WCEA Meeting Minutes – December 2022

WCEA meeting minutes 12/13/22

Present: Kyle Winslow,, Ed Latham, Gabby Brodek, Jen Lobley, Robert Simpson, Eric Jones, Lisa Hanscom, Cathy  Lookabaugh, Heidi Hinkley, Nicholas MacDonald


Approval of Meeting minutes – moved by Eric , seconded by Bob , unanimously approved


Treasurer’s Report:

Review of Balance sheet and Operating Statement

Approval – motioned by  Bob, seconded by Kyle , unanimously approved


Bob shared we had a CD mature at the end of November. Possibly option to try to sign up for slightly better rates if we are interested. Still no options that keep up with inflation right now. Nicholas suggested moving money into a 3% account for 18 month CDs would be much better than the current minor percentages the money has been in. After discussion, Nicholas motioned to move the money to newer rate. Bob seconded. Unanimously approved.

Budget Update:

Budget was passed with exception of the $7,200 from rent we were paying in previous location


Open House Sub Committee Update: (Jen, Nick, Kyle)

Annual meeting likely the best time to do an open house. Short business meeting with possibility of having 4 H club tables and program information available for the public. May be a chance for us to recruit more executive committee members as well. Maybe later in May (20th?), 10am to 1pm timeframe? 


Non Discrimination Policy:

  • Question explored: Should university be requiring individuals to sign this policy?
  • Kyle has responses from attorneys attached to this meeting (see below).


Downeast Coastal Conservancy: 


  • Very small staff has benefited from 4H resources (Kits, Vernal pool kit, Field guides, lesson plans…) to collaborate on events with students. 
  • Brittany collaborated with a couple projects at Machias High school with DCC last year. Connections made to students with needs between 4H and DCC last year.
  • Cathy is 4 H volunteer doing spin clubs now
  • More very early youth programming (4H and DCC) is being requested by parents in the region
  • Gabby and Cathy collaborating on future projects (vernal pools, and STEAM equipment to use with youth). 
  • Independent membership in 4H brought up as option to help families start getting connected to 4 h activities and activities of those we collaborate with.



Nicholas shared plans of getting together a club in 2023 centered on raising dairy goats. The club would be composed of those with goats and those just interested in goats. Youth  aged 7-13 would be the target audience but others would be included. 

STEM ambassadors at UMM still some interest but not sure if energy waned, but some opportunities may exist to boost or revive these energies. Gulf of Maine Research Institute could work with efforts to collect data and share with the public. 

GIS at UMM could work with youth to locally track animal sightings for youth. Collaboration that works well for UMM student needs as well as 4h and partners wishing to get youth out in public more. 

Responses to questions about WCEA Executive Committee members’ obligations’ to sign the Assurance of Non-Discrimination.

response from UMaine System attorney

I assume that the county Executive Association receives USDA funds through Cooperative Extension, or at least programs within their county do. If they do, then federal regulations (7 CFR Parts 15-15e) prohibit discrimination by the recipients of USDA funds, including the Extension Association, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age. In addition, the Maine Human Rights Act (5 M.R.S.A. 4551 et seq.) prohibits any state or local government which offers its goods, facilities or services to, or solicits or accepts patronage from, the general public from discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin.

So, it is not only University policy that requires that the members of the county Executive Association not discriminate on the above bases, but federal and state law require it. If the members are not willing to agree to comply with applicable USDA regulations and state law, then the University will inform the USDA and no USDA funds will be dispersed to the Executive Association or to the programs in their county from Cooperative Extension, in conformity with the USDA regulations. 


response from USDA/NIFA office

Ms. Sulinski:

I recommend providing a copy of this email stating that Assurances of Nondiscrimination are required for all subrecipients of NIFA funding and any individuals who are acting in a decision-making capacity or interacting directly with participants or beneficiaries in a NIFA-funded program. NIFA recommends removing any individual who refuses to commit in writing to nondiscrimination required by federal law from their decision-making capacity.

Jessica Creighton (Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Acting Director, Equal Opportunity Staff and Civil Rights

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Southwest Florida (Eastern Time)