Category Archives: Feature

Joy Sparks Spirit of 4-H Award

The Joy Sparks Award is given in memory of Joy G. Sparks, past State 4-H Program Leader. Sparks was a lifelong Delaware 4-H member. She embodied what it meant to be a 4-H’er and used her Head, Heart, Hands, and Health to better herself and her community. Award recipients are selected based on their contributions to the 4-H program and keeping Spark’s Spirit of 4-H alive.

This year’s winner for Sussex County is Mrs. Gail Tipton of Laurel. Tipton’s 15-year involvement as a volunteer 4-H leader and dedication was noted.

As a volunteer, Tipton served in many roles including co-chairing numerous committees including: Clothing Showcase and the Spaghetti Dinner and Auction. Tipton is a member of the Sussex County Order of Links, a 4-H alumni organization, where she has helped with the Pumpkin Contest, Winter Fun Day and Spring Fair. She has been an active member of the Sussex Leaders’ Association, where she currently serves as president.

Tipton revived the Sewing Workshops in Sussex County. Working with other leaders, she helped develop beginner sewing classes and lessons. She has also been the monitor during the Foods Judging Contest where she helps keep the members organized and on-task. This past year, she led 4-H’s Foods Judging Team Training prior to the Delaware State Fair and did a fantastic job preparing our members who placed First and Second in the State!

Jill Jackson, Sussex County 4-H agent said at the ceremony, “Gail is always willing to lend a hand and has a lot of great ideas and input! Please join me in thanking Gail Tipton for her dedication to Sussex County 4-H. There is little doubt that Gail will continue to inspire “To Make the Best Better.”

Farm Management Classes for Women

The University of Maryland and Delaware Cooperative Extension will conduct an  Annie’s Project for Women Managing Commercial Poultry during the fall of 2017 at two sites in Delaware.  Annie’s Project focuses on the many aspects of farm management and is designed to empower women in overall farm decision making and to build local networks throughout the state. The target audience is farm women and women involved in agriculture with a passion for business, agriculture and involvement in the farm operation.  Topics for the sessions cover the five areas of Risk Management – Production, Marketing, Financial, Legal Risk, and Human Resources. This course is open to anyone interested in farm management practices.

Annie’s Project Women Managing Commercial Poultry is 6 classroom sessions starting on Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 5:30 – 8:30pm. The program will be held at two locations Carvel Research & Education Center, Georgetown, DE & UD Paradee Center, Dover, DE. The classes will be offered at the same time.  Zoom Web Conferencing will be used to bring the two locations together.

The cost of the entire course including meals and materials is $75. There is an additional $100.00 fee for FSA Borrower Training attendees.  Please register by October 6th- space is limited.  For more information and to register visit the website or call 410-758-0166 or email  If you require special assistance to attend the classes, please contact the site at least two weeks prior.

Fall Paper Clover Campaign October 4-15, 2017

Tractor Supply stores in communities across the country have long supported 4-H clubs, and continue in their official partnership with the National 4-H Council as your source for 4-H project supplies. From October 4-15, Tractor Supply Co. stores will offer “paper clovers” for sale. Following the promotion, 90% of all funds raised will go back to the state 4-H program. To date, the campaign has raised almost 11 million dollars.

Delaware 4-H encourages everyone to visit their local Tractor Supply Co. store during this campaign to purchase a clover in support of our 4-H program. Your support raises funds to send our youth to 4-H camp and other leadership experiences.

Sussex Master Gardeners announce fall workshops

The Master Gardeners recently celebrated 30 years of service to Delaware!  Year 31 continues with a  diverse and interesting series of workshops this fall.   As space is limited in some classes, please take a moment soon to register.

Classes are free unless otherwise specified (one), and all will be held at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Del. The center is just down the street from Sussex Tech.

Pre-registration is required. Register Online Here

Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cooperating. Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event.

2017 Sussex County Master Gardener Workshops:

Tuesday, October 3, 1:00 PM.   New to hypertufa or looking for new hypertufa projects? Join Master Gardener Sandi Dew for this new, messy, and fun adventure making draped hypertufa flower pots. Fee $15. Limit 14 participants. Wear old clothes, bring an old bath towel and latex gloves.Register Online Here

Tuesday, October 17, 1:00 PM. Master Gardener, Penny Deiner will share The Idea Garden.  For many, the planting season is over, but the planning season has just begun. Now is the time to reflect on your garden and plan for next year. Whether you want to make small changes or big ones, subtle or profound, a larger garden or a smaller one, primarily annuals or perennials, vegetables or flowers I will share ideas that have worked for us in our demonstration garden and in our personal gardens. Some of them will inspire you, others may make you groan.  But most will give you an idea that you can personalize and make it part of planning for your idea garden.Register Online Here

