Amidst dinosaurs, whales and science of all descriptions, more than 500 guests – county commissioners and their families – enjoyed all the features of Raleigh’s newest museum at N.C. Cooperative Extension’s annual Horn of Plenty dinner Aug. 17. The appreciation dinner is held during the N.C. Association of County Commissioners’ annual meeting.
The Horn of Plenty was held at Raleigh’s downtown Nature Research Center, a research and education facility that opened this summer. In addition to museum popular exhibits, the NRC offers visitors a window into science, where visitors can catch a glimpse of scientists working in laboratories.
This year’s dinner was different in a significant way – the meal was prepared and catered by N.C. State’s University Dining. In the past, Extension employees have rolled up their sleeves to cook a pig, barbecue chicken or fry fish.
But that didn’t stop Extension from getting involved. Those on the procurement committee, chaired by Art Bradley, Edgecombe County Extension director, worked with local food producers across the state to obtain meats, fruits and vegetables for the meal. NCACC also obtained beer and wine produced in North Carolina.
Cooperative Extension was involved with the NCACC meeting in other ways. On Wednesday, N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson hosted Extension administrators and NCACC board members at a reception at his home on campus. Afterward, guests enjoyed dinner at N.C. State’s Park Alumni Center.
The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Foundation presented five counties with the inaugural County Partner Awards on Saturday afternoon. These state-level awards recognize five county governments for their commitment of resources for facilities, new and existing positions, and the overall operation of Extension in their county; the supportive relationship they have built with Extension as an inclusive partner with commissioners, county management and other departments; and the counties’ advocacy and involvement in extension programs.
The five counties that received award were Chatham, Cleveland, Currituck, Iredell and Wilson counties. County commissioners from each winning county were on hand to receive the awards, presented by Dr. Joe Zublena, associate dean and director, and Sheri Schwab, director of county operations for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.
“We created this award because we understand and value the unique synergy we have in this state between three levels of government – county, state and federal — working together to improve the lives of citizens and our communities across this great state,” Schwab said. “Without you, our county partners, we in Cooperative Extension would not have the local connection that is the very heart of our organization’s mission.”
On Thursday and Friday, members of Extension’s State Advisory Council helped staff an education booth at the Raleigh Convention Center, designed to showcase the many facets of Extension programs. Extension professional also were on hand to demonstrate different program areas, including beekeeping, pruning and home canning.
In addition, more than 100 youth from 4-H, local Boys and Girls Clubs and state FFA officers attended a two-day summit, Youth Voices. This was the third year that the youth summit has been part of the NCACC meeting.
On Friday afternoon, the youth participants heard from employees in four Wake County departments: Emergency management, human services, the sheriff’s department; and parks, recreation and open space. That evening, they enjoyed activities and dinner at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.
Saturday morning, youth met in groups with county commissioners to consider four hypothetical county issues and develop a plan for dealing with the issues. Their plans were reported at the annual business meeting of NCACC Saturday afternoon.