2018 Annual Report
University of Maine Cooperative Extension York County
2018 Annual Report
Putting university research to work in homes, businesses, farms and communities for over 100 years.
Our annual report features highlights of recent accomplishments and the difference we make in the lives of Maine citizens and their communities.
Download a print-friendly copy of the 2018 Annual Report.
Welcome to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension! We are located across the state in 16 county offices, research farms, 4-H camps, and online. We are the largest outreach component of the University of Maine and reach more Maine people than any other entity within the seven campus University of Maine System. Our work is focused on two areas of excellence. UMaine Cooperative Extension conducts the state’s most successful out-of-school youth education program through 4-H, empowering young people to reach their full potential. Extension also helps support, sustain, and grow the food-based economy across the entire state of Maine. We are the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated.
UMaine Cooperative Extension is determined to make a positive difference in our areas of excellence for the citizens of Maine. Explore our website, visit a county office, and contact our enthusiastic workforce.
— Lisa Phelps, Interim Director
York County Extension Association
President – Ann Boucher, Limerick
Vice President – Mark Mancini, East Waterboro
Treasurer – Donna Goodrich, Springvale
Secretary – Ron Vincent, Sanford
Rita Kay Bergeron, Springvale
Ellen Burke, Lebanon
Jim Chandler, Saco
Debbi Cole, Kennebunkport
Ellen McAdam, Springvale
York County Staff
Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture
Sally Farrell, 4-H Youth Development Professional
Diane Qualey, Community Education Assistant, EFNEP
Susan Tkacik, Community Education Assistant, Horticulture
Donna Flint, Administrative Specialists and Community Education Assistant, 4-H
Elizabeth Clock, Administrative Specialists
Kristen Grant, Extension Specialist, Maine Sea Grant, Wells
Putting university research to work in homes, businesses, farms,
and communities for over 100 years.
Our annual report features highlights of recent accomplishments
and the difference we make in the lives of Maine citizens and their communities
STATEWIDE HIGHLIGHTS —Maine Food System
University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Lab
The University of Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) provides services to veterinarians, livestock producers, and animal owners of the state. The lab performs a variety of diagnostic services, including necropsy, microbiology, virology, pathology, and special research support. It offers diagnostic support to veterinary clinicians, and assists in finding solutions for agricultural producers using UMaine Extension resources. In 2018 UMAHL tested over 6,000 samples, the great majority of which were from farm animals. Our salmonella and mastitis labs test poultry farm environmental swabs and milk, allowing farms of all sizes to operate with more assurance of healthy animals and healthy products. The new Diagnostic and Research Laboratory that opened in June 2018 has expanded the VDL’s services, outreach, and positive impact on Maine’s farms
Supporting Maine’s Potato Industry
Relevance – The $500 million potato industry is the largest agricultural sector in Maine, encompassing over 500 businesses generating over $300 million in annual sales, employing over 2600 people, and providing over $112 million in income to Maine citizens. The management of insects, diseases, weeds, and other pests is integral in sustaining a healthy Maine potato crop. Potato growers are increasingly relying on a multidisciplinary Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to ensure that Maine’s potato crop is pest and damage free while attempting to minimize the amount of pesticides that are applied.
Response – UMaine Extension’s Potato IPM Program impacts Maine’s 300 commercial potato growers and 48,000 acres of potatoes and has become an integral part of the Maine Potato Industry. The program also broadly impacts national and international growers who rely on the state’s seed crop. The project maintains nearly 100 specialized insect traps, coordinates a statewide network of electronic weather stations, and surveys 75 potato fields on a weekly basis for weeds, insects and diseases. IPM scientists track potential pest outbreaks to provide growers with current information on treatments to minimize the number of pesticide applications and maximize potato yield.
Result – The economic impact from Extension’s pest monitoring and educational programs for the 2018 season is estimated at over $8.1 million.
Maple Grading School: Promoting Quality, Increasing Profit
Relevance – Maine has the third largest maple production in the United States, behind Vermont and New York. Maine’s maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution of over $48 million in output, 805 full and part time jobs, and over $25 million in labor income. Maine’s maple production industry annually produces over 700,000 gallons of maple syrup.
