Enhancing Sustainability Workshops

Educational programs conducted by
the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Contact Debbie Roos for more information about these workshops.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Sam Groce, County Extension Director, at 919-542-8202 or in person at the County Extension Office at least 14 days prior to the event.

Workshops are listed with the most recent one on top.
Please scroll down to view the complete list.

September 12, September 17, and September 20, 2016:
Create a Pollinator Paradise Workshop and Garden Tour

Late June in the pollinator garden. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Late June in the pollinator garden. Photo by Debbie Roos.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer three fall pollinator conservation workshops and garden tours as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Monday September 12, Saturday September 17, AND Tuesday, September 20, starting in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. This is the same workshop offered on three different dates to accommodate participants’ schedules and keep class size small. Chatham County Agricultural Extension Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of North Carolina pollinators and discuss the role of native bees and managed bees in crop pollination. Participants will learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden and how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses to attract a diversity of pollinators. Debbie will emphasize native plants but also include a few other plants that provide good resources. The workshop will conclude with a tour of Cooperative Extension’s pollinator garden at Chatham Mills, about half a mile from the Agriculture Building. The garden is comprised of 180 different species, 85% of which are native to the piedmont of North Carolina.

Participants will receive several native perennial milkweed plants (Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias incarnata) grown by local nursery Mellow Marsh Farm to take home to plant for pollinators! These species are great for both bees and monarch butterflies.

Take a virtual tour of the pollinator garden to see how it progresses through the seasons! Click here to view the slideshow.

I created a website just for the pollinator garden with lots of educational resources which you can visit here on the Growing Small Farms website.

I decreased the class size based on feedback from past workshops. Class size is now limited to 20 people so the tour is not too crowded. I added an additional workshop to accommodate demand.

Advance registration is required for these workshops. Space is limited so please register early to reserve your spot. The cost of the workshop is $25 and includes a CD of resources plus native perennial milkweed plants. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form for the workshop you want to attend and mail with your check.

These workshops always sell out so register early!

Choose a workshop:

Monday, September 12 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm: FULL. 

Saturday, September 17 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm: Download the registration form for the September 17 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is September 12! 

Tuesday, September 20 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm: Download the registration form for the September 20 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is September 14! 

May 18, May 21, and June 6, 2016:
Create a Pollinator Paradise Workshop and Garden Tour

Cooperative Extension's Pollinator Paradise Garden

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer three spring pollinator conservation workshops and garden tours as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Saturday May 21, 2016 AND Monday, June 6, 2016 starting in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. This is the same workshop offered on three different dates to accommodate participants’ schedules and keep class size small. Chatham County Agricultural Extension Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of North Carolina pollinators and discuss the role of native bees and managed bees in crop pollination. Participants will learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden and how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses to attract a diversity of pollinators. Debbie will emphasize native plants but also include a few other plants that provide good resources. The workshop will conclude with a tour of Cooperative Extension’s pollinator garden at Chatham Mills, about half a mile from the Agriculture Building. The garden is comprised of 180 different species, 85% of which are native to the piedmont of North Carolina.

Participants will receive several native perennial milkweed plants (Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias incarnata) grown by local nursery Mellow Marsh Farm to take home to plant for pollinators! These species are great for both bees and monarch butterflies.

Take a virtual tour of the pollinator garden to see how it progresses through the seasons! Click here to view the slideshow.

I created a website just for the pollinator garden with lots of educational resources which you can visit here on the Growing Small Farms website.

Advance registration is required for these workshops. Space is limited so please register early to reserve your spot. The cost of the workshop is $25 and includes a CD of resources plus native perennial milkweed plants. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Choose a workshop:

Wednesday, May 18 from 1:00-5:00 pm: Workshop is full!

Saturday, May 21 from 1:00-5:00 pm: Workshop is full!

Monday, June 6 from 9:00 am-1:00 pm: Workshop is full!

March 12, 2016:
Fruit Tree Pruning Demonstrations

NCSU's Dr. Mike Parker demonstrates proper pruning techniques for peach trees.

NCSU’s Dr. Mike Parker demonstrates proper pruning techniques for peach trees.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a fruit tree pruning demonstration on Saturday March 12 at Howard’s Farm a few miles west of Pittsboro on Hwy 64. There will be a morning session and an afternoon session to accommodate demand. Annual training and pruning are needed for fruit trees to develop proper shape and form but many growers are intimidated by pruning and neglect this important task. Properly trained and pruned trees will yield high-quality fruit much sooner and live significantly longer. Dr. Mike Parker, North Carolina State University Fruit Tree Specialist, will demonstrate proper pruning techniques for apple and peach trees.

