Communities of learning and practice

Cornell Cooperative Extension Program Work Teams (PWT) are communities of learning and practice that focus on specific Extension areas and issues. PWTs bring Cornell faculty and staff, CCE educators, industry members and stakeholders together to collaborate and innovate.

Work Teams

Agricultural Marketing and Community Development

The Agricultural Marketing & Community Development PWT focuses on food systems work occurring across the state. Stakeholders include Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, and other non-profits such as GrowNYC, CADE and others.

Co-Chair(s): lw257 [at] (Biasillo, Laura); Schmit, Todd

Aquaculture Development in NY

The Aquaculture Development in New York Program Work Team is focused on realizing the potential of sustainable aquaculture in New York.

Co-Chair(s): jml78 [at] (Lepak, Jesse); mbt3 [at] (Timmons, Michael)

Digital Agriculture

The multi-discipline arena of Digital Ag is quickly growing to include sensor technology, spatial and temporal data processing, information visualization, infield variable-rate technology, and social and economic analysis. There is a statewide need to address both the state of the technology for solving current issues in agriculture as well as exploring new and integrated technologies for future solutions.

Co-Chair(s): trb7 [at] (Bates, Terry); jmm533 [at] (Meyers, James)

Farm to School

The Farm to School PWT plans to create better cohesion of farm to school programming across NYS for more efficient/effective farm to school program delivery. As part of a PWT, farm to school coordinators can greatly augment their efforts through resource sharing, thus strengthening the overall farm to school program in NYS.

Co-Chair(s): Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, Heidi Marie ; Thayer, Cheryl; mmt65 [at] (Tidball, Moira)


To serve as a forum for Cornell faculty and technical staff, CCE Educators and Specialists, and industry representatives and consultants, to confer on matters related to the New York tree fruit and berry industry, including production matters, business management, pest management, and other issues related to NY's fruit industry.

Co-Chair(s): ama4 [at] (Agnello, Arthur); Eve, Jim

Geospatial Sciences

Co-Chair(s): dgg3 [at] (Grantham, Deb); jjm14 [at] (Miller, Jeffrey)

Greenhouse Horticulture

The Greenhouse Horticulture PWT provides Cornell extension programming that addresses critical issues to producers of greenhouse bedding plants, flower crops and greenhouse vegetable crops across New York. There are 615 wholesale floriculture producers in NYS producing $171 million a year in wholesale value. These operations support more than 7,000 employees. 

Co-Chair(s): ldc74 [at] (Christianson, Lindsey); nsm47 [at] (Mattson, Neil)

Hard Cider

Outreach: support Cornell related outreach efforts related to hard cider across the entire supply chain from apple nurseries to orchards to cider producers to marketing.

Co-Chair(s): cjg9 [at] (Gerling, Chris); cjk37 [at] (Kahlke, Craig); im13 [at] (Merwin, Ian); lep67 [at] (Pashow, Lindsey); gmp32 [at] (Peck, Gregory)

Integrated Field Crop, Soil, and Pest Management

To assess the needs of stakeholders, prioritize opportunities, and to promote and facilitate applied research and extension programs on integrated field crop, soil, and pest management that increases the productivity and profitability of New York agriculture and related industries while protecting the environment for the benefit of all citizens of New York.

Recent Research & Outreach: statewide planning and applied research priorities and sponsored activities

Co-Chair(s): wjc3 [at] (Cox, William); jnt3 [at] (Thomas-Murphy, Jenn)

Integrated Nutrient Management

This PWT consists of Cornell faculty and staff and Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators, further advised by a statewide external advisory committee that includes representatives of state agencies (NRCS, NYSDEC, NYSDAM), as well as Farm Bureau, NEDPA, SWCDs, consulting firms, industry representatives, and farmers. The goal is to partner in development of effective and practical solutions for enhanced agriculture and environmental management. 

Co-Chair(s): drd4 [at] (Dewing, Dale); qmk2 [at] (Ketterings, Quirine)

Integrated Pest Management

The need for pest management is universal, as are its risks. We help address pest management needs on the farm, at work or in schools, in homes, or in the community.

Research, demonstrations, education, and outreach are part of a comprehensive plan to make IPM the safe, effective pest management solution for all New Yorkers. We look for solutions that help protect the health,  economic well-being, and environment of New York State.

Co-Chair(s): aac273 [at] (Calixto, Alejandro); eml38 [at] (Lamb, Elizabeth)


The purpose is to develop collaborations, share resources and support the work of livestock educators across the state. We are currently in the team development phase. 

Co-Chair(s): mjb28 [at] (Baker, Michael); nig3 [at] (Glazier, Nancy); bmf9 [at] (Hodge, Betsy)

Managing Wastes: Composting and Land Application

The Managing Wastes PWT provides a mechanism through which faculty and extension educators connect with stakeholders in identifying issues, studying needs, creating education materials, and designing learning experiences that address solid waste issues and needs.

