Extension Staff Recognition Award Winners For 2019

The Extension Recognition Team presents awards to staff members for outstanding performance and accomplishments, based on nominations from their peers
hands of workers demonstrating collaboration

The following Extension staff members were celebrated on October 3, 2019 at a recognition breakfast hosted by the UNH Extension Leadership Team.

Julia Peterson – 2019 Heckel Extension Educator Fellowship The Heckel fellowship is given to Extension educators for exemplary program accomplishments achieved through innovative and creative approaches in at least one of three areas: involving university faculty beyond traditional disciplines in meeting educational needs of New Hampshire citizens, developing and involving strong local leadership in support of Extension programs, and assisting and supporting low-income families. Peterson, Extension program leader for NH Sea Grant and Coastal Communities Extension specialist, has worked with several faculty across multiple disciplines, using creative approaches for research engagement. A few examples of projects she has authored or coordinated include: changing homeowners’ lawn care behavior to reduce nutrient runoff, improving the connection between climate resilience research and community needs, improving the integration of Extension with research in proposals, and using theatre in exploring the human dynamics around climate change.

Cathy Neal – Program of Distinction For 20 years, Cathy has worked with the green industry in the state and region, pioneering engaged research and outreach in ecological and sustainable landscaping practices. Cathy is known for her outstanding work in studying strategies to enhance pollinator habitat. Through her split appointment as a researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, her research program has studied methods for establishing wildflower meadows to provide ecosystem services, such as pollinator and wildlife habitat, biodiversity, water and soil conservation, and more. She created a suite of valuable resources for stakeholders interested in planting pollinator habitats, ranging from “how-to” webinars and fact sheets, to descriptive and valuable plant lists and flowering calendars. She organized a successful Pollinator Field Day this summer, attracting more than 200 participants. She co-authored, with several other extension colleagues, the widely acclaimed book Landscaping at the Water’s Edge, which provides clear guidance on how to protect our many lake, coastal, and estuarine waters while simultaneously creating beautiful and functional landscapes. In cooperation with the NH Dept. of Environmental Services, she recently developed a training program for landscape designers and contractors called “Landscaping for Water Quality.”

Claes Thelemarck – Innovation Award Claes has consistently been one of the most innovative and creative staff on the Youth & Family Team. An example is the recent 4-H Makers Expo, with well over 100 people in attendance for its first year. He worked to combine 4-H events (such as the Fashion Revue) with new offerings developed by his colleagues such as Grilled Cheese and Purple Plow Challenges. Claes has inventively combined existing traditions of 4-H experiential and creative project work with the new and inspiring 'Makers' movement. The Expo was a huge success and was a new idea that he brought from conception to reception in one year. During the last two years, Claes added to the 4-H Makers sets of events and resources by introducing the STEaMpunk challenge, an innovative and fun way that pushes kids to develop STEM skills through creative engineering challenges. Claes has created the challenges virtually from scratch and has helped 4-H embrace STEM in brand new ways.

Claire Guilmette – Outstanding Contribution & Support Claire always goes above and beyond to provide superior customer service to all Professional, Development, and Training clientele and partners. She is a master multi-tasker, able to balance competing demands and stay on task. She is always quick to support our Extension colleagues, and other departments requiring assistance. She always presents the highest levels of customer service to anyone contacting PD&T. Claire also is lauded for her expertise in its registration system, Destiny One.

Kristina Vaughan – Outstanding Contribution & Support Kris is always cheerful, professional, and helpful. She provides advice, insight and suggestions for new staff. Kris provided the assistance needed to become familiar with a new world of Extension and always answered questions fully. She thinks ahead, is easy-going, and makes solid, thoughtful suggestions. It is evident she has a deep understanding of how UNH Extension works. Her skill in training new staff to use basic office equipment, like the deeper mysteries of the copier, the postage machine, and the laminator, is a good example of her ability to teach and lead. She communicated clearly, in simple steps and knew just what level to pitch the instruction while maintaining her sense of humor.

Holly Young – Performance Beyond Expectations  Holly stepped up as 4-H Foundation Executive Director when Jim Doyle left, taking on full responsibility for an organization that grants $100, 000 dollars a year, raises close to the same amount, and manages well over that in assets. She helped monitor expenditures, coordinated the grant request and approval process, and facilitated the participation and engagement of the entire volunteer board of directors. She did this all on short notice and with a very high level of ownership. Holly coordinated the entire annual golf tournament on her own. The multi-faceted event includes the entire competitive tournament, a lunch/awards ceremony, raffle, online auction, and more. As the Foundation’s event director and its Executive Director, she was fully in charge and fully ‘on-the-hook’ if things did not go well. The event was a fundraising success, had one the highest numbers of teams signed-up to date and went off without a hitch despite miserable weather that forced ‘day-of’ difficult and critical calls made by Holly to abbreviate the play.

Kelly McAdam and Elaina Enzien – Excellence in Civil Rights & Diversity Kelly and Elaina's Women in Agriculture program creates a comfortable and supportive learning environment in which NH’s women farmers build practical farm management skills that lead to successful businesses and leaders in the farm community. Research shows farm women learn best when they can learn from each other in a format free from judgement, and where they can apply what they are learning to their farm situation. The Women in Agriculture program empowers women to take charge of their farm finances, taxes, succession plans, marketing, and production. Kelly and Elaina designed and held a three-day discussion-based retreat bringing women together to learn from experts in production, financial management, human resources, marketing and the legal field. While the traditional format for this education is a weekly class, Kelly and Elaina responded to the unique needs of women farmers who face barriers to participating in the traditional format such as family schedules and getting time off from work. Kelly and Elaina also developed a new component to the program that offers programming focused on owning and operating livestock farms. The program gives women farmers high quality hands on training and peer to peer learning focused on livestock production, business management, and farm equipment maintenance.

Rebecca Betts – Early Response  An immediate and rising need in New Hampshire has been to provide effective health education to its aging population. It is an issue that is rapidly reaching the tops of many priority lists – including county commissioners struggling to figure out how to affordably care for this older demographic. Becky has been out in front with some tangible and effective answers. She has implemented a highly effective evidence-based program known as Walk with Ease. While the program is designed for a variety of ages, Becky as thoughtfully and intentionally targeted the senior population with numerous programs funded by multiple partners. Becky has also begun collaborating with local partners to deliver fall prevention programming in her Rockingham County area. This is new territory for Nutrition Connections, but Becky is out in front of the curve, pioneering this work for her team.

Collage of headshots of the Extension award winners