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Extending Knowledge, Changing Lives!

February 2021-The official e-newsletter for UMES Extension.

Greetings UMES Extension friends!

I am happy to report that your Extension team continues to plan for virtual meetings that will enhance your lives even as we deal with the many uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, we are increasing our efforts as spring and the growing season is just around the corner.

Since my last message to you, another educator has joined our ranks. In January, we welcomed Dr. Luis Moisés Peña-Lévano. He is an economist and brings much experience and energy to our team. Before it is over, several other specialists will join us.

On the UMES Research and Education Farm, renovations continue. We are especially excited to be in the final stages of completing a major facility there. The newly renovated building holds classrooms, offices, a meeting room and a produce processing lab. We look forward to having a grand opening when it is safe to do so.

I trust you will read the stories provided for you in this newsletter. You will see that we are working hard to maintain some level of normalcy.

Until next time, it is our sincere hope that you all continue to work your way through the challenges in our world today. Feel free to reach out with suggestions as to how we can help you do that.

Enrique Nelson Escobar, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Extension
Associate Professor and Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Helping control ammonia emissions in poultry houses
UMES researcher receives national award for transfer of new federal technology

Dr. Fawzy Hashem, an associate professor and researcher at UMES, and his colleagues at laboratories along the East Coast and as far away as Spain received national recognition by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service for their work aimed at controlling ammonia emissions in poultry houses.

The newly developed technology focused on the recovery of ammonia-nitrogen from waste using gas-permeable membranes.  The process, Hashem said, includes the passive passage of ammonia through micro-porous hydrophobic membranes and subsequent concentration in a clear solution. The new technology’s application is the removal and recovery of nitrogen from liquid manures in storage tanks and from the air of poultry and animal barns.
Click to view 47 abc's interview with Dr. Fawzy Hashem. 
UMES welcomes economist to Extension and SANS
Dr. Luis Peña-Lévano has joined the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences as an assistant professor of agribusiness and resource economics in its Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences.  He will also be a key member of the UMES Extension team as an economist helping in the area of farm business management and community development.

Peña-Lévano’s expertise lies in agribusiness, financial management, international trade, agricultural and environmental policy, and mathematical optimization.
"Creative Science" program offers youth science and art lessons

UMES Extension 4-H STEM agent associate for Wicomico County, Bradley Hartle, (Above) has teamed up with InTheArtRoom to offer virtual art/science lessons for ages 10 and up.  The classes are from 6-8 p.m. and cost $55 per youth participant or $50 per youth participant for multiple youth per household.

Next month's classes are "Fish are Friends" on March 10 and "Inking It Up" on March 24.  Both feature a demonstrated dissection and a Japanese art project.  

Register here!  Registration closes one week prior to the lesson date in order for supplies to be shipped to the participant's provided address.

(Below) Japanese art forms, from left, are:  Gyotaku and Suminagashi.

UMES Extension Nutrition and Health programs assistant hailed as a champion of the community
Making an impact in the community through his professional and personal life is what drives McCoy Curtis Jr., especially in these challenging times, and it has not gone unnoticed. 

Curtis was honored last month on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during a “live” virtual celebration of the Tri-County MLK Coalition’s 36th annual banquet honoring their namesake.  The UMES Extension Nutrition and Health Program educator was the Somerset County recipient of an achievement award presented to standouts in the area for their humanitarian services to the community.

Curtis was also a recent honoree of the Town of Princess Anne Commissioners for his contributions toward community development activities.
Youth into gardening and the environment can participate in spring UMES Extension 4-H STEM program

Youth ages 8-11 can brush off their gardening trowels and get ready for some fun and learning by becoming a Junior Master Gardener through UMES Extension’s 4-H STEM program.  Virtual classes will be held bi-weekly beginning March 30 on Tuesdays from 5-6 p.m.

Participants can earn 4-H Junior Master Gardener Level One Certification by completing the educational series.  Topics cover soil health, water quality, ecology, environmental horticulture, insects, diseases and plant growth. Youth will also explore career options and put their new knowledge to use on a community service project as a group.

