Category Archives: New Castle County

Your Money Your Goals

finance-photoAre you in a helping profession? Do you mentor others? Staff from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will be presenting training on the Your Money Your Goals a Financial Empowerment Toolkit for Social Services programs. This resource was specifically designed for those who may need to increase their comfort level in sharing good accurate financial management information with those they work with. The toolkit provides resources that can be copied and distributed to customers/clientele.

Financial topics that will be covered include:

  • Setting Financial Goals
  • Saving for Unexpected Emergencies and Goals
  • Managing Income and Benefits
  • Paying Bills and Other Expenses
  • Managing Cash Flow
  • Dealing with Debt and Understanding Credit Reports and Scores
  • Protecting Consumer Rights
  • Evaluating Financial Service Providers

The full day training reviews the content of the material and provides some guidelines on how to best use the materials with others. Dates are scheduled in April with a registration deadline date of April 17th.  Go to this link for the training schedule and a registration form

The cost of $25/per person covers a light lunch and snacks for the day.

From home visitors to lay people in church groups who mentor or council others, this tool kit will be a valuable addition to their resources. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Maria Pippidis at or call 831-1239.


Delaware 4-H alumni check in to win state $10K in STEM funds

Delaware 4-H Invites Local Alumni to Check In, Help Youth Win $10,000 Science Sponsorship


Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown
Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown

UPDATE: Feb. 10, 2015. Delaware 4-H is currently leading the nation to win the $10,000 Science  Scholarship! Following in second place is West Virginia 4-H, and in third place is Maine 4-H.

January 20, 2015 – Delaware 4-H announced today they are competing in a national contest to win a $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship. Local 4-H alumni will determine the outcome.

The contest is part of the 4-H GROWN Alumni Campaign, sponsored by National 4-H Council and HughesNet. The interactive campaign invites the estimated 25 million 4-H alumni across the U.S. to help direct sponsorship funding by checking in, tagging friends and casting votes to bring more science innovation experiences to youth in their hometown communities.

When a local 4-H alum “checks-in” at , Delaware will get one vote closer to winning the $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship for the state. With the sponsorship, 4-H leaders will engage local youth in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities, and will challenge them to design innovative solutions to solve a real community problem.

If Delaware wins a sponsorship, up to two local young innovators will also have a chance to receive an all-expenses paid trip to the flagship 4-H National Youth Science Day event in Washington, D.C., where they will participate in the world’s largest youth-led science experiment.

“We see every day the impact of 4-H in growing confident, caring and capable young people who are skilled for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow,” said Doug Crouse, interim 4-H project leader at Delaware 4-H. “This is an exciting chance for 4-H alumni who also understand the life-changing 4-H experience to help us reach more young people and show them that STEM can be rewarding and fun.”

Through 4-H GROWN, local alumni will also re-connect with the local 4-H that helped them succeed and with a network of millions of 4-Hers around the world.

National 4-H Council and HughesNet are offering this opportunity through their collaboration to spark more youth interest in STEM. The partnership brings hands-on STEM learning experiences to youth across the country, with a focus on small communities where resources for interactive STEM learning are limited.

To check in as a 4-H alum and help Delaware win an “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship, visit


To learn more about the National 4-H Council and HughesNet partnership, visit


Cooperative Extension agents, Master Gardeners offer gardening advice

AG-Morning_With_An_Expert-Gateway_GardensUniversity of Delaware Cooperative Extension agents, specialists and Master Gardeners headed to Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, Delaware, on Saturday, May 10, to give a brief presentation on successful gardening methods.

The team was on hand to discuss good plant health and identification of both insect pests and beneficial insects in local landscapes, and to answer any questions that the customers had when it came to their home gardens. 

They were also there to inform the public about the many free and beneficial services Cooperative Extension offers to the community.

Brian Kunkel, an extension specialist, and Carrie Murphy, extension agent, attended the event along with Jane Adams, Betsy Rosenberger and Bob Deming, all Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.

Murphy said the program was successful as it provided “another great opportunity to take Cooperative Extension and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) information directly to home gardeners, in their community garden center.”

Kunkel said he answered mostly insect- and pest-related questions, as he brought with him a variety of insects and examples of diseased plants.

“We had a table where I brought pinned insect specimens, various wasps and bees, because that’s often a common question I get from home owners — what can I do with my bees? So I was able to say, ‘Look, all these bees that you’re seeing here are not pests. However, they can be a nuisance and in some instances you may need to do something, it just depends on your own physiology and what your own tolerance levels are,’” said Kunkel.

Kunkel said that while it was important to educate those who were at the garden center about insects and plant disease, there also was a larger goal of informing them about the many Cooperative Extension services that are available.