This demonstration is open to the general public and appropriate for both commercial growers and home gardeners. There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is required. Space is limited so register early!

Click here to register for the 10 am-noon session – FULL

Click here to register for the 1:00-3:00 pm session.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Howard’s Farm: 7393 US 64 West, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Harold Howard planted his first peach trees in 2011 and later added apples, blueberries, blackberries, and vegetables. They opened Memaw’s Fruit Shack at the orchard in 2014 for direct sales to customers.

February 27 and March 2, 2016:
Blueberry Pruning Demonstrations

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The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer three additional blueberry pruning demonstrations at Howard’s Farm a few miles west of Pittsboro on Hwy 64. Annual pruning is needed to control bush height and increase yields. Bill Cline, North Carolina State University Blueberry Specialist, will discuss and demonstrate proper pruning techniques for blueberries.

This demonstration is open to the general public and appropriate for both commercial growers and home gardeners. There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is required. Space is limited so register early.

Choose a session:

Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10:00 am-noon: FULL

Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1:00-3:00 pm: FULL

Wednesday, March 2 from 10:00 am-noon: FULL

Wednesday, March 2 from 1:00-3:00 pm: FULL

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Howard’s Farm: 7393 US 64 West, Pittsboro, NC 27312
The Howards planted their first peach trees in 2011 and later added apples, blueberries, blackberries, and vegetables. They opened Memaw’s Fruit Shack at the orchard in 2014 for direct sales to customers.

November 16, 2015:
Nuisance Wildlife, Wildlife Damage Control, and Coexisting with Wildlife

Groundhog. Photo courtesy of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Groundhog. Photo courtesy of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are teaming up to conduct a Wildlife Workshop Series for landowners. The third workshop, Nuisance Wildlife, Wildlife Damage Control, and Coexisting with Wildlife, will be on Monday November 16, 2015 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. The program will be presented by staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

AGENDA:

Welcome and Introductions
Debbie Roos, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Nuisance Wildlife and Wildlife Damage Control: What’s Legal and What’s Not 
Ann May, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Species-specific Scenarios: Beavers, Coyotes, Groundhogs, Foxes, Skunks, and Racoons
Jason Allen, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Species-specific Scenarios: Deer, Geese, Vultures, Squirrels, Bats, and Snakes 
Ken Knight, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Wrap-Up: Your Resources and Options
Ann May, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

(See speaker bios below.)

There is no cost to attend the workshop but pre-registration is requiredClick here to register on-line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Speaker Bios:

Ann May: Ann has a BS in Biology Education.  She joined the Commission eight years ago after teaching biology and AP Environmental Science for more than a decade in the North Carolina Public School System.  Currently, as the Commission’s Extension Biologist she  is responsible for directly engaging with the public on issues concerning negative human/wildlife interactions for both game & nongame species.  Additional job responsibilities include working with Commission staff, policy makers, elected officials and other government agencies to effectively address human/wildlife interaction issues on local, regional and statewide scales.  Along with developing and disseminating information to minimize negative human/wildlife interactions Ann also coordinates and conducts training for staff, identified public and private service entities.  She also serves as the chairperson for the Beaver Management Assistance Program Advisory Board, which provides oversight for a statewide program to control beaver damage on private and public lands.

Jason Allen: Jason began his career with the Wildlife Commission in 2002.  He was stationed at the Caswell Wildlife Depot for 10 years where he worked primarily on public lands.  During that time he served the Commission as a Technician, Crew Leader, and Interim Northern Piedmont Management Biologist.  Duties included oversight and management of multiple Game Lands and crews in in the Piedmont Region.  He was hired as the District 5 Wildlife Biologist in 2012.  Jason now works with private landowners, hunt clubs, and other governmental agencies providing technical guidance as it relates to responsible wildlife management.  His work area includes eleven counties in the northern Piedmont.

Ken Knight: Ken Knight is the Piedmont Supervising Wildlife Biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  Hired in 1986, he was previously the District Six Wildlife Biologist for 19 years.   Ken has a BS degree in Zoology (Wildlife Biology) from NC State University and a MS degree in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University.

October 28, 2015:
Managing your Land for Non-game Wildlife

Pine warbler. Photo by Kelly Douglass, NCWRC.

