2018 Brunswick County Plan of Work

Approved: April 10, 2018

I. County Background

The Brunswick Vision strategic plan of 2017 included Extension staff to lead a citizen input group and serve on a guiding unit. The needs assessment portion identified many issues in the county that provide opportunities for Extension programming (promote agribusiness and agritourism; preserve shoreline, protect waterways and other environmental features; attract younger residents; and preserving agricultural and rural heritage). Marketing is an organizational issue that must be addressed based on Advisory Council input and because in the Brunswick Vision plan a forced ranking of departments ranked Cooperative Extension low, even though service satisfaction with Extension was mentioned specifically as a strength of the county by participants in the survey.
The staff will focus on three main areas in 2018: Marketing of our programs, Leveraging Local and State Resources, and Strengthening Community Partnerships. These priority areas are based on needs assessments and observations by staff and advisory groups. We are looking forward to a highly productive year with a full staff.


Background

With over 123,000 residents, Brunswick County consistently has one of the fastest growth rates in North Carolina and is often among the leading growth counties nationwide as the local economy continues to rebound from a large recession which started late in the last decade. County Government is highly stable and fiscally sound with good leadership at the administration and department levels with nearly 1,000 employees working for the good of our residents.

Geographically, the county is a large (847 sq mi) coastal plain entity predominated by sand, low topography, shifting barrier islands and several small river systems which are completely contained within our borders. Economically, the county is split: the southern portion of Brunswick (below Highway 17) tends to be affluent along the coast while the portion of the county North of the highway is more rural with pockets of economic challenges.

Historically, the area was settled by Europeans in the early 1700's due to the region's valuable Naval Stores and Cape Fear River port. A colonial challenge to the tax stamps at Brunswick Towne preceded the Boston Tea Party by eight years. British forces and the Union Navy defeated the nearby Fort Anderson's inhabitants during their respective wars and the location remains as a state historic site. Today, Brunswick County has more municipalities than any other county in North Carolina and arguably the most number of golf courses here on the “Golf Coast.”

In Brunswick County, Extension is in a unique position to provide educational programming to various groups based on the identified needs. Several programs in the county target limited resource audiences with about 17,400 residents living below the poverty level. By curating the research-based information generated at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University, we can provide Brunswick County citizens with the information and solutions to meet the needs of the county.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

III. Other Objectives

Continue development of the "Gardens of Brunswick" concept as a premier horticultural destination site and teaching garden.
1) In cooperation with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Brunswick Community College's Horticulture Department, continue development of complementary plants collections with plant identification labels at the main campus and the government complex that will be marketed as the "Gardens of Brunswick". 2) In cooperation with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Brunswick Community College's Horticulture Department, develop an internship program where college students assist in the expansion of the Brunswick Botanical Garden and other county-owned properties. 3) Incorporate the Brunswick Botanical Garden and the storm water best management practices demonstration into a comprehensive plan for enhancing the landscaped areas of the Brunswick County Government Complex. 4) Develop and implement major events centered around the botanical garden with educational and community development components. These may include tours of the gardens and special events highlighting specific plant collections or other aspects of the garden. 5) Incorporate additional areas (Buildings F and G, new fuel station, parking lot in front of Building N) into the Brunswick Botanical Garden to improve aesthetics, properly handle storm water and expand the educational mission of the garden.

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Brunswick Vision Plan was approved by the County Commissioners in January of 2017. The strategic priority areas of the plan and some of Extension's relationships to them are as follows:

Economic Development: Cooperative Extension supports the $48M agricultural industry in the county, the green industry, hospitality and food service businesses through training and services provided.

Education and Workforce Development: 4-H youth development programs challenge and support our children and enrich the curriculum provided by our school system with leadership and STEM initiatives. Pesticide Education programs provide job skills for green industry and agriculture workers.

Public Safety: The Voluntary Agricultural District supports farm and forest lands which have a lower public safety and public services cost per land area than other zoned uses.

Public Health: Family and Consumer Science programs seek to prevent chronic health conditions, improve health of individuals and families, and teach parents the skills they need to keep their families thriving. Partnerships with Vector Control agencies help public pesticide operators manage mosquito and other problematic pest populations.

Quality of Life: Horticulture staff teach and demonstrate the skills needed to beautify our surroundings with native plants and environmentally appropriate plantings through workshops, seminars, and at the Brunswick Botanical Gardens.

