The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is offering pasture walks in two locations this spring. Participants will have the opportunity to earn nutrient management and pesticide certification credits. The first walk is being held on May 28th from 6:30-8:30 pm and is being hosted at the farm of Rick and Kim Vincent of Harrington and the second walk will be on June 4th from 6:30-9:00 pm at the University of Delaware’s Webb Farm in Newark. Program agendas are listed below. Participants are welcome to bring a plant or weed sample with them for identification. Please pre-register if you plan on attending either program.
For more information click through to the new Animal Science with Extension blog.
May 28th Pasture Walk Hosted by Rick and Kim Vincent
3427 Burnite Mill Rd. Harrington, DE 19952
Jack Gallagher grew up on a farm, but he never cared much for the squawking chickens pecking around. The Pennsylvania farm boy gravitated toward the coastline, where he built a career studying salt marsh vegetation as a marine scientist in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).
Yet the professor emeritus of marine biosciences has returned to his agricultural roots, having found a potential new use for salt marsh plants: chicken bedding.
“I never thought I’d be involved with chickens,” Gallagher said. “That’s the exciting thing about research: You never know where it’s going to lead.”
With funding from Delaware Sea Grant and private supporters, Gallagher has long studied seashore mallow, a salt-tolerant, flowering plant found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. His research may end up helping not only chickens, but also farmers facing saltwater damage to their fields from worsening coastal flooding.
In a new partnership with UD Cooperative Extension, the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), Delaware Wild Lands, CEOE, Delaware Sea Grant and others, Gallagher and his wife, retired CEOE research scientist Denise Seliskar, will help grow seashore mallow for testing as an alternative material for poultry house bedding.
The team will plant seashore mallow in areas where flooding has left soil salty and difficult to raise traditional crops like soybeans. According to recent estimates, sea level is rising rapidly in Delaware compared to the rest of the country, and up to 11 percent of the state’s total land area may be inundated by the end of the century. Farmers’ fields are already starting to flood more often, become inarable due to salinization and get taken over by invasive plants like Phragmites australis.
Gallagher initially began studying seashore mallow as a natural way to mitigate against such saltwater contamination. Seashore mallow can serve as a buffer plant against coastal flooding, with the plant fending off Phragmites and its deep root system fighting erosion. Seashore mallow is attractive for planting in new areas because it has large seeds that are easy to harvest and mechanically plant.
Gallagher and Seliskar planted two seashore mallow test plots about 10 years ago, one at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus and the other at a nearby family farm in Lewes, the latter of which was the first effort to scale a planting to use commercial farm equipment. Since then, they have investigated a multitude of uses for seashore mallow.
The seeds contain a high percentage of oil, making them a potential source for biodiesel feedstock — and the remaining seed meal usable as feed for cattle and fish. Other harvestable materials from seashore mallow include nectar for honey, thread for cloth and animal bedding.
“We’ve gotten a lot of different products out of the plant,” Gallagher said.
The 2010 BP oil spill inspired a volunteer researcher in his lab to explore seashore mallow’s absorbency, finding it to be effective at soaking up oil. Next, they and a U.S. Department of Agriculture partner in Illinois considered the plant as a base material for biodegradable kitty litter and hydromulch.
That sparked an idea among colleagues at UD.
“We started to say, ‘Well, if it has potential as an animal bedding, could that animal be chickens?’” said Jennifer Volk, a CEOE graduate and extension specialist for environmental quality and management with Cooperative Extension, pointing out that the poultry industry is an important economic sector in the Delmarva Peninsula.
Volk, Gallagher, UD Cooperative Extension’s Bill Brown and others will conduct a trial this spring, comparing seashore mallow bedding to pine shavings, the traditional material that has become increasingly costly and harder to find. They will also compare to two other bedding alternatives, Miscanthus and switchgrass.
The seashore mallow is chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces, making fluffy flakes to spread on the floor of poultry houses. The researchers will monitor the materials’ absorbency and the health of the chickens over the course of the study.
At the request of Delaware Wild Lands, DENIN helped bring the various partners together for early meetings on the project. Two DENIN Environmental Scholars are helping with the project as interns: CEOE undergraduate Harry Colmorgen will map agricultural land vulnerable to Delaware Bay flooding, and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics student Andrew Flemming will work on land-use agreements with property owners in Kent County.
“This is a truly interdisciplinary kind of project,” said Jeanette Miller, DENIN’s associate director of interdisciplinary programs. “If farmers in Delaware are able to grow a native plant like seashore mallow as an alternative to crops that are no longer suited for salt-impacted agricultural land, that would be a huge boon.”
With support from Delaware Sea Grant, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and additional grants, the project aims to plant 10 acres of seashore mallow by the spring of 2015. The team is looking at planted on land owned by Delaware Wild Lands.
In the process of the cross-University effort, Gallagher said he is finding himself interested to learn about the finer points of raising chickens. Bedding needs to sop away uric acid so the birds’ feet do not get irritated, while also insulating them from the ground. The litter also can’t be too dry, which can cause dehydration and respiratory illnesses.
