Friends of Extension honored at 2017 conference

Individuals, partners, and organizations were honored as “Friends of Extension” on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at Delaware Cooperative Extension’s First State Innovate and annual conference held at Delaware State University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Center in Dover.

Extension staff from Delaware’s two Land-Grant universities, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, meet annually for a day of professional development, networking and use the opportunity to recognize valued support from the community.

The awardees were nominated by extension professionals across the agriculture, 4-H, FCS and horticulture departments and were presented by Donna Brown, interim director of extension for Delaware State University and Michelle Rodgers, associate dean, and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

“The Friend of Extension Award is the highest recognition presented to a non-extension person, business or organization and is designed to recognize the truly outstanding support and personal involvement in extension efforts,” Rodgers said.

Honorees from the University of Delaware: 

Michelle Rodgers, Hetty Francke, Doug Crouse

Hetty Francke. A volunteer with extension for 30-plus years, Francke became a Master Gardener in 1987 and a Master Composter in 1989 and she served as volunteer compost education coordinator for Delaware 4-H.



Laurie Wolinski, Dan Severson, Ken Wicks (Lazy Boy Farms), Michelle Rodgers

Lazy Boy Farm. This family farm operation in Middletown has produced fresh cabbage, potatoes, soybean, corn, and wheat since 1956. Brothers Ken and Chris Wicks, and their respective children Anna Wicks, a UD Alumna, and Michael, comprise the three-generation farm.



Michelle Rodgers, Karen Sommers, Maria Pippidis

Karen Sommers. A Master Food Educator (MFE) since 2011 with the Family and Consumer Science program, Sommers is valued for her tireless wisdom and volunteer efforts, with 175 hours served in the first half of 2017 alone.



Tracy Wootten, Pat and Alex Bohinski, Michelle Rodgers

Pat and Alex Bohinski and their staff at Southern States provide advanced training to Delaware Master Gardeners by participating in numerous meetings covering a variety of topics to keep Master Gardeners informed with new lawn and garden products, trends and problems.




Delaware State University honorees:

Donna Brown, Natasha Lamadieu, Pastor William Grimes

Pastor William Grimes. Under his leadership at the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Dover, Grimes opened his 4,200 square foot outreach center and collaborates with Delaware Cooperative Extension, helping to promote a healthy lifestyle through community dinners and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).


Donna Brown, Keesha Braunskill, Megan Pleasanton

Kesha Braunskill works for the Delaware Forest Service and serves on the state’s Urban and Community Forest Council. Braunskill offers training on tree diseases and diagnosis, tree management, tree plantings and job site safety.



Harry Thayer, Kendal & Delores Tyre (New Hope Recreation & Development Center, Inc.) Donna Brown

New Hope Recreation and Development Center, Inc. This organization led by Kendal and Delores Tyre bring STEM education to the youth they serve during afterschool and summer camp programs. The Tyre’s center and volunteer staff provide a safe place for youth where students can learn and improve their academic and social skills.



Photos by Jackie Arpie and Monica Moriak

Additional photos may be viewed on our Flickr gallery.