By Cornell Community Relations and CCE staff
What is Cornell Cooperative Extension?
Many New Yorkers might answer this question by describing their own county Cooperative Extension association and its array of useful workshops, information and support.
Those offices and others in hundreds of locations across the country are the local face of a national network that has employed university knowledge to solve real-life problems for more than a century.
Cooperative Extension’s roots lie in the mid-19th century, when popular demand for agricultural and mechanical colleges led Congress to create the Land Grant University system. Designed to share research with farmers, this network now connects the public with university-developed programs and resources that address topics running the gamut from family life to sustainability-related challenges and opportunities.
Cornell University is both a private Ivy League university and New York State’s Land Grant institution. Annual federal appropriations for research and extension – with state-matching funds – support the work of campus faculty and extension associates, regional agriculture teams, and experiment station researchers and staff.
In short, Cornell Cooperative Extension is the link that connects New York residents with the results of this important work.
The statewide CCE system includes 55 associations, established as subordinate government agencies, and serve every New York county and the five boroughs of New York City.
Each CCE association is an independent employer, governed by an elected Board of Directors, and responsive to county government with general oversight from Cornell University CCE. All associations work to meet identified local needs as well as state and national extension goals.
CCE Tompkins, our local association, is a vibrant example of how CCE works to build a bridge between academia and people’s lives.
Currently there are about 200 employees and more than 2,000 volunteers work in communities around the county as well as in the CCE Tompkins Education Center at 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, offering useful information, both online – at CCETompkins.org – and through free or low-cost workshops on a variety of topics.
CCE Tompkins operates on a $7.34 million budget, with funds coming from county, state and federal appropriations, as well as through contracted services, donations and program fees. Its programs are delivered efficiently and at low cost, using county funds to attract and leverage other grants and contracts that multiply what can be accomplished with local tax dollars.
Each county dollar invested with CCE Tompkins yields more than a 10-fold return in educational resources for our residents. The addition of in-kind support results in approximately $10.5 million in community programming.
If you live in Tompkins County, your life likely has been touched by their initiatives. From their acclaimed Primitive Pursuits wilderness education programs to advising local municipalities on achieving “Energy Smart Community” status, CCE Tompkins improves Tompkins County’s quality of life for thousands of Tompkins County residents.
In the coming months, CCE Tompkins will showcase their diverse programs in agriculture, community, environment, nutrition, and youth and families in this column.
East Hill Notes are published the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
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