An individual specialist and a team were recognized for program excellence at the May 15 meeting of the N.C. Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists. Robert Bardon received the Individual Program Award and members of the Livestock/Forage Agent Training Conference team received the Team Award.
The individual program award went to Robert Bardon, Forestry & Environmental Resources Department, for the Forestry and Natural Resources Webinar Series.
Through a unique partnership created between North Carolina Cooperative Extension Forestry, Southern Region Extension Forestry office, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service forestry program and others, Bardon has taken the lead in developing and implementing the Forestry and Natural Resources Webinar Series. The series addresses the professional development needs of natural resource professionals.
The webinar series is delivered through the Forestry and Natural Resources Webinar Portal. While the webinars are designed and delivered to live audiences, by archiving them, industry professionals are given a more flexible opportunity to obtain their continuing education credits. Since its inception the series has successfully reached over 11,000 new and returning participants. Webinar achievements for 2011 include:
• More than 6,000 registrants participating in the webinar series, which offered 33 webinars.
• Participants in the webinar series earned nearly 2,200 continuing education credits.
• Approximately 96 percent of participants plan to follow up on the materials presented.
The Team Award was presented to the Livestock/Forage Agent Training Conference team. Team members are: Matt Poore, April Schaeffer, Dale Miller, Mike Yoder and Steve Washburn, Animal Science Department; and Mark Alley, College of Veterinary Medicine’s Population Health and Pathophysiology Department.
The NCCES Livestock/Forage Agent Training Conference is a three-day program held the first week of August each year. The first half day – or full day — is devoted to new agents, with less than five years experience.
The conference program is a mix of administrative topics and subject matter topics. Every effort is made to keep sessions hands-on and participatory, with a focus on topics that agents can take home with them and deliver to their clientele.
The conference team has been heavily involved in planning and delivery, but the program has also included a wide group of presenters including specialists from CALS, the College of Veterinary Medicine, other universities and organizations that support agriculture.
The Livestock/Forage Agent Training Conference has enhanced agents’ technical skills and knowledge, improved relationships between field and campus-based faculty, and improved morale among the agents. It is eagerly anticipated each year, and the program has evolved to include more elective and hands-on training. Because of the success of this training model, the Department of Horticulture is developing a similar program for horticulture agents, and the Livestock/Forage Conference is being expanded this year to include the Crop Science and Soil Science Departments, as well as field crops Extension agents.
In addition, new officers and board members were announced at the board meeting. They are Mitzi Dowing, president; Carolyn Bird, president-elect; and new board members, James Jueck, David Green, Mark Megalos, Harriett Edwards, Andrew Behnke, Susan Jakes and Carolyn Bird. The position of Secretary/Treasurer remains unfilled, and the board is seeking nominations.