2015 Annual Report

Farm & Food Business Development

During 2015: 22 Food for Profit Workshops provided information about food business start-up and management to 306 potential food entrepreneurs, as a result of a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grant Project led by Dauphin County-based Extension Educators. Workshop participants included farmers who were considering adding value to what they grew, and non-farmers who wanted to start a local food enterprise. Of these sessions, 14 were held in Pennsylvania, four in West Virginia, one in Tennessee, and three in Maryland – demonstrating that the demand for this type of education is not limited to our Commonwealth. The “Dauphin County Farm Fresh Directory,” which debuted mid-summer in 2013, was updated in August/September to include several new farm markets in addition to the original 29 (including both Dauphin and Perry County producers). The 2015-2016 edition of this popular local food guide is available in the Penn State Extension Office, as well as many locations in the community. The companion “Buying Fresh Food in Harrisburg City” pamphlets continues to serve as a guide for those who use public transit to buy their food. The publication “Flew off the shelves” again in Summer 2015 – especially appealing to participants in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

4-H/Youth Development

  • In 2015 the Dauphin County 4-H Program reached over 6,000 youth throughout the county with 16 traditional 4-H Club Programs, 4-H School Enrichment, 4-H Day Camps, 4-H Special Interest, and 4-H Independent Study Programs.
  • The 4-H Program provided youth and adult volunteers opportunities to make a difference in their lives and communities. 4-H Staff provide volunteer training and management to over 75 4-H Volunteers who provided over 6,500 hours of service to Dauphin County.
  • There were 24 4-H Teens that participated in 4-H State Leadership Conference and 35 4-H Teens who competed at State Achievement Days.
  • There were 15 4-H Youth participants from Dauphin County that attended 4-H Resident Camp in Gettysburg, along with 80 4-H Youth from four other counties. This year’s theme was “Once Upon a Camp.” 4-H Campers enjoyed seeing the camp come to life with workshops and activities that revolved around a storybook theme. They also had opportunities to interact in hand-on experiences such as: hiking, archery, fishing, science experiments, outdoor cooking, camp songs, and participating in team-building activities. It was a great opportunity for our eight 4-H Teen Counselors to work on leadership and mentoring skills.
  • The Ag Ventures Program, which brings the farm to the kids, through “hands-on” activities traveling to camps and summer programs in and around Harrisburg City reached over 1,500 4-H Youth. The purpose of the program is to educate the youth on the importance of agriculture in their day to day activities.
  • The 4-H School Enrichment and 4-H Summer Day Camp Programs continue to bring unique hands-on learning experiences to youth in Dauphin County. The success of the 4-H School Enrichment and 4-H Summer Programs are a result of collaboration with Educators, Teachers, 4-H Adult Volunteers, Local Community Businesses, and many other organizations that support the mission of our 4-H Programs. The 2014-1015 Year brought many new experiences for our traditional 4-H Members as well as our 4-H School Enrichment Programs. We began the school year with two new school enrichment clubs, which allow the youth to participate fully in the 4-H Programs we offer throughout our county as well as offering them the opportunity to participate in state and national activities. We are also collaborating with school districts in the county to create family 4-H Nights which will allow the youth, parents, and volunteers to take part in science based 4-H Projects. Spending time with 4-H is an excellent way to introduce youth, adults, and our community to plentiful opportunities that 4-H has to offer our youth.

Home Horticulture

The Penn State Extension Dauphin County Master Gardener Program assists Dauphin County Citizens through outreach education programs, partnering with community groups, and one to one contact through Horticulture Education.

During 2015, 77 active Penn State Extension Master Gardeners worked in the program. Over 4,300 volunteer hours were reported from the Dauphin County Master Gardeners. Over 925 hours were spent on the Office Hotline where they educated over 500 clients answering over 700 questions. Dauphin County Master Gardeners have provided education through displays and one to one contact to over 8,500 residents. Listed below are examples of community events that have been supported by the Dauphin County Master Gardeners:

