UMaine Extension Plant Sale May 17 in Portland

April 17th, 2014 11:50 AM

seedlingsThe 21st annual University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer plant sale will be held rain or shine Saturday, May 17, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Barron Center, 1145 Brighton Ave., Portland. UMaine Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers will answer questions and help attendees pick plants that best suit their needs. Selections include vegetable seedlings, herbs, perennials, shrubs, houseplants, and annuals.

Bags of compost will be for sale; people may also bring their own containers. The event will also include sales of baked goods and gently used garden items and a raffle. Volunteers will demonstrate how to grow potatoes in a five-gallon bucket and attendees who purchase seed potatoes will get a free container.

Proceeds support the Seed Grant program for community projects. The projects, which rely on master gardeners’ expertise and volunteer time, include school and community gardens as well as small group and one-on-one sessions to teach people about backyard vegetable gardens. UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers receive in-depth horticultural training from university educators and industry experts. In return, Master Gardener Volunteers provide the public with up-to-date, research-based information about best practices in consumer horticulture.

For more information, contact Diane Hibbard at 207.781.6099 or dhibbard@maine.edu.

Annual 4-H Robotics Expo Draws 22 Teams

April 3rd, 2014 3:23 PM
4-Her with robotTwenty-two teams and 76 youth demonstrated their knowledge of robotics and public speaking at the 8th Annual 4-H Robotics Expo on March 29, at the University of Maine at Machias.

Youth also took part in a challenge activity and attended workshops presented by faculty and staff from the UMM and University of Maine.

Jen Lobley, Extension educator in Washington County for 14 years, said 4-H provides learning opportunities that teach leadership, citizenship and life skills. “Today’s event did all of that,” she said. “Our youth participants collected over 550 items of food to be donated to the Machias Area Food Pantry and they demonstrated a number of life skills, including leadership, teamwork, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication.

“Each year the projects grow in complexity, as does the confidence of the youth,” Lobley said. “When we started this event eight years ago, only a handful of kids tried the challenge activity. This year, we had over half our participants sign up for the activity. It builds resiliency, that’s for sure.”

For more information about 4-H and volunteering, contact the Washington County UMaine Extension office, 207.255.3345, 800.287.1542 (in Maine), http://umaine.edu/4h/.

Free Press Advances Training Sessions to Help with Climate Research

April 2nd, 2014 2:58 PM

The Free Press reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant will offer free training sessions for Signs of the Seasons, a program for volunteers to contribute local plant and animal life-cycle data for climate change research. Sessions are open to all interested volunteers, and registration is required. Sessions in the midcoast area will be held March 22 in Newcastle, March 25 in Belfast and April 5 in Boothbay.

Mason Quoted in Press Herald Article about Fire Victim, 4-H Volunteer

March 31st, 2014 2:18 PM

Mitch Mason, the 4-H youth development educator for the University of Maine’s Cumberland County Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about Gorham resident David Smith, a well-known member of the area’s farming community whose cabinet shop was heavily damaged in a fire. Mason said Smith is very active in the 4-H program. He teaches children how to take care of their animals, hauls animals to fairs and clinics, makes house calls if children have questions, and teaches a woodworking class at an annual 4-H forum. “David’s one of those folks who’s always around, willing to volunteer,” Mason said.

UMaine Extension Selling Blueberry, Strawberry, Asparagus Plants

March 31st, 2014 1:23 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is taking orders for highbush blueberry plants, asparagus crowns and strawberry plants.

A set of three blueberry plants costs $39.95; varieties are appropriate for Maine’s climate. A set of 25 strawberry plants costs $15 and a set of 10 asparagus crowns totals $15. A packet with links to online videos comes with each order and provides information about site selection, planting and care of the specific plants.

Proceeds from this “Grow it Right!” sale go toward scholarships for UMaine Extension’s statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Program and fund statewide community-based horticulture projects. UMaine Extension educators and industry experts annually provide research-based horticulture training to more than 250 Master Gardener Volunteers, who then share what they’ve learned with community neighbors.

Orders can be placed online until May 1, 2014. Plants will be available for pickup May 17 at various locations throughout the state.

For more information, contact Richard Brzozowski at 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (toll-free in Maine) or richard.brzozowski@maine.edu; or contact Marjorie Peronto at 207.667.8212, 800.287.1479 (toll-free in Maine) or marjorie.peronto@maine.edu.

