2018 New Hanover County Plan of Work

Approved: January 23, 2018

I. County Background

New Hanover County encompasses the city of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach and Castle Hayne. Roughly 50% of the total population of 220,000 lives within the Wilmington city limits. New Hanover is North Carolina’s third smallest county in geographic area at 191 square miles. Population increases of more than 13% annually are expected through 2030.

As might be expected 98% of the population is considered urban with a small rural population in the Castle Hayne area on the north side of the county.

The region’s popularity as a retirement destination is reflected by 22% of the population being over 60 years old.

Service businesses tied to housing and commercial building are busy again as projects halted by the recession are moving forward. Current unemployment numbers hover around 4%; half of what it was during the height of the recession.

According to the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, visitors during 2016 had a $550 million impact on the local economy which represents a 6.3% increase from the previous year. Tourism supports over 6000 local jobs.

Cooperative Extension’s county budget has remained consistent with slight increases in maintenance and repair and support for temporary positions.

New Hanover County completed the Strategic Plan adopted in 2011 this year and began the process for a new plan through 2023. While the new plan won’t be finalized until spring, 2018, drafts suggest continued emphasis on youth and adult obesity and higher wage job creation. The opioid drug crisis including heroin and prescription drugs is also likely to be included.

New leadership in 4-H and Family and Consumer Science offers exciting opportunities related to the new strategic plan as well as traditional educational programs.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's agricultural crops industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of crops was $4.72 billion, placing NC as the 17th largest in the nation. North Carolina is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation. The state's 50,200 farmers grow over 80 different commodities, utilizing 8.4 million of the state's 31 million acres to furnish consumers a dependable and affordable supply of food and fiber. Tobacco remains one of the state's most predominant farm commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. The state also produces a significant amount of cucumbers for pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, chili peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and grapes. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic and niche market production. Educational and training programs for producers of plant agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
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.
Farmers will increase their capacity to supply product for local food sales through market planning efforts, producer and consumer education, beginning farmer training programs and local market infrastructure development. The fastest growing area of consumer demand in agriculture continues to be organic. Farmers' markets continue to expand as do multiple efforts in local sustainable agriculture. Nationally, "Buy Local, Buy Fresh" movements have emerged in the face of concerns about the risks involved in long distance transportation of industrialized food production. Increasingly, public officials and business leaders see promotion of local farm products as good public policy and local economic development. Additionally, individuals will learn to supplement their current diet by growing their own fruits and vegetables as individuals or as community groups.
Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Citizens participating in the 2007 NC Tomorrow survey denoted the importance of leadership by clearly requesting leadership training (54%), social advising, community advising and technical assistance (45%)from their university system.
Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.
Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults.
North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.
The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.
Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

New Hanover County completed its strategic plan adopted in 2011 in July, 2017. The new plan has not been finalized, but drafts suggest a continued emphasis on healthy lifestyles that minimize chronic health issues and supporting private sector development to provide living wage jobs and grow the tax base. A new emphasis on the opioid drug crisis especially related to heroin and prescription drugs will be a component.

Since the Family and Consumer Science position was filled in 2017, there are significant opportunities for educational programming related to obesity prevention/reduction and healthy lifestyles in general. For example, a series of classes is planned throughout 2018 focusing on the food system, cooking techniques and healthy preparation alternatives.

The 4-H program also has new leadership and plans to address healthy lifestyle issues with the youth audience.

IV. Diversity Plan

New Hanover County Cooperative Extension is committed to employing a diverse staff and providing educational programming and an improved quality of life for all audiences, including the underserved. The Arboretum and Ability Garden are continuously evaluated for accessibility to citizens with mobility issues. Programs are open and welcoming to persons of all abilities and all reasonable efforts are made for accessibility without regard to age, culture, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental abilities, race, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital or family status, spiritual practice, and all dimensions of human diversity. All programs offer translation and accessibility if requested.

Significant effort and resources by the Ability Garden, the Master Gardener Association and Wilmington Green continue in the Youth Enrichment Zone of downtown Wilmington and a working partnership with DREAMS.

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 New Hanover 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 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 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 focused. 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 New Hanover County. There is a focused effort by staff members to deliver educational publications electronically to as many clients as possible, using fewer resources such as paper and postage.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of New Hanover 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 impacts 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.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

New Hanover County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council
Charles Mincey
Qailinn Bowen
Coleen Higgins
Susan Jewell
Mary McKernan
Shirely Melito
Beth Ann Scisco
Christy Spivey
Roselyn Upchurch
William Walsh
Scott Winslow
Nathan Bales
4-H Advisory Council
Liz Sharpe
Robert Shiver
Sara Ludt
Kimberley Cheatham
Ralph Mead
Tina Sharpe
Melissa Hight
John Lenfestey
Kitty Bass
Joe Boyd
Jess Boyd
Brad Shepard
Ashley Morton
Consumer Horticulture Advisory Committee
Roberta Quarton
Virginia Teachey
Jay Denmark
Sherrel Bunn
Roy Van Teyens
John Ranalli



Ability Garden Advisory Council
Mary Ares
Karen Root
Sammy Dorsey
Chrissy Gonthier
Johnny Johnson
Lorraine Perry
Nancy Pritchett
Denise Miller
Laura Jennings
Candy Ashton
Alissa Brainard
Caroline Butts
Ronna Zimmer
Nicolle Nicolle
Heather Kelejian
Ruth Finch
Bill Coleman
Friends of the Arboretum
Betty Arlant
Alice Canup
Carolyn Thomas
Karen Root
John Ranalli
Donna Hurdle
Marie Warren
Family and Consumer Science
Katelyn Matney
Eden Sanders
Hattie McIver
Erin O'Donnell
Travis Greer
Jane Raddack
Bill Nannfeldt
Cheryle Syracuse
Joyce Reeves
Pat McCoy

VII. Staff Membership

Al Hight
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (910) 798-7666
Email: al_hight@ncsu.edu

Susan Brown
Title: Extension Agent, Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (910) 798-7674
Email: susan_brown@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Consumer Horticulture

Bill Carapezza
Title: County Extension Technician, Horticulture, Operations Support Staff
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: wjcarape@ncsu.edu

Danyce Dicks
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (910) 798-7662
Email: danyce_dicks@ncsu.edu

J. Scott Enroughty
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: scott_enroughty@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

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.

Roben Jarrett
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant, Agriculture - Commercial Horticulture
Phone: (910) 798-7671
Email: roben_jarrett@ncsu.edu

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

Heather Kelejian
Title: Ability Garden Program Director
Phone: (910) 798-7682
Email: heather_kelejian@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.

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

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 & 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

Amy Mead
Title: Program Associate, Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: afmead@ncsu.edu

Angela Pearsall
Title: Horticulture Program Assistant
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: apearsa@ncsu.edu

Marge Porrazzo
Title: Receptionist, Cooperative Extension
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: marge_porrazzo@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.

Marianne Schroeder
Title: County Extension Support Specialist - Horticulture, Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (910) 798-7667
Email: mmschroe@ncsu.edu

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

Allan Thornton
Title: Extension Associate
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.

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.

VIII. Contact Information

New Hanover County Center
6206 Oleander Dr
Wilmington, NC 28403

Phone: (910) 798-7660
Fax: (910) 798-7678
URL: http://newhanover.ces.ncsu.edu