Recent Activity: Held a PWT meeting with tours, demonstrations, and networking with professional.

Co-Chair(s): jb29 [at] (Bonhotal, Jean); jsp10 [at] (Petzen, Joan)

Organic Production and Marketing

To support organic producers in New York by developing and strengthening relationships among Cornell researchers, students, and extension staff and stakeholders including producers, consultants, input suppliers, and NGOs.

Recent Outreach: full-day Organic Research Symposium to showcase research projects 

Co-Chair(s): afb3 [at] (Benson, Faye); klb325 [at] (Brown, Kate); cls263 [at] (Courtens, Crystal); bai1 [at] (Leonard, Betsy); gmp32 [at] (Peck, Greg); mrr232 [at] (Ryan, Matthew); ajs32 [at] (Seaman, Abby)

Small Farms

The Cornell Small Farms Program Work Team envisions a future where diverse and vibrant urban and rural farms build human capacity, revitalize communities, supply regional food systems, and foster ecological resilience in a changing world. We do this by helping farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial growth to optimization to maturity.

Co-Chair(s): mnl28 [at] (LeRoux, Matt); ar47 [at] (Rangarajan, Anusuya); vws7 [at] (Stone, Violet)

Vegetable Crops

Recent Outreach: offset staff travel costs for a professional development tour of farms and research in the Riverhead, Long Island, NY area in September of 2018

Co-Chair(s): emb273 [at] (Buck, Elizabeth); eh528 [at] (Hodgdon, Elisabeth); mez4 [at] (Zuefle, Marion)

Viticulture and Enology

The Viticulture and Enology (VIEN) Program Work Team exists to support profitable production of grapes, wine and grape products in New York State.

The group is diverse, encompassing 20 Cornell faculty research and extension programs, 4 associated USDA-ARS research scientists, and 10 Extension Educators representing four regional grape programs.  Industry input is channeled through program advisory committees for the respective extension programs.

Co-Chair(s): cjg9 [at] (Gerling, Christopher); tem2 [at] (Martinson, Timothy)

All-Hazard Preparedness & Response Education Program

  • Safeguarding agriculture in the event of weather, biological or chemical incidents.
  • Prepare citizens for personal wellness and resilience in the face of increasing frequency, intensity, and severity of weather events.
  • Provide evidence-based resources to assist communities with all-hazard preparedness and response.

Co-Chair(s): Haines, Deena; kgt2 [at] (Tidball, Keith)

CCE Veterans & Military Families

Increase community capacity to support military families, increase workforce development opportunities, and expand family, childcare and youth development programs.

Co-Chair(s): deh8 [at] (Haines, Deena); cmm17 [at] (Moore, Catherine); kgt2 [at] (Tidball, Keith)


The Opioids PWT gives CCE a role in the Opioid Crisis, in hopes to develop a plan that will be executed by CCE Associations to address their role.

Co-Chair(s): jb2559 [at] (Buono, Jared); Day, Elizabeth; ath66 [at] (Hughes, Adam)

Sustainable Landscapes - Horticulture

Coordinate the Cornell Cooperative Extension's county network of commercial and community horticulture educators and Master Gardener Volunteers to connect with New York State green Industry professionals, 7 million gardening households and children and youth serving agencies to build economic vitality and advance environmental and scientific literacy while promoting human well-being and opportunities for successful gardening experiences.

Co-Chair(s): Lerner, Jennifer; alm443 [at] (Miller Helmholdt, Ashley)

Agroforestry in NYS

The PWT would elevate the status of agroforestry and legitimize its application in New York by identifying current practices and creating resources to expand them.

CCE staff across the state are already engaged in this work but it is often extra-curricular. This PWT will identify funding and support to enable more dedicated staff time to agroforestry either through campus of by working collectively to identify and apply for grants.

Co-Chair(s): Gabriel, Steve; Testo, Tracey

Climate Change

The Cornell Climate Change PWT was formed in 2010 and includes Cornell faculty, staff, and Extension educators from around New York State. The PWT provides a mechanism through which faculty and Extension educators connect with stakeholders to identify the needs surrounding climate change impacts and opportunities, develop educational materials and decision tools, and provide training opportunities and engagement around climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Co-Chair(s): whb65 [at] (Bauder, Ave); amc256 [at] (Chatrchyan, Allison)

Community and Energy

Educate regarding local and community roles and choices in energy consumption, conservation, production and distribution in NYS.

Co-Chair(s): dlk2 [at] (Kay, David); Metz, Guillermo

Community-Based Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation

Co-Chair(s): kls20 [at] (Sullivan, Kristi)

Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities

This research-Extension-community partnership aims to assess and address challenges of garden soil contamination through research and education focused on best practices.