Pine warbler. Photo by Kelly Douglass, NCWRC.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are teaming up to conduct a Wildlife Workshop Series for landowners. The second workshop,  Managing your Land for Non-game Wildlife, will be on Monday October 28, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. The program will be presented by staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

AGENDA:

Welcome and Introductions
Debbie Roos, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Managing Private Lands for Bats
Brandon Sherrill, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Managing Private Lands for Songbirds 
Allison Nolker, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Managing Private Lands for Reptiles and Amphibians       
Jeff Hall, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

(See speaker bios below.)

There is no cost to attend the workshop but pre-registration is requiredClick here to register on-line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Speaker Bios:

Brandon Sherrill:  Brandon Sherrill has worked for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) as a Mammalogist since 2013.  Previously, Brandon worked as an educator/curator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and as a regional biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from NC State University (NCSU) in 2006 and a master’s degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from NCSU in 2010.

Allison Nolker: Allison Nolker is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.  Her position is based in the Piedmont, but has statewide responsibilities for nongame birds and mammals.  Before beginning her nongame biology career, she worked as a temporary employee for the Commission as the Captive Cervid Biologist since 2014.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from NC State in 2013, and her Master’s degree in Applied Ecology at NCSU in 2014.  Her current work includes monitoring songbird and small mammal populations in the Sandhills and Uwharries.

Jeff Hall: Hired in 2007 by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Jeff Hall is the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) Biologist.  As PARC Biologist, Jeff works with landowners to promote habitat management that benefits reptiles and amphibians as well as other wildlife species.  He coordinates the North Carolina chapter of PARC helping to bring public and private partners together to further conservation efforts for reptiles and amphibians.  Jeff also participates in field work on a variety of projects including rare amphibian monitoring and habitat restoration, upland snake conservation, and Project Bog Turtle.  In addition, Hall manages the Calling Amphibian Survey Program (CASP) which is designed to monitor long-term trends of frog and toad populations across the state.

October 19, 2015:
Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Workshop 

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The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop on Growing Heirloom Tomatoes from 1:00-5:00 pm on Monday October 19 at the Silk Hope Farm Heritage Center in Silk Hope, NC.

Tomatoes seem to capture the imagination of all gardeners; most people absolutely crave tomatoes and their arrival in summer is an annual culinary highlight. Americans have been enjoying their infinite variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors for about 300 years. Tomatoes are also a very important economic crop for area farmers.

This workshop offers a unique opportunity to learn from arguably our state’s top heirloom tomato experts: Craig LeHoullier, a gardener who has been growing tomatoes for over 30 years, is responsible for naming and popularizing the famed Cherokee Purple variety and has been on a whirlwind tour promoting his new book Epic Tomatoes; and Alex Hitt, a highly successful market farmer who has grown over 150 varieties of tomatoes over the years.

The target audience for this workshop is market growers and serious gardeners. The workshop will be presented in two sections:

Tomato History, Varieties, Seed Saving, and More!

Craig LeHoullier (author of Epic Tomatoes and tomato advisor to the Seed Savers Exchange) will take the workshop participants on a journey with a dash of history, fascinating stories, and a pictorial tour of dozens of favorite varieties in a rainbow of colors. Craig will also touch upon some of his key success factors learned from home gardening for 30 years in our challenging climate, and some of his favorite ways to use, preserve and save seed from his annual bounty. Craig will briefly discuss a unique project he is leading to create new tomato varieties that are perfect for container gardening.

Organic Production of Heirloom Tomatoes

Peregrine Farm grower Alex Hitt will share his vast experience growing and marketing dozens of varieties of heirloom tomatoes organically. Alex will talk about:

  • Variety selection
  • Transplant production
  • Fertility and soil preparation
  • Plant spacing
  • Irrigation
  • Mulch and weed control
  • Plant growth management
    • Plant growth habit (determinate/indeterminate)
    • Trellising
    • Pruning
  • Production problems
    • Disease and insect issues
    • Pollination
    • Cracking
  • Harvest and postharvest handling

Workshop participants will be able to purchase copies of Craig’s book, Epic Tomatoes, and have him sign it if they wish.

Advance registration is required by October 13. The cost of the workshop is $20 per person. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download a registration form. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is October 13!

