2017 Mecklenburg County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 23, 2018

I. Executive Summary

In 2017, the staff of Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County, in partnership with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, addressed community needs through 4-H Youth Development, Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program, Local Foods, Food Safety, and Horticulture programs. Program delivery methods ranged from face-to-face contacts to newsletters and newspaper articles to workshops and seminars, including online webinars and trainings. In 2017, Cooperative Extension Staff provided face-to-face educational opportunities serving 17,044 Mecklenburg County Citizens (with duplications).

Mecklenburg 4-H Youth Development continued a partnership with a local agricultural company to coordinate different community service projects for employees during the year. The company also made a sizable donation to support agricultural and environmental education programming and activities. 4-H also partnered with childcare organizations, including several serving limited resource audiences, to provide nine STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Experiential Learning workshops for 30 professionals who then taught youth in their after-school programs. Thirty-four schools, a homeschool co-op, and one Recreation Center participated in 4-H Embryology, a hands-on program focusing on life cycles, reaching 5,609 youth. Leaders surveyed indicated 2+ points improvement in student science skills, ability to work in teams, and improved behavior. Incubators donated by Mecklenburg Farm Bureau enabled the program to be conducted more efficiently in 3 spring rounds with an additional 2 fall rounds.

The Mecklenburg Local Foods Extension Agent recruited and interviewed 15 citizens for the Pilot Extension Master Food Volunteer program. Eleven volunteers were invited to participate in the core training and 10 accepted. Volunteers completed 30 hours of training, which included a hybrid instructional model of live in-person, live virtual, and self-guided lessons. Volunteers reported an overall increase in knowledge of the food system and Cooperative Extension. Volunteers have begun to serve in Mecklenburg through the support of the Extension Agent and working with current community groups. In addition, the FCS agent developed and presented PowerSpeak, a 3-part program to train volunteers to effectively conduct presentations using research-based information. All 13 participants were able to deliver a presentation, demonstrating skills learned, in the final session of the program. All Volunteers reported increased confidence when speaking before crowds.

Volunteers help to expand Cooperative Extension educational efforts and are vital to our outreach efforts to citizens. They lead groups, teach workshops, conduct community service projects, staff educational exhibits, and support numerous activities. In 2017, 874 volunteers (with duplications) donated 8,865 hours to support Cooperative Extension educational programs in Mecklenburg County at a dollar value of $214,000. Extension Master Gardener Volunteers provided educational programs to community groups through the Speakers’ Bureau and reached 35 citizens. Eighty-four adults and 77 youth were reached by Extension Master Gardener Volunteers at local festivals, shows, and other community events. The Extension staff worked together to conduct a volunteer appreciation banquet where the staff recognized an overall Outstanding Volunteer for Cooperative Extension and individual program area volunteers.

II. County Background

With Charlotte as its county seat, Mecklenburg County is the most populated county in North Carolina. The latest population estimate (2015) is 1,034,070. Ninety-six percent (96%) of the county's population lives in urban areas. Just over 14% of the county population is reported living below poverty level.

Agriculture in the Charlotte Region takes place against a metropolitan backdrop. Charlotte is the state's largest city and the nation's second largest financial center. Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, accounts for nearly half of the twelve-county region's 2.1 million people.

According to research, it is believed Mecklenburg County's population growth will lead to an increased demand for local, natural, and organic foods and we see the potential for direct marketing to commercial establishments and consumers, especially in natural and organic niches. Citizens are showing an increasing interest in farming and food production which is supported by local government, other agencies, and consumers. Traditional agriculture continues to shrink as the increasing demand for development competes for available land. Rapid development has impacted the quality of natural resources, but County Government has an aggressive campaign to regulate this impact.