Learn How to Strengthen Facilitation Skills

March 17th, 2014 10:17 AM
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, kngrant@maine.edu or visit

Cooking for Crowds Workshop, March 25, 2014

March 7th, 2014 9:30 AM

Cooking for Crowds: Food Safety Training for Volunteers

Extension expert demonstrates cooking for crowds; photo by Edwin RemsbergMarch 25, 2014
Location: UMaine Learning Center, Falmouth, ME
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Cost: $15.00

Many organizations and community groups rely on volunteers like you for a variety of food events for fundraising, fellowship, food pantries or other service to the community. But cooking for a crowd is tricky! How do you store all that food? When is the food completely cooked? How long can you leave food on the buffet table? Now there is a workshop on Safe Food Handling designed specifically for Volunteers.

For more information or to register, visit Cooking for Crowds.

Press Herald Advances Cooperative Extension Food Safety Workshop

February 25th, 2014 3:06 PM

The Portland Press Herald reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer its annual spring workshop on food safety for those who cook for crowds. The Falmouth workshop costs $15 per person and begins March 25.

Saar Talks to Sun Journal about Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program

February 7th, 2014 1:15 PM

Anna Saar, who coordinates the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program for Oxford, Androscoggin and Franklin counties, spoke with the Sun Journal about the program and her upcoming talk in Otisfield. Saar is scheduled to speak February 6, 2014 at a presentation hosted by the Otisfield Social Outreach Committee for residents interested in helping their elderly homebound neighbors stay independent. She said the need for volunteers is great, and the visits require nothing more than companionship.

Oxford County 4-H Members, Volunteers Honored

January 17th, 2014 11:50 AM
4-H Youth receive awards.

The University of Maine Youth Development Program in Oxford County selected Alison Corey, left, and Zachary Hebert as Outstanding 4-H Members.

The University of Maine Youth Development Program in Oxford County recently recognized Zachary Hebert and Alison Corey as Outstanding 4-H Members and Vicki Drew and Doug Bean as Outstanding 4-H Volunteers. They received plaques in December at an annual bowling celebration.

Outstanding members are selected based on 4-H, school and community activities and volunteers are honored for their dedication to 4-H.

Hebert, a senior at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has been a 4-H member for more than 12 years. He has served as vice president and president of the Hebron Heartbreakers 4-H Club, participated in the Eastern States Exposition, traveled with the 4-H Teen Exchange Club, hosted out-of-state 4-Hers wanting to explore Maine and displayed projects at the Oxford County and Fryeburg fairs. The National Honor Society member is also an Eagle Scout and a Big Brother. He has traveled to China and participated on the soccer, cross-country skiing and lacrosse teams at OHCHS.

Corey, a junior at Gould Academy, joined 4-H at age 5. In fifth grade, she initiated a program that has since created more than 400 back-to-school packs. During her first year at Gould, Corey volunteered her photography skills more than 60 hours weekly at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond. Later, she was hired to be a summer lifeguard at the camp and a member of the video and photo production staff. Her photos have been featured in the USDA Children, Youth, and Families at Risk report as well as in University of Maine and Purdue University publications. Corey writes and illustrates stories and won the 2013 Molly Ockett Native American Essay Contest. She has attended the Grab the Torch Leadership, Ethics and Philanthropy Institute and UMaine Teen Leadership camps. Corey has been a volunteer snowboard instructor for the Sunday River RugRats, a learn-to-ski program.

Drew, a co-leader of the Oxford Caprine Milkers, has been involved at the club and county levels. As an Oxford County leader for 16 years, she has championed the dairy goat program, assisting 4-H members statewide at fairs and clinics. At the club level, Drew teaches 4-H members record keeping, showmanship, feeding, care and clipping of animals. She showcases goats at Fryeburg Fair. For years, Drew coordinated the 4-H trip to Story Land and collected items for auction fundraisers.

Bean has been a longtime 4-H volunteer with the Twisted Sticks 4-H Club that participates in shows at the Eastern States Exposition, Waterford World’s, Skowhegan State, Oxford County, Fryeburg, Monmouth and Windsor fairs. The Twisted Sticks offer a training demonstration at June Jamboree and Scribners Mill and exhibit educational displays in Waterford World’s, Oxford County and Fryeburg 4-H halls. In Twisted Sticks’ 4-H project records, members indicated they learned self-discipline, responsibility, motivation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as communication and determination.