Speaker Bios:

Craig LeHoullier (known locally as “NC TomatoMan”) developed a love of plants when very young, during time spent with his grandfather and father in their gardens. After marrying his wife Susan in 1980, his own gardening adventures began; the obsession with heirloom tomatoes began in 1986 after joining the Seed Savers Exchange (he has served as their tomato advisor for decades). With a collection of thousands of tomato varieties, perhaps his most important cultivar is Cherokee Purple, which he received as an unnamed variety in 1990, provided its name and distributed it to seed companies. From the many family heirloom tomatoes to historic American varieties obtained from the USDA to conceiving and leading the creation of new, useful varieties, Craig’s first book, Epic Tomatoes (Storey Publishing) emerged in January 2015. Craig is a prolific blogger and gardening lecturer, speaking at events from Seattle to Philadelphia to Monticello, in addition to many local events. His second book, on Straw Bale gardening, will be out in December. Click here to visit his website.

Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farm is a 1980 graduate of Utah State University with a B.S. in Soils.  He has been farming outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina for 34 years with his wife Betsy.  An extremely diversified operation, they produce cut flowers, small fruits, turkeys and vegetables. They sell most of their crops at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market and the rest in direct sales to a natural foods grocery chain and a few restaurants.  They have also marketed crops by pick-your-own, roadside stand, to florists and floral wholesalers.  They have both been full-time on the farm since 1990 and make their entire living off of 3 ½ acres in production. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, NC.  He is also on the Board of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA.  Alex is the past Chair of the Administrative Council of the Southern Region on the USDA’s Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education program where he served for seven years. They, together, were named 1995 Small Farmers of the Year by N.C. State A & T University, 1995 Farm Stewards of the Year by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and in 2006 were awarded the Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture.  In 2008 they were inducted as Fellows in the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs.

September 23 AND September 26, 2015:
Create a Pollinator Paradise Workshop and Garden Tour

Cooperative Extension's Pollinator Paradise Garden

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a pollinator conservation workshop and garden tour as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 AND Saturday September 26, 2015 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. starting in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. This is the same workshop offered on two different dates to accommodate participants’ schedules and keep class size small. Chatham County Agricultural Extension Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of North Carolina pollinators and discuss the role of native bees and managed bees in crop pollination. Participants will learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden and how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses to attract a diversity of pollinators. Debbie will emphasize native plants but also include a few other plants that provide good resources. The workshop will conclude with a tour of Cooperative Extension’s pollinator garden at Chatham Mills, about half a mile from the Agriculture Building. The garden is comprised of 160 different species, 85% of which are native to the piedmont of North Carolina.

Participants will receive several native perennial milkweed plants (Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias incarnata) grown by local nursery Mellow Marsh Farm to take home to plant for pollinators! These species are great for both bees and monarch butterflies.

Take a virtual tour of the pollinator garden to see how it progresses through the seasons! Click here to view the slideshow.

I created a website just for the pollinator garden with lots of educational resources which you can visit here on the Growing Small Farms website.

Advance registration is required for these workshops. Space is limited so please register early to reserve your spot. The cost of the workshop is $25 and includes a CD of resources plus native perennial milkweed plants. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download the registration form for the September 23 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is September 16! 

Download the registration form for the September 26 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is September 21!

September 14, 2015:
Conserving Working Lands Workshop

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The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a free workshop entitled Conserving Working Lands as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Monday, September 14, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro (65 East Chatham St., Pittsboro, NC 27312). Workshop presenters include NC State University Forestry Specialists Dr. Mark Megalos and Dr. Susan Moore. The target audience for this workshop is farm and forest landowners.

The workshop will be an informal evening program discussing the conservation planning journey through the use of a land legacy handbook authored by Drs. Megalos and Moore. Landowners are driven to leave a land legacy, and every landowner can benefit from land conservation planning in the short and longer-term. A plan is essential. This handbook is designed to help landowners begin the journey to create a land conservation plan that works for them now and for the future. A streamlined walk through the plan process will be conducted with willing participants, and case studies of landowners will be featured. All attendees will receive a copy of Conserving Working Lands.

There is no cost to attend the workshop but pre-registration is requiredClick here to register on-line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

SPEAKERS:

Dr. Mark Megalos: Dr. Megalos’ responsibilities cover forest management, reforestation, carbon offsets, taxation,  conservation opportunities and climate adaptation strategies on forested lands. Dr. Megalos has 34 years experience as a professional forester. His Southeastern work includes extension specialist, Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy coordinator, outreach associate and area agent for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

Dr. Susan Moore: Susan is Extension Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and Director of the Forestry & Environmental Outreach Program (FEOP) at North Carolina State University. As director, she guides the strategic direction of the program and provides the administrative oversight which has assured the program’s effectiveness and growth since 2000. She applies her advanced degrees, a working knowledge of sustainable natural resource management, and her personal land ethic in directing FEOP.

