Category Archives: Feature

Winner of Delaware’s 2017 Junior Duck Stamp Competition Announced

2017 Delaware Best in Show Junior Duck Stamp Art
Fulvous Whistling Duck
Caroline Zhu, 15
Oil paint
Group IV (Grades 10-12) First Place

The winning entry from the Delaware Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest was selected on Tuesday, March 28th.  Several artistic renderings of waterfowl and conservation messages from students in grades K-12 were judged to determine which would represent the state in the national contest.

Participating competitors selected a waterfowl from a list of species on the official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service webpage and drew a live portrayal of that species in its habitat demonstrating its natural behavior.

Caroline Zhu’s entry from the grades 10-12 division, an oil painting rendering of a Fulvous Whistling Duck titled “The First Day of Spring” was selected as the best in show and was sent to the national Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest to have the opportunity for it to be chosen as the Federal Junior Duck Stamp for 2017.

Dorothy McCormick’s conservation message – “If we want to keep our feathered flying friends around, we must keep their environment safe and clean like a cozy abode” – was selected to move on to the national contest as well.  Dorothy was in the grades 7-9 division.

This contest is sponsored annually by the Delaware 4-H Foundation and coordinated by the Delaware 4-H Program.  It is a great event that allows students to get exposed to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) curriculum.  The Delaware 4-H program encourages anyone who has an interest in this event to contact Doug Crouse, State 4-H Program Leader at (302) 831-2997 or call your local Extension 4-H Office to request more information.

2017 Division winners included:


Clara Gulick (grades 4-6)

“Hidden Refuge”

Species: Cinnamon Teal

Pencil, colored pencil, pastels


Dorothy McCormick (grades 7-9)                                       

“Brant above Banks Harbor”

Species:  Brant

Colored Pencil



Clara Gulick (grades 4-6)

Caroline Zhu (grades 10-12)

Delaware 4-H Alumni are encouraged to Raise Your Hand

4-H is calling on 4-H Alumni around the world to “Raise Their Hands” and help empower the next generation of True Leaders.  There is great power in numbers.  During this campaign, millions of 4-H alumni will have the opportunity to raise and join their hands to give more kids opportunities that grow skills to lead.

The campaign runs from March 1st to June 30th, 2017.  Delaware 4-H encourages ALL Delaware 4-H Alumni (anyone who was part of 4-H for any length of time – youth or adult) to Raise their Hand.  This process is as simple as 1-2-3-4:

  1. Raise Your Hand – Go to to raise your hand.
  2. Share Your Journey – Tweet, post or caption your 4-H experience photos to show 4-H pride and support with #4HGrown.
  3. Pay it Forward – Tag other Delaware 4-H Alumni asking them to raise their hand empowering more youth.
  4. Compete for Your State – The state with the most alumni hands raised gets a $20,000 award to be used in their 4-H program.

We hope ALL Delaware 4-H Alumni will join this campaign to show their support of the Delaware 4-H Program.  Be sure to reach out to your former 4-H club members and help get them involved!!

Delaware 4-H and FFA Spring Dairy Expo Results

54 exhibitors presented 60 entries to judge Amanda Dennis of Emmitsburg, Maryland at the Delaware 4-H and FFA Spring Dairy Expo held Saturday April 1 at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.  Champion awards were presented to the following entries and exhibitors:

CHAMPION FITTING AND SHOWMANSHIP– Presented in Memory of Susan Hudson- Madison Cook, Newark, Delaware

AYRSHIRE JUNIOR AND GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOW Kent Manor Burdette Natillie exhibited by Paige Miller, Chestertown, Maryland

AYRSHIRE RESERVE JUNIOR AND RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWKent Manor Burdette Josephine exhibited by Alexandra Miller, Chestertown, Maryland

BROWN SWISS JUNIOR CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWKent Manor Frosty Annie exhibited by Ethan Miller of Chestertown, Maryland

BROWN SWISS RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOW– Hill Haven Bo Platinum exhibited by Dylan Hill of Chestertown, Maryland

BROWN SWISS SENIOR AND GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWKent Manor Alimoney Twixie exhibited by Parker Miller of Chestertown, Maryland

JERSEY JUNIOR AND GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWG & S Colton Valentine exhibited by Evan Knutsen of Harrington, Delaware


