Julia Peterson, Extension program leader for NH Sea Grant and Coastal Communities Extension specialist, is the 2019 recipient of the Maynard and Audrey 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 has worked with several faculty across multiple disciplines, using creative approaches for research engagement. Jeffrey Schloss, program team leader for Extension’s natural resources, wrote in his recommendation letter: “From the start, Julia has always challenged us to think through the programming we produce to make sure it is focused on the target audience with well thought-out outreach and education approaches that have high potential to meet the needs of our clientele and affect changes in behavior that benefit the citizens of New Hampshire and our natural resources.”
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 utilizing theatre in exploring the human dynamics around climate change.
About the Heckels
The Maynard and Audrey Heckel Extension Educator Fellowship was established through the generosity of Maynard C. Heckel and his wife Audrey E. Heckel. Maynard Heckel dedicated his professional career to Extension, beginning with positions in Connecticut and at Virginia Tech before moving to New Hampshire and assuming the position of director of Extension and professor of adult education at UNH. During his tenure from 1971-1983 he led the design and establishment of the extension educator ranking system. Still used today, this system recognizes the educational role of professional Extension agents and specialists in carrying out the outreach function so important to the mission of a land grant university.