August 31, 2015:
Alternatives to Pine Plantations Workshop

Photo by Mark Megalos.

Photo by Mark Megalos.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a forestry workshop entitled Dialing Down Intensity in Woodland Management: a Case for Restoration and Resilience as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Monday, August 31, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro (65 East Chatham St., Pittsboro, NC 27312). Workshop presenters include NC State University Forestry Specialists Dr. Robert Bardon and Dr. Mark Megalos.

Why am I always told it is best to manage for pine? Why can’t I grow hardwoods? These are just a couple of questions asked by many landowners when it comes to woodland management. Come hear Dr. Bardon and Dr. Megalos speak about ways to reduce the intensity of woodland management on your property in order to improve diversity within your forest. Dr. Bardon will review what types of sites are best for growing hardwood trees, basic tree management, and species selection. Dr. Megalos will review the case for more extensive (less intensive) forestry across the landscape in order to promote hardwoods.

There is no cost to attend the workshop but a RSVP is required. To RSVP, send an email to extension.programs@chathamnc.org and put “forestry” in the subject line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Speaker Bios:

Robert E. Bardon, PhD: Professor and Associate Dean, NC State University, College of Natural Resources

Over the past 19 years Dr. Bardon has been providing educational programs on behalf of Extension Forestry at NC State University in family forestry, woodlot management, timber marketing, and urban and community forestry.  Dr. Bardon has over 20 years of experience as a professional forester.  He is a North Carolina registered forester and a certified forester with the Society of American Foresters.

Mark A. Megalos, PhD: Extension Associate Professor, NC State University, College of Natural Resources

Dr. Megalos’ responsibilities cover forest management, reforestation, carbon offsets, taxation,  conservation opportunities and climate adaptation strategies on forested lands. Dr. Megalos has 34 years experience as a professional forester. His Southeastern work includes extension specialist, Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy coordinator, outreach associate and area agent for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

August 10 and August 17, 2015: Growing Cut Flowers for Market

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The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop on Growing Cut Flowers for Market as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series. This will be a two-part workshop on Monday, August 10 and Monday, August 17. The August 10 workshop will be a full day of presentations from 9:00 am-5:00 pm in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. The August 17 workshop will take place from 9:00 am-1:00 pm at Perry-winkle Farm in northern Chatham County.

Workshop instructors include experienced cut flower growers Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle Farm and Leah Cook of Wild Hare Farm, plus Chatham County Agriculture Agent Debbie Roos (see speaker bios below). This is a very unique and rare opportunity to learn from two very successful cut flower growers. Space is limited so make sure and register early before it fills up!

Topics for August 10:

  • Top species and cultivars – spring planted cut flowers and fall-planted cut flowers, best species for field vs. high tunnels; we will focus on annuals but give examples of woodies and perennials and species for experienced growers
  • Propagation – direct seeding in the field, growing transplants, soil mixes, germination, etc.
  • Planting schedule – successional planting for continued harvest
  • Planting – seeding, transplanting, planting density, trellising, etc.,
  • Irrigation
  • Nutrition – cover crops, organic fertilizers, etc.
  • Disease and pest management – crop rotation, common insects and diseases, organic pest management strategies, etc.
  • Harvest and postharvest handling – proper stage of harvest, harvesting techniques, holding solutions and preservatives, coolers, extending vase life, dry storage of bulbs, etc.
  • Marketing, pricing, and display – farmers’ markets, restaurants, weddings, wholesale (florists, retailers, etc.), flower CSAs; grower bunches, buckets, bouquets, etc.
  • Resources (suppliers, publications, websites, associations, etc.)

Local breakfast and lunch will be catered by Angelina’s Kitchen.

Topics for August 17:

The August 17 workshop will take place at Perry-winkle Farm in northern Chatham County. Participants will have a chance to see grower Cathy Jones’ cut flower production in person. Cathy and Leah will discuss the following topics:

  • Transplant production in the greenhouse
  • Equipment – hand hoe, wheel hoe, seeders, tractor and implements
  • Species and cultivars – Cathy and Leah will showcase their summer flowers
  • Harvest demonstration – which species are best to strip in the field, etc.
  • Drip irrigation
  • Deer fencing
  • Postharvest handling – cooler, equipment, solutions

The Perry-winkle Farm crew will provide a local lunch on the farm.