HOLSTEIN JUNIOR CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWGrandslamin Defiant Kenna exhibited by McKenna Vest of Clayton, Delaware

HOLSTEIN RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR AND OPEN SHOWGrandslamin Dempsey Kemily exhibited by Margaret Babiarz of Middletown, Delaware

HOLSTEIN SENIOR AND GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR SHOWDuland Challenger Carley exhibited by Kaylee Dulin of Clayton, Delaware

HOLSTEIN RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE JUNIOR SHOW– Henlopen Wolfpack 6502 exhibited by Holly Anderson of Milton, Delaware

HOLSTEIN SENIOR AND GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE OPEN SHOW– G & S Armani Angelina- ET exhibited by Gregg & Stephanie Knutsen of Harrington, Delaware

HOLSTEIN RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION FEMALE OPEN SHOW– LJP Atwood Tary exhibited by Leslie McClements of Dover, Delaware

BEST BRED AND OWNED HOLSTEINPresented in Memory of Kenny WarrenG & S Armani Angelina-ET exhibited by Gregg & Stephanie Knutsen of Harrington, Delaware

SUPREME CHAMPION JUNIOR SHOWPresented in Memory of Sam and Myrtle DixonKent Manor Alimoney Twixie exhibited by Parker Miller of Chestertown, Maryland

The Delaware 4-H & FFA Spring Dairy Expo Show Committee would like to express their appreciation to the following individuals and business whose contributions made the Spring 4-H & FFA Dairy Show possible:

All Creatures Veterinary Services, Aunt Gail, B& W Farm Supply, Bayside Bovine Veterinary Services, Dr. Matthew Weeman, Caesar Rodney FFA, Cain View Farm, Canterbury Ayr, Chestertown Animal Hospital, LLP, Country Roads Veterinary Services, David Szelestei Hoof Care, Delaware Pet Creamations, Delaware Veterinary Medical Association, Delmarva Animal Emergency Center,  Dempsey Farms LLC, Doc Tammi, Emerson Farms, Exchange Tract, Ltd., Forrest Avenue Animal Hospital, G&S Dairy, Gladden’s Furniture and Bedding, Hudson Farm Supply, Jenamy Farms LLC, Jim and Jean Derickson, Justa Dreamin’ Livestock Supply, Keith, Pam, Logan and Jack, King Crop Insurance, Midwest Veterinary Supply, Parkview RV Center, Ruthie Franczek, DVM, Sassafras Veterinary Hospital, Select Sire Power, Semper Fi Acres, Summit Bridge 4-H Club, Taylor & Messick, Inc., Texas Roadhouse Camden, The Morris Family, The Somers Family, Thomas Family Farms, LLC and Woodside Farm Creamery.

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.  It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

STG 4/4/2017 

True Leaders in Service April 2017: Join DE 4-H as we help others in our community!

This April, join Delaware 4-H as we pledge our hands to larger service all month long! National 4-H is launching the annual True Leaders in Service initiative, a way for members to say “thank you” to their communities.

We are encouraging youth and adults to venture into the community to lend a helping hand through neighborhood clean-up, beautification projects and much more!

Community Service Activities – Entire month of April

National Day of Service – April 29


Register your local activity today to take part in True Leaders in Service.

To learn more and to view the True Leaders in Service Planning Guide visit:

UD’s Emmalea Ernest uses lima bean breeding program to develop disease resistant lines

Emmalea Ernest, associate scientist in the Extension Vegetable and Fruit Program and in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Plant and Soil Sciences

Creating a lima bean with built-in disease resistance to root knot nematodes — parasitic worms that cause crop damage — takes a lot of patience and time, requiring years of breeding and the careful identification of sources of nematode resistance.

Luckily for growers in the state, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has a lima bean breeding program under the guidance of Emmalea Ernest, who began the program in 2004 to develop new varieties of lima beans that possess disease resistance and are well adapted to Delaware’s growing conditions and production practices.

Lima beans are Delaware’s most widely planted vegetable crop with approximately 14,000 acres of green baby limas for processing planted in the state each year. Fordhook and large seeded pole limas are also grown in Delaware.

