University of Maryland Extension
May 4, 2020

Dear neighbors:
 
Marylanders are searching for information, resources and help to better their lives and stay in business during these uncertain times, while staying at home and managing family and work.
 
The University of Maryland Extension is serving the essential workforce, families and youth throughout the state and we are showcasing a few innovative ways that our faculty and staff are reaching out to their communities. These programs demonstrate the breadth and diversity of our programs, and the dedication of our field agents and staff to keep providing the state with science-based solutions. 
 
Aquaculture Business Planning - Matt Parker, Prince George’s Co. educator in the environmental and natural resources program, produced an instructional webinar available on YouTube, assisting aquaculturists developing their business plan as part of a U.S. Aquaculture Society series.
 
Virtual Pasture Walks - Amanda Grev, in partnership with Extension educators in the western Maryland region, are hosting weekly pasture walks and addressing new topics every week including soil sampling, grazing management, and more for livestock owners. Follow the Maryland Forages Facebook page for ongoing updates.
 
Video Gardening Series - In Harford County, Joyce Browning is using Facebook to share Master Gardener lessons, posted daily with advice on local horticulture. Her videos can also be seen on the Home & Garden Information Center YouTube channel
 
STEAM for Youth - 4-H educators across the state are helping kids keep in touch and keep busy. In Baltimore City, Albert Lewis is providing weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & math) activities for his students, as well as fun videos on YouTube educating them on the importance of following current safety guidelines like wearing a mask. 
 
Healthy Home Environments - Jen Dindinger with the Maryland SeaGrant Extension program in Dorchester County, is teaching her communities how to prepare gardens and rain barrels for the spring through YouTube videos, helping ensure less runoff to the Chesapeake Bay from urban coastal areas.
 
Grow It Eat It Preserve It - Donielle Axline, Family & Consumer Science educator in Frederick County, offered a webinar on the basics of growing, eating, and preserving your own food, designed for elementary-aged students. 
 
These are only a few examples of the dynamic virtual education happening across the state as we continue to adjust to the changes associated with the stay-at-home order. We are committed to educating our communities, and assisting families and our essential workforce.
 
As always, find news and updates at https://extension.umd.edu/ and your local Extension personnel at https://extension.umd.edu/locations.
 
Richard M. Walter
Area Director

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For over 100 years, the University of Maryland Extension has been serving our communities, providing science-based education and outreach in essential areas such as public health, youth development, financial wellness, food safety, and agricultural production.

History has proven time and again that our educators and staff are able to quickly adapt to challenging times and unpredictable environments, and the current pandemic is no different. We are committed to maintaining the same level of education and community involvement, taking advantage of the unique talents of our people and advanced technologies to transition our programming to virtual platforms.

We would like to share updates with you and your constituents as we build educational programming and information in digital formats, and remind you of the breadth of our services, especially those serving our essential workforce and youth.

  • Agricultural Services & Natural Resources

Our agents are still available to the farming community and can be contacted through phone, email, and online teleconferencing. Our lab and field faculty, as well as the Home and Garden Information Center, are able to assess problems and diagnose issues through photo uploading and our Ask An Expert online tool.

  • Family & Consumer Sciences

Focusing on public health and wellness topics, from nutrition and food safety to financial security and stress management, our FCS program is delivering credible information crucial to communities struggling with economic downturn, food shortages, and anxiety over health and safety through a variety of digital platforms including blogs, social media, and comprehensive factsheets related to COVID-19 and other health and wellness topics, available through the Extension website. Additionally, we are continuing a concerted effort to deliver several trainings focusing on the opioid crisis, now in a virtual format.

  • 4-H and Youth Development

With schools out and continuing education at home a challenge for many parents, our 4-H and youth development teams have quickly transitioned meetings and activities to online formats. Youth are receiving instruction on various activities and STEM projects through Facebook and on our website, providing those lessons not only for children in their counties, but for the whole state. Group meetings have continued through video platforms allowing youth to connect with their peers and maintain a sense of social interaction.

While these are only a small handful of examples of the extensive programming we’re continuing to offer across the state, we will be sharing regular updates, and highlighting an impactful story each week with you and your team, to keep you informed of the essential services we are providing, as well as key partnerships we are building, within our communities.

University of Maryland Extension Serves the Community

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