Target Audience for these Workshops:

These workshops are intended for growers who want to learn more about growing cut flowers for income (NOT garden-scale). Whether you are currently growing produce for market and would like to add cut flowers to your crop mix, or you have been growing cut flowers for a couple of years but want to improve quality, vase life, and species diversity, this is the workshop for you! We will not be going into depth on advanced species and practices – that will be for another workshop. The workshop is geared towards farmers who have a basic level of horticultural production experience.

Registration Info:

The majority of slots in this workshop are reserved for people who want to attend both days, because we feel that the on-farm experience offered in the August 17 workshop will be very valuable. However, we recognize that not everyone’s schedules will permit them to attend both days so we are reserving some slots for folks who only want to attend the August 10 workshop. These spaces are limited so please register early.

To attend BOTH the August 10 and August 17 workshops:

Advance registration is required by August 4.  The cost to attend both workshops is $80 and includes a resource notebook, breakfast, and lunch on August 10, and lunch on August 17. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download a registration form to attend both the August 10 and August 17 workshopsPlease fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is August 4!

To attend ONLY the August 10 workshop:

Advance registration is required by August 4.  The cost to attend the August 10 workshop ONLY is $50 and includes a resource notebook, breakfast, and lunch. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download a registration form to attend ONLY the August 10 workshopPlease fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is August 4!

Speaker Bios:

Leah Cook, Wild Hare Farm

Leah Cook and Mark Thomas own and run Wild Hare Farm.  The farm is located in Cedar Grove in northern Orange County.  While they grow some vegetables, the focus is on specialty cut flowers. Products are sold at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Weaver Street Market, Whole Foods, fine restaurants and florist shops.  Leah has served on the board for the Carrboro Farmers’ Market for a number of years.  She is active with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Leah taught sustainable cut flower production at Central Carolina Community College for several years and has given talks all around the southeast.

Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm

Cathy and her husband Mike Perry have been farming in northern Chatham County since 1991.  Perry-winkle Farm was one of the first farms in the county to be certified organic.  Their vegetables, cut flowers, and pastured poultry products are marketed at three weekly farmers’ markets (Fearrington Village Farmers’ Market and both Carrboro Farmers’ Markets).  In 1995 Cathy joined the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) as they began to add cut flowers to their crop mix.  Cathy serves on the board of directors of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) which is a regional organization that works to support family farms throughout the South.  She is also on the board of Toxic Free NC – a policy and advocacy organization which fights pesticide pollution in North Carolina. Cathy has many years’ experience teaching about cut flowers and organic production at regional conferences.

Debbie Roos, Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Since 2001 Debbie Roos has been an Agriculture Agent for the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension where she is responsible for programming in the areas of commercial vegetable production, organic production, pollinator conservation, alternative agricultural enterprises, forestry, and beekeeping. Debbie worked for three years as an agroforestry Extension agent and technical trainer for the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa, and later completed graduate degrees in applied anthropology and horticulture at the University of Florida. Debbie delivers educational programming to growers through regular workshops and her Growing Small Farms website.

August 3, 2015:
Protecting and Enhancing Bat Populations
to Help with Pest Control on the Farm

Big brown bat

Big brown bat. Photo by Jim White, Delaware Nature Society.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop on Protecting and Enhancing Bat Populations to Help with Pest Control on the Farm from 7:00-9:30 pm on Monday August 3 at the Silk Hope Farm Heritage Center in Silk Hope, NC. The workshop will be taught by UNC-Greensboro biologist and bat expert Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell (see bio below).

This will be a kid-friendly workshop so children ages 7 and up are encouraged to attend!

There are approximately 11 species of bats in the piedmont region of North Carolina and all of them eat insects, including mosquitoes and many important agricultural pests like corn earworms, stink bugs, cucumber beetles, planthoppers, and much more. Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and this is a conservative estimate. A large colony of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) can eat 18 million corn rootworms each summer, while a single evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis) can consume over 20,000 insects annually.

AGENDA:

Bats in your Backyard: Biology, Ecology, and Relevance to Farmers and Agriculture

  • Bats as fascinating mammals
  • Resources that bats need for survival
  • Bats as insect consumers in piedmont food webs
  • Specific species on piedmont farms
  • Ways to attract bats to your farm or garden
  • Threats to piedmont bats
  • What you can do for bat conservation

Q&A Session

On-Site Bat Observation Session with Bat Detectors (weather permitting)

Advance registration is required by July 29. The cost of the workshop is $10 per person (kids are free). Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download a registration formPlease fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check.  Registration deadline is July 29!