  • East Hanover Township Community Day
  • Senior Expo Hosted by Rep. Ron Marsico           
  • PA Garden Show Ask the Expert
  • Hershey Garden’s Community Day
  • Wildwoods Wetland Festival
  • Tractor Supply’s Home Garden Days
  • Fort Halifax Education Day
  • Fort Halifax 12th Annual Festival
  • Garden Faire at Fort Hunter
  • Strites Orchard – Spring, Strawberry, Peach, Apple, & Pumpkin Festival
  • 2nd Sunday Events at the Governor’s Residence
  • Londonderry Twp. Backyard Composting Workshop
  • Farmers Market at the Farm Show (Fri., May – Oct.)
  • Middletown’s Historic Ferry House and Garden Tour
  • Vegetable Display at the PA Farm Show
  • Farm Show Detective Program – PA Vegetable Growers Display
  • Tri-County OIC Summer Reading Kick-off
  • Harrisburg Rain Barrel Coalition
  • Ned Smith Nature & Art Festival
  • National Honeybee Day at Hershey Community Gardens

Home Horticulture

Family & Consumer Science

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The goal of the Nutrition Links Program is to impart nutrition knowledge which will result in dietary changes in the lives of our clients. Our students attend a series of classes where they learn about the importance of food safety, are encouraged to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption and to rethink their drinks. This year we conducted EFNEP Classes at the YWCA. We worked with the women who attended the “Supported Employment Women’s group.” After the completion of class we received a letter from the director who said this about our staff and the program’s effect on the students. “The goal of the supported Employment Women’s Group is to share hope, dreams and fears as we educate them in their daily life skills and positive decision making. The ladies were overjoyed with Mrs. Green (our NEA). Throughout the weeks the ladies would share with each other what they had learned. As a result of attending our classes the women are now making conscious decisions and transitioning into a healthier life style.”

PA Tracks Program (SNAP-ED - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education)

During the 2015 Program Year, 2,524 children received nutrition education (with a total of 70,381 contacts in Harrisburg City and Steelton Schools). The use of “Great Garden Detective” Curriculum was very successful during school programming with children. Over the summer, the children planted a salad in their individual buckets and have a salad feast at the end of the program. A third grade teacher from Harrisburg Schools said that her students are interested in reading the milk labels in the cafeteria and prepacked items in their lunch to discover the amount of sodium and sugar they are eating.

Adult programming took place in eligible senior centers and adult housing programs with 1,799 different adults and seniors (2,064 contacts). Over 20,000 Vegetable Newsletters were distributed at various food pantries and public housing locations. A Harrisburg Soup Kitchen now makes Kale Chips on a regular basis after a taste experience in their facility.

Nutrition Link


The Dauphin County StrongWomen (SW) Program continues with three classes year round at two sites. The six-week sessions are based on clinical research that proves strength training and proper food choices enhance energy and bone density. In January 2013, SW Participants requested the training be increased to three times a week to maximize the benefits. The Hershey Classes have maintained previous attendance levels. Marketability has been well supported through local print media, municipal newsletters, and social media followers. In the past 12 months, there have been eight classes held in Dauphin with a total of 137 registrations, averaging 17 per class. Friday Classes have increased in attendance by 50%.

Testimonials from SW Registrants prove the benefits: “I'm keeping active, busy, and much healthier.” “It has made me strong to keep up with all my preschool grandchildren.” “Bone strengthening was something I needed to add to my exercise regime and SW fits the bill perfectly.” “The SW Program has given me the strength and flexibility needed to care for my two very active, young grandsons.”


Field and Forage Crops

In August 2015: Liz Bosak started as the new Field and Forage Crops Educator for Dauphin and Perry Counties. The Field and Forage Crops Program in 2016 will provide educational workshops and research-based information for the residents of Dauphin and Perry Counties. Programming will include meetings eligible for pesticide recertification credits to make sure private and commercial applicators have opportunities to learn about pesticide safety, efficacy, and stewardship. Other future programming will address soil health to increase on-farm profitability, conserve natural resources, and build long-term sustainability. In Spring 2016, a grazing and pasture management tour will provide livestock producers with forage production tactics and animal nutrition advice. Over the next few years, Field and Forage Crop Programming will continue to expand according to the needs of the farming community here in Dauphin and Perry Counties.

