Hunsberger Hire Forges New Direction for Nassau County Cooperative Extension

Former University of Maryland Professor Joins Jericho Staff as Executive Director Following East End L.I. Vegetable Research
Executive Director Laura Hunsberger
Executive Director Laura Hunsberger
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Jericho - New York - US


June 4, 2012 - PRLog -- JERICHO, NY ─ Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County has selected Laura K. Hunsberger to lead the Nassau County Cooperative Extension as its next Executive Director.   Hunsberger joined Cornell in 2010 as a plant pathology research support specialist, following almost a decade of extension leadership on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore, an area well known for grain and poultry production.  As a member of the Long Island Horticultural Research Center (LIHREC) the research team, Hunsberger’s focus was identification of plant pathogen threats in edible crops, primarily vegetable and herb varieties, such as tomato late blight and downy mildew on sweet basil.  According to Hunsberger, “the research we performed at LIHREC is helpful for Nassau County gardeners and consumers, but perhaps just as important are the many relationships I cultivated in Suffolk County during my time on the island’s East End.  In cooperation with a number of key organizations, I hope to lead a more concentrated effort of encouraging Long Islanders to include more healthy food, produced right here on the island, as a regular part of their diets.”

Outgoing Interim Executive Director Deborah Colfer acknowledged recently that Nassau County CCE has entered a “new period of growth,” and Hunsberger announced initial plans to expand CCE events and programming broadly, as well as enhance volunteerism opportunities through planned partnerships with local schools.  She observed that, “East Meadow Farm will serve as a wonderful nexus for many of the activities and opportunities Nassau CCE offers, including a new farmer’s market, community gardening, cooking demonstrations, and a wide variety of seasonal family fun events to be hosted throughout the year.”

Nassau CCE Board of Directors President, Marc Leno, described Hunsberger’s mandate from the board as “quite simple and clear:  increase the viability of CCE of Nassau County through marked improved visibility, coupled with important fundraising efforts through legislative representations, grant applications and development of independent funding streams.”  Hunsberger added “we will dedicate ourselves to demonstrating the incredible value of what Nassau CCE does for our community every day, and hope those who are among the more fortunate of us will recognize that value and contribute privately to the betterment of Nassau County through their generous support.”

As a University of Maryland Professor and Extension Director, from 2003 through 2010, Hunsberger’s primary focus was advancing the agricultural production needs of Worcester County, MD.  Hunsberger noted “Nassau County’s population has a proud agricultural past, but today the county’s needs are much more about gaining access to good nutrition, known as “food security,” and educational programming opportunities about topics such as gardening, landscaping and qcpkw sustainability, empowering the people of Nassau County to better care for themselves and their families in the long run.”

Hunsberger is a former president of the Northeast American Society of Horticultural Scientists (NEASHS) who received a Master’s degree in plant and soil sciences from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and Bachelor’s degrees in Earth Science from SUNY (Brockport) and History from The College of Wooster.  She has authored several scholarly journal articles and been successful obtaining grants and contracts since 1996.  Ithaca, NY-based Cornell State Extension Specialist, Peter T. Landre, indicated “we are impressed and delighted to have Laura on board as the Executive Director for Nassau County.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) is committed to building healthy lifestyles and healthy communities by conducting educational programs that connect Cornell University resources to community needs for all people in the county.  CCE-NC is an educational subordinate governmental agency association that provides research-based information and educational programs designed to build strong and vibrant communities.  CCE-NC has been educating and disseminating information since 1914, through funding and resources provided by Nassau County, New York State (through Cornell University), USDA, a variety grant partnerships, and direct financial support from generous donors who support our mission.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County
Ms. Dionne Marshak
5 Old Jericho Turnpike
Jericho, NY 11753
v: 516.433.7970
f: 516.433.7971
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