Response – In 2004, a grant from the Maine Agriculture Center funded a collaborative effort by UMaine Extension, UNH Extension and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to create an International Maple Syrup Institute Maple (IMSI) Grading School. To meet ongoing demand, the Grading School has been held annually and has been adopted by the IMSI as a signature event aligned with the IMSI mission to protect the quality and integrity of maple products. School attendees are from all areas of the industry: producers, bulk buyers and syrup packers, Department of Agriculture inspectors, Extension personnel, and chefs.
Results – For 15 years the school has helped promote the wholesome image of the maple industry and shown that its participants are high quality and careful producers of unique maple products. The continued success of the school and its participants helps promote the exceptional image of both the maple industry and its producers who create high quality products. Fifteen years of evaluation results show that 82% of the 520 participants have increased their knowledge about five syrup grading techniques. The school provides an excellent platform for industry discussion and education about maple products, grading and quality issues concerning pure maple syrup. The school has received media attention in including news articles by the Associated Press and National Public Radio, as well as local television and print media.
So You Want To Farm In Maine
Relevance – Interest in agriculture and starting new farms in Maine has increased dramatically over the past fifteen years. One third of Maine’s farmers are beginning farmers with fewer than 10 years of experience. Forty-seven percent of new farm businesses fail within the first five years. Current farmers thinking about changing farm enterprises and new farmers interested in starting a farm often lack skill, knowledge and confidence in areas such as business planning, access to capital, rules and regulations affecting agriculture operations, and marketing.
Response – Since 2011, UMaine Extension has provided educational outreach through its “So You Want to Farm in Maine” series to enhance the skills, business management knowledge, confidence of new and established farmers. The programs are live, live-streamed, and archived. One-on-one consultations help potential farmers to best utilize natural resources, web-based resources, and seek appropriate guidance from other agricultural service providers.
Results – Since 2011 the SYWTFIM series has reached over 800 participants from all Maine counties and out-of-state. Since 2014, an online new farmer self-assessment has been used 190 times, and Extension staff have consulted with 505 new farmers statewide. A survey sample of these farmers revealed:
- Fifty-one new farm businesses have been started where the farm operator has a good understanding of the importance of business planning and how to connect to the educational, financial, and service resources available to them in Maine.
- Eighty-eight new jobs, with estimated wages of $612,000 annually.
- An estimated total market value of agricultural products sold by these farms of over $2.2 million annually.
Improving Food Security and Diet Of Parents and Caregivers
Relevance – Maine has the ninth highest rate of food insecurity in the nation and the highest rate of food insecurity in New England. Higher rates of obesity have been found among low-income individuals, especially low-income women and children. The United States annually spends between $147 billion and $210 billion on adult obesity. Rising and sustained adult obesity rates will continue to put a strain on current health promotion programs and continue to raise health care cost for the nation.
Response – To improve the food security and diet of Maine’s low-income parents and caregivers, UMaine Extension EFNEP implements direct education to improve their knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes related to improving diet quality, increasing daily physical activity, and using food resources management practices to learn how to plan and shop for healthy meals and snacks. Program outcomes are measured for all adults using validated pre/post program surveys.
Results – In 2018, 579 adults participated in Maine EFNEP, and the program reached a total of 2,232 individuals in the program families. Of the 579 adults, 60% completed pre and post surveys that revealed:
- 43% eat fruit more often each day,
- 35% eat vegetables more often each day,
- 30% drink soda less often,
- 43% make small changes each day to be more active,
- 37% thaw frozen food at room temperature less often,
- 40% plan meal before shopping more often,
- 32% make a list before shopping more often.
STATEWIDE HIGHLIGHTS — 4-H Youth Development
4-H Ambassadors Sparking Student Interest In Stem Careers
Relevance – Relevant, meaningful, and authentic experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are important to developing positive attitudes, increasing knowledge, and preparing Maine youth for the estimated 9 million STEM-related occupations projected between 2012 and 2022. Developing Maine youth’s STEM literacy is vital to ensuring that our state continues to thrive economically and socially. Given the remote and diverse communities to which Maine youth belong, informal education can help minimize inequities in rural youth STEM education and career pipelines.
