Our Impact

This web page is under construction. This is not a complete list of programs at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County. Please check back again for more updates!

Healthy Schenectady Families

Healthy Schenectady Families (HSF) is a free and voluntary home visiting program for pregnant women, parents, and/or the primary caregiver/s of infants and toddlers.

The program begins prenatally or when an infant is up to 3 months old, and provides support, nurturing, and education to help parents with the ongoing changes and family needs that come along with the addition of a child. CCE Educators provide support, education, and referrals on a variety of subjects like breastfeeding, safe sleep, developmental milestones, and much more.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that Mothers receive ongoing community support to breastfeed. According to the CDC, 81% of infants born in 2013 started out breastfeeding, but only 51.8% of infants were still breastfeeding at 6 months old. The CDC reports that at 12 months old, less than a third (30.7 percent) of infants were breastfeeding. As for safe sleep, SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants between the age of 1 month and 1 year, and the third leading cause of infant mortality overall in the United States. Maintaining both a safe sleep position and a safe sleep environment can reduce the risk of SIDS.

Cooperative Extension works in collaboration with Public Health Services, and for the past 20 years HSF has served over 1,800 families and completed over 57,000 home visits.

The Subject Educators use an evidence-based curriculum called Growing Great Kids, which enhances the parenting experience, strengthens the bond between caregiver and child, and assists with setting and completing goals.

Healthy Schenectady Families make a difference in the growth and development of infants born in Schenectady County. Learn more about this program here:

Schenectady County Master Gardeners 

The Schenectady Master Gardener program was established in 1978 with a mission to provide practical, research-based information about residential and consumer horticulture. Master Gardeners volunteer their time applying their knowledge and love of plants, people, and the environment to help residents solve garden problems and make environmentally-sound decisions.

In 2017, Master Gardener volunteers delivered educational programs to approximately 3500 people throughout Schenectady County. Highlights of these programs include Little Diggers, a garden exploration program for pre-school-aged-children designed for hands-on learning activities in an urban garden setting; a Horticulture Certification Program in collaboration with Schenectady County Community College and Schenectady ARC; as well as other unique programs.

Master Gardeners worked with over 50 girl and boy scouts in 2017. Highlighted topics included vegetable gardening, composting, and entomology. Scouts leaned about how to grow food, the different kinds of vegetables, raised garden beds, and beneficial and harmful insects in the garden. 

Master Gardeners staff a phone hotline and responded to 3,600 phone or email inquiries on a myriad of issues ranging from household pest management to complex horticultural issues in lawn and landscape settings. Master Gardeners also tested approximately 450 soil samples, identified numerous insects and plants, and diagnosed plant problems and diseases.

Master Gardeners attend community events and lecture on a variety of horticulture topics. Volunteers also worked with local schools and provided horticulture education to approximately 300 students.

Over 500 people attended the annual Plant Sale and Education Day event in 2017 and visitors had the opportunity to learn about vegetable gardening, varieties of plants that are best suited for our planting region, the benefits using native plants in the garden, water conservation and waste reduction. 

Master Gardeners make a difference in helping build a community that is knowledgeable and aware of the natural world, empowering others to grow healthy gardens in an environmentally sound manner. Learn more here: 

4-H Youth Development

4-H is the World’s largest dynamic and informal youth group, which began in 1914. 4-H connects youth to hands-on learning opportunities that help them grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society. 4-H is the youth component of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schenectady County. Research has shown that compared to their peers, youth involved in 4-H excel in several areas including Contribution/Civic Engagement, Academic Achievement, and Healthy Living.

The core areas of 4-H programming include Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math; Healthy Lifestyles; and Civic Engagement. 4-H activities focus on developmental and educational needs for that group of youth, while still challenging each individual member. 4-H Club members ages 5-19 participate in personal growth experiences through a variety of projects, officer responsibilities, community service experiences, workshops, youth/adult partnerships, leadership development, and career exploration. 4-H alumni identify these experiences as having lasting impact on their lives – in areas such as Public Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure, and other life skills.

The 4-H Club Program, Family 4-H and 4-H Groups may have a special project focus such as Horses or Shooting Sports, or may explore a variety of other special interest projects, community collaborations, after school programs, or summer day camps.School Enrichment Programs such as Agricultural Literacy Week and Environmental Field Days provide hands-on and interactive programs to Schenectady County School Students.