Tuesday, October 24, 6:30 PM. Master Gardener Gainor Urian will take you on a tour of container gardening. There is no limit to the containers that might be used to showcase plants. Container gardening is versatile and fun as well as functional. The discussion will include; choosing a container, what planting medium to use, what plants to use, esthetic as well as practical uses for containers and finally maintenance. If you don’t know them already, you will learn the three words that guarantee design success for any container planting.Register Online Here

Tuesday, November 14, 6:30 PM. Master Gardener Tracy Mulveny will hold a craft workshop making seed tape cards and other items for holiday gifting to your gardening friends. Bring your children and grandchildren to this fun workshop. Fee $5. Limit 25 participants.Register Online Here

Thursday, December 14, 1:00 PM. Master Gardener Mary Noel will conduct a workshop on making a beautiful door sway for the holidays. This hands-on workshop will require you to bring a pair of shears and an icepick or something similar with a sharp point. The basis for the swag is a potato, which will be provided. Evergreens and ribbon will be also be provided.   Fee $15. Limit 20 participants.Register Online Here

Pre-register for workshops by contacting Tammy Schirmer at (302) 856-2585, ext. 544 or by email at You can also register online at

Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices. It is Delaware Cooperative Extension’s policy that that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran or handicap status. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event.

The workshops will be held at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Del. Pre-registration is required. You may register online or contact Tammy Schirmer at 302-856-2585, ext 544.

For assistance with home lawn, garden and pest questions, contact:
Sussex County Garden Helpline (302) 856-2585 ext. 535

Delaware 4-H Selected to Receive a Grant from The Molina Foundation

The Delaware 4-H Program was selected to receive a grant of 7,000 new children’s books to help the families we serve create word-filled homes and promote reading and learning.
The donation was from The Molina Foundation as part of its 7,000-book Books Across Delaware literacy campaign, in collaboration with University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

“We feel extremely honored and very much appreciate this gift,” said Doug Crouse, State 4-H Program Leader. “We care about supporting the success of children and families who we serve. Literacy is the key to progress for our community.”

The goal of the Books Across Delaware campaign is to provide resources to help children, parents, and caregivers create word-filled homes through reading and learning together. The initiative is designed to promote back-to-school learning and help combat the “summer slide” where students lose academic ground over the break.

The Molina Foundation, a national nonprofit organization in Long Beach, CA, is dedicated to the mission of reducing disparities in access to education and health. To learn more about The Molina Foundation, visit their website: or follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@molinagiving), or Instagram (@molina_foundation).

It’s Tailgate Season!!!

The temperature is getting crisp and the sun is setting earlier.  These changes mean tailgate season is here.  Everyone enjoys getting together with friends and family to cheer their favorite team and to enjoy food together before the game — and sometimes after the game.

Will this be a winning season on the gridiron for your team and for your tailgate party?  Just like your favorite team, you need to plan so that you and your guests enjoy tasty, safe food.  Planning is the key to keeping your food safe during a tailgate. Here are some questions to ask when planning what to serve.

  • Do you have enough coolers to keep the food cold during the trip to the game and while everything is cooking? If possible, use separate coolers for uncooked meats and ready-to-eat items such as potato salad or raw veggies or fruits.
  • Do you have sufficient containers or plastic bags to be sure juices from raw meat and poultry don’t drip on ready-to-eat items if you must store in the same cooler?
  • Do you have several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of ice available to keep perishable food like raw hamburger patties, sausages, and chicken cold?
  • Do you have a source of water to wash your hands? If none is available at the site, you can make your own portable handwashing station using a large water cooler and bucket to catch the used water. Be sure to pack plenty of soap and paper towels.
  • Do you have a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of that burger or chicken you are cooking on the grill? It’s the only way you can be sure your meat or poultry has reached a safe temperature (160°F for ground meats, 165°F for poultry, and 145°F for steaks and chops).
  • Do you have a way to keep food that is cooked before departing for the game hot (above 135°F) during the drive to the game and before serving?
  • Do you have a way to either keep food cold (below 40°F) or hot (above 135°F) if you plan on enjoying leftovers after the game?  Food left at room temperature should be eaten within 2 hours (1 hour if the game day temperature is above 90 °F and remember the interior of your car can get quite warm even on a cold day).

