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Extending Knowledge, Changing Lives!

April 2021-The official e-newsletter for UMES Extension.
Happy Earth Day!  April 22!

Greetings UMES Extension friends!

Some proponents of climate change say the changes in climate are caused by the environment as well as the actions of humans. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, we as residents of the planet are encouraged to be good stewards by recycling, for example, using energy efficiently, and using renewable energies.

While this is not a discussion about the science behind climate change or whether it is a hoax or not, it is an acknowledgement that we can be better stewards of the planet. That’s where our Extension team comes in. We enjoy offering our knowledge concerning soil health, for example, the use of pollinators, and food security.
For you, UMES Extension is on the front line, providing solutions in the community. Where there are questions or concerns, please visit our website ( and click on “Ask an Expert.”

Another important part of what we do is we provide resources for the community. We are slowly building galleries on our webpages that include video from our past webinars. Links to the video for several of our most recent webinars are included in this newsletter. Please view the videos, and don’t forget to leave comments. It will help us tremendously. You will also see in this newsletter that several other webinars have been planned. Information about what is available can be found at the following link:

In addition to offering nontraditional learning opportunities, we partner with regional and national committees and organizations important to the well-being of the community. You will read about that in this newsletter as well.

Finally, it is my hope that you will enjoy the information that has been provided for you here and that you will send me a note ( to let me know how we are doing.

Enrique Nelson Escobar, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Extension
Associate Professor and Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Webinar series geared to fruit growers and enthusiasts
UMES Extension is offering a free webinar series aimed at helping local growers hone skills necessary to successfully cultivate fruit in the Mid-Atlantic.

When he talks about the once thriving fruit industry on the Eastern Shore and the prospect of rejuvenating it, Dr. Naveen Kumar Dixit becomes animated.  The assistant professor, Extension specialist and horticulturist with UMES’ School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, readily shares that Eastern Shore growers once produced six million pounds of fruit per year according to a 1925 USDA census.  Through his Extension efforts and a grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Dixit hopes to help lead the local industry in gaining ground toward making a comeback.
Asian vegetables an emerging market for Mid-Atlantic

Dixit also aims to help farmers and gardening enthusiasts in the region tap into consumer demand and an emerging market for Asian vegetables.  As part of the spring series, he will offer two free webinars focusing on cultivation of the ethnic crops.

The pandemic, he said, has magnified the need for sustainability and self-dependence and has fueled an interest in new tastes and healthy foods.  Combine that with a shift in demographics bringing more Asian Americans to the area and a market for such ethnic crops is born.
Click above image to watch WBOC DelmarvaLife's Jimmy Hoppa and Lisa Bryant chat with Dr. Dixit about his plan to help Delmarva's once-thriving fruit industry make a comeback and help small farmers enter the market for Asian vegetables.
UMES will have a seat on new state council to address food insecurity due to pandemic

UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program will have a member on the new Maryland Food System Resiliency Council according to emergency legislation passed April 12 in the Maryland General Assembly.  Senate Bill 723/House Bill 831 establishes the council, which will be housed under the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. 

The council will address “food insecurity in the state resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.”  It will develop policy recommendations to “increase the long-term resiliency of the food system and develop a strategic plan to increase the production and procurement of Maryland certified food.”
Webinar series covers "Growing and Marketing Elderberry"
UMES Extension offered a two-part webinar series "Growing and Marketing Elderberry" last month led by Henriette den Ouden, a specialty herbs consultant with the UMES Small Farm Program.   Click above to view the first installment. 
Click above to watch "Growing and Marketing Elderberry II."

Visit the UMES Small Farm YouTube video gallery for more.
"Creative Science" program offers youth science and art lessons

UMES Extension 4-H STEM agent associate for Wicomico County, Bradley Hartle, has teamed up with In The Art Room to offer virtual art/science lessons for ages 8 and up.  The classes are from 6-8 p.m. and cost $40 per youth participant.  Non 4-H members are welcome to participate. 

