Grow with CCE: Learning through Gardening

The Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension fundraising campaign plans to redevelop the grounds of the Education and Outreach Center at 123 Lake Street, Cooperstown, into a place for garden learning.

The gardens will replace portions of the sprawling parking lot into teaching and demonstration gardens. Master Gardener Volunteers will lead programs utilizing ground- and raised-beds within the garden, which will be accessible by gardeners of all ages and varying degrees of physical activity.

Creating the new garden is a first step in improving the longstanding home of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Cooperstown. The parcel used as the Education and Outreach Center was a gift from The Farmers’ Museum to the Otsego County Farm and Home Bureau and 4-H Club Association, the name CCE was known by in May 1948, when the site was acquired.

The Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension campaign will bring an investment in informal learning for county residents, featuring teaching and display gardens and outdoor classroom. It will become an invaluable asset in informing adults and 4-H youth through hands-on learning.

The project calls for improving the 123 Lake Street site by adding necessary infrastructure and improved parking and lighting; creating a rain garden to demonstrate surface water remediation before it leaves the site; a garden pavilion for instruction, preparation, and storage; garden fences, benches, and gateway arbors; hardscape pavers for connection to public walkways and the Education and Outreach Center; and educational signage and places for quiet reflection and active gardening.

On the site, CCE will promote gardening and landscape practices, such as raised beds, composting, low maintenance plants and cultural systems, annual and perennial flowerbeds, vegetable and kitchen gardens, and small fruit demonstration. It will support programming focused on sustainability, the selection of growing systems and plants, and use of reduced-inputs to create productive gardens for the 21st century gardener.

The Project’s Genesis
Master Gardeners of Otsego County, who are volunteers trained to provide outreach assistance on behalf of the organization, conceived of the project to provide garden-based learning for the community. They value the transformative nature of gardening for youth and adults, for making houses into homes, for healthier life styles and well-being, for satisfying our pioneering spirit for self-sufficiency (particularly apt in the new normal of post-COVID-19), and for providing enjoyable and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables for the table.

Together with CCE staff and experts from other organizations and professions, CCE has led the project through thoughtful discussions and planning over an extensive planning and review process. Staff and the Board of Directors are fully engaged and invested in the Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension campaign that will ensure long-term value for our communities.

The cost of the undertaking is estimated at $200,000, which will be raised through contributions and grants. The fundraising committee members are Pati Grady, co-chair, and Betsy Sywetz, Master Gardener volunteers; Jason Stone and Bill Woodward, co-chair, and board members; Bob Sutherland, garden advisor; and Don Smyers, Association Executive Director.

How Can Your Investment Change Our Communities?
Those who garden say what science has proven in recent years. Gardening promotes health and wellbeing, quality of life, sense of community, and happiness.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties is a nonprofit, unincorporated association, organized under authority of New York State Consolidated Laws, County Law 224(8), as a subordinate governmental agency and exempt from income tax under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) as an educational organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by law. Please consult your tax advisor.

Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Creating a Place for Learning through Gardening
Your gift can directly improve the lives of others by investing in an organization that is not only tied academically to the science and art of gardening—Cornell Cooperative Extension—but also to an organization that is true to its mission statement in “building strong and vibrant New York communities.”

What is Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties?
Cornell Cooperative Extension has stood the test of time in relevance, organizational governance, and integrity. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s mission is to put “knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability and social well-being.” Extension utilizes evidence-and research-based knowledge from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Ecology at Cornell University to better the lives of local residents. Agriculture, commercial horticulture, and home gardening are within the areas of expertise of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
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CCE Scho Ots 
Cobleskill, NY
Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie & Otsego Counties 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.