Response – In coordination with the University of Maine System, the 4-H STEM Ambassador program trained 120 college students in the development and delivery of informal STEM-based educational experiences. Combined, these volunteers worked with over 1,000 youth, and committed 2,400 hours of time including training, preparation and program delivery. Through this program, youth ages 8-14 come to view these Ambassadors as mentors and leaders in their community while also developing skills in STEM through hands-on activities
Results – In 2018 the 4-H STEM Ambassador program provided experiential programming to over 1,000 youth. Sixty-six community sites, including schools and afterschool partners, participated with teachers and administrators reporting high levels of satisfaction. Student participants reported that without this program their instructional time with STEM would be reduced. As a result of this program participating youth have demonstrated positive attitudes, increased knowledge, and expanded interest in STEM and STEM careers. This year, all seven UMaine System campuses participated in the 4-H STEM program.
Students Follow A Researcher® On Expeditions In The Field
Relevance – Maine needs to graduate an increasing number of science literate and proficient students to meet the growing demands of our workforce and society. Studies show youth may have an interest in science, but dislike science class, lowering their intentions to pursue STEM-related career fields. This has been linked to a lack of authentic and actively engaging learning experiences in STEM. Outreach between land grant University STEM researchers and youth traditionally involves campus visits and tours. Barriers such as scheduling, distance from a campus, and dwindling school transportation budgets negatively impact youth participation.
Response – UMaine Extension and collaborators created Follow a Researcher® to increase youth understanding of the research process by engaging them directly with UMaine researchers in the field. Follow a Researcher® is a UMaine 4-H program using technology and social media to facilitate real-time conversations between youth and graduate student researchers working in remote locations around the world. The program is now a proven model that utilizes technology to engage new audiences with authentic scientific research, humanize the researcher, and make the research process personally relevant.
Results – Since 2015, 4,560 youth ages 7 to 18 and over 150 educators have engaged with researchers during expeditions to Peru, the Falkland Islands, Antarctica, and along the coast of Maine. In 2017, in partnership with the NSF-funded Maine EPSCoR office and SEANET project, we highlighted a researcher investigating parasitic relationships with invasive green crabs. The program audience grows annually, and is attracting local and national media attention including being highlighted on the social media accounts of the National Public Broadcasting radio show and podcast “Science Friday”, and with an article published in the 2018 Journal of Extension Special Issue on Innovation. In development is the Follow a Researcher® network, which will enable us to manage expeditions from multiple sites from our new website (followaresearcher.org) and engage 4-H programs and researchers from other universities to share expeditions with youth and educators from around the country and beyond.
Tech Wizards Students Helping Solve Real Community Problems
Relevance – According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide, nearly one-third of high school students fail to graduate. In total, approximately 1.3 million students drop out each year-averaging 7,200 every school day. According to research, experts say that dropping out of high school affects not just students and their families, but also the country overall-including businesses, government and communities.
Response – Tech Wizards is a youth mentoring program that uses STEM education and service learning to help youth learn life and workforce skills, improve academic performance, and aspire to post-secondary education, productive careers, and community engagement. Extension coordinates the program in Maine, with funding from the U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice. Through Tech Wizards, the students joined their science teacher and 4-H mentors and:
- 4-H professionals worked within classrooms in to deliver STEM activities and provide positive mentoring relationships with youth.
- Worked with area collaborators and science professionals to complete citizen science and science learning projects.
- Were introduced to career opportunities within science, technology, and art.
Results – Statewide in 2018, Maine’s Tech Wizards program matched 120 youth along with 10 adult mentors. Youth learned invaluable STEM skills, participated in ongoing fieldwork, citizen science initiatives, service learning, and were empowered to engage with their communities and contribute their time and skills to address important scientific questions, and to recognize that environmental stewardship is both the platform for their learning and an overarching life ethic.
4-H Summer Camp Building Community And Connecting Youth To The Outdoors
Relevance – Research has shown that physical, social and emotional environments can significantly impact youth development and connecting youth to a positive adult role model decreases the risk for making unhealthy choices or engaging in risky behaviors. With youth spending more time connected to social media and other digital platforms resulting in isolation and sedentary indoor time, many youth suffer from obesity and/or ADHD, and some lack opportunities to develop positive interpersonal communication skills
Response – UMaine Extension’s four 4-H Camp and Learning Centers provide programs and opportunities for youth ages 4-17, many from underserved populations, with transformational experiences designed to develop a sense of place and belonging, and confidence in the outdoors. Our programs provide the opportunity to spend each day in a positive learning environment or to live for a week or more alongside trained adult educators, mentors, and caring peers. Our summer camp programs provide youth a wealth of opportunities of programs to choose, from focusing on ecology education, the arts, and outdoor skills, youth can create meaningful experiences that fit their needs.