“We provide a service at no cost to home owners and I think a lot of the industry is fully aware that we are there, and they use us when they have the need, but homeowners aren’t always aware that there is actually help out there that is reliable and that they don’t have to pay for,” said Kunkel. “Our goal has been to try and increase Cooperative Extension awareness, and that it’s not going to cost anything and that we’re willing to help you out.”

As far as the services Cooperative Extension offers homeowners, Kunkel mentioned insect and plant disease diagnoses, plant identification, soil sampling — to let homeowners know what type of soil they have and what plants will perform the best in their gardens — and household insect identification.

Murphy added that the team provided information about the Master Gardener program, including the garden line (302-831-8862), home gardener workshops, the home horticulture advice program, and demonstration gardens, and information on “sustainable landscapes and implementing an IPM plan in your landscape to help sustain its health.”

An open house, integrated pest management (IPM) walk and talk will be held on Thursday, June 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension teaching and demonstration garden. Kunkel, Murphy and the Master Gardeners will take participants on a plant, pest and beneficial insect walk. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the Cooperative Extension Lawn and Garden website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Evan Krape

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Nutrient Management Credits Offered at Upcoming Pasture Walks

pasture-walkThe 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

6:30-8:30 pm

Managing Your Landscape Sustainably

Sustainable is certainly the buzzword of the decade, but what does it mean when it comes to managing your garden? Sustainable involves letting natural systems occur and providing as few inputs as possible. Two great examples are leaf cycling for mulch and planting groundcover to control weeds.

This meadow in the back corner of a demonstration sustainable home landscape was mowed in early spring.  Last year’s debris serves as a mulch to reduce weeds as he warm season grasses come up in late spring.
This meadow in the back corner of a demonstration sustainable home landscape was mowed in early spring. Last year’s debris serves as a mulch to reduce weeds as he warm season grasses come up in late spring.

First, there is no need to go out and buy tons of new mulch every year. What can you use from your own site that will function as a mulch to keep moisture in and reduce weeds in the garden? Leaves and any other yard waste you’ve composted make great mulch. Chip up leaves that are remaining from last year with a lawn mower and spread them on your landscape beds. The first time you cut the lawn in the spring; there will probably be enough leaves in the mix so you get a nice mulching material to spread on your beds. If you’ve composted your own yard waste over the winter, it will be ready to spread this spring. You can also get composted yard waste from a variety of sources, including the City of Newark site on 896. It

Leaf clippings are used as mulch temporarily as these perennials come up and fill in this landscape bed.
Leaf clippings are used as mulch temporarily as these perennials come up and fill in this landscape bed.

is free to anyone with a pick-up truck or vehicle capable of hauling mulch. You also may have enough mulch on your beds and all you need to do is use a hard rake to loosen the crust and spread it evenly over your landscape bed. Ultimately, the goal of any garden should be to have plants cover the ground so you don’t need new mulch every year. Think about the natural system of a forest—leaf litter, ground cover, shrub layer, understory trees and canopy trees make up all the layers you need in a landscape.

How is water managed on your property? Can you add trees, shrubs and groundcovers that will help take up water before it runs off your property or puddles in a low spot?

Next, think about areas of your landscape that should be lawn because you play on them, walk on them, entertain on them or need them to set off the rest of your plantings. Then look at the rest of the space on your property that might not need to be lawn. What could it be? A mini-forest or a meadow? Why not let your grass grow in some areas and cut it infrequently (once a month or once a year)? You can play around with those spaces and change them whenever you want by mowing again, if desired. Think what you could do in your garden (or elsewhere) if you didn’t need to mow an acre of lawn every week this year.

Cooperative Extension has two great publications that can help you make changes in your landscape.

“Livable Ecosystems: A model for suburbia” is available online ( or by calling your county extension office.

The newest publication “Livable Lawns: Managing a healthy lawn can be viewed online (


4-H Keeps Active Despite Fridgid Winter

4-H Favorite FoodsA little snow and ice never put a damper on the 4-H spirit! Despite the artic weather, 4-Hers have been busy this winter with lots of events and competitions.

In January, 4-H members from around the region met in Rehoboth for Delaware’s first 4-H Youth Adult Partnership conference. It was a fun-filled weekend that focused on healthy living and making a difference in the community.

The weather worsened as February loomed, but 4-H didn’t slow down. Adults and kids braved the elements and brought their most heartwarming dishes to a snowy Favorite Foods competition. A few winning entrees were from Olivia Ferrier, of the Bunny Bunch in the Beginner’s Appetizer division; Tyler Melson of the Meado-Larks for his Junior Breads offering; and Meredith Burns and Sarah Apps from the Summit Bridge Club for their Cloverbuds Table Setting. For a complete listing of winners, please see the February Newsletter .

