May 2012 archive

Sussex 4-H announce 2012 summer day camps

Sussex County 4-H will once again continue its tradition of offering day camps to area youth in Seaford and Georgetown this summer.

This year’s theme is “A Week at the Zoo!”  Counselors are busy preparing for different classes such as:  Arts & Crafts, Recreation, Food & Nutrition, Animal Awareness, and Dance.  Throughout the week, campers will also hear from guests on topics such as safety, healthy living, and of course, zoo animals!  Come join in the fun at one of the following camps!

  • Seaford Day Camp will be held at the Seaford Middle School, Monday, July 9 – July 13.  Cost for the 5-day camp is $75.00
  • Georgetown Day Camp will be held at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church, Tuesday, July 31 to Friday, August 3. Cost for the 4-day camp is $65.00

For more information, visit the Sussex County 4-H Day Camp page, where you may also download an application.  All camp applications must also include a health form.

Sussex 4-H Day Camps are opened to all Delaware youth ages 5-10. You do not have to be a member of 4-H to Join. Please see our special needs page for more information.  or call Jill Jackson at (302) 856-2585 x 524.


A bootiful two days for Sussex County’s 4-H farm tour at Hopkins dairy, Lewes

In rain and in sunshine, Sussex County 4-H held their annual two-day farm tour at Green Acres Farm in Lewes on Wed. May 9 and Thurs. May 10.  The dairy farm, the largest in Delaware  – milking 550 cows three times daily,  is owned by the Hopkins family, longtime 4-H supporters who have opened their barn doors for agricultural education for the past 26 years.

Luke Hopkins cuddles a baby chick inside his family's animal barn

Wednesday’s rain didn’t dampen this year’s exploration as more than 700 children, visited the farm’s many attractions, such as Pig Alley and Calf Lane and a tractor ride.  Sussex County 4-H focuses this agriculture education outreach for students in preschool to grade two. Students register through their schools. Each preregistered student received a free cone from the Hopkins Farm Creamery, which opened in 2009. Students, well-prepared in slickers and rain boots of many colors, confirmed that ice cream tastes as good in the rain as it does in the sun.

Thursday’s total neared 1,000 youth.  Wednesday’s rain had left a few mud puddles for the pigs to play in, delighting the students who watched them frolic in the soft, gushy Delaware soil.  In all, an estimated 1900 visitors in all,  including teachers, parents, chaperones, Extension staff and 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, attended the farm tour on both days.

Hollymount 4-H'ers Colleen Anderson, Grace Hopkins and Holly Anderson show off their show cows!

During the tour, students, who leave the bus pinching their noses, eventually forget the farm aroma and begin to  make the connection between the family farm and the final food product – usually referred to as ‘farm to fork’ in this case was ‘farm to cone!’  Teachers and students have an opportunity to meet the Hopkins family; Walter and his wife Jenny; son Burli and wife Allison; and the next generation of Hopkins farmers, 4-H’ers Michael, Jacob, Grace and Luke who can be seen throughout the tour comfortably hanging out with the pigs, lovingly tugging on a cow’s ear and sharing their farm experiences with visitors.

Burli and dairy farm manager Bob Geiman offered tours of the modern milking process.  School children observed firsthand the all the teamwork efforts that go into producing healthy, nutritious and safe food.

Master Gardener Brent Marsh, AKA Farmer McGregor, asks his audience if they saw who took his vegetables!

Under blue and gold tents Cooperative Extension educators provided additional learning, including exhibits on corn and corn products, healthy beverages and the importance of exercise.  A popular puppet and people show, the Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden was performed numerous times by volunteer Master Gardeners.

Local 4-H youth members brought their project animals, providing a talkative tom turkey, horse, sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits for young students to interact with and pet. UD Poultry Extension provided a chick hatchery and baby chick display, the inhabitants of which are now taking a much needed rest after being gently cupped by 1700 little hands.

Any area school or daycare center up to the second grade are invited to attend, with registration opening in late January before the May tour. The event is free.

For more information about the Sussex County 4-H Farm Tour contact the 4-H office at 856-7303.
Additional photos and videos of the farm tour may be found at 4-H’s Flickr site:  where photo sets for both days can be found, or visit Sussex County 4-H on

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Sussex Master Gardeners plan children’s workshop May 19

A young reader enjoys a shady spot in the 2011 Children's Garden, which area children helped to create.

On Saturday, May 19, beginning at 10 a.m.  local children are invited to help create the 2012 Children’s Garden located behind the University of Delaware Carvel Research and Education Center on Route 9, just west of Sussex Tech High School.

The Children’s Garden is a very popular section of the overall Demonstration Garden which is open to the public and featured during many Master Gardener events throughout the year and especially delights families during  their Open House scheduled in July.

Children will work with Master Gardeners to plant seeds and seedlings and learn about theme gardens.

The morning will be begin with a special story, the legend of “The Three Sisters” told by Michele Wright, of the Nanticoke Association.

Afterward, children will be placed in five groups and will rotate for 12 minutes accomplishing tasks at five stations:

  • Composting and Three Sisters Planting – with Tracy Wootten, UD Extension agent, horticulture.
  • Exploring plant growth. Plantings in various areas of the garden and taking a plant home! – with Master Gardeners Mary Sue Colaizzi and Tracy Mulveny. Explore texture, color and help create a growing skirt for “Mrs. Green Beans!”
  • What’s the Buzz with Bees – with Master Gardener Brent Marsh (pssst, he’s also known as Farmer McGregor!)
  • All About Insects – with Master Gardener Ingrid Hetfield.
  • Creating Theme Gardens – with Master Gardener Chris Henderson.

There will also be a special command performance of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden!

This potted man and his potted puppy was a popular attraction in the 2011 children's theme garden! Come help us create this year's theme!

This special Master Gardener workshop is appropriate for children ages 5 to 11. Besides learning new skills, children will grow  a sense of pride and satisfaction creating a garden space  that will evolve, grow and serve as a place that others in the community can enjoy. They will enjoy watching their efforts change  and bloom throughout the summer and fall, and can return to visit often!  This workshop  is free, but space is limited to 20 youth.

In the event of rain, the workshop will be held inside the Carvel REC.

For more information, contact Kim Lewis at (302) 856-7303 or you may register online .

The Master Gardener Demonstration Garden is located behind the Carvel Research and Education Center, with ample parking on the east side of the building. Look for the blue and gold tent just beyond the parking area. Children should wear comfortable and garden-friendly clothes. We will be digging in the soil!