Results – In 2018, the 4-H summer camps served 1,888 youth from all 16 counties in Maine, 22 states, and 6 countries. Through living and working together, campers and staff became part of an interconnected community committed to a sustainable future. Youth and program alumni report that the 4-H Camp and Learning Center experience has helped them develop greater self-confidence, civic engagement, and personal and academic success.
Reducing Summer Learning Loss
Relevance – The United States needs to improve the proficiency of our students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. Documentation reveals that low-income students have less than average access to science education. The achievement gap is perpetuated during summer months for low-income students, who lose more grade equivalency due to lack of out-of-school and summer learning opportunities. In addition, an increase in STEM education can lead to better employment opportunities and increase the likelihood of youth furthering their education.
Response – In an effort to increase science proficiencies in local communities and prevent summer learning loss, UMaine Extension created and delivered science curricula at community sites, chosen based on existing programs for youth in the area. In 2018 Maine 4-H Summer of Science was at 40 unique sites in 9 counties, including free-or-reduced lunch sites, libraries, summer school programs and summer camp sites. Community partners included Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, schools, public housing authorities, and local recreation camps. Summer of Science activities were based on “Innovation Engineering”, and included animal adaptation, bioremediation, chromatography, and engineering design. Adult volunteers and 34 teens facilitated activities with over 2,700 youth.
4-H staff use summer of science experiential learning activities to assist with summer learning loss and work toward engagement and interest in science. The program focuses on programming where youth already are, and uses positive 4-H youth development programs to reduce barriers to involvement in STEM.
Results – By engaging in summer of science activities, these youth are well poised to return to their academic school year with reduced summer learning loss and an increased interest in science. In addition, it has been documented that youth involved in 4-H are more likely to pursue future courses or a career in science, engineering or computer technology, which can lead to improved employment opportunities. Not only does this program help Maine youth in elementary school during summer months, it also fosters career development, leadership and responsibility for the Maine teens that are trained to deliver educational content in their neighborhoods.
4-H@Umaine Gives Youth A Preview of The College Experience
Relevance – Education after high school is critical to supporting skilled jobs in Maine. Supporting youth to participate in higher education helps to strengthen Maine’s businesses and economy. Unfortunately, the number of Maine high school graduates enrolled in higher education lags at 40th in the nation. Although research recommends beginning to address college and career aspirations in elementary and middle grades, coordinating access to a college campus presents barriers for rural Maine communities.
Response – UMaine Extension created 4-H@UMaine to provide a safe and supportive environment for Maine youth grades 6-12 to experience life on a college campus. Participants come to the UMaine campus and imagine the possibility of college attendance as they stay in campus residence halls, eat in the dining commons, get active in the student recreation center, and participate in hands-on workshops facilitated by UMaine students, staff, faculty, and even 4-H Teen Leaders. While they are there, Extension also fosters healthy relationships using small-group settings led by trained adult leaders and teenage peer mentors.
Results – In 2018, 4-H@UMaine hosted 32 youth (grades 6-10), 17 Teen Leaders (grades 9-12), and 27 adult staff and volunteers. In addition to the traditional youth experience for grades 6-10, college-ready teens took part in an exclusive experience that included pre-event training, planning roles as youth mentors, and workshops to further develop leadership skills and connect with campus staff. Of those attending 4-H@UMaine:
- 92% of all the youth indicated they learned about new career possibilities, helping to raise their career aspirations.
- 94% plan to go to college.
A cursory review of statements collected by youth after participation indicated they were most impacted by healthy relationships built during that short time. The diversity of responses shows a variety of impact – including relationship building, meeting people from other cultures, and learning more about the college experience and careers.
STATEWIDE HIGHLIGHTS —
Community and Economic Development
Helping Rural Entrepreneurs Increase Profitability
Relevance – Small businesses are very important to the economic vitality of Maine’s rural economy. One in five jobs in rural Maine are created by small-scale entrepreneurs employing five or fewer workers. However, many of these entrepreneurs lack the business skills needed to successfully start-up and grow their businesses. Research shows that helping rural entrepreneurs improve their business skills will improve their chances for success.
One of the most important business management skills is pricing, yet many small business owners lack the knowledge and skills necessary to develop a profitable pricing strategy.