It took a few decades, but the feathered flocks have started to grow on him.
“I like them better now,” Gallagher said with a chuckle.
Property owners of salt-impacted land who are interested in participating in the project can contact Jennifer Volk at email@example.com or 302-730-4000.
Article by Teresa Messmore
Article can also be found on UDaily.
85 Delaware 4-H members representing 26 teams competed recently in the State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware. The Horse Bowl event is a knowledge- based, quiz bowl competition. 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 this annual event. Members compete on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into brackets based on age. 4-H volunteer adult leaders coach young people to prepare them in the months leading up to the competition. 41 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event.
The top three teams in each age division were:
Beginner (8-10 year olds)
1st Place- Mini Stars- Sussex County
Team Members: Ruby Phillips, Layne Smith
Coaches: Jodie Gravenor, Heather Smith2nd Place- Palomino Ponies, Sussex County
Team Members: Cheyenne Bowman, Alexia Carroll, Donna Mullins, Paige Taylor
Coach: Heather Taylor
3rd Place- Stable Minds- Kent County
Team Members: Bethany Butler, Alex Docherty, Ally Smith, Ashton Stafford
Coaches: Heather Crouse, Stacy Stafford
Junior (11-13 year olds)
1st Place- Boots “N” Spurs- Sussex County
Team Members: Katelyn Records, Garrett Smith
Coach: Heather Records
2nd Place- Westville Wicked Riders- Kent County
Team Members: McKenna Corbeil, Maggie Kling
Coach: Brittany Blacksten, Laura Pomatto
3rd Place- Hearts-4-Horses- Kent County
Team Members: Rebekah Baughman, Nicole Cannavo, Ashlyn North, Donna Urian
Coach: Betsy Cannavo, Lee Halloran
Senior (14-19 year olds)
1st Place- Buckin’ Beauties- Sussex County
Team Members: Jackie Arpie, Rebecca Arpie, Mikayla Ockels, Whitney Records
Coach: Cindy Ockels
2nd Place- Hearts-4-Horses-Kent County
Team Members: Lexi Bloxom, Haley Reynolds, Hannah Ziccarelli
Coach: Rosemary Baughman, Connie Edwards
3rd Place- Holler-N-Hooves 4-H Club- Kent County
Team Members: Sara Deason, Katie Messick
Coaches: Sharon Little
4-H is a community of young people across Delaware learning leadership, citizenship and lifeskills. Join the Revolution of Responsibility! 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
Wash away memories of this winter and join Kent County Master Gardener’s at the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale to be held April 26, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Delaware State University Greenhouse.
The plant sale benefits the Kent Master Gardener Scholarship Fund and will include annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, vegetable and native plants. This is a plant-a-holic’s dream sale!
Scholarship Information The Kent Master Gardeners will be awarding three scholarships this year to students studying Agriculture or Agriculture related courses. The Master Gardeners raise the money for the scholarships at their annual plant sale held on the last Saturday in April at Delaware State University. In order to be eligible for the scholarships the student must have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The applications must be received by May 30, 2014. Applications have been sent to area high schools, private schools, charter schools and area colleges along with the Future Farmers of America. Information and applications can be obtained by calling the Kent County Cooperative Extension Office at 302-730-4000.
Kent County 4-H Dinner & Basket Auction
Friday, March 28, 2014
Felton Fire Hall
Basket Preview – 6:00 p.m. Dinner – 7:00 p.m.
The Kent County 4-H program is again hosting a special evening of fellowship, great food and entertainment to benefit the Delaware 4-H Foundation. A Basket Preview at 6:00 p.m. will be followed by the famous Felton Fire Hall menu of fried oysters, chicken salad, dumplings, and all the trimmings at 7:00 p.m. 4-H Clubs and Friends of 4-H from across the county are creating baskets full of treasures that will be auctioned following dinner. A silent auction will also be part of the evening’s festivities.
Proceeds from the evening’s activities will be used by the Foundation to continue supporting a growing 4-H program in Delaware. The Foundation will use proceeds from the auction to continue to support many 4-H educational experiences for our young people. Scholarships to 4-H Camps, judging trips, and trips to National 4-H Congress and Conference are only a few of the opportunities made possible by generous supporters of the Delaware 4-H Foundation.
Tickets for the evening are $30.00. A limited number of “Tables for Eight” are also available. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Kent County Extension Office at 302-730-4000. Reservations by mail must be made no later than March 18th by returning the attached form.
Save the date! Kent County Basket Auctions have generated over $215,000 in support for both the Kent County 4-H Program and the Delaware 4-H Foundation over the last 15 years. Join us on the 28th for another evening in this exciting series. Bring your checkbook or credit card and plan to join in the spirited bidding on a wide variety of items. Proceeds of the auction will benefit a terrific group of young people striving “To Make the Best Better.”
