Extension is very pleased announce that Michelle Bersaw-Robblee will be the new Youth & Family Field Specialist located in Merrimack County. Michelle has served as the 4-H Program Manager in Merrimack County since 2012. Youth & Family Program team leader Michael Young said this of the new hire: “Michelle has a passion for youth development, a strong professional interest in agriculture, and incredible competence in managing and developing 4-H programs. She has shown us over the last 4 years that she is bright, creative, reliable, professional, and fun to work with.  I am so glad to have her in this new position and that she is furthering her career with Extension.”

Michelle’s new position will be with the 4-H Area of Expertise team led by Chair and State Specialist/Extension Faculty, Kate Guerdat. Michelle will focus on developing Horticulture focused 4-H Pathways (i.e., interconnected programs and events that help youth interested in horticulture explore the topic and career on their way to becoming True Leaders). She will develop these pathways with a particular eye towards connecting older youth with job skills and career readiness.

“With a passion for 4-H and a love of agriculture I am excited to accept the position of Merrimack County 4-H Horticulture Field Specialist,” says Bersaw-Robblee. “It is an honor to be able to work with content specialists, county staff, and volunteers to develop a pathway which brings youth closer to their food source and exposes them to potential horticulture careers.  Horticulture is such a vibrant field with many components and I look forward to exploring all of these in the NH 4-H program.”

The position is a new one that focuses on the 4-H Horticultural project area, which is a STEM discipline that is at the cross-roads of plant science, sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition, environmental science, and horticulture technology, to name a few. As the ‘eat local’ trend continues to grow and the NH agricultural community evolves (i.e. growth of first generation farmers, diverse smaller scale horticultural operations, expanded interest in school gardens) - NH youth and their families are seeking out additional opportunities for youth to dig deeper into the science and practice of growing food. From seed through harvest programs to urban backyard gardening, and from addressing food insecurities through community gardens to teaching entrepreneurial and workforce practices in Junior Farmer Markets, we believe that there are a number of ways that 4-H can help grow multifaceted true leaders in this area.

Her official start date was May 22.   She will be re-classified as a result of an internal search which included recommendations for hire by a staff & volunteer search committee, the Merrimack County Advisory Council, and the UNHCE Dean and Director - Ken LaValley. The position was left vacant when Deb Cheever retired.

We plan to fill the Merrimack County 4-H Program Manager’s position left vacant by Michelle’s reclassification as soon as possible.  Michelle will remain the acting manager until the position is filled.

To learn more about Michelle, check out her staff bio.