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.

Browse Work Teams by Topic Area

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] (Laura Biasillo) and Todd Schmit

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.

Chair: Emma Forbes and Eugene Won

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] (Terry Bates)jmm533 [at] (James Meyers)

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-Chairs: Cheryl Bilinski and mmt65 [at] (Moria Tidball)


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-Chairs: Jim Eve and lms438 [at] (Lynn Sosnoskie )

Geospatial Sciences

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

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] (Lindsey Christianson)nsm47 [at] (Neil Mattson)

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): mrb254 [at] (Mike Basedow)cjg9 [at] (Chris Gerling)cjk37 [at] (Craig Kahlke)lep67 [at] (Lindsay Pashow)gmp32 [at] (Gregory Peck)scott [at] (Scott Ramsey)

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): ll928 [at] (Louis Longchamps); jnt3 [at] (Jenn Thomas-Murphy)

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 the development of effective and practical solutions for enhanced agriculture and environmental management. 

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

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] (Alejandro Calixto)eml38 [at] (Elizabeth Lamb)


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): nig3 [at] (Nancy Glazier), bmf9 [at] (Betsy Hodge)

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 professionals.

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

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 

Chairs: afb3 [at] (Faye Benson)cls263 [at] (Crystal Courtens)bai1 [at] (Betsy Leonard)gmp32 [at] (Greg Peck); mrr232 [at] (Matthew Ryan)ajs32 [at] (Abby Seaman) and Jenn Thomas-Murphy

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] (Matt LeRoux)ar47 [at] (Anusuya Rangarajan)vws7 [at] (Violet Stone)

Urban Agriculture 

The Urban Agriculture Program Work Team was established in 2021 to:

  • Build connections by identifying existing meeting structures and familiarizing members with other extension associates working in this field.
  • Offer professional development including tours of other UA projects across the State, bringing in industry and diversity, equity, and inclusion speakers
  • Conduct a statewide needs assessment with growers and other stakeholders.

Co-Chairs: bsc33 [at] (Bonnie Collins), yg88 [at] (Yolanda Gonzalez), cv275 [at] (Caitlin Tucker)

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] (Elizabeth Buck)eh528 [at] (Elisabeth Hodgdon)mez4 [at] (Marion Zuefle)

Viticulture and Enology

The Viticulture and Enology (VIEN) Program Work Team exists to support the 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] (Christopher Gerling)tem2 [at] (Timothy Martinson)

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): kgt2 [at] (Keith Tidball)

CCE Veterans & Military Families

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

Chair: kgt2 [at] (Keith Tidball)


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] (Jared Buono), Elizabeth Day, ath66 [at] (Adam Hughes)

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): Jennifer Lerner, alm443 [at] (Ashley Miller Helmholdt)

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): Steve Gabriel, Tracey Testo

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] (Ave Bauder)amc256 [at] (Allison Chatrchyan)

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] (David Kay), Guillermo Metz

Community-Based Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation

Chair: kls20 [at] (Kristi Sullivan)

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

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] (Jean Bonhotal)mk129 [at] (Mariane Kiraly)

Watershed-Based Management of Water Resources

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

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

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] (Andrew Fagan)tah4 [at] (Thomas Hirschl)

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): mc2794 [at] (Mingla Charoemuang)mem467 [at] (MB Mitcham), Amanda Root


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] (Kandis Freer)sbh1 [at] (Susan Hoskins), and ask37 [at] (Alexa Maille)

Citizenship & Civic Engagement PWT

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

Co-Chairs: jm62 [at] (June Mead) and Jamila Simon

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-Chairs: bmh13 [at] (Barbara Henza), Thomas Hirschl and mmayhew1 [at] (Theresa Mayhew)

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-Chairs: jc2933 [at] (Julia CHapman) and ams69 [at] (Anna Steinkraus)

Risk and Thriving in Adolescence

The Program Work Team Risk and Thriving in Adolescence seeks to identify and develop resources to support and build the 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-Chairs: rrw33 [at] (Rachel Williams )and haw48 [at] (Heather Wynkoop Beach)

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 teleconferences 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-Chairs: mdh268 [at] (Matthew Helffrich) and kgt2 [at] (Keith Tidball)

4-H Food Systems

The 4-H Food Systems Program Work Team is a collaborative workspace that addresses food systems holistically in terms of health, environmental, social, and economic aspects to help 4-H Educators engage youth in activities and conversations surrounding our food system. The purpose is for youth to recognize connections within the bigger picture, analyze the consequences of the food system, and engage in social issues, which will lead to an understanding of sustainability while becoming more responsible consumers and citizens. 

Co-Chairs: mc2794 [at] (Mingla Charoenmuang) and mf628 [at] (Michael Fiorentino)

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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