603 Challenge - Supporting Extension Volunteers

Your donation helps Extension volunteers do more in NH

  • Group of people

Our volunteers do amazing work in New Hampshire! From stewarding our natural resources to supporting youth and families to helping downtowns become more vibrant, they give freely of their time to make New Hampshire a better place to live. Each year we raise funds to support their work through UNH's (603) Challenge. This year's challenge will take place 12:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, April 2, 2023 to 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 6.

The beginning of this challenge is especially important because Extension is competing with fellow UNH programs for $300,000 of matching funds. Gifts to Extension will be matched up to $300 per donor until the matching funds run out, which means that donors can double their impact if they give early on.

Additionally, if UNH Extension reaches 500 online donors during The (603) Challenge, we will unlock $20,000 from Branch Hill Farm and Matthew Witkos '89. Help us earn this generous donation! Donations of any amount can help us reach our 500 donor goal. Thank you!

Make a Gift to UNH Extension 

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Specific Areas You Can Support!

Civic and Community Engagement

Civic and Community Engagement leads UNH students into the world to serve. Our goals are to meet community needs beyond the campus, to empower students to lead change in their communities and to promote active citizenship in a diverse democracy. Programs like PrOVES and Alternative Break allow students to do a deeper dive into community service and social justice, igniting their passion for social issues and providing them with the tools to make a difference.

Give to Civic and Community Engagement

Coastal Research Volunteers

The Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) program engages volunteers in meaningful citizen science and stewardship to enhance local coastal research. They provide important information to evaluate climate change and water quality health in the area. They’re on the front lines of pressing environmental issues important to the state—monitoring the phenology of rockweed and green crabs, collecting blue mussels, analyzing pollution and gathering beach erosion data.

Give to Coastal Research Volunteers

Community and Economic Development

The Community and Economic Development team trains volunteers and leaders in New Hampshire communities to strengthen main streets, keep and grow businesses, expand local tourism and strengthen the connection between downtowns and natural assets like parks, trails and rivers. Their work with local residents, community leaders and business owners enriches the high quality of life in New Hampshire, which is essential to the economy and civic pride.

Give to Community and Economic Development

Food and Agriculture

Extension's agriculture  specialists use trusted research-based information to give New Hampshire farmers, businesses and citizens the tools they need to succeed.  We provide a wide-range of resources, including workshops, fact sheets, programs, on-site consultations and comprehensive pest, plant and soil diagnostics.

Give to Food and Agriculture

Food Safety

A gift to the Extension Food Safety Fund — of truly any size — will help us provide quality food safety education to support those feeding the people of New Hampshire for years to come.

Give to Food Safety

Extension volunteer programs various photo - downtowns, 4-H'ers, Coastal Research volunteers, Lakes lay Monitoring

Lakes Lay Monitoring

Through the Lakes Lay Monitoring program, UNH scientists, students and over 250 seasonal and year-round volunteers participate in collecting water quality measurements in over 40 lakes all across New Hampshire. This data helps inform the decision-making of towns and lake associations to mitigate problems, improve water quality and protect residents and visitors. Volunteers inform their neighbors and local public officials on their lake’s conditions and best stewardship practices, leading to improvements like a reduction in stormwater runoff and fertilizer applications.

Give to Lakes Lay Monitoring

Marine Docent Program

The UNH Marine Docent Program mission is to "provide a lens through which the marine and associated environments can be viewed, understood and appreciated by people of all ages." Docents present a variety of educational programs that provide a link between the University's research community and the public. Docents teach marine science to students in schools, on boats and at camps, adults in community groups and organizations, and at public events. Marine docent boat builders help families build small sailboats over a three-day weekend. Docents also lead public tours on the UNH Research Vessel Gulf Challenger, into Great Bay and out to Appledore Island. 

Give to the Marine Docent Program

Natural Resources Stewards & NH Big Trees

Natural Resources Stewards are people of all ages and walks of life who love New Hampshire’s outdoors. They volunteer to help our trees and parks, forests and fields, plants and pollinators.  In 1950, the NH Big Tree Program began in an effort to find, record and recognize magnificent individual trees. Volunteers search the state for the largest examples of tree species; the list of recorded trees now includes over a thousand county, state and national champions.

