Archive for the ‘News’ Category

MPBN Cites Cooperative Extension Senior Companion Program

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service Senior Companion Program was mentioned in an MPBN story about House Speaker Mark Eves’ “KeepMe Home” initiative to help senior citizens remain in their homes. The initiative includes a $65 million bond package that would build 1,000 new apartment units for seniors in 40 communities and reduce taxes for seniors. The UMaine Cooperative Extension Service Senior Companion Program encourages independence and promotes quality of life for older adults.

Eat Nutritiously, Save Money with UMaine Extension

Friday, July 25th, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.

To register, call 207.781.6099 or email For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

Haskell Facilitates Facilitation

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Jane Haskell specializes in strengthening skills of group facilitators so meetings can be conducted effectively and efficiently. Fishermen and graduate students are among her more than 400 clients.

This summer, Haskell, who has authored a national facilitation-training curriculum, is working with members of Wabanaki Nations.

She’s also researching how to buoy skills of facilitators who assist refugees. Specifically, she’s studying how American-born, English-speaking facilitators and group leaders ask for feedback from refugees who have recently arrived in the United States.

Refugees, she says, may not have positive experience with regard to giving comments in a formal group setting and may not understand the concept from a Western perspective or framework.

Haskell and a colleague who specializes in immigration and refugees issues are exploring how to best partner with refugees so that their perspectives are heard and understood in Maine.

Learn How to Strengthen Facilitation Skills

Monday, March 17th, 2014
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine are offering a five-session spring workshop in Saco for people interested in strengthening their facilitation skills.

Sessions for Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills, Level 1 will be held 4-8 p.m. April 17, May 1, May 15, May 29 and June 12 at City Hall, 300 Main St., Saco.

The workshop features experiential learning, including a chance to practice facilitation skills and receive feedback in a safe environment. The $120 fee covers instruction, a resource notebook and light meals. Kristen Grant, who enjoys creating programs that build skills of individuals and capacities of groups, will lead the workshop. Grant has a background in providing interactive, educational programs and works extensively in team settings.

Enrollment is limited to the first 18 people who register. Registration is required and is open. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine Extension at 207.324.2814. For more information, contact Grant at 207.646.1555, ext. 115, or visit

Beard Wins Gulf of Maine Council 2013 Visionary Award for Maine

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Ronald Beard, extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, was recently awarded the Gulf of Maine Council 2013 Visionary Award for Maine.

The award is presented annually to an individual or organization within each of the Gulf of Maine jurisdictions of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and recognizes innovation, creativity and commitment to marine protection, according to Bruce Carlisle, chairman of the Gulf of Maine Council for the Marine Environment.

Beard, who is based in Hancock County, focuses his education on community development through work with local organizations and citizens. He is also a member of the Marine Extension Team.

R3: Opening Doors to Student Success

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

R3: Opening Doors to Student Success
2011 Positive Youth Development Institute
July 25, 26 & 27
The University of Maine, Orono

Building on the 2010 conference theme, R3: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships presents Educators, Parents, Out of School Providers, and Community Leaders exciting opportunities for engaging in Positive Youth Development.

For more information or to register, visit

Keynote speakers:

  • Karen Williams, Implementation of Adolescent Brain Research
  • Tony Wagner (author of The Global Achievement Gap), Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need — And What We Can Do About It
  • Nathan Eklund (author of How Was Your Day at School?), Improving Dialogue About Teacher Job Satisfaction

Good Meeting Facilitation Can Make a Group’s Job Easier!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

We live in an increasingly busy world.  In addition, much of what we accomplish in the workplace or in our community is done with groups of people and in meetings.  Many of us have been involved in meetings that have been very effective at accomplishing their intended purposes.  However, some of us may have experienced meetings where our time could have been better spent almost anywhere else. 

To help you improve the chances that your next meeting will be a success, here are some points to think about.

Think back to a meeting you participated in that went well.  Consider that meeting and jot down your responses to the following questions.

  • What was it that made that meeting go well? 
  • What happened that made it possible for the group to accomplish its goals?
  • What did the leader of the group do that contributed to the meeting’s success?
  • How did group members positively contribute to the meeting?

Just as we may have been in meetings that have turned out well, many of us have been in meetings that have gone poorly.  Now, think back to a meeting you participated in that was not effective.  Make note of your responses to the following questions.

