Category Archives: Community & Leadership

4-H’ers seek to nominate the Shenandoah Salamander as the state salamander

The Salamander Savers 4-H Club invites Delegate Bulova to attend Salamander Saturday. From left to right: Bela Kekesi, Jonah Kim, Delegate Bulova, Jacob Snawder, Gabriel Kim, Sam Kim, and Anna Kim

The Salamander Savers 4-H Club invites Delegate Bulova to attend Salamander Saturday. From left to right: Bela Kekesi, Jonah Kim, Delegate Bulova, Jacob Snawder, Gabriel Kim, Sam Kim, and Anna Kim

When Salamander Savers 4-H club went to the state capital last month, they had an idea. Why not use this opportunity to talk about what they love- salamanders! Four members of the group spoke to various delegates and senators trying to persuade them to help Salamander Savers nominate the Shenandoah Salamander as the state salamander.

Following the advice of Delegate Bulova, Salamander Savers will try again in October (when new legislation is considered), in hopes that a legislator will sponsor a bill in either the House or the Senate. In the meantime, the group will continue to do outreach programs, like Salamander Saturday on May 6 at Hidden Pond Nature Center (, where they will talk to the public about what makes state-salamander2salamanders special and how anyone can help save the salamanders. If any other groups in Virginia are interested in helping the Salamander Savers advocate for the Shenandoah Salamander by passing out flyers, talking to your local legislators, or just telling friends, they would love your help. Please contact Anna Kim ( for more information.


Christmas Tree Primer: Cultural techniques and real-world experiences

Virginia Cooperative Extension will be holding a Christmas Tree Primer on March

Attendees will get an overview of Christmas tree production techniques; identification and control methods for common Christmas tree pests and diseases; financing and market analysis; labor and liability issues; and grower experiences in Christmas tree production. Demonstrations and presentations will be given by industry professionals and Extension faculty.

The meeting will be held at the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center located at 33 Calhoun Street, Warrenton, Virginia, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $15 and includes lunch and materials. Participants may register by contacting the Virginia Cooperative Extension Culpeper Office at 540- 727-3435 or

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4-H Day at the State Capitol offers members an inside glimpse of Virginia’s legislative branch

4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

Eager 4-H members and volunteers from across the state will descend on Virginia’s capitol Jan. 24 to meet their legislators and learn about Virginia’s government at the annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol.

The trip to Richmond, sponsored by Virginia 4-H, gives participants the opportunity to become more familiar with the legislative process and to express their gratitude to state delegates and senators who support 4-H youth development programs. This year’s attendance is expected to surpass 1,000 members and volunteers.

“4-H citizenship projects and opportunities, such as 4-H Day at the State Capitol, empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities. This trip allows members to see firsthand how our state government works,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

This year’s 4-H Day at the State Capitol will include a rally on the steps of the capitol. Virginia’s first lady, Dorothy McAuliffe; Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Sandra Adams; Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden; and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands have been invited to greet 4-H’ers. Members will also participate in various tours, attend House and Senate sessions, and visit other historical sites of interest in Richmond.

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Outreach programs bring awareness of importance of local growers to Scott County

A 2013 study in Scott County showed a lack of awareness and support of local growers throughout the county. In response, the Virginia Cooperative Extension planned two outreach programs, with support from the Extension Leadership Council, Master Gardeners, and Natural Tunnel State Park to help demonstrate the importance of agriculture for growers and consumers alike.

The first program was an heirloom seed swap. The event showcased two educational programs on seed saving and growing vegetables in home gardens and highlighted Seed Savers Exchange, Community Supported Agriculture opportunities, and support industries.

The second program was the Clinch River Food Festival, which highlighted local agricultural foods and products, such as the heirloom tomato. At the end of the festival, attendees were treated to a dinner highlighting local foods such as butternut squash, goat cheese, lamb, poultry, tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, sorghum, honey, and berries.

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Class prepares Richmond-area home buyers for smarter financial future

As Virginia Cooperative Extension agent Twandra Lomax was shopping in a Richmond Farm Fresh, she was recognized by a previous student.

“You taught my homebuyers class at Southside,” the woman said. “I closed on my first house last week.”

She was one of 34 students in the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Homebuyers Education class that went on to purchase a home in the City of Richmond in 2015.

The class, formed in collaboration with Richmond’s Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation, focuses on credit, personal finances, the role of the lender and realtor, home maintenance, home inspection, home appraisal, the closing process, foreclosure, and the Fair Housing Act of Virginia.

Two sessions of the class are held each month and are taught by experts in the field. Participants leave the class prepared to start working on credit concerns that could prevent them from qualifying for mortgage loans. At the end of the class, students work directly with a counselor to address any lingering concerns.

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