2020 EBCI Plan of Work

Approved: February 27, 2020

I. County Background

The land owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is located in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. EBCI lands are fragmented into numerous parcels scattered across four of the most remote and mountainous counties in North Carolina. These counties are Swain, Jackson, Graham, and Cherokee. The United States Government holds the land in trust for the EBCI. The largest tract is the Qualla Boundary, where the town of Cherokee is located. Cherokee is a gateway community to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tribal government, tribal services and the Cherokee Extension office are centered in the town of Cherokee. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates under a corporate charter granted by the State of North Carolina.

EBCI Extension receives guidance from Tribal Leadership which includes: Principal Chief Richard Sneed, Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley, and Tribal Council (12 elected officials, two from each of the 6 main Tribal Communities). This Tribal Leadership, along with Tribal Program Directors and Managers also participate in USET(United Southeastern Tribes). This group has an Agricultural Committee. The Committee's Priorities included the following: a desire to re-establish knowledge of traditional agricultural skills, crops, and native plants resources; leadership, personal development and citizenship skills for all ages; education about the current agricultural trends and new marketing opportunities; food and nutrition decisions; education about home maintenance, home improvement, energy conservation and alternative energy; and financial education. The priorities address tribal issues and concerns.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief, Vice Chief, and Tribal Council provide goals and objectives that all relative programs partnering together work to achieve.

For 2020 the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians North Carolina Cooperative Extension office will continue focusing on the Grow Cherokee Plan Agriculture Economic Development Plan created by the Grow Cherokee Steering Committee and Withersravenel Inc. Consulting. This committee consisting of Tribal Management, Extension Staff, and the Tribal Business Development Office was charged with evaluating current Cherokee and regional needs in the areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The final report focuses on: Agricultural Capacity for the Qualla Boundary, Economic & Industry Analysis, Market Analysis of Opportunities & Demand, Supply Chain Recommendations, a comprehensive & sustained community engagement implementation plan & strategy, and recommendations for strategic growth of the EBCI's Ag & Natural Resource Programs. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians NC Cooperative Extension Office will assist in any way to help educate and train the public and Tribal Partners in areas identified by the findings of this report as they relate to extension. These areas include: small business development, marketing, branding, farmer and gardener education and support, food preservation development and expansion of current cannery, encouragement and development of community gardens and raised beds, a community food donations program, land use planning for agricultural production, identify possible niche markets and infrastructure development to be pursued by EBCI Business Development, and possibly develop an incubator farm project.

2020 Program Goals: The EBCI North Carolina Cooperative Extension Program's main goals for 2020 are to increase the number of community members gardening and farming and to increase our community members knowledge in the importance of smart food choices and how their cultural history can help them. In order to accomplish these goals, our focus areas will do the following:

(4-H) For 2020 the EBCI North Carolina Cooperative Extension 4-H Program will focus on youth gardening, youth leadership development, and youth entrepreneurship. Target audiences will be the Kituwah Academy, Cherokee Children's Home, Youth Center, and Cherokee Central Schools elementary and middle school. The junior master gardener curriculum will be used for gardening instruction. The sequence of delivery will be: developing and maintaining a school garden, nutrition and cooking skills focused on items they grew, student presentations on their gardens, learning to market their items, and end in an assessment of things learned. We will continue to focus on volunteer development. We believe that through proper recruitment, training, and recognition we can build the number of adults involved in EBCI 4-H. Cherokee Culture will be a focus for our youth. All 4-H programs will have Cherokee Language and culture woven into them. The development of the Cultural Presentation Team will continue as we feel our youth are asked to be ambassadors of Cherokee when participating outside of the Qualla Boundary.

(FCS) For 2020 the EBCI North Carolina Cooperative Extension FCS Program will focus on better nutrition options for adults, food safety, and youth life skills. Target audiences will be adults (typically evening classes), Cherokee Central Schools Nutrition and Life Skills Classes, the Women's Shelter, and Cherokee Children's Home. Workshops in personal finance, home food preservation, food safety, and cooking skills will be conducted. We will continue to focus on educating today's generation on how to cook, prepare, and preserve traditional foods. The community is interested in retaining and growing heirloom and traditionally important crops, but do not understand how they were/are used. FCS will also continue to present NCA&T Programs.

