St. Mary’s County UME Sees Return of Important Program Activities in Annual Report


LEONARDTOWN, Md. – When the pandemic began in 2020, organizations and businesses across the country had to shut down many of their major businesses. But, 2021 was the first year they slowly brought those things back.

The University of Maryland Extension (UME) has created a report on St. Mary’s County and its annual activities.

“UME’s local faculty and staff are recognized for their innovative programs and research that benefit both St. Mary’s County and the state as a whole,” the university said. “Although COVID-19 affected our programming last year, we found innovative delivery methods to resume and provide ongoing education and services with great success.”

Here is a breakdown of the programs:

FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES

FCS program topics included chronic disease prevention and management and innovative approaches to health and wellness in 2021. The programs reached 625 adults and 1072 youth through 17 papers/presentations, 11 workshops, 11 webinars, three one-day youth events, two video recordings, a research project, an e-newsletter and a teleconference.

AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SYSTEMS (AgF)

The AgFs program conducted more than 400 agricultural consultations at the request of producers and focused on resolving various production problems, such as insects, weeds, diseases, fertility or cultivation techniques. Six applied field research trials have been conducted with farmers across the county over the past year to address current production issues.

4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

The 4-H program provides a supportive framework for young people to learn useful life skills to reach their full potential as responsible and caring citizens. In 2021, the program had 197 young people registered while 10 of their community clubs could host club meetings and do hands-on activities and virtual programming. The St. Mary’s County Fair may have an in-person fair with more than 1,412 4-H registrations received from 100 youth 4-H members.

During the year, members set goals, record their project activities and learning opportunities, record their income and expenses, and summarize what they learned during the project year. In 2021, they completed 69 record books, which included over 157 projects.

WATERSHED PROTECTION AND RESTORATION PROGRAM (WPRP)

In 2021, Nicole Basenback collaborated on community projects and activities that engaged residents in stormwater and natural resource conservation activities. The sustained efforts brought in more than $10,000 in grants and solicited funds in St. Mary’s County. Nicole has partnered with Friends of St. Clements Bay to bring a “greener front yard” to the new building that houses the Leonardtown Library and Garvey Seniors Activity Center.

Community Outreach and Education

  • Rain Barrel Workshop – 30 participants and 23 rain barrels distributed.
  • Provided an educational watershed video for the City of Leonardtown’s virtual Earth Day event.

MASTER GARDENER (MG)

The mission of the Master Gardener program is to train and support volunteer horticultural educators who put their knowledge to work for the citizens of St. Mary’s County. In 2021, the Master Gardener program included 70 active volunteers and 35 interns, who completed 3,000 volunteer hours in St. Mary’s County.

Collectively, between plant clinics, the St. Mary’s County Fair, public presentations, tapings, and public school-related activities, Master Gardeners interacted with approximately 1,850 St. Mary’s County residents in 2021.

AGRICULTURAL NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT (MN)

The local Nutrient Management (NM) program is coordinated by Greg Simpson, a Maryland Nutrient Management Consultant. The NM Advisor conducts farm tours, deals with soil, manure, and plant tissue testing, and also provides technical support to any county farm operator who requests it.

In 2021, the planned coverage of 12,432 acres per NM was completed for 72 individual cooperators covering 374 parcels of cropland primarily in St. Mary’s County. Of these cooperators, 39 requested plans to qualify to participate in the Maryland Cover Crop Program, and 15 had prepared plans for the Maryland Manure Transport Program.

SNAP-EDUCATION (SNAP-Ed)

Maryland SNAP-Ed is a University of Maryland Extension program that creates healthier environments and improves the health and well-being of low-income families in Maryland. SNAP-Ed programs encourage a nutritious and active lifestyle by improving access to food, drinking more water and promoting physical activity.

In St. Mary’s County, the delivery of program materials continued to meet the changing needs of our six partner SMCPS elementary schools and our 2 pantry access sites to continue to reach as many participants as possible. They distributed the programs to the students through the teachers and the SNAP-Ed project leader via teleconference directly to the students on their school computers.

“Through its programs in production agriculture, gardening, nutrient management, 4-H youth development, nutrition and health education, and watershed education, staff and UME St. Mary’s volunteers continue to provide many services to county residents,” said UME. “UME continues to evolve and sponsor education and services to meet changing needs while supporting the traditional needs of county residents.”

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