Root knot nematodes

Root Knot Nematode affects sampling of plants.
Root Knot Nematode affects sampling of plants.
To look at nematode resistance specifically, Ernest, associate scientist in the Extension Vegetable and Fruit Program and in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, is part of a team of researchers that received a five-year, $1.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant (SCRI).

Some of those funds were used for Ernest to work with Paul Gepts from the University of California Davis to look at lima bean lines that had been successful against nematodes in that state.

Ernest said that unlike the Mid-Atlantic region, where nematodes are a relatively new problem, California has a long-standing breeding program working with nematode resistance.

“They have a decades-long program, since the 1940s, because nematodes are a major problem and have been a major production issue in California. Breeding for nematode resistance in lima beans has been a big focus of the California program,” said Ernest.

California lima beans

The researchers couldn’t simply take the lima beans from California with resistance and plant them in Delaware, however, as they are not suitable for production here.

“We can’t just use those varieties because they are white seeded and meant for harvest at the dry stage, and all of our production is of green seeded lima beans for freezing,” said Ernest.

The goal for this part of the project was to identify sources of nematode resistance that could be used in the Delaware breeding program and then to start using them.

Because of the years of lima bean breeding in California, there are a lot of potential sources of resistance to root knot nematode in lima bean germplasm, which Ernest said means there are a lot of potential parents that can be used to develop resistance in Delaware lima beans.

“I made crosses between the best sources of resistance from the California program and varieties that are suitable for production here,” she said.

Line screenings

Ernest screened inbred lines in 2014 and 2015, some of which were from Gepts and the California breeding program and others that were varieties that had reported nematode resistance.

Those were screened in inoculated field plots at the Thurman G. Adams Agricultural Research Farm in Georgetown, and ratings were taken on galling — abnormal outgrowths of plant tissues. The researchers found that there were two different sources of resistance that held up well against the Delaware root knot nematodes that were being tested.

In 2016, the researchers screened breeding populations in inoculated small plots and made selections out of the 401 planted individuals.

“Those were at a stage of being either four or five generations after the cross. With lima beans, the variety that is the end product is an inbred line and so once I get to seven or eight generations of inbreeding, seven or eight generations after the cross, that is considered pretty close to an inbred line and that’s a finished variety if it’s any good,” said Ernest.

Right now, the researchers are at the sixth or seventh generation and Ernest said she is “increasing seed to have plants in the field this coming summer to look at yield and commercially important seed characteristics in some of those selections that I made out of the field last year. The best lines that we identify this summer, we’ll be testing in the replicated yield trial in 2018.”

Ernest said that the ultimate goal is to identify nematode resistant germplasm to develop new varieties that growers could use in Delaware, adding that the researchers are very close.

“We have found some sources of resistance that work well that will give us resistance to the root knot nematodes, and we have crossed those sources of resistance with things that are adapted and have the commercial qualities that we need, like green seed, and high yields. We are pretty close to maybe having something that could become a variety that’s resistant and has green seed acceptable yield and good agronomic qualities,” she said.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Michele Walfred

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Delaware 4-H Alumni member Aubrey Plaza receives the 4-H Distinguished Alumni Medallion at 2017 4-H Legacy Awards

Chef Anne Burrell, left, and chef Lazarus Lynch, right, present the Distinguished Alumni Medallion to actress Aubrey Plaza during the National 4-H Council Legacy Awards on Tuesday in Washington. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

Aubrey Plaza was a shy child growing up in downtown Wilmington, Del., long before she became a Hollywood actress with a starring role on the hit television comedy “Parks and Recreation.”

But that changed when she turned 8 and joined her local 4-H chapter. She took part in public speaking competitions, standing up in front of a crowd of her peers and delivering a speech about the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series. She also participated in a club fashion show, sewing her own outfit and strutting a catwalk to display her handiwork.

“I think there’s something about 4-H and the different programs they do and the responsibilities they give to younger people that kind of force them to gain confidence at a really young age,” Plaza said. “Being on a television show and being on a set and understanding how to be a leader in any kind of environment is really useful and I learned that through 4-H.”

On Tuesday, the National 4-H Council presented its Distinguished Alumni Medallion to Plaza as well as NBA forward Kent Bazemore, who was unable to attend due to a recent knee injury.