Give to the Natural Resources Stewards/NH Big Tree Program

Extension volunteer programs - Big tree volunteers, Natural Resources Stewards planting a tree, speaking for wildlife volunteer and NH coverts

Nature Groupie

Nature Groupie makes it easy for more people to volunteer for nature. We all love getting outside, hiking on trails and enjoying outdoor places, but those places need our help too; trees need to be planted, wildlife needs to be monitored and trash needs to be cleared. Nature Groupie connects volunteers to these projects, and since 2013 more than 7,000 people have helped restore salt marshes, counted amphibians, pulled invasive plants, built trails and much more.

Give to Nature Groupie

NH 4-H

4‑H is America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. The NH 4-H program helps youth acquire knowledge, develop life skills and form attitudes to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. Youth are encouraged to take on leadership roles in supportive environments with guidance from adult mentors in the areas of STEM, healthy living, agriculture and citizenship. Professional 4-H youth development educators are located in each of New Hampshire’s 10 counties.

Give to NH 4-H

NH Coverts Project

The NH Coverts Project trains volunteers from a broad array of backgrounds and professions who are passionate about wildlife conservation and forest stewardship. After the training, volunteers return to their communities as stewards of NH’s wildlife and forest resources where they take on projects that fit their skills and interests such as leading field walks, coordinating volunteer workdays, serving on town boards or managing their own property for wildlife habitat.

Give to NH Coverts Project

NH Master Gardeners

The NH Master Gardener Program is part of a national effort to train people who are passionate about gardening so they can become volunteers who share science-based horticultural knowledge with the public. UNH Master Gardeners can apply for Special Projects Grants to fund gardens that make a difference in their communities. A few recent examples include food pantry gardens, school gardens and pollinator gardens. Gifts will help purchase lumber for raised beds, compost to enrich soil, signage to engage the public and tools for volunteers and students to “dig in” to create successful gardens.

Give to NH Master Gardeners

Nutrition Connections

Nutrition Connections is a nutrition education program that provides low-income families the knowledge and skills they need for better health, at no cost to them. With the support of generous donors, Nutrition Connections can offer healthy meals to program participants and provide ingredients for them to replicate recipes at home. Nutrition Connections classes have engaged 4,232 youth and 698 adults; their food assistance project at food pantries has reached 2,215 people; and 13,808  kids and parents were reached through a school community project.

Give to Nutrition Connections

Extension volunteer programs - Master Gardeners garden, nutrition connections child and strawberries, STEM docents and child and NH trails

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNH is a member-driven, volunteer-based educational program which supports and encourages adult learners in their continued pursuit of lifelong knowledge. Members explore ideas and interests in a safe and relaxed environment, with a community of peers. In-person and community-based courses are offered in four learning regions across the state of New Hampshire. Online courses are also offered. Events, trips, social activities and volunteer opportunities enhance member benefits.

Give to OLLI

Plant Diagnostic Lab

The Plant Diagnostic Lab at UNH accepts in-state samples and provides trusted, research-based information.

Give to Plant Diagnostic Lab

Robert Rines Young Inventors' Program® (YIP)

The Young Inventors' Program® (YIP) is a K-12 project-based learning curriculum. Through hands-on learning, research and testing, students explore STEM principles and develop 21st Century skills in decision making, design thinking  and communications. A program of UNH's Leitzel Center, YIP captures the spirit of youth innovation first sparked by founder and inventor Dr. Robert Rines.

Give to YIP

Speaking for Wildlife

Speaking for Wildlife trains volunteers in delivering presentations and leading field walks focused on wildlife and natural resources. Once trained, volunteers educate community groups across the state about New Hampshire's diverse wildlife species and habitats. Since the development of the program in 2010, Speaking for Wildlife volunteers have delivered over 350 presentations and 150 field walks, reaching over 9,000 people throughout the state.

Give to Speaking For Wildlife

STEM Docents

The STEM Docents training program was created in August 2016 to engage and inspire youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Focusing on underserved populations in Manchester and Nashua, the program trains and coordinates teams of volunteers—known as STEM Docents—and provides direct education for K-12 educators. STEM Docents teach hands-on, practice-based curricula that align with national recommendations to actively engage young learners. Donations will help provide scholarships to cover program fees.

Give to STEM Docents