Mecklenburg County Government has a Strategic Business Plan that focuses funding and support into specific program areas. Elements of this plan and objectives from North Carolina Cooperative Extension were used to develop a survey instrument to identify priorities for Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County. The County Extension Advisory Council and staff identified five major areas for programming based on resources available: Improving Health and Nutrition, Environmental Stewardship, Natural Resource Management, Increasing Educational Achievement, and Local Food Production and Safety.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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.

Value* Outcome Description
1960Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.

Value* Outcome Description
82Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
62Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
12Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
32Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
12Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
8Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
186Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
2Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
152Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
12Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
24Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
12Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
2Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
332Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
14530Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
8042Total number of female participants in STEM program
432Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
400Number of adults increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
548Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
76Number of adults increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
374Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
14540Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
442Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
374Number of adults gaining career / employability skills
548Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
76Number of adults gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
764Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
764Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
22920Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
764Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
7640Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
764Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
764Number of participants growing food for home consumption
22920Value of produce grown for home consumption
400Number of participants adopting composting
400Number of participants implementing extension-recommended practices to conserve water use and protect water qualty
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Impact Description
400Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
1230Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
1564Number of participants increasing their physical activity
896Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 34,088
Non face-to-face** 28,972
Total by Extension staff in 2017 63,060
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $4,200.00
Gifts/Donations $2,000.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $31,000.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $37,200.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.69
4-H: 246 2,418 5,122 $ 59,700.00
Advisory Leadership System: 94 174 60 $ 4,296.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 1,408 15,138 1,350 $ 373,757.00
Other: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Total: 1748 17730 6532 $ 437,754.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Committee
Elizabeth Mitchell
Carrie Winter
Sandy Roork
Joyce Trott
Barbara Locklear
Heidi Pruess
June Hood
Marilyn Gore
Kendel Bryant
Robin Emmons
Karla Robinson
Robert Robinson
Horticulture
Reggie Singleton
Stephanie Frisbee
Tim Turton
Bill Sloan


Family and Consumer Sciences
Robert Grooms
Nadine Ford
Archana Revankar
Nanette McLellan
4-H Youth Development
April Jones
Angela Paul
Lucy Sams
Chris Simeral
Bernard Singleton
Stephanie Tuckman
Sam Nelson
Taivon Sams

VIII. Staff Membership

Nelson McCaskill
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (980) 314-1401
Email: nelson_mccaskill@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administration and Community Development.

Shane Alston-Daniel
Title: Administrative Assistant
Phone: (980) 314-1408
Email: sdalston@ncsu.edu

Steven Capobianco
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (980) 202-1449
Email: sjcapobi@ncsu.edu

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

Catherine Daniels
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (980) 314-1407
Email: catherine_daniels@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Manages the 4-H volunteer system. Supports 4-H programming through clubs, school enrichment, summer programs, and special interest groups.

Kristin Davis
Title: Extension Agent, Local Foods/FCS
Phone: (980) 314-1403
Email: kristin_davis@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Kristin Davis is the Family & Consumer Sciences Agent with NC State University's Cooperative Extension Service in Mecklenburg County. She leads the Family & Consumer Sciences program including programming in the areas of local foods, food literacy, food safety and volunteer development. She also serves as the local foods coordinator for the NC 10% Campaign in Mecklenburg County. In 2015, "The Sustainable Living Series" received Charlotte Magazine's Best of the Best (BOB) award, a program she created to meet citizens' needs. Kristin holds a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences, a Bachelor or Arts in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is also licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in NC.

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.

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (704) 283-3801
Email: richard_goforth@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.

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@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

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables & Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC.

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

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.

Augusta Washington
Title: Program Assistant, EFNEP
Phone: (980) 314-1405
Email: awashin2@ncsu.edu

Racquel Washington
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 336-4014
Email: racquel_mcneil@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Manages the total 4-H Program in Mecklenburg County, including clubs, school enrichment, summer programs and special interest groups.

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

Mecklenburg County Center
1418 Armory Dr
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: (704) 336-2082
Fax: (704) 336-6876
URL: http://mecklenburg.ces.ncsu.edu