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Extension Grants Awarded for Work in Energy, Fishing, and Families

By Holly Young, Cooperative Extension
April 23, 2008

The UNH Cooperative Extension recently awarded three grants that focused on priority issues facing New Hampshire.

The projects are the result of a recommendation from Extension’s Strategic Planning Implementation Team, which had recommended a process through which significant resources would be dedicated to a small number of issues. These proposals respond to significant issues and reflect new initiatives or vastly different approaches to something Extension is currently addressing.

Recipients include Alice Mullen, Extension educator, family and consumer resources, and administrator for the Family Home and Garden Education Center and Tim Fleury, Extension educator, forest resources, who received $25,000 for their project, “Energy Answers.”

The Energy Answers project will plan and conduct needs-assessment forums with three stakeholder groups: consumers, industry/utility stakeholders, and energy-related state agencies and nonprofit representatives. Long-range project outcomes include increased energy conservation by consumers leading to reduced environmental impact.

Ken La Valley, assistant Extension professor/specialist, commercial fisheries; Charlie French, associate Extension professor/specialist, community and economic development; and Catherine Violette, Extension professor/specialist, food and nutrition received $25,000 for their project, “Connecting Seafood Consumers with Fisherman: Integrating Direct-to-Market Industry Capacity with Consumer Health and Environmental Sustainability. ”

Although the fishing industry in New Hampshire is relatively small when compared to other resource-based industries, it is by no means insignificant. In fact, the identity of New Hampshire and the region is linked to the image of the working waterfront. The very character of the state, and the sense of community in New Hampshire towns, is shaped, in part, by the rich history in fishing.

The project will address the fundamental need for a model of how Cooperative Extension can work with industry and consumers, or better connect consumers and industry, to sustain the cultural, social and economic value of that industry to the region. This assessment will be linked to the fishing industries emerging need to market their catch directly to consumers by developing marketing guidelines that will help the local industries understanding of consumer and retailer needs and by supplying direct-to-market practices that are currently unavailable.

Malcolm Smith, Extension associate professor/specialist, family education and policy and Suzann Knight, Extension professor/specialist, family resource management, were recipients of a $50,000 for their project, “The New Hampshire Work/Family Balance Assessment.”

This project proposes to unite Cooperative Extension, the Carsey Institute, the Department of Family Studies, the N.H. Department of Employment Security and the N.H. Legislative Task Force on Work and Family to conduct the first-ever comprehensive assessment of work/family stressors among New Hampshire families.

A two-year, multi-method design will be used to gather both qualitative data and a representative qualitative sample of New Hampshire families to better understand significant variables that attribute to family stress related to work environments. The project will help inform Extension staff on key issues in family stress and key delivery methods to reach working families, inform law makers on potential opportunities for policy implementation to strengthen New Hampshire families, and business leaders to help develop family-friendly environments.

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