Response – During the past year, the UMaine Extension conducted pricing workshops across the state, presented a pricing webinar in collaboration with the Maine Food Strategy, and taught a pricing seminar at a statewide conference for Maine entrepreneurs. The goal of the program was to help existing and aspiring entrepreneurs improve their pricing knowledge and skills so they could develop profitable pricing strategies for their businesses. Extension faculty conducted classes on topics including key elements of pricing, pricing models, pricing strategies, price elasticity of demand, markup vs. margin and cost analysis.
Results – More than 80 rural entrepreneurs from across Maine participated in this highly successful training. They included specialty food producers, farmers, craft artists, food retailers, environmental consultants, bookkeepers and other small rural businesses. Eighty-seven percent of the participants indicated that they plan to set a new price for their product or service, and all participants plan to adopt the pricing techniques they had learned. Changes they planned to make within six months of the training included: restructure their pricing, conduct a thorough analysis of costs, evaluate their customer base, keep track of their time while producing their products and research their market more thoroughly before setting prices. Several entrepreneurs who had attended the workshops indicated that they subsequently created pricing strategies that led to increased profitability for their businesses.
Maine Harvest For Hunger: Mobilizing To Support Food Insecure Citizens
Relevance – Maine has the highest rate of food insecurity in New England and ranks 7th worst in the United States. The USDA estimates that more than 208,000 individuals (16.4%) in Maine are food insecure and that we have the 3rd worst rate of very low food insecurity in the nation. Twenty percent of Maine children and 23% of seniors experience food insecurity. It is especially challenging for food insecure individuals to afford high quality, fresh, nutritious food, and Maine’s emergency food system has seen donations of fresh produce decline significantly in recent years. Furthermore, 43% of food-insecure people (mostly the working poor) do not qualify for SNAP (food stamps) or any other government food assistance programs.
Response – Since 2000, UMaine Cooperative Extension’s statewide Maine Harvest for Hunger (MHH) program has mobilized gardeners, farmers, businesses, schools, and civic groups to grow, glean, and donate high quality produce to distribution sites (pantries, shelters, low income senior centers, etc.) and directly to neighbors in need, to mitigate hunger, improve nutrition and health, and help recipients develop lifelong positive nutritional habits. In 2018 MHH also focused on educational programs that engage food pantry recipients, seniors and community gardeners in growing more of their own produce and learning practical methods of cooking and utilization of fresh produce.
Results – Since 2000, MHH participants have distributed 2.9 million lbs. of food to citizens grappling with hunger. In 2018, donations of 231,752 lbs. of fresh produce from over 100 Maine farms went to 187 hunger alleviation distribution sites. A corps of 512 volunteers logged 2664 hours and the value of the produce was over $391,660. Now in its 19th season, MHH is an exemplary statewide collaborative effort between UMaine Extension staff, Master Gardener Volunteers, farms, food pantry staff and volunteers. Every gleaning partnership is unique in how we collaborate with farmers, volunteers and food pantries. Pantry volunteers frequently comment how much the high-quality fresh produce means to recipients, many of whom otherwise would have limited access to them. One person commented that they had not eaten a fresh apple in over a year and was overwhelmed with joy when a food pantry volunteer provided them with a bagful.
Homemakers Promoting Community Based Adult Education
Relevance – Extension Homemakers is a volunteer group that develops leadership skills, supports community causes, and promotes UMaine Extension’s educational programs in 9 Maine counties. These organized programs are part of the statewide network of Extension Homemakers. Local group members meet throughout the year to participate in educational programs, and identify community projects, such as providing assistance to local food pantries or nursing homes or veterans groups, funding educational scholarships or youth camp programs.
Response – In 2018, over 550 Extension Homemakers took the opportunity to learn with others, make friends, contribute to their community and county, donating their time, money, and materials to numerous community agencies and projects. Homemakers from over 40 Local Extension Homemaker Groups met and delivered or engaged in Extension programming involving over 2,300 participants and 321 programs including food, personal and community; nutrition and health; gardening and environmental, financial planning and consumer; personal growth; and cultural and creative arts.
Results – In many Maine counties Extension Homemakers remain a traditional and vital part of the community fabric. They also provide direct and indirect benefits in terms of volunteer hours, fundraising, and material donations. In 2018, the total estimated monetary value of the Extension Homemaker program to their communities was over $939,000.