Soon after, 4-Hers showed bravery of a different kind by participating in the 2014 Public Speaking Contest. Eason Li of  the Woodworking Club won the Beginners category. Matthew Johnston took home the win for the Junior category, and Bobby Johnston won in the Senior category. Both are from the Clover Quest 4-H Club.

The Photography contest had 20 participants, all of whom took some beautiful photos for several different categories. The Delaware Diamonds secured wins in both the Beginner and Junior Division, with wins from Lindsey Kaufmann and Sidney Kaufmann, respectively. The Senior Division was won by Caitlin Aber from the Bunny Bunch.

Saturdays in February have been the stage for the 4-H Winter Workshops. Workshops have featured exciting subjects such as jewelry making, public speaking, robotics, digital photography, a Health Rocks “Train the Trainer” course… and often, a little snow.  The final two workshops, on creative pet crafts and the amazing variety of soil colors, took place under decidedly warmer conditions.

The winter this year has been unusually miserable, but not for 4-Hers! The spring holds the promise of sunny skies, warmer temperatures… and more great 4-H activities. Keep your eye on our website for upcoming events, “like” us on Facebook for updates, and get involved.


Look What the Master Gardeners Are Doing Now!

CANRimages_061 (1)Over the last several years, the monarch butterfly population has dwindled at an alarming rate. The New York Times detailed this in a fascinating article titled, “The Year The Monarchs Didn’t Appear”.

New Castle County Master Gardeners are taking an active role in helping to save the monarchs, as well as spreading the word to school-aged children through the Junior Gardener program.

Specifically, the Master Gardeners are growing 3 species of milkweed from seed in the Fischer Greenhouse and will be purchasing asters and goldenrods to provide free milkweed and nectar plants for selected schools. They have arranged to visit the schools that will be receiving the free plants and will work with them to create Monarch Waystations on their school grounds.

Master Gardeners are also assisting the New Castle County 4-H with a Science Saturday Workshop entitled “Project Butterfly WINGS” where kids can explore the butterfly habitat at the Lepidoptera Garden and take home milkweed to support their own monarch habitat.

They will also be creating a Monarch Waystation in the Master Gardener Native Plant Teaching Garden at the New Castle County Extension Office.

Look for the Master Gardener tent at the University of Delaware’s Ag Day 2014 on Saturday, April 26 and for their “Save the Monarchs” feature. Monarch Watch has generously donated brochures and other materials for handout at this and other workshops and events to help raise awareness and give information on what the casual gardener can do to help.2013-04-27 10.13.24

Interested in the Junior Gardeners program for your school? See our Spring Brochure, or call 831-2667.

Information on the Master Gardener program, along with lots of resources and information for both home and commercial gardeners can be found by following the link for Lawn & Garden.

UD Cooperative Extension Welcomes New Agriculture Agent

Dan SeversonThe University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is proud to welcome Daniel Severson as a new agriculture agent for New Castle County. Severson brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in the agricultural field, as well as a long history with the University of Delaware.

Severson was born and raised on a small farm outside Dover, Del. where his family grew hay and raised chickens and dairy cows.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science at UD in 1994. After college, he held various positions in the agricultural field, including managing a dairy farm, running a feed mill, and working at DuPont Pharmaceuticals. Everything came full circle when he returned to UD in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences as their laboratory coordinator. While working at UD, he earned his master’s degree in education, specializing in science education.

Severson has returned to Extension because he missed working with agricultural producers. “The ag community is full of wonderful people who have great stories,” said Severson. “I love to visit with farmers and help them with whatever issues they are having. The farm has always been a fun place for me, and to work with and educate producers on agriculture is a plus.”

Severson brings with him strong practical knowledge from living on a working farm, as well as spending a great deal of his career in the dairy industry. He feels his experience and education are his best assets. He looks forward to the opportunity to learn new concepts in his position as an agriculture agent that he can pass along to local agriculture producers. Seeing them incorporate new ideas into their production and succeed is something that he finds very rewarding.

He is married, with four children and lives on a small working farm in Cecil County, Maryland, where he raises goats, chickens and pigs.

Please visit for more information on UD Extension’s Agricultural programs and resources.

Delaware Master Gardeners Donate to the Food Bank of Delaware

112013-ncc-demo-gardenAt the end of the growing season, Delaware Master Gardeners harvested parsnips, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, and pak choi from their demonstration vegetable garden at the Extension Office to donate to the Food Bank of Delaware.

Altogether, in 2013, Master Gardeners harvested and donated more than 700 pounds of fresh produce for the Food Bank of Delaware.