  • What was it that made that meeting go so badly? 
  • What made it difficult for the group to accomplish its goals?
  • What did the leader of the group do that contributed to the meeting’s failure?
  • How did group members make the situation worse?

Poor meetings have a way of draining our energy and squashing our enthusiasm for a particular project.  You, as a group member or group leader, can improve your facilitation skills – making your time in meetings more productive.

It is much more rewarding to be part of meetings that are facilitated well and where something is accomplished.  Consider the following questions. 

  • Now that you have considered a poorly run and a well run meeting, what skills do you think an effective meeting facilitator should have?
  • How can group members assist in making a meeting successful?
  • How can you develop skills to facilitate your next meeting more effectively?

Start a list and make a plan today to improve your facilitation skills. 

Here are a few tips to help strengthen your own facilitation skills:

  • Make sure everyone understands his/her roles and responsibilities.
  • In between meetings, practice your facilitation skills and support others as they practice theirs too.
  • Remember to establish ground rules or guidelines for you meetings, or remind your group members of what they are, before you begin each meeting.
  • If you are working with a challenging group, consider asking someone to be an observer at your next meeting.  Ask them to make note of how the group is functioning and how individuals are interacting.
  • Ask for feedback, at the end of the meeting, about how the meeting went.
  • Incorporate the feedback you receive into your next meeting, if appropriate.

Want to learn more about facilitating groups?  Check out:

  • Facilitation: What Is It?: Bulletin # 6101 from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publication Catalog at:


                    or at:


  • Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills Curriculum: Item #6115 from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publication Catalog at:


  • The University of Maine Cooperative Extension facilitation training schedule, available from

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:


Webinar: Mapping the Impact of Youth on Community Development: What Are We Learning

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010
11:00 a.m. ET


North Central Regional Center for Rural Development:


About the Webinar: Land-grant university faculty in both youth and community development have engaged young people in seven states in mapping the impact of their work in diverse communities using the community capitals framework. Presenters will share initial findings about the characteristics of youth program experiences that link social capital development to youth civic engagement and will explore the connections between youth development and community development Extension work.


Registration: There is no fee for attending this webinar.

About the Speakers:

Matt Calvert is a youth development specialist with UW-Extension who has worked extensively with statewide programs to engage youth in community development through direct action, input into decision-making and involvement in policy through representation with elected officials.


Mary Emery, a member of the Sociology Department at Iowa State University, works on a variety of initiatives related to rural development and community change initiatives including co-managing a Coaching for Community Change Initiative and using the Community Capitals Framework in evaluation and program planning. She also co-chairs the Great Plains IDEA multi-university on-line Master’s degree in Community Development.


Richard Enfield is a County Director & 4-H Youth Development Advisor with the University of California. His research and educational efforts have focused on experiential education, the complimentary concepts of resiliency and developmental assets, and social capital. He is currently chairing a multi-state nationwide project on 4-H and social capital.


Barbara Baker is a 4-H Youth Development Educator with UMaine Extension who has a passion for working with communities to sustain youth and adult partnership opportunities for building human and social capital.  This has been honed by over fifteen years of Extension work with 4-H Youth Community Action at UMaine and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Bonita Williams is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development with the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Program.  She is a faculty affiliate with the Department of Human Development.  Her teaching and research interests include:  Cultural competence as a construct, the factors impacting youth’s career decisions, and program management.


Instructions for Accessing the Webinar:

Following is the link you will use to access this free webinar:


After opening the link, you will notice “enter as a guest” is by default already chosen.  Please type your name into the text box provided, and click on “enter room.”  You are now in the meeting room for this webinar and the facilitator will guide you with any next steps.

If you have never attended a Connect Pro meeting before:

Test your connection:

Get a quick overview:

This meeting will deliver audio through your computer speakers or headset.   Please connect to the meeting space five minutes prior to the start time to verify your connection and audio volumes.  If you’ve never used Adobe Connect on the computer you will be using, please use the “Test your connection” link above and do a test connection to the actual meeting space well in advance of the scheduled meeting time.  If you have technical difficulty connecting, please call the Library Help Desk at 1-800-500-1554 or 5-2345 (MSU campus) and indicate you are having trouble connecting to the Adobe Connect meeting space at

Keep in mind that many people will be linked into this conference.  To facilitate Q&A’s, participants submit questions via the Chat Function in Adobe Connect.

Effective group facilitation skills

Monday, October 18th, 2010

UMaine Extension Educator Jane Haskell answers questions about effective group facilitation skills. See In the Know for the complete article.