Facilitation Skills And Community Engagement Academy
Relevance – Stakeholder engagement in municipal planning activities, often restricted to public hearings, does not necessarily result in effectively soliciting community input, and conflict resolution can be hindered by a lack of facilitation skills.
Response – UMaine Extension worked with Maine Sea Grant to make the five-part, 20-hour training “Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills” available in southern Maine, and joined efforts with community development specialists at UNH Cooperative Extension. This collaboration is making it possible for new programming and services to become available to communities, such as peer learning programs and opportunities to build a network of co-facilitators. In 2017 and 2018 UMaine and UNH Extension collaborated to pilot a three-session, 21-hour, Community Engagement Academy in the Seacoast Region of Southern Maine and New Hampshire.
Results – “Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills” has graduated over 80 professionals who are now offering their skills within their communities. One participant has initiated a Listen to Learn series of neighborhood meetings on economic development and launched a website to engage the community. Collaboration with New Hampshire Extension made it possible for new programming and services to become available in Maine, such as the Community Engagement Academy, development of new outreach approaches for municipal officials, and understanding the impact of graduates applying their facilitation skills within their communities.
AgrAbility…Supporting Farmers of All Abilities To Remain Active On The Farm
Relevance – The average U.S. farmer is 58 years old, and farming is the sixth most dangerous job in America. An estimated 5,700 farmers, farm family members, or farm workers in Maine have a chronic health condition or disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or aging-related issues, such as arthritis or hearing loss. In addition to farmers, fishermen, forest workers, and migrant workers face similar challenges for remaining successful in production agriculture.
Response – Maine AgrAbility helps Maine farmers, loggers and fishermen facing physical or cognitive challenges, to enhance their ability to farm and live independently, which improves their quality of life and economic sustainability. AgrAbility specialists assess issues and offer adaptive recommendations. They provide education about safe work methods and connect people with other resources through this nonprofit partnership between the UMaine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Northern New England, and Alpha One.
Results – Since the project began in 2010, AgrAbility has provided technical information to 754 farmers and conducted on-site assessments for 92 agricultural workers. The diverse agricultural operations include dairy and livestock operations, Christmas tree farms, fruit orchards, agritourism, vegetable and maple syrup production, hay sales, managing woodlots and lobstering.
Clients reported increased knowledge of their conditions and increased accessibility for their daily work. They reported ways that the assessment and suggested changes helped them decrease physical pain, stress, and strain through modifications to equipment, the work or home environment, and farm operations or chores. One participant shared this success story about the recommendations made by the Maine AgrAbility: “I had challenges I was struggling with, and I was amazed that by the time they left the farm I already had 3 or 4 different things that I knew I could change right then and there. They came up with great ideas.”
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Support for York County
|Local Salaries and Benefits||261,600|
|Prorated Support from UMaine*||432,669|
|Computer Equipment and Networking||1,533|
|Statewide Animal Diagnostic Lab||12,137|
|Marketing, Publications, Video||939|
|Local Programming Supplies & Expenses||48,774|
|* Prorated support from UMaine reflects travel, postage, telephone, computer equipment & networking, salaries & benefits for administrative and state-wide staff.|
Without statewide support, UMaine Extension would not be present in your county. Funds for projects are provided through the University of Maine, Federal Formula Funds, grants, contracts, and fees. Dollars from other sources support salaries and benefits for Extension specialists, county educators, Extension administration, computer equipment and networking, publications, postage, telephone, and travel.
Statewide Extension Funding
As a unique partnership among federal, state and county governments, UMaine Extension uses funding from Maine counties and the University to match and leverage support from the United States Department of Agriculture, other federal grantors, state agencies and private foundations. Each county UMaine Extension office is also part of a statewide organization and the national Extension system.
This pie graph illustrates the financial resources for programs offered, supported and managed out of the York County office. Each year, York county tax dollars support the UMaine extension with physical office space, support staff salaries, office supplies, equipment and some programming expenses.
COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS —Maine Food System
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
One York County Community Education Assistant (CEA) provided basic nutrition education, cooking skills, and food budgeting skills to limited income adults and youth throughout York County. During the past program year there were 54 families and 195 youth actively involved in learning about low-cost, nutritious food choices; the essentials of human nutrition; food preparation techniques; and food safety. These programs take place in homes, community settings, schools, and more. EFNEP program summary data indicate the following for participating youth: 73% improved nutrition knowledge, 45% improved food safety practices, and 35% improved their daily physical activity practices. Summary data for participating adults indicate the following: 89% improved diet quality, 78% improved food resource management practices and 56% improved food safety practices. As of October 2018, a new CEA has transitioned to work in York County from Cumberland County and is now providing all EFNEP programming in York.