A weed science training will be held on March 12, 2014 at the Kent County Extension Office. Please pre-register by Friday, March 7 with Karen Adams at 302/856-2585 ext. 540. Additional information can be found at the Kent County Agricultural Extension Blog:
Be a part of Delaware 4-H’s tradition of excellence and attend the upcoming 2014 Delaware 4-H Volunteer Leader Forum!
A winter tradition, our forums offer a full day of educational workshops and fellowship with 4-H volunteers and a larger Extension family of experts, agents and educators. The location of the forum rotates annually among our three counties. This year, Kent County 4-H serves as host at the Polytech High School in Woodside, Delaware.
Delaware 4-H is pleased to offer diverse workshops. We encourage our 4-H volunteers to learn a new skill to take back to your 4-H clubs! The Delaware 4-H Leader Forum is open to all Delaware 4-H volunteers and also to adults who are considering joining our fantastic volunteer force. We will also continue our recognition in leader excellence by announcing the county and state 2014 Salute to Excellence winners.
- Directions to Polytech High School
- 2014 DE 4H State Leader Forum WORKSHOP PACKET and letter from Ernie Lopez
- Online Registration Form (Don’t delay! Workshops fill up fast!)
Questions or comments? Contact Ernie Lopez, Delaware 4-H Extension Specialist (302) 856-2585 x 561
Be a part of one of Delaware’s fastest growing volunteer forces! Become a Master Food Educator!
Many people have heard about Extension’s Master Gardener program. While the Master Gardeners offer information about best practices in gardening, similarly, the Master Food Educator program is for individuals who have an interest in nutrition, food preparation, health, wellness and the education of youth and adults. Whether you are a foods or nutrition professional or an individual without professional training, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educators will provide participants with the information and training needed to help expand the nutrition education efforts UD. The volunteers work in local communities and with organizations assisting with the ongoing initiatives of our organization.
Since the inception of the program in Delaware, Master Food Educators have staffed educational displays at locations such as the Delaware State Fair, Ag Day, health fairs and expos at schools and businesses. Additionally, Master Food educators have assisted with or conducted workshops or demonstrations on topics such as food safety, foods selection/preparation, nutrition and diet and stretching your food dollar. They have also offered school based educational program and assisted with the development of new educational resources.
Registrations for the newest Master Food Educator Training courses are now open. Winter 2014 training includes 14 weeks of Extension expert training beginning January 28 through March 23. Programs will be offered in Newark (for New Castle County residents) and in Dover (for Kent and Sussex County residents).
Individuals who are interested in nutrition, diet and health issues, want to learn, would enjoy working with and helping others or want to be affiliated with a professional organization are perfect candidates for this program. Applications must be received by January 17, 2014. To access an application click HERE
Courses are open to the public without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, age or national origin. This program provides participants 30 hours of training in the areas of nutrition, diet, health, food safety, food selection and preparation. Cooperative Extension is looking to those who would be willing to take the course and then volunteer 40 hours of time over the next year. Volunteers can choose how they give back time but suggestions might include assisting with the presentation of workshops such as Dining with Diabetes, Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart, Stretching Your Food Dollar and others or participating in other public programs sponsored by Cooperative Extension.
Photo Caption : 2013 Kent County 4-H Exploring Award Winners: Front Row (left to right): Leighton Webb, Cole Murphy, Brenna Geidel, Brielle Carter and Weston Williams. Second Row (left to right): Riley Taylor and Rachel Taylor. Back Row (left to right) Representative Dave Wilson, Delaware 4-H Foundation Director Denis Shaffer and Representative Bobby Outten.
4-H Recognizes First Year Members
The Delaware 4-H Foundation recognizes the first year 4-H’ers that completed their Exploring 4-H Project Record Book. This year there were 18 first year 4-H’ers honored this year with a framed certificate. This presentation encourages the 4-H’ers to complete a task they begin. These 4-H’ers continue to grow with the 4-H program and later in their 4-H career become Junior Leaders, and, hopefully, some of them will return in their adult life to become volunteer adult leaders.
The top first year 4-H’ers are selected from this group and receive special recognition given by the Ralph and Ann Clendaniel family and the Woodside Emeralds 4-H Club in memory of Holly Bishop. Assisting with the presentations were Delaware Representatives Bobby Outten and Dave Wilson and 4-H Foundation Director Dens Shaffer.
Third place winners were:
Jenna Davis, New Horizons 4-H Club
Cole Murphy, Vernon Creek 4-H Club
Second place winners were:
Rachel Taylor, Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club
Riley Taylor, Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club
The winners of the Outstanding First Year 4-H Awards were:
Brielle Carter, Peach Blossom 4-H Club
Brenna Geidel, Peach Blossom 4-H Club
Weston Williams, Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club
Leighton Webb, Peach Blossom 4-H Club
The recognition and awards program in the 4-H program encourages our young people to strive for excellence or, as our motto says, To Make The Best Better. If you would like to become part of this youth education program of the Delaware Cooperative Extension – University of Delaware as a member or volunteer 4-H leader, call the Kent Extension Office at 730-4000. The 4-H program is open to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, handicap, age or national origin.