Upcoming classes in their Paint by Science series includes:  "Narwhal" on April 29, "Short-Eared Owl" on May 12, "Chesapeake Bay Cutaway" on May 27, and "Queen Conch" on June 9.  Participants learn about the subject while painting it on canvas.

Upcoming classes in The Art Exploration series includes:  "Seed Dissection" on April 28, "Owl Pellet Dissection" on May 13, "Fossil Hunt" on May 26 and "Paper Circuit (Angler Fish) on June 10.  Hands on activities in art and science, including experiments, arts and crafts and combined projects await registrants.

Register here!  Use promo code (EARLYBIRD) for 10% off now through June 3.  Registration closes one week prior to the lesson date in order for supplies to be shipped to the participant's provided address.

Click on the image above to watch Drs. Nadine Burton, an alternative crop specialist with UMES' Small Farm Program, and Lurline Marsh, a professor in UMES' Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, share research on alternative growing practices necessary to grow ginger in the Mid-Atlantic.

Visit the UMES Small Farm YouTube video gallery for more.
UMES Extension has food safety specialist to assist you with training and certification
Dr. Melina Schwarz, a food safety specialist with UMES Extension, is the go-to person for assistance on training for Maryland Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (FSMA PSR), ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification and FSMA Preventive Controls Rules for Human and Animal Food.

For assistance with the items above, or for information on developing value-added products, contact Schwarz at or call 410-430-0763.
UMES Extension in the community
UMES Extension Program Evaluation Specialist and Assistant Professor, Dr Lila Karki, (left) lent a hand volunteering at a food distribution to needy and disabled families during the pandemic in Crisfield, Maryland on April 10.  Karki volunteers on Saturday mornings extending knowledge and service through UMES Extension.  Joining him, from left, are: Crisfield Art Syndicate Executive Director Shawna Kearsley, Emma Klein and  Zuri Brown, coordinator for the event.  The Crisfield Art Syndicate has sponsored food distributions for the past year.  Community partners include Perdue Farms, Coastal Sunbelt Produce and the Maryland Food Bank in Salisbury.       
UMD College of Agriculture & Natural Resources offers free lecture series
Click here for full list of lecture dates/topics
Shortcut to registration

Upcoming Events
Registration links in burgundy

Fruit and Asian Vegetable Cultivation webinars-FREE!

Bitter Gourd Cultivation-April 24, 10 a.m.

Cultivating Strawberries-May 8, 10 a.m.

Bottle Gourd Cultivation-May 22, 10 a.m.

The Basics of Growing Grapes-June 12, 10 a.m.

Establishing an Apple Orchard-July 3

Creative Science virtual science/art classes 
by UMES Extension 4-H STEM and InTheArtRoom
Registration closes one week prior to each class date!

Art Exploration, "Seed Dissection"- April 28, 6-8 p.m.

Paint by Science, "Narwhal"-April 29, 6-8 p.m.

Paint by Science, "Short-eared Owl", May 12, 6-8 p.m.

Art Exploration, "Owl Pellet Dissection", May 13, 6-8 p.m.

Art Exploration, "Fossil Hunt", May 26, 6-8 p.m.

Paint by Science, "Chesapeake Bay Cutaway", May 27, 6-8 p.m.

Paint by Science, "Queen Conch"- June 9, 6-8 p.m.

Art Exploration, "Paper Circuit", June 10, 6-8 p.m.

UMES Extension in the News

Delmarva & The Ethnic Food Market/Fruit Cultivation
DelmarvaLife, WBOC TV 16, April 14, 2021 with video

Webinar series geared to fruit growers, enthusiasts
The Star Democrat, April 14, 2021

Webinar series geared to fruit growers, enthusiasts
The Cecil Daily, April 14, 2021

How Florida left farmworkers out of its COVID-19 pandemic response
Pensacola News Journal, March 29, 2021

UMES educator earns regional, local praise
Somerset County Bay to Bay News, schools, March 20, 2021

UMES Extension offers free growing ginger webinar
Crisfield-Somerset County Times (Som. Co. Bay to Bay News), March 9, 2021

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