Maine 4-H Days Participants to Pack Meals for Food Bank

June 6th, 2014 9:00 AM

Maine 4-H Days begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Windsor Fairgrounds, 82 Ridge Road, Windsor, with volunteers packing 16,000 meals to be donated to Good Shepherd Food Bank.

At least 100 volunteers registered for Maine 4-H Days are needed to pack the meals, which will be distributed to youth from Kittery to Fort Kent. Outreach Northeast is coordinating the volunteer opportunity.

Maine 4-H Days, an annual event sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Foundation, runs through Sunday, June 22. Enrichment workshops include archery, chess, country line dancing, yoga, Lego robotics and numerous animal topics. An ice cream social and a law enforcement K-9 demonstration also will be held.

Weekend registration is $7 per person, $20 per family. For information about the food-packaging event, contact Sarah Sparks, 207.353.5550 or sarah.sparks@maine.edu. For information about Maine 4-H Days, to register or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessy Brainerd at 207.581.3877, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or jessica.brainerd@maine.edu. Registration materials and more information are available online.

Phenology Program Coordinator Writes Op-Ed on Climate Change for BDN

June 2nd, 2014 2:08 PM

Elissa Koskela, an assistant coordinator of the Signs of the Seasons program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Sea Grant, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Wondering how climate change is affecting us now? Citizen scientists have a role to play.” Signs of the Seasons is a phenology program that helps scientists document the local effects of global climate change through the work of volunteer citizen scientists who are trained to record the seasonal changes of common plants and animals in their communities.

Master Gardeners Offer Home Composting Workshop

May 20th, 2014 12:18 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are offering a hands-on workshop on basics of home composting and soil management 6–8 p.m. Thursday, June 5, 2014, at Wells Reserve at Laudholm, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells 04090.

Best practices for home composting, including proper materials, pile management for optimum efficiency and bin options will be covered. Mulching, lasagna gardening, hugelkultur, cover cropping and soil testing will also be discussed and demonstrated. Glenn MacWilliams, a Master Gardener volunteer, and Frank Wertheim, an Extension professor, will lead the program. Meet at All Seasons Garden behind the lab/science building, dressed for the outdoors, and prepared for hands-on learning.

A $7 fee ($5 for members of Laudholm Trust) may be paid at the event. To register, contact UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814 or rebecca.gowdy@maine.edu. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Wertheim at 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in state).

Pen Bay Pilot Reports on UMaine Extension Plant Orders, Pickup Sites

April 23rd, 2014 10:36 AM

The Penobscot Bay Pilot reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is taking orders for highbush blueberry plants, asparagus crowns and strawberry plants until May 1, 2014. Plants will be available for pickup on May 17 at various locations throughout the state, including the Knox-Lincoln Extension office in Waldoboro and the Waldo Extension office in Waldo. Proceeds from the “Grow it Right!” sale go toward scholarships for UMaine Extension’s statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Program and fund statewide community-based horticulture projects.

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

April 23rd, 2014 10:23 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 10-session Master Food Preserver training program starting June 19 and ending September 25, 2014. Lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab education will be conducted 10 Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., at Gorham Middle School, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

A Master Food Preserver is a UMaine Extension volunteer who has successfully completed the practical, research-based program on food safety and preservation. Volunteers agree to give back 20 hours of time for community-based projects within a year. Projects could include hands-on food preservation workshops, staffing educational displays and demonstrations and providing information at farmers markets, county fairs and other food-related events.

May 2 is the deadline to apply. Fees are on a sliding scale, from $125 to $330, based on household income. To request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). For more information, contact Kathleen Savoie, Extension Educator, at 207.781.6099 or ksavoie@maine.edu.

Applications are available online.

Grow Food in Raised Beds, Containers with UMaine Extension

April 23rd, 2014 9:41 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-class workshop on building, planting, maintaining and harvesting square-foot gardens in raised beds and containers.

Classes meet monthly from May through October, 2014 at the UMaine Extension office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. The first class is 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. May 1; the final class is October 9. UMaine Extension Somerset County staff will teach the classes, and local Master Gardener Volunteers will work with participants in demonstration gardens throughout the growing season. Harvested produce will be shared with area schools and senior and food kitchen programs.

Course fee is $10 per person. Scholarships are available. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call Pete Bastien at 207.474.9622 or 800.287.1495 (in Maine).

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.