Food Safety and Food Preservation
In an effort to provide the safest food possible at community events like the Annual Greek Festival and to the 178,000 people who rely of food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, UMaine Extension provides Cooking for Crowds: Food Safety Training for Volunteers. This workshop teaches best practices and to improve food safety to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Twenty-five volunteers from York County participated in these workshops and have been educated on how to safely plan and purchase foods, transport and store foods and how to handle left over foods to prevent foodborne illness at community events and when serving the 350,000 meals annually to Maine’s food insecure population.
UMaine Extension has 10 trained Master Food Preserver volunteers who are active in York County. These volunteers helped to extend our reach to 45 York County residents in 2018. These residents participated in one of 6 food preservation workshops that were held in York, Acton, Arundel, Kittery and Wells. Presenters taught up-to-date canning, drying and freezing methods to preserve food safely. Topics included: Fermenting Vegetables, Preserving Pickles, Freezing Green Beans, Drying Vegetables. The Kids Can Can program was launched this year in York County to provide hands-on food preservation lessons to youth.
COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS — Agriculture/Gardening
York County Farmers’ Network
The York County Farmers Network, a farmer-to-farmer organization created by UMaine Extension, promotes, supports and strengthens local agriculture through informal gatherings, demonstrations, information and resource sharing. Visit www.ycfn.org for details on recent and upcoming activities of the network.
UMaine Extension Agricultural Specialists provided research-based information and educational programs for York County’s 800+ farms, nurseries and greenhouses which gross approximately 35 million dollars in sales annually, and employs 3000+ residents part and full-time.
Integrated Pest Management
UMaine Extension provided Integrated Pest Management and Soil Test Services for 2,400 farmers and home gardeners: diagnosing insect and disease problems, providing control recommendations, with applicator safety, protecting water quality, and the least toxic approach to control emphasized; diagnosing soil deficiencies and providing corrective recommendations to improve soil quality and increase productivity.
Master Gardeners’ Program
107 York County families and local farms in 2018 grew and donated 52,913 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens through the Maine Harvest for Hunger Program. 55 Master Gardener Volunteers harvested, weighed, and delivered the produce to 36 food pantries, shelters, senior centers and other agencies servicing low-income residents.
In 2018, 173 active York County Master Gardener Volunteers engaged in over 6,950 hours of volunteer time, a $139,267 value. They provided educational outreach workshops teaching others how to grow their own food, and community service projects, reaching 7,200 York County residents.
UMaine Extension in York County gardening programs in 2018 included: Youth gardening education; gardening support for senior citizens and people with physical disabilities; invasive plant eradication; educational support for 14 school gardens, coordinating community gardens in 9 communities; and teaching people to grow/produce more of their own food.
Maine Hunger Dialogue
Universities Fighting World Hunger – UMaine Extension hosted the 14th annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit March 14-16, 2019. This collaborative event convened 435 faculty and students from 67 of colleges and universities from throughout the world (including 14 Maine colleges and universities). During the Summit participants were provided with the tools and inspiration needed to develop action plans and Hunger Alleviation Projects to address hunger on campuses and in communities across Maine.
Through our corporate and foundation fundraising, 20 campus teams will be awarded $500 mini-grants to implement Hunger Alleviation Projects back in their home campuses and communities. The projects will focus on areas such as: establishing or maintaining campus food pantries; re-invigorating campus-based community gardens cultivated for local food pantries; and establishing food recovery networks to redirect cafeteria surplus to local food security organizations.
COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS — 4-H Youth Development
York County 4-H Youth Development
In 2018, York County 4-H delivered a six-month special interest program in gardening with volunteer support from our UMaine Extension York County Master Gardeners. Thirteen youth participated in this program. Youth also participated in short term interest and camp programs in robotics, Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP), youth agricultural enterprises, and horses.
York County 4-H conducted a summer program in teaching 10 youth, ages 9 – 12, challenge based programming using the Lego MindStorms NXT robots.