Field and Forage Crops

Water Resources (Youth & Volunteer Programs)

In 2015: 1,807 youth and 458 adults participated in educational program offerings and trainings through the Youth Water Education Programs in/around Dauphin County. Youth programs included the new 4-H Rain to Drain Storm Water Project, Testing the Water We Drink Programs, Water Quality and Water Conservation 4-H School Enrichment Programs, and 4-H Water, Wildlife, and Sports Fishing Summer Camp Programs among others. Programming for adults included a variety of professional development opportunities for educators to improve their water education efforts with youth, including Watershed Decisions, Project WET, and 4-H Rain to Drain trainings. An additional 449 adults and 89 youth participated in watershed restoration activities through the Greening the Lower Susquehanna Project in Dauphin, Lebanon, & Lancaster Counties. Participants helped with stream side tree plantings, stream bank restoration, a tree seedling nursery, trash clean-ups and rain garden maintenance as members of a Volunteer Conservation Corps. Over 2,000 trees were rescued and planted this year to benefit local water quality. As a result of participating, 91.8% of volunteers (N=61) indicated that they have increased their knowledge about restoring local water quality as a result of their volunteerism with the group. Additionally, 60.7% of volunteers stated that they have taken further action to protect local water quality in the six months following their participation in the program.

Water Resources

Penn State Extension Dauphin County Board of Directors

  • Amy Barnett, Annville
  • Scott Bills, Halifax
  • Marlin Brubaker, Halifax
  • Judy Dillon, Hershey
  • Jared Grissinger, Harrisburg
  • Marty Gutekunst, Vice President, Harrisburg
  • Kendra Mohr, Middletown
  • Elizabeth Rodda, Secretary, Dauphin
  • Rachel Teller, President, Hershey
  • Lori Weber, Halifax
  • Steven Wisegarver, Assistant Treasurer, Dauphin

Advocate Committee

  • Bill Roberts, Harrisburg
  • Jeff Haste, Dauphin County Commissioner, Harrisburg

4-H Program Development Committee

  • Dale Brandt
  • Lynette Brandt
  • Marlin Brubaker, President
  • Cindy Foulke
  • Kristy Myers
  • Peggy Schaeffer-Montgomery
  • Loraine Sersch, Treasurer
  • Angie Shaw
  • Eugene Sweigard, Vice President
  • Rachel Teller, Secretary
  • Allison Theurer
  • Jennifer Wise

Family & Consumer Sciences Advisory Committee

  • Jorja Barton
  • Bonnie Kent
  • Jane Landis
  • Audrey Maule
  • Lori Robinson
  • Elizabeth Rodda

Penn State Extension Dauphin County “By the Numbers”

Contact Method
Program Participants  69,071
Master Gardener Consumer Contacts
Information Requests 109,829
Total 120,504
Volunteers Number
Master Gardener Volunteers & Trainees     77
4-H Adult Volunteers     80
4-H Teen Volunteers
All Other Programs 1,270
 Total 1,442
Volunteers Hours (all other programs)  3,308
Master Gardeners Volunteer Hours  4,305
4-H Youth Volunteer Hours  8,000
 Total 15,613

*Total hours x $23.07 = $360,191.91

4-H Youth Category
Number Served
Traditional 4-H Clubs   368
School Enrichment/After School/PA Tracks 4,049
4-H Day/Overnight Camps     97
Special Interest   365
 Total 4,879

*Based on available research on value of volunteers.

Penn State Extension Dauphin County Based Staff

*County Funded Staff

Extension Assistants & Program Interns

  • Leesa Caputo, StrongWomen
  • Myrannda Kleckner, 4-H Summer Intern
  • Jane Landis, StrongWomen
  • Elizabeth Rodda, StrongWomen
  • Sandra Schantz, StrongWomen
  • Callie Swartz, 4-H Summer Intern
  • Linda Zubler, StrongWomen

Extension Staff (based in other counties) who provided educational programs in Dauphin County

  • Timothy Abbey, Entomology/Horticulture, York County
  • Tara Baugher, Tree Fruit, Adams County
  • Steve Bogash, Commercial & Home Horticulture, Cumberland County
  • John Bray, Pesticide Safety Educator, Lebanon County
  • Judy Chambers, Extension Educator, Adams County
  • Gregory Martin, Poultry, Lancaster County
  • Dwane Miller, Agriculture & Agronomy Extension Educator, Schuylkill County
  • Dan Mc Farland, Agricultural Engineering, York County
  • Cynthia Pollich, Better Kid Care, Lancaster County