Infrastructure: Agriculture and Horticulture programs address irrigation efficiency and appropriate water use.

Public Information and Citizen Engagement: Extension's Advisory Leadership System and grassroots input format maintain a strong connection between the public and local government.

Regarding emergency situations, Cooperative Extension staff are part of the Local Emergency Planning Commission and are activated when the Emergency Operations Center is initiated during emergent events. Additionally, the Training Center at the Extension office is an overflow facility for emergencies requiring larger numbers of staff or volunteers.

V. Diversity Plan

NC Cooperative Extension's Brunswick County Center is committed to employing a diverse staff and providing educational opportunities that will help improve the quality of life for all audiences including those that have traditionally been under-served. Programs are open to persons without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability and other dimensions of human diversity. All reasonable efforts are made to ensure accessibility including translation services for non-English speaking individuals and accommodations for the visually and hearing-impaired.

To accomplish this plan, local churches, crisis assistance organizations, and other community oriented non-profits throughout the county are being sought as partners in programming. Food production, healthy living and youth development topics have proven themselves as ways to gain entry into a community and share additional resources as needs and interests provide further guidance.

VI. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Brunswick County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Brunswick County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Brunswick County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost benefit analysis as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Council
Jane Kulesza
Ron Skubic
JoAnn Shandley
Michael Gore
Allison Campbell
Yvette Gosling
Margaret Shelton
4-H Advisory Committee
Bobbi Lawrence
Sydney Blair
Autumn Apple
Amelia Apple
Arletta Aleshire
Elizabeth Jones
Melinda Johnson
JoAnn Shandley
Horticulture Advisors
Jeanne Pavero
Merry MacBarb
Vicki Fuhrmann
Vic Stephens
Krystyna Ochota
Grace Wrigley
Voluntary Agricultural District
Chip Carroll
Jody Clemmons
Sam Bellamy
Marc Green
Mamie Caison
Kirstie Dixon
Michelle Kasey
Local Foods Policy Council
Jane Kulesza
Sarah Daniels
Margaret Shelton
Michael Callahan
Lewis Dozier
Morgan Nelms

VIII. Staff Membership

Mark Blevins
Title: County Extension Director, Brunswick & Interim County Extension Dir, New Hanover
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: mark_blevins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Mark directs the total county program in beautiful Brunswick County and has service responsibilities for agriculture, environmental issues and community development.

Gina Britton
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: Gina_Britton@ncsu.edu

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mike_frinsko@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide technical training and assistance to commercial aquaculture producers in the Southeast Extension District

Anita Handler
Title: Program Coordinator, Youth Restitution Grant
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: anita_handler@ncsu.edu

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety (FSMA Programs)
Phone: (919) 515-5396
Email: marissa_herchler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marissa is an Area Specialized Agent for animal food safety, with emphasis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, as they apply to feed mills in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any FSMA related questions, or PCQI training inquiries.

Alicia Jenkins
Title: Program Associate, Parent Education
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: alicia_jenkins@ncsu.edu

Kwanisha Jenkins
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: kjenkin5@ncsu.edu

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

Michelle Kasey
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: michelle_kasey@ncsu.edu

Morgan King
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: mhking3@ncsu.edu

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

Angie Lawrence
Title: Program Associate, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 253-2592
Email: angie_lawrence@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H TiLT Coordinator

Shawn Lennon
Title: Program Assistant - Agriculture, Horticulture
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: slennon@ncsu.edu

Bill Lord
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Resources
Phone: (919) 496-3344
Email: william_lord@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water quality education and technical assistance

Sam Marshall
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: wsmarsh2@ncsu.edu

Stephanie McDonald-Murray
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Southeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (910) 296-2143
Email: stephanie_mcdonald@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the South East District.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Morgan McKnight
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: morgan_mcknight@ncsu.edu

Diana Rashash
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Quality/Waste Management
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: diana_rashash@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water and wastewater issues of all types: stormwater, aquatic weed ID & control, water quality & quantity, septic systems, animal waste, land application of wastewater, environment & sustainability, climate, etc.

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Allan Thornton
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

Thomas Woods
Title: Agriculture Technician
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: tom_woods@ncsu.edu

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 250-1112
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

Brunswick County Center
25 Referendum Dr
Bolivia, NC 28422

Phone: (910) 253-2610
Fax: (910) 253-2612
URL: http://brunswick.ces.ncsu.edu