As 4-H representative to the Maine Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP), UMaine Extension Professional Sally Farrell reports how youth grow significantly as individuals as part of the WHEP program experience. Twenty youth attending the overnight WHEP Camp at Bryant Pond 4-H Center responded to an anonymous online survey and indicated that as a result of their experience with the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program:
- 100% learned about wildlife
- 94% learned about different careers in wildlife and forestry
- 94% want to learn more about forestry and wildlife
- 55% are interested in competing on a Wildlife Habitat Education Program team in the future
- 100% have a good understanding of the Wildlife Habitat Education Program
These survey results indicate that exposing youth to adults employed in the field of wildlife and forestry management opens their eyes to educational and career opportunities in natural resources.
Club Programs: Traditional 4-H clubs continue to thrive in York County. In 2018 there were 13 active clubs serving 182 youth members and 47 trained volunteers. Volunteers in various programs provided over 6145 hours of volunteer time. York County youth, ages 5 to 18, were enrolled in over 55 different learning projects, including animal (horse, beef, goat, sheep, poultry, rabbit, and more), arts & crafts, environmental science, communications, health, and more. Club volunteer leaders working with the 4-H program sponsored a Fall Festival recognition and workshop program with 59 4-H participants, 69 adults, and 15 4-H Volunteers.
COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS — Community and Economic Development
York County Extension Homemakers
Extension Homemakers belong to local community groups involved in assisting with many different community projects. During 2018, Extension Homemakers from York County volunteered over 3,415 hours in service to their communities, with an estimated value of $59,663. Also, these Extension Homemaker Volunteers raised and donated $702.00 toward various community agencies.
Currently, York County has three Extension Homemakers groups. They are located in Limington, Parsonsfield, and Wells. Over 23 members of the York County Homemakers program successfully hosted the annual Fall Conference – York County “The Gateway to Maine”. They had 48 attendees from several other counties. Prior to the conference, tours of including a trolley ride through Kennebunk and to Walkers Point, the First Family House Museum program and an in-house tour was “Maine’s Birds of Prey”. During the conference, the group enjoyed educational talks on “The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns”, “Home Life During the Civil War” and women as Maine Guides. They were entertained by a pianist/vocalist on Friday evening. Approximately 30 themed baskets were raffled off. Awards for “Years of Service” were given out.
In addition, local group members come together to form a county group. The York County Homemakers group coordinates spring, summer, and fall meetings for the membership and works in cooperation with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to offer public educational programs.
York County Extension Homemakers membership is open to anyone who is interested in learning new information to improve their personal, family, and community life or who is interested in educating and serving members of the Extension Homemakers groups and their communities.
Maine Sea Grant Highlights
Southern Maine Beach Profile Monitoring Turns 20
The Southern Maine Beach Profile Monitoring Program is celebrating its 20th year of volunteers collecting data to inform state and local beach management. In 2018, the program had 96 volunteers (including middle school students), contributing a total of 1531 volunteer hours. The data is being used to by Maine Geological Survey to help: in advising municipalities, homeowners, and businesses about trends and vulnerability for property damage; track the severity of beach erosion caused by different types of storms; and inform beach nourishment planning. National Weather Service also used the data to inform the development of a wave run-up forecasting tool that will help communities to anticipate storm impacts.
Planning for Future Housing Needs
Community design workshops held in partnership with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast have resulted in positive next steps in several communities where workshops have been held in recent years. In the Town of Berwick, planning and fundraising have begun on a new community center. Progress has been made through the Stanton Area Revitalization Workshop in Sanford, where the City won the 2018 Municipal Leadership Award from the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast, and the City received a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant, which will enable additional investigations into contamination. The Town of Kittery’s Inclusionary Housing Working Group proposed zoning changes to the Town Council, and the Town Council is also considering establishment of a Housing Authority to explore options for future housing alternatives.
Estimating the Local Marine Economy on Maine’s working waterfronts
Maine Sea Grant began working with economists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coastal Management in 2015 to uncover the local-level needs for economic information to help guide planning on working waterfronts. Improved understanding of the needs and capacity at the local level enabled the team to develop a method that could be used to augment existing national data with local-level data and knowledge to answer questions relevant to municipal officials regarding their waterfronts. Maine working waterfront stakeholders were consulted throughout the five-year project for review of the method and resources, and to pilot test the training. The training entitled, estimating the Local Marine Economy is now being offered across the US and will be held again in Maine in May 2019.