WVU Extension to be celebrated

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia University Extension in Wood County at 6 p.m. today will mark the centennial celebration of the cooperative extension service.

A sugar maple donated by the Extension Master Gardeners of Wood County will be planted at Fort Boreman Park. A sugar maple was selected because it is the state tree of West Virginia, Extension Agent J.J. Barrett said.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act that established the Cooperative Extension Service throughout the United States as a collaboration of federal, state and local governments.

WVU, the land grant university in West Virginia, has Extension offices in all 55 counties as the outreach arm of the school. This network allows West Virginia residents to benefit from the research and education from extension agencies around the country.

“The core of our mission really remains the same. That’s part of what’s magical about Extension,” Ann Bailey Berry, associate director of WVU Extension and a native of Parkersburg, said. “The reason we were started remains the reason why we are still in business today.”

Three extension agents are in Wood County. Jodi Smith is the 4-H youth development agent, Gwen Crum works in families and health and Barrett is the agent for Agriculture.

Energy Express, 4-H, Master Gardeners, and the CEOS clubs are among programs on the local level in Wood County.

“My dad was an agriculture extension agent for Ohio State, so I guess it is in my blood.” Barrett said. “I answer a lot of lawn and garden and agriculture related questions as well as work with many volunteer groups in the community. Wood County is a great place to work and more people should take advantage of the programs we offer. WVU is one of the last universities to provide free soil testing to state residents.”