(Ag) For 2020 the EBCI North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agricultural Program will focus on preservation of culturally significant natural resources, alternative farming & gardening methods, pasture management, home orchard management, and agri-business opportunities. Target audiences will include all community members young to old with instruction or consulting occurring at their convenience. Workshops will include: growing ramps, growing & harvesting sochan, growing ginseng, growing & harvesting natural artisan resources, pasture management(renovation, forage selection, nutrition, & best practices), raised bed gardening, aquaponics, home fruit tree management, and agri-business opportunities. Because the Qualla Boundary has limited suitable farm land, best use and alternative methods are of constant focus. Mushroom production, raised bed production, and small livestock production workshops and programming will be continuing year to year, as these are our most popular requests.

(Local Foods) Through the Empowering Mountain Food Systems Project funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Cherokee Preservation Foundation, and NC Cooperative Extension, we will work to increase farmer income in the 7 western most counties of NC and on the Qualla Boundary. This project is housed by the NC Cooperative Extension Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Office. Focus will be promoting job creation and infrastructure development, providing business development and training, and growing local food entrepreneurs. A comprehensive food system assessment, directed by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, was completed in November 2019 and highlighted the regional need for increased training, local food promotion programs, farmer cooperatives, and other EMFS focus areas.

(Natural Resources) Along with NC Cooperative Extension Natural Resources programming our office has a grant through the Cherokee Preservation Foundation called RTCAR. The Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources. The primary goal of RTCAR for 2020 is to continue administering grants for environmental preservation, economic development, and cultural preservation in Cherokee and the seven western countries of North Carolina. RTCAR will continue to seek partnerships with new organizations to carry out the central work of protection of natural resources for tribal artisans. In addition to this core of our mission, a new director with different skills will allow the program to explore new areas such as mapping and remote sensing within our program areas.

(Emergency Operations) The EBCI Cooperative Extension Office has established consistent communication with all 12 Tribal Communities. When emergencies or critical communications are needed, the office can organize or facilitate operations between local, county, regional, state, and federal agencies. The Tribal Community Clubs have facilities for use, free labor groups for assistance, and detailed knowledge of their specific community members and logistics.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians North Carolina Cooperative Extension works with Tribal, local, regional, state, and national partners to achieve goals set forth by the office or by Tribal Leadership.

IV. Diversity Plan

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Extension Program strives to understand the needs of the Cherokee people and address those needs by providing research based knowledge for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and an improved quality of life while respecting the cultural integrity of the Cherokee people. There are more than 15,000 enrolled members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Our target audience, for planning purposes, is the members of the Cherokee Community which consists of many different Ethnic Backgrounds.The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians members and families including the Snowbird Community and Cherokee County Indian Community are served by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Extension Program. Programs, activities, workshops, demonstrations, and field days are open to all residents. The programs are advertised in the local newspaper as well as the tribal email network and local postings. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians staff collaborates with surrounding counties especially Graham County North Carolina Cooperative Extension to provide program access for all Cherokee people.

V. 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 Cherokee 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 eclectic 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 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 focused. As such, in addition to the Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result of 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 an evaluation method. 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, interviews, and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Advisory Council
Wanda McCoy
Chi Shipman
Kamiyo Lanning
Cindy Chandler
Trudy Crowe
David Anderson
Johi Griffin
Russ Seagle

VII. Staff Membership

Chumper Walker
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 359-6930
Email: chumper_walker@ncsu.edu

Benjamin Collette
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 359-6928
Email: bjcollet@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Agriculture agent for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Sally Dixon
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 359-6936
Email: srdixon@ncsu.edu

Tracie Edwards
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant - COSS
Phone: (828) 359-6939
Email: tracie_edwards@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Assist all programs within the Extension, Assist in budgeting, billing, and ordering.

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Adam Griffith
Title: Area Agent, CRD
Phone: (828) 359-6935
Email: adgriff5@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.

Janet Owle
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 359-6937
Email: janet_owle@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: EBCI-Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

Skip Thompson
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: Skip_Thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational opportunities and technical support to the trout and carp aquaculture industries in 42 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina. Fish health, production management, and waste management educational programs will assist trout farmers, fee-fishing pond managers, carp ponds and trout fingerling producers with the management and sustainability of their facilities.

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
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.

VIII. Contact Information