October 2011 archive

Delaware Cooperative Extension awards excellence at annual conference

Mary Argo, 2011 Director Spirit of Extension Award

Cooperative Extension professionals from University of Delaware and Delaware State University met on Tues. Oct. 18, for their annual conference in Dover, to celebrate their unique partnership and excellence in Extension outreach programing that serves Delaware’s families and agricultural constituents.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Linda Kay Benning, executive director of Northeast Cooperative Extension Director and associate director for Extension and Outreach at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, located in Washington D.C. Benning remarked on Extension’s rich history, the value of its current programming and the future of Extension funding at regional and national levels in the 21st century. Benning addressed the importance in raising awareness of the diverse programming that Cooperative Extension delivers to families, farmers, businesses and industry.

In recognition of Delaware’s Extension contribution the past year, the 2011 Cooperative Extension Awards of Excellence were announced:

Integration of Extension and Research Award:

  •  Gordon Johnson, Maggie Moor-Orth, Richard Taylor, Phillip Sylvester, Rose Ogutu, Brigid McCrea, Megan, John Clendaniel, Dahlia O’Brien, Mike Wasylkowski, Lakhe Paudel, and Joann Walston.

Positively Outrageous Service Award for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Individual:

  •   Carol Scott – 4-H Educator Afterschool program “Moving Youth Ahead.”
  •   Mary Argo – 4-H Educator in Sussex County.

Positively Outrageous Service Aware for Innovative Marketing of Extension – Team:

  • Tracy Wootten, Maggi Moor-Orth, and Sussex County Master Gardeners:  Brent Marsh, Jessica Clark, Jane Casazza, Susan Trone, Tracy Mulvaney, Mary Perkins, Mary Noel, Mary Hall, Marge Lewis and Linda Peters for:  “Peter Rabbit’s Adventure in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden,” a mobile theatrical presentation for children.

Outstanding Programming Award:

Bill's program, The Resourceful Leader, was recognized as an Outstanding Extension Program

  • Tracy Wootten, Laurie Wolinski, and Maria Pippidis – for “Annie’s Project” which supports and empowers women in agriculture.
  •  Maggie Moor-Orth, Tracy Wootten, and Brian Kunkel – “How Do You Like Me Now – Insects and Their Damage” and;
  • Gordon Johnson, Maria Pippidis, Kathleen Splane, Phillip Sylvester, Anne Camasso, Tracy Wootten, and Cory Whaley – “Food Safety on the Farm”
  • Karen Johnston, Michelle Ernst, and Amelia Uffelman – “4-H Health Rocks Program – Youth tobacco prevention program.”
  • Bill McGowan, “The Resourceful Leader”-Community development and economic gardening initiative.





Recipients of the Director’s Spirit of Extension Awards: Ernesto López, Rhonda Martell, Kathleen Splane and Albert Essel.

Ernie Lopez recipient of the 2011 Director's Spirit of Extension Award and Dr. Jan Seitz

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) the association of Extension professionals presented the following awards:

  • Adult Outstanding Volunteer Award- Hetty Francke.
  • Youth Outstanding Volunteer Award- Terra Tatman.
  • Group Outstanding Volunteer Award- Emerson Farms.
  • Friend of Extension- Agilent Technologies.
  • Meritorious Support Service Award- Sharon Webb.

Delaware State University recognized two Extension professionals:

  • Brigid McCrea – “1890 Administrator’s Award” for Extension Agriculture and Youth. Development.
  • Andy Wetherhill – “1890 Administrator’s Award for Diversity” in Agricultural Extension programs.

Earlier in the morning, the conference’s 100 attendees separated into agriculture, family and consumer science and 4-H youth development groups and discussed initiatives and exchanged new ideas on how to effectively reach their constituents’ future needs.

The ag group focused on how to enhance an $8 billion agriculture industry given current economic challenges.  Items of note included the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of the ag community, the capacity to engage those needs in a timely fashion and development, and implementation of a strategy that creates an understanding and support for the value of Cooperative Extension.