The classes take place April 13, 27; May 11, 25; June 8, 22; and July 6 and are $15 for the complete program.  Register on or before March 19 at

Click on image above for 47 abc's interview with Lisa Murphy, a senior agent associate for UMES Extension 4-H STEM and the state's coordinator for the Junior Master Gardener program.

UMES Extension researcher shares knowledge of African heritage specialty crops
Dr. Nadine Burton, an alternative crop specialist with UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program, was a featured speaker on January 31 during the second day of the virtual 2021 Urban Farmer Winter meeting.  Her topic was “African heritage specialty crop research.”  

Burton highlighted alternative crops such as callaloo (pictured below), sorrel and scotch bonnet peppers as potential additions to the current cropping system. These crops, she said, are consumed across ethnic groups and have the ability to create niche markets. They are high-valued crops with high yield and value-added potential, which can increase farm income.
UMES hoping for in-person AgDiscovery summer program
Area middle and high school students in grades 8-11 can apply now for the 2021 AgDiscovery summer program slated for June 13-26 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  Campers will reside on campus unless COVID-19 concerns mandate that it shifts to a virtual experience.

Participants learn through a series of hands-on labs, workshops, research projects and field trips. They also have the unique experience of interacting with scientists conducting state-of-the-art research at the UMES Agricultural Experiment Station and at regional research centers.

The camp is free, but students must apply by March 25.  Visit for the application packet. 
Click on image above for 47 abc's interview with Corrie Cotton, a research assistant professor and coordinator for UMES' 2021 AgDiscovery summer camp.

MyFaRM initiative offers spring line-up of free classes

Local farmers can still take advantage of UMES Extension’s MyFaRM initiative, a free program consisting of a series of classes covering the aspects of farm risk management. 

The spring line-up starts on March 8 at the Henson Center with the first of two production risk classes and continues on April 7 on the UMES Education and Demonstration Farm, both are from 9 a.m. to noon.  Marketing risk is the final series meeting on May 11 from 3-6 in the Henson Center and in June on a date to be determined to coincide with UMES Extension's Small Farm Marketing Bus Tour.



Click on the image above to learn about UMES Extension's MyFaRM risk management classes with Nicole Cook, an environmental and agricultural faculty legal specialist with the Agriculture Law Education Initiative.
Video by Todd Dudek and Muhammad Khan, Agricultural Communications.
Town shows appreciation for
UMES Well Connected Communities
UMES Extension’s Well Connected Communities team was recognized February 1 for its “dedication and diligence in community service to the Town of Princess Anne.”  The group of faculty members and educators has lent a hand in breaking down the barriers that may prevent residents from living the healthiest life possible.

“The Well Connected Communities program has been instrumental to the community in teaching them proper nutrition and how to grow their own foods through the community garden,” said Garland Hayward, vice president of the Princess Anne Town Commissioners.  He said the recognition came on the heels of WCC’s implementation of a contactless food drive for some 600 Somerset countians.
Next issue: 
Move in day nears for renovated facilities for UMES Extension's Research and Education Farm and UMES School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences' Agricultural Experiment Station.
Coops to Co-ops is closed for the season! 
Please look for re-opening information in the spring!

Upcoming Events
Registration links in burgundy

Small Farm Program Webinars

Elderberry Growing and Marketing Webinar Series
March 3, 2021 

Growing Ginger Webinar
March 12, 2021, 11 a.m.-noon

MyFaRM  (Mastering Farm Risk Management) Classes

Production Risk Series
March 8, 2021, 9-noon, Richard A. Henson Center
April 7, 2021, 9-noon, UMES Education and Demonstration Farm

Marketing Risk Series
May 11, 2021, 3-6 p.m., Richard A. Henson Center
June 2021, TBD, UMES Small Farm Marketing Bus Tour

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

"Fish are Friends"-March 10, 6-8 p.m., virtual
"Inking it Up"-March 24, 6-8 p.m., virtual

Junior Master Gardener by UMES Extension 4-H STEM
Register by March 19!

April 13, 27; May 11, 25; June 8, 22; July 6, 5-6 p.m.,, virtual

UMES Extension in the News

UMES preparing for spring Junior Master Gardener program for kids
WMDT, February 13, 2021

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