In 2017 there were 469 Schenectady County youth with diverse backgrounds who experienced 4-H Youth Development programming for 6 or more hours, 98 of which were members of Clubs or Family 4-H. More than 1,000 youth participate each year in some sort of 4-H event or activity from one of the various delivery methods. 102 Adult Volunteers provided leadership, expertise, or help managing 4-H events and activities each year.

4-H Youth Development makes a lasting impact on the youth of Schenectady County. Learn more about this program here.

Schenectady County Recycles

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans create over 250 million tons of solid waste each year. More than 80% of the waste stream could be diverted through recycling and composting, yet nationwide only 34% of this waste is getting recycled and composted. Here in New York State, our impact represents 6 million tons of landfilled waste each year, 2.5 million tons of incinerated wastes, and 6 million tons of waste that gets exported. These activities produce greenhouse gases that are warming our climate and challenging Earth’s ability to sustain future generations. And discarding objects that could be recycled increases the demand for raw materials that come from natural environments.

The recycling rate in Schenectady County has historically been much lower than the national and state average. The City of Schenectady has made great strides to improve participation in recycling by switching to single-stream carting in September 2016. But with this zero-sort method of recycling comes confusion about what belongs in the blue bin…

Schenectady County Recycles offers outreach education and community engagement programming to help local citizens better understand the environmental, economic, and social benefits of recycling. With an emphasis on waste reduction, Schenectady County Recycles teaches youth and families how to divert as much waste as possible, including recycling things like film plastics, fabric and textiles, batteries, and food waste– and also provides information about the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection program – which collected 7,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and 60,000 pounds of hazardous materials in 2017.

In 2017, CCE staff and Master Composter –Recycler volunteers directly impacted over 1,000 adults and 900 children with its educational programming. CCE Staff responded to more than 500 phone call inquiries about where to donate or recycle various items, and CCE staff supported an America Recycles Day collection program that diverted over 2,000 lbs of material that would have otherwise been discarded.

Schenectady County Recycles can be found tabling at local community events and farmers markets, at the miSci Museum during Science Fest week, giving public lectures at libraries and community group meetings, and programming at schools and Boys and Girls Clubs across Schenectady County. 

Schenectady County Recycles is making a difference in the way local people think about waste, and working to preserve resources and landfill space for future generations by encouraging others to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. Learn more here: 

Senior Nutrition

The CCE,SC has been providing nutrition education and counseling for elderly Schenectady County residents for over twenty years through contracts with Schenectady County Senior and Long Term Care Services (SCSLTCS). The Older Americans Act Elderly Nutrition Program (begun in 1980) provides funding support to state and local governments to address hunger and food insecurity - targeted to older adults most in need. By providing nutritious meals, nutrition education, and counseling, the program helps seniors “age in place” in their homes and communities as their health and function declines.

Last year the nutrition program provided over 20,000 congregate lunch meals through Catholic Charities at “Cafes” located throughout Schenectady County. About 54,000 home delivered meals were served from Ellis Hospital, administered by Catholic Charities. Of the 442 adults (age 65+) served in the County last year, 75% were over the age of seventy-five, 58% weredisabled, the same number lived alone, and 26% were below the poverty level. African Americans represented 9% of the adults served by this program.

CCE, SC regularly provides nutrition education fact sheets on a variety of topics relating to nutrition and wellness. Onsite presentations and demonstrations are given every other month at the four Senior Cafes and other locations- impacting 500 individuals in 2017. CCE, SC’s Nutrition Educator, a registered dietitian, also provides individual nutrition counseling to persons referred to the service through a screening process based on their health status or nutrition risk.

The programs are making a difference in the lives of local people. Based on a survey of program participants, the majority of participants reported the information they received was helpful, and that they know more about nutrition choices and health than they did a year ago. The survey results showed that more people were eating the recommended 3+ servings of fruit and vegetables daily than in previous years.

Senior Nutrition impacts the dietary health and wellness of Seniors living in Schenectady County. Learn more about this program here:

Last updated April 12, 2018