updates on feedback from staff and a requirement to collect data showing Extension’s ROI as outputs and outcomes (impacts). We also are attuned to the need for data to be accessible and useful to staff who need to aggregate output and outcomes on a county by county basis. Program staff reporting for 2024 will use the same Salesforce system we used last year with a reporting date of


The June meeting will now be held on June 20th (not the 19th) and will be at the Waldo County office (this was changed to Blueberry Cove).

June Meeting

  • Snow gauge

Announcements & Congratulations

Other Announcements

Promotion: Lyndsey Smith; NorthStar 4-H Program Director/Extension Professional III

Search & Hire Updates

*accurate as of 5/24/24


  • PFAS Navigator Coordinator (DACF)
  • PFAS Navigator 1
  • PFAS Navigator 2
  • Early Childhood Program Professional, Blueberry Cove (paused)
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Cumberland (waiting for pay confirmation)


  • Wild Blueberry Extension and Research Professional, Penobscot (Orono)
  • PFAS Research Coordinator, Penobscot/Orono
  • Extension Agricultural Engineer Professional


  • Administrative Specialist CL2, Aroostook (Fort Kent)
  • Parent Educator/ Maine Families Visitor Cumberland/Sagadahoc Counties


  • Farm Operations Technician CL1, Aroostook Farm
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant CL2 (part-time), York
  • Staff Coordinator, Penobscot
  • Executive Director of Extension Operations, Penobscot/Statewide
  • Assistant Extension Professor of Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, Penobscot (declined, reposted)
  • Community Education Assistant CL2 4-H, Kennebec (part-time, partial backfill Alisha Targonski’s work)
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Kennebec (declined, reposted)


  • Assistant/Associate Extension Professor and Seafood technology and Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Hancock
  • Youth Development Professional 4-H, Waldo


  • Summer Camp Director, Bryant Pond 4-H, Reid Johnson (6.3)
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Aroostook, Carrie Farrell (5.14)
  • Science Professional 4-H, Penobscot, Megan Begley-Irish (5.1)
  • Lead Facilities Maintenance Worker, CL2, Blueberry Cove, Mitchel Gagne (4.16)
  • Extension Professor & Aquatic Animal Health Specialist, Sarah Barker (7.1)

2024 ELT Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
June 20 Hawkyard Jackson Blueberry Cove
July 17 Jackson Phelps Cumberland
August 21 Phelps Prichard Aroostook – PI Office
September 18 Prichard Scott Zoom
October 16 Scott Arndt Oxford
November 20 Arndt Bailey Washington
December 18 Bailey Bolton Orono