Speaker:

Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell is a Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches courses in Animal Behavior and Vertebrate Zoology and has a research program centered on the ecology and behavior of North American forest-dwelling bats and mice.  She has done field research for 25 years where she uses remote sensing methods to, among other things, record ultrasound produced by bats and mice to understand how human activities influence individual behaviors, population dynamics, and community structure of bats and mice. She regularly speaks to the public about the biology and conservation of bats and mice that live, both literally and figuratively, in their back yard. She received her undergraduate and MS degrees at the University of Regina, PhD at the University of Western Ontario, and post-doctoral training at the University of California at Berkeley.

July 20, 2015:
Introduction to Managing your Land for Wildlife:
What Landowners Need to Know

Photo by Kelly Douglass

Photo by Kelly Douglass

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are teaming up to conduct a Wildlife Workshop Series for landowners. The first workshop, Introduction to Managing your Land for Wildlife: What Landowners Need to Know, will be on Monday July 20, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. The program will be presented by staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

AGENDA:

Welcome and Introductions
Debbie Roos, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

The Big Picture: Managing your Land to Attract Wildlife
Kelly Douglass, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Defining Your Land Management Objectives 
Jason Allen, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Resources to Help Landowners        
John Isenhour, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

(See speaker bios below.)

There is no cost to attend the workshop but a RSVP is required. To RSVP, send an email to extension.programs@chathamnc.org and put “wildlife” in the subject line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Speaker Bios:

Kelly Douglass is a Forest Stewardship Biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, covering a 32-county work area in the piedmont region of North Carolina, including Chatham Co.  Before transferring into this position in 2010, she worked as Captive Cervid Biologist with the NCWRC for 6 years.  She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from NC State University in 2002, and a master’s degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from NCSU in 2011.  She is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a Certified NC Environmental Educator.

Jason Allen began his career with the Wildlife Commission in 2002.  He was stationed at the Caswell Wildlife Depot for 10 years where he worked primarily on public lands.  During that time he served the Commission as a Technician, Crew Leader, and Interim Northern Piedmont Management Biologist.  Duties included oversight and management of multiple Game Lands and crews in the Piedmont Region.  He was hired as the District 5 Wildlife Biologist in 2012.  Jason now works with private landowners, hunt clubs, and other governmental agencies providing technical guidance as it relates to responsible wildlife management.  His work area includes eleven counties in the northern Piedmont.

John Isenhour has been in the position of Technical Assistance Biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for the past 10 years.  In this position he provides guidance to private landowners whose goals include wildlife habitat enhancement.  He also assists them in identifying and applying for appropriate cost assistance programs.  His work area includes 33 Piedmont Counties.  Prior to working with the Wildlife Commission he was an Education Forest Ranger with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources.  John has a bachelor’s degree from NC State in Wildlife Management.

Ken Knight is the Piedmont Supervising Wildlife Biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  Hired in 1986, he was previously the District Six Wildlife Biologist for 19 years.   Ken has a BS degree in Zoology (Wildlife Biology) from NC State University and a MS degree in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University.

Mark your calendars for these other programs in our Wildlife Workshop Series! Details will be released in the summer of 2015.

  • October 28, 2015 (tentative date): Managing your Land to Attract Non-game Wildlife – 7:00-9:00 pm at the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro
  • November 16, 2015: Topic to be determined based on stakeholder feedback from first two workshops – 7:00-9:00 pm at the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro
  • January 9, 2016: All day workshop at the Silk Hope Farm Heritage Center

June 1, 2015:
Managing Varroa Mites & Small Hive Beetles in Honey Bee Hives

Varroa mite on honey bee pupa. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Varroa mite on honey bee pupa. Photo by Debbie Roos.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a beekeeping workshop as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Monday, June 1, 2015 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. The workshop will focus on Managing Varroa Mites & Small Hive Beetles in Honey Bee Hives. These pests can cause significant damage to honey bees and severely weaken a colony if not kept under control. The program will be presented by NCDA Apiary Inspector Nancy Ruppert.