Held at the ritzy Four Seasons hotel in Washington’s chic shopping destination Georgetown, the 4-H Legacy Awards represented an opportunity for the youth development organization founded in 1902 to celebrate its ongoing modernization, an effort started last year to rebrand itself and expand its membership into the country’s city and suburban communities. The glamorous “green carpet” dinner also provided 4-H with the chance to promote its continued relevance and cool connections to Hollywood, the NBA and even beyond this world: One 4-H alumna, Peggy Whitson, is floating somewhere 250 miles above earth as a NASA scientist and astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

“We look for alumni that are giving back to the world, who are making the world better,” said National 4-H Council President Jennifer Sirangelo.

As part of the 4-H campaign to attract a new generation of kids, the traditionally rural and agriculturally centered clubs are now encouraging projects involving science, engineering and math — the STEM fields — including activities such as designing rockets and constructing drones.

[For 4-H, a campaign to reach beyond corn fields and into cities]

To highlight its focus on STEM, the National 4-H Council previously honored alumnus Andrew Bosworth, vice president at Facebook, who grew up on a Santa Clara Valley vineyard replete with trellis rows of Viognier and chardonnay grapes and a pig he named Humphrey after the children’s book. Bosworth, who goes by “Boz,” said that learning how to raise the pig, and selling the animal later at auction for meat, taught him to “be fearless to do something new.”

He also took part in group projects and learned that whether the outcome is a success or failure is beside the point. Bosworth said that the true benefit of 4-H is the opportunity to learn soft skills like leadership, teamwork and self-confidence.

“It’s what you don’t see written on the page and that’s what’s real about them,” Bosworth said. “Today I’m privileged to be in the position I’m in in every way but a lot of the skills I have in terms of teamwork and leadership — those came from a strong base of 4-H.”

For Plaza, the 4-H club also helped to expand her worldview by introducing her to children who grew up on farms and a lifestyle far removed from her own in Wilmington, where the only domesticated animal she kept was a cat.

“But she was mean and I didn’t shear her at all,” Plaza said.

During a recent appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Plaza was able to recite from memory the 4-H pledge for host Colbert. The experience of 4-H, Plaza told The Washington Post, was a formative part of her childhood and helped make her into the person she is now, an actress who no longer shies away from the spotlight. Plus, she said, there’s still the possibility that her time with a set of clippers during 4-H could come in handy for a future acting role.

“Only time will tell,” Plaza said. “I have a feeling I’ll be playing a sheepshearer pretty soon.”

This article written by T. Rees Shapiro appeared in The Washington Post, March 22, 2017.

Delaware 4-H Annual Favorite Foods Contest

The Delaware 4-H Program recently held their annual Favorite Foods Contest.  Approximately 200 Delaware 4-H’ers ages 5-19 competed in the contest held in each county.  Members prepare a dish and bring it along with a place setting to the contest site.  There are four age divisions and categories that include breads, meat and main dish, fruits and vegetables, appetizers and desserts.

 Through their participation in this event, 4-H members learn a variety of life skills that include:

1.       Knowledge of good nutrition and meal planning using MYPlate food guide.

2.       Food preparation skills, food safety and display techniques.

3.       Originality, creativity, initiative and poise.

Master Food Educators and 4-H volunteers serve as judges and the Delaware 4-H Foundation is a sponsor.

In addition, 4-H’ers may compete in a Foods Judging Contest where they learn about nutrition, physical activity, food safety, cooking terminology, equipment, consumer education, recipe measurements and more.

This year participants and families also participated in the Grocery Shopping Challenge and learned about making healthy and economical choices in the grocery store.  Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Science staff sponsored this activity.  Photographs from these events can be found on the Delaware 4-H Flickr site.

State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition

The Delaware 4-H program recently held their annual State 4-H Horse Bowl.  Youth ages 8-19 participated in the equine knowledge-based quiz bowl competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware.  The Delaware 4-H Horse Advisory Committee, a group composed of 4-H volunteers from all three Delaware counties that are dedicated to providing quality 4-H horse programs to members, sponsors the annual event.