Family and consumer science and EFNEP agents discussed what they see as emerging issues in nutrition, food safety, financial management and family well-being and how best to effectively communicate revised guidelines and research to local constituencies.

Through their diverse programming, 4-H reaffirmed that effective outreach to Delaware’s youth must rest on eight principles: a positive relationship with a caring adult, a safe emotional and physical environment, an inclusive environment, engagement in learning, opportunity for mastery, opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future, opportunity for self-determination and opportunity to value and practice service to others.

Tuesday’s gathering marked the last Extension Conference under the tenure of Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, Janice Seitz, who is retiring in the spring, 2012. The ninth conference however, will not be Seitz last. In 2003, Seitz established the Lighthouse Award as a special honor bestowed to an Extension professional who “lights the way for others.” Each year, the holder of the Extension beacon has the sole responsibility to pass the award onto a deserving colleague. Doug Crouse, 2010 recipient, carefully considered his many options, but concluded on one obvious choice, Dr. Jan Seitz, the founder of the award.

The award assures Seitz’s  return to next year’s conference to once again confer the award. But Seitz’s future participation with Delaware Extension was never in doubt.  Though stepping out of her leadership role, Seitz plans to lend support and resources whenever needed.   “This is the greatest job I have ever had,” Seitz said. “I love Extension so much.”


Images of the conference are available on UD Flickr site:


Business people find solutions at “Sussex County is Open for Business”

Two free events scheduled for October 24 and November 28 in Georgetown

Georgetown, DE.  October 14, 2011. Carolyn Phillips has been making her own specialty soaps for family and friends for years. And lately, she’s been wondering how to turn her hobby into an entrepreneurial venture called Healing Soap, with all the questions that go along with that decision. How can her business plan help her gain an edge with banks? What resources are available to aid her?  Where can she find training to help her have a better chance of success?

When she and her husband attended the first “Sussex County Is Open For Business” event on September 26, she found exactly what she sought—a room full of County, State, Federal and professional resources in one place to encourage business growth. The well-attended event was aimed at providing new entrepreneurs and expanding businesses tools and information to help them succeed.

After receiving consultations with representatives from a number of different agencies and business development organizations, Ms. Phillips felt she walked away with plenty of answers. “This experience has broadened my thinking and I have many more ideas as to how I can expand and grow my business.”

The “Sussex County Is Open For Business” event series creates a one-stop resource for beginning entrepreneurs and existing companies looking to expand. Participating organizations and agencies include Delaware Center for Enterprise Development-DSU, Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP), Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center, Delaware State Treasury, DTCC-Entrepreneur Center, First State Community Action Agency, Job Center of Delaware Libraries, Southern Delaware Tourism, SCORE Delaware, Sussex County Economic Development Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, and YWCA-Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Ordinarily, business people would have to collect contact information for each organization, make appointments and travel many miles to consult with this many individual agencies. “Sussex County Is Open For Business” puts all of these resources at business people’s fingertips at one time.

“Sussex County Is Open For Business” was developed by Sussex County Economic Development Committee (SEDAC), a nonprofit partnership of business people, educators and government officials to further retention, expansion, creation and attraction of better business for Sussex County. SEDAC’s goal is creating resources to support existing businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, facilitating improvements to infrastructure and nurturing a well-trained workforce.

“Sussex County Is Open For Business” is sponsored by Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center. The next events will be held October 24 and November 28 at the Georgetown Public Library, 123 West Pine Street in Georgetown, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. To learn more information or to pre-register, call 302-856-1555. Or visit SEDAC’s Website, http://www.sedac-de.org.

“SEDAC’s goal is to bring jobs and increased prosperity to Sussex County,” explains Chairperson Patti Grimes. “This series of events, bringing together county-wide business resources, is just one of the ways we’re seeking to galvanize economic development.”

SEDAC (http://www.sedac-de.org)  is a nonprofit organization comprised of  business, education, Sussex County Cooperative Extension and government representatives who are committed to attracting, expanding and retaining business in Sussex County. It seeks to support existing businesses, foster entrepreneurship, facilitate improvements to the county’s infrastructure and build a well-trained workforce.