Co-Chair(s): sin2 [at] (Bachman, Sharon); has34 [at] (Shayler, Hannah)

Invasive Species

Exchange information about invasive species programs and grants; build connections between CCE county associations and campus faculty.

Recent Activity: hosted an on-campus meeting between educators and Cornell faculty

Co-Chair(s): Bachman, Sharon; Brown-Lima, Carrie; cam369 [at] (Marschner, Caroline )

Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program

To assist farmers in recycling agricultural plastics and keeping the waste out of the landfills and into new products.  This also keeps farms cleaner and more pleasing to the public.

Recent Research & Outreach: Developed collection strategies, market reviews, and educated on recycling agriculture plastics in the Hudson Valley and Western NY.

Co-Chair(s): jb29 [at] (Bonhotal, Jean); mk129 [at] (Kiraly, Mariane)

Watershed-Based Management of Water Resources

The Water PWT works to increase interdisciplinary collaborations on current issues related to enhancement and protection of water resources.

Co-Chair(s): jb2559 [at] (Buono, Jared); bgr4 [at] (Rahm, Brian)

Poverty and Economic Hardship

Committee had an active year in several counties: Tompkins, Hamilton, Genesee, and Chemung. The committee met monthly by conference call and discussed its work in each of these areas. In addition, a proposal for funding was submitted to the Emerson Foundation (not successful).

Co-Chair(s): agf1 [at] (Fagan, Andrew); tah4 [at] (Hirschl, Thomas)

Youth Healthy Eating and Active Living

Recent Activity: funds to support capacity building and program integration of mindfulness activities in support of youth and adult mental health.

Co-Chair(s): Root, Amanda; Tripp, Linda; ww16 [at] (Wolfe, Wendy)

4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Recent Activity: 4-H STEM educator professional development events, sponsored activities for 4-H youth, 4-H STEM/New York State Library Summer Reading Program collaboration, National 4-H STEM Challenge kits and training

Co-Chair(s): kmf83 [at] (Freer, Kandis); sbh1 [at] (Hoskins, Susan); ask37 [at] (Maille, Alexa)

Citizenship & Civic Engagement PWT

Recent Activity: Host a conference; Building Sustainable Communities through Youth/Adult Partnerships Conference

Co-Chair(s): jm62 [at] (Mead, June); Simon, Jamila

Family Economics and Resource Management

FERM is a statewide effort by Cornell Cooperative Extension to help individuals and families to adopt management behaviors which lead to more secure financial situations and affordable use of resources through education and practice.

Recent Activity: Inservice, newsletter publication, meeting in Ithaca

Co-Chair(s): bmh13 [at] (Henza, Barbara); Hirschl, Thomas; tcm5 [at] (Mayhew, Theresa)

Parenting Education

The purpose of the Parenting Education Program Work Team (PWT) is to foster communication among Cornell Cooperative Extension parenting educators as well as provide support and resources to educators throughout New York State. 

Recent Activity: Host a training for PWT members on how to incorporate the two-generational (2Gen) approach to supporting parents and children

Co-Chair(s): jc2933 [at] (Chapman, Julia); ams69 [at] (Steinkraus, Anna)

Risk and Thriving in Adolescence

The PWT Risk and Thriving in Adolescence seeks to identify and develop resources to support and build capacity of youth work professionals in 4-H and other community agencies working with young people. The PWT has developed several educational toolkits and training material focused on adolescent development, positive youth development, social and emotional learning and creating inclusive program environments for youth.

Co-Chair(s): jd81 [at] (Dotterweich, Jutta); rrw33 [at] (Williams, Rachel)

Youth, Nature & the Outdoor Environment (YNOE)

The YNOE helps to promote and enhance the needs of 4-H Natural Resources in identifying Cornell and land-grant university curriculum, outreach, and research efforts that can be applied to everyday environmental education programs.  YNOE conducts several teleconference and in-person PD meetings to help identify issues.  The program offers professional development opportunities, project/resource sharing sessions, and also events for youth to learn in.  

Co-Chair(s): jfb32 [at] (Bowe, John); lcr23 [at] (Brosch, Linda); kgt2 [at] (Tidball, Keith)

Membership benefits

Reported benefits of PWT membership include:

  • Building collegial relationships – between on and off campus staff and faculty
  • Gaining a better understanding of local needs, programs, and research
  • Being a part of a team that promotes professional development and educational resources
  • Having opportunities to conduct applied research

Membership in a PWT may range from staying tuned-in to listserv communication to assisting with project and event leadership–and everything in between.

  • Interested in joining a PWT? Complete this sign-up form to get started.
  • Interested in forming a new PWT? Begin the petition process by identifying the issue, goals and leaders of the team.
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