Advertiser Democrat interviews two new employees hired at Oxford County Extension

The Advertiser Democrat reported University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Oxford County has recently hired two new staff members. Emma Fournier joined the organization in July as a horticulture community education assistant, focusing on residential/consumer programs through outreach and by request. “I help homeowners with their questions, providing publications and helping identify plants and insects,” said Fournier. For example, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory in Orono “will ID insects by looking at bite marks on leaves, which helps us determine integrated pest management practices for the homeowner,” said Fournier, who studies horticulture at Southern Maine Community College. She also assists with workshops, such as a backyard poultry workshop led by Colt Knight, UMaine Extension livestock specialist. And Sarah Johnson was hired as a UMaine Extension 4-H professional about a month ago. In addition to the organization’s traditional emphasis on agriculture, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education has become a major component of 4-H activities, according to the article. “Our STEM tool kits are designed to promote inquiry-based learning,” said Johnson. “We use them for students from kindergarten through high school. Give kids a problem and let them work out their own way to solve it.” Johnson also sees community outreach to underserved areas as a critical part of her job, the article states. “I want to reach more people with 4-H opportunities, especially the more rural areas of Oxford County where access to resources may be limited,” she said. “Every day is different. There are lots of different pieces to Cooperative Extension. It really keeps me on my toes.”