When you plan your tailgate, use this checklist to make sure you have a safe, winning party:

  • Clean: Soap and water to wash hands. Wet disposable cloths or moist toilettes and hand sanitizer are alternatives for cleaning hands if it is not possible to use water and soap.
  • Separate: Separate plates and utensils for raw meats and cooked meats.  No contact of juices from raw meat and poultry with ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook: Grill, fuel, cooking utensils, food thermometer.
  • Chill: Coolers, ice or frozen gel packs, clean containers for storing leftovers.

Enjoy the game knowing you followed the above safely practices for the food you served at your party.  Hopefully, just like you, your team has practiced and followed the rules of the game so they are winners, too.

Navigating the Healthcare System-Upcoming Programs

For most people, understanding medical information can become a confusing and overwhelming task. Knowing how to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make smart health decisions has become a shared responsibility between you and your health care professionals. In the United States, only about 12% of adults have proficient health literacy skills and can confidently complete these responsibilities. It is important to increase your health literacy skills to become more independent with your health care needs. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has collaborated with Nemours Health and Prevention Services to develop an adult health literacy program, Navigating the Health Care System. During this program, participants will learn about various health care facilities, different types of doctors, the importance of medical history, general health insurance information, and how to navigate a visit with a doctor. Participants will leave with a better understanding of how to manage their health care and be a self-advocate for their personal wellness. We are offering this program on the following dates:

October 5th from 5:00 – 7:00pm
Kent County Extension Office
69 Transportation Circle
Dover, DE

October 26th from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Sussex County Extension Office
16483 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE

If you would like more information on this program, please contact Sarah Bercaw at or 302-831-8131.

Two short courses offered for fall poultry production program

Delaware Cooperative Extension will offer a fall poultry production program in early October at two locations. The identical programs focus on fundamentals of ventilation, poultry house controller basics, facts and figures poultry growers should know. Sessions will be presented by Sydney Riggi and Georgie Cartanza. Nutrient management credits are available.

This session is free, however, please pre-register by contacting Terra Eby (302) 730-4000.

Two locations to choose from:

October 2, 2017
6-8 p.m.
University of Delaware Paradee Center
69 Transportation Circle
Dover, Del. 19901

October 4, 2017
1-3 p.m.
UD Carvel Research and Education Center
16483 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, Del. 19947



Nutrient Management Fall Equine Program

Title Delaware Cooperative Extension Nutrient Management program will conduct a specialized equine session on October 10, 2017, at the New Castle County Extension office, 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, Delaware 19717.

This evening program will feature Dr. Rose D. Nolen-Walston, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine speaking on “Global Worming: How to prevent de-wormer meltdown in the 21st Century”, Mr. Kevin Donnelly, New Castle County Conservation District Coordinator speaking about New Castle County Conservation District Programs for Equine Operations and Susan Garey, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Agent in Animal Science will give helpful pointers on fall fertilization and weed control for pastures.  Sydney Riggi, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Agent, Nutrient Management will wrap up the evening speaking about Preparing an Animal Waste Management Plan for Your Farm. Time will be available for participants to begin creating their Animal Waste Management Plan if needed for their own operation. Nutrient management continuing education credits will be available for participants.

For more information email Terra Eby or call: 302-730-4000




Duffy’s Hope Youth Garden in Wilmington

Leafcutter bee (genus Megachile) on Gaillardia flower. Photo Credit: David Clarke

Duffy’s Hope, Inc. manages and owns a Youth Garden on Wilmington’s Eastside that provides fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers to youth and their families involved in Duffy’s Hope programs. In addition, people in the Eastside Community in the area of the Garden are engaged in many activities that contribute to the Garden success resulting in a strong Duffy’s Hope-Eastside Community relationship. Overall, the project encourages Duffy’s Hope youth and the surrounding Community to live healthier lives through the proactive benefits of gardening.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is interested in identifying sites throughout Delaware that provide habitats with a diversity of sustainable forage pollinators to thrive.  Thalia Pappas and David Clarke visited the Duffy’s Hope Youth Garden to document what pollinators were attracted to the numerous species of flowers and vegetables grown in the garden.  From a first look, David was able to photograph and identify 4 species of native bees present in the flowers during the visit.  He has also provided background on the biology of the species he photographed.

Our hope is that this initial look at pollinators visiting the garden serves as an inspiration to show that it is possible to attract and create an environment for a diversity of pollinating insects in an urban setting by establishing a garden of flowering plants, vegetables and herbs.  These pollinators, in turn, will provide essential pollination services for the plants so that they can set fruit and seed for human and wildlife consumption.

For more information on DDA’s Pollinator Protection Plan visit:

To read more about the pollinators at Duffy’s Hope, click here.

More on Community and School Gardens here >>