4-H members competed on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into competition brackets based on age for the double elimination event.  4-H volunteer adult leaders coached young people in the months leading up to the competition to prepare them using specified resource materials.  42 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event.  University of Delaware Animal Science Extension Agent Susan Garey said, “It’s really exciting to see so many young people who are interested in learning about equine science.  We sincerely appreciate the many volunteers who donated their time to help our youth learn in a positive, supportive environment.”

Official judges for the competition included Ms. Megan Pleasanton, Ms. Jamie Timson and Ms. Susan Garey.

The top three teams in each age division were:

Beginner (8-10 year olds)

1st Place– Prancing Ponies- East Coast Riding 4-H Club, Sussex County

Team Members: Claire Lopez, Tori Smith

Coaches: Jodie Gravenor, Heather Smith

2nd Place– Perfect Ponies- Hearts 4 Horses 4-H Club, Kent County

Team Members:  Zoe Poore, Stephanie Strachar

Coach:  Carrie Strachar

3rd Place- Camo & Cowgirls- Peach Blossom 4-H Club, Kent County

Team Members: Delayna Barlow, Savannah Messick, Carly Rebuck, Ethan Stafford

Coaches: Kacie Messick, Shannon Stafford

Junior (11-13 year olds)

1st Place- Marvelous Mares- Peach Blossom 4-H Club, Kent County

Team Members: Sydni Brown, Sydney Messick

Coach: Traci Brown, Kacie Messick

2nd Place– East Coast Ghost Riders- East Coast Riding 4-H Club, Sussex County

Team Members: Logan Layfield, Anna Lopes, Tori Noon, Emma Sparpaglione

Coach: Billy Jo Layfield, Heather Records

3rd Place– Equinators 4.0- Bridgeville Mustangs 4-H Club, Sussex County

Team Members: Cheyanne Bowman, Alexia Carroll, CJ Carroll, Paige Taylor

Coach: Melissa Layton, Heather Taylor

Senior (14-19 year olds)

1st Place– Team A- Holler-N Hooves 4-H Club, Kent County

Team Members: Sara Deason, Hayley Halloran

Coach: Dr. Sharon Little D.V.M., Hannah Ziccarelli

2nd Place– East Coast Buckin’ Beauties- East Coast Riding 4-H Club, Sussex County

Team Members: Rebecca Arpie, Katelyn Records, Garrett Smith

Coach: Jodie Gravenor, Cindy Ockels

3rd Place– Fantastic 4- Hearts 4 Horses 4-H Club, Kent County

Team Members: Sierra Kane, Courtney Spader, Danielle Urian

Coaches: Tina Kane, Jennifer Ridgely

4-H is a community of young people across Delaware learning leadership, citizenship and lifeskills.   For more information on becoming a 4-H member or volunteer in Delaware please contact your county extension office:

New Castle County: (302)831-8965

Kent County: (302)730-4000

Sussex County: (302)856-7303

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.  It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

STG 03/20/2017

Proposals open for 4-H Youth Adult Partnership Conference

Delaware 4-H seeks UD proposals for 2017 Youth Adult Partnership Conference

The Delaware 4-H Program will host the 2017 Youth Adult Partnership Conference, with the theme “Ride the Wave to Healthy Living,” from Nov. 10-12 at the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and is seeking presentation proposals from the University of Delaware community.

The weekend conference will bring together 150-200 youth and volunteers who will pair up in teams of two-to-four teens with an adult volunteer or staff member from the Northeast Region.

Those teams will participate in workshops to get the latest information on healthy living and bring the ideas back to their communities for projects to improve the health of participants’ schools and communities.

The conference committee is currently seeking proposals from the University community for 75-minute workshop presentations that involve active learning with a focus on Healthy Living content.

The workshops will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, with time slots available from 9-10:15 a.m., 10:30-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-3:45 p.m.

The workshops will also be a way to model best practices for working in a youth/adult partnership within 4-H clubs and other organizations serving young people.

Workshops can be led by members of the UD community individually or as co-presenters to teach the healthy living content and model best practices for working together.

Proposals are due by Friday, March 31.

For those interested in submitting a proposal, contact Betsy Morris at or call 302-831-8864 to obtain a 4-H Youth Adult Partnership proposal form.

Registration materials for the conference will be available June 15 on the 4-H website.       See photos from the 2014 Youth Adult Partnership Conference.

This article also appears on UDaily.