AGENDA:

 Varroa Mites

  • What are they, and where did they come from?
  • The multiple ways in which they are so destructive
  • The varroa mite life cycle
  • The honey bee life cycle and how it directly relates to the varroa mite life cycle
  • Hive management to limit varroa population/destruction
    • Where are we now with this, and is this where we need to be?
    • How to identify varroa problems
    • Integrated pest management
    • Choosing the right genetics
    • Additional non-chemical methods
    • “Soft” chemicals as miticides
    • “Hard” chemicals as miticides
  • Varroa Mite Case Study:  let’s apply this info in a practical way

 Small Hive Beetles (SHB)

  • What are they, and where did they come from?
  • The damage they can inflict on honey bees
  • SHB life cycle
  • Hive management to limit SHB population/destruction
    • Integrated pest management
    • Cultural controls
    • “Soft” chemicals
    • “Hard” chemicals
  • Hive Beetle Case Study:  let’s apply this info in a practical way

Additional Case Studies (we need the practice!)

Question & Answer Session

Advance registration is required by May 27. The cost of the workshop is $15 and includes a CD of resources. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download a registration formPlease fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is May 27!

Speaker:

Nancy Ruppert has been an apiary inspector for the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services since August of 2010, covering 17 counties in south-central/southeastern North Carolina. She lives in Montgomery County and has been active in beekeeping for 14 years. Nancy has been a registered nurse since the 1980s, and worked almost 20 years as a family nurse practitioner before changing to a less stressful occupation. Her particular apiary interests include hive pests and diseases, honey bee nutrition, and reducing honey bee stress.

May 12 AND May 16, 2015:
Create a Pollinator Paradise Workshop and Garden Tour

Cooperative Extension's Pollinator Paradise Garden

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a pollinator conservation workshop and garden tour as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 AND Saturday May 16, 2015 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. starting in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. This is the same workshop offered on two different dates to accommodate participants’ schedules and keep class size small. Chatham County Agricultural Extension Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of North Carolina pollinators and discuss the role of native bees and managed bees in crop pollination. Participants will learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden and how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses to attract a diversity of pollinators. Debbie will emphasize native plants but also include a few other plants that provide good resources. The workshop will conclude with a tour of Cooperative Extension’s pollinator garden at Chatham Mills, about half a mile from the Agriculture Building. The garden is comprised of 160 different species, 85% of which are native to the piedmont of North Carolina.

Participants will receive several perennial butterfly weed plants (Asclepias tuberosa) grown by local nursery Mellow Marsh Farm to take home to plant for pollinators! This species is great for both bees and monarch butterflies.

Take a virtual tour of the pollinator garden to see how it progresses through the seasons! Click here to view the slideshow.

I created a website just for the pollinator garden with lots of educational resources which you can visit here on the Growing Small Farms website.

Advance registration is required for these workshops. Space is limited so please register early to reserve your spot. The cost of the workshop is $20 and includes a CD of resources plus perennial butterfly weed plants. Call 919-542-8202 or email Debbie Roos for more information. To register, download the registration form and mail with your check.

Download the registration form for the May 12 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is May 5! 

Download the registration form for the May 16 workshop. Please fill out the form on-line, then print it and mail with your check. Registration deadline is May 11!

February 21, 2015:
Fruit Tree Pruning Demonstration

NCSU Fruit Tree Specialist Dr. Mike Parker (left) with grower Harold Howard

NCSU Fruit Tree Specialist Dr. Mike Parker (left) with grower Harold Howard

North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a fruit tree pruning demonstration on Saturday February 21 from 10:00 am – noon at Howard’s Farm a few miles west of Pittsboro on Hwy 64. Annual training and pruning are needed for fruit trees to develop proper shape and form but many growers are intimidated by pruning and neglect this important task. Properly trained and pruned trees will yield high-quality fruit much sooner and live significantly longer. Dr. Mike Parker, North Carolina State University Fruit Tree Specialist, will demonstrate proper pruning techniques for apple and peach trees.

This demonstration is open to the general public and appropriate for both commercial growers and home gardeners. There is no cost to attend but a RSVP is requested. To RSVP, send an email to extension.programs@chathamnc.org and put “pruning demo” in the subject line.

For more information contact Debbie Roos at 919-542-8202.

Howard’s Farm: 7393 US 64 West, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Harold Howard planted his first peach trees in 2011 and later added apples, blueberries, blackberries, and vegetables. They opened Memaw’s Fruit Shack at the orchard in 2014 for direct sales to customers.

Click here to view the 100+ Enhancing Sustainability Workshops from 2001-2015

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