Executive Director Highlight

National Volunteer Week

April 21st to April 27th is all about celebrating those inspiring figures whose invaluable seeds of kindness through volunteering are bettering the community, and our world in general.

Our organization would not be what it is today if not for the unwavering support of our community volunteers. They are tireless advocates for CCE Suffolk and will always be a driving force behind our success. 

In 2023, our 1,620 volunteers contributed over 28,000 hours of service!

Thank you for all you do!

Learn more about volunteering for CCE Suffolk

Clean Energy Coordinator August Ruckdeschel named

City & State NY Trailblazer

in Clean Energy

Congratulations to Clean Energy Coordinator August Ruckdeschel on being named a City & State NY Trailblazer in Clean Energy!

This list puts a spotlight on a cross-section of leaders at the forefront of the clean energy transition in New York, helping to position the state as front-runner in the race for a clean energy future.

Congratulations on this recognition, August!

Check out the full article here

Peconic Dunes Named One of America's Best Camps

Thrilled to announce that Peconic Dunes Camp has been named to Newsweek's America's Best Summer Camps 2024 list! 🌟 

Huge congratulations to the incredible team and campers who make every summer at Peconic Dunes unforgettable! Here's to more adventures, friendships, and memories ahead.

Learn more about Peconic Dunes

NYS Parks Summer Run Series

CCE Suffolk is incredibly proud to sponsor the 2024 NYS Parks Summer Run Series!

This eight-race series will run from June 10 to August 5, 2024, with races held on Monday nights at 7:00 PM in various state parks. Participation is limited to 4,000 runners, with advance registration required.

Be sure to look out for CCE Suffolk educators tabling at the races!

Register/Learn more

1st Annual Brookhaven Fashion Show

It was my pleasure to participate in the 1st Annual Fashion Show hosted by the Town of Brookhaven, Dress for Success Brookhaven, and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office!

The event raised donations for Dress for Success Brookhaven and provided guidance on professional attire for upcoming graduates. Donations of clothing were also welcomed with female attire going to Dress for Success Brookhaven and male suits to Career Couture. 

Thank you to the organizers for an awesome event!

District Overviews with Local Officials

Thank you to Legislator Sam Gonzelz, Legislator Steven Flotteron, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi, Legislator Steven Englebright, and Riverhead Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard for meeting with myself and staff to showcase the impact of CCE Suffolk on our communities and to generate ideas tailored to meet the specific needs of your districts!

As a non-profit, sub-governmental association, CCE Suffolk depends greatly on its collaborations with local government bodies to maximize the varied research conducted by our educators, offering counsel and remedies in communities where they are most impactful. We genuinely appreciate the chance to evaluate our current programs and offerings, while also conveying our goals for 2024 and beyond!

Legislator Gonzalez with Executive Director Vanessa Lockel, Clean Energy Coordinator August Ruckdeschel, Community Education Program Director Zahrine Bajwa, PhD, and Bilingual Nutritionist Anthony Garcia.

Execuitve Director Vanessa Lockel with Legislator Flotteron

Legislator Bontempi with ED Vanessa Lockel, Clean Energy Coordinator August Ruckdeschel, and Marine Program Director Chris Pickerell

Legislator Englebright with Executive

Director Vanessa Lockel and Human

Development Specialist Kerri Reda

Riverhead Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard with Executive Director Vanessa Lockel,

Clean Energy Coordinator August Ruckdeschel, Senior Nutritionist

Karen Ball, and Water Resource Geochemical Specialist Molly Graffam, PhD.


(Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging)


Welcome to CCE Suffolk, Liz Gutierrez!

We are proud to welcome Liz Gutierrez to the CCE Suffolk team as a Bi-Lingual Content Specialist, helping to expand our outreach to Suffolk's Spanish-speaking communities.

If you have any questions about receiving CCE Suffolk services/programs in Spanish, please contact Liz at (631) 759-4892 or

New Farmers Join Peconic

Land Trust Initiative

CCE Suffolk was very proud to be in attendance and provide translation services as four new farmers joined the Peconic Land Trust Farms for the Future Initiative!

Farms for the Future is a special initiative that the board and staff of the Peconic Land Trust have undertaken to explore challenges faced by Long Island agriculture, seeking to problem-solve using pragmatic approaches.

Learn more

Pride Month Celebrations

In partnership with Stony Brook Medicine, the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center will be hosting the 4th annual "Pride at the Farm" event!

Held on Saturday, June 15 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, the celebration will feature family-friendly fun with wagon rides, crafts, animal experiences, music and more!

Be sure to also check out the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center LGBTQ+ Health & Wellness Fair, held on June 4 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm in Hampton Bays.

The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center specializes in LGBTQ+ healthcare services. We provide accessible, compassionate, and comprehensive care to all members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community and the treatment and prevention of HIV.

CCE DEI Core Leadership Conference

Community Education Program Director Zahrine Bajwa, PhD, and Suffolk County Farm Administrator/4-H Youth Development Director Vicki Fleming recently attended the CCE DEI Core Leadership Conference!

Joined by CCE Director Andrew Turner, the group collaborated with professionals statewide to review present strategies, establish future objectives, discuss training opportunities, and brainstorm methods for effectively engaging with the diverse communities across New York State.

Vendors and Sponsors Wanted for Bloom 2024!

Bloom is a bilingual wellness event held with our friends at the 100 Hispanic Women Long Island Program, featuring hay rides, farm animals, health checks, nutrition classes, goat yoga, and so much more!

Hosted at the Suffolk Couny Farm & Education Center in Yaphank, the event will be held on May 18th beginning at 10:00am.

Bloom is FREE for attendees!

Prices for vendors/participants are as follows:

$250 - Food Truck

$100 - Vendor

$50 - Nonprofits

$25 - Students/Members

Sponsorship opportunities are also available!

Those interested can contact Liz at (631) 355-5961 or via email at:

Vendors can also register here

Explore the CCE Suffolk Spanish

Facebook and Instagram Pages!

Discover information about upcoming events and workshops conducted in Spanish, receive valuable health tips and tricks, and more!



Program Updates


Agricultural Stewardship Program Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

This month marks the 20 year anniversary of the CCE Suffolk Agricultural Stewardship Program!


Since 2004, the Agricultural Stewardship Program has worked with growers to reduce nutrient and pesticide loading from agricultural lands to the ground and surface waters of Suffolk County while maintaining a strong, viable agricultural industry.


Through local research and collaboration, improved technologies and best management practices such as controlled/slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, cover crops, reduced tillage, integrated pest management (IPM) programs, and strategies to improve soil health have been developed and increasingly adopted by farmers. The Agricultural Stewardship Program also hosts educational opportunities such as field days, workshops, and conferences, alongside on-farm demonstration projects that showcase the costs and benefits of adopting new technologies and management strategies. These efforts aim to protect the environment while ensuring the economic sustainability of the agricultural industry for future generations.

Learn more/View current research

Worker Protection Standard Mock Inspection

This workshop, held at Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck, reviewed Worker Protection Standard (WPS) topics such as PPE, recordkeeping, central posting, worker and handler trainings, respirator requirements, and more. 

These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of agricultural workers and are enforced by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

Thank you to Harbes Family Farm and the NYS DEC!

Splitting Dahlias with the Mid Island Dahlia Society

The Agriculture Stewardship team was invited by the Mid Island Dahlia Society to help divide dahlias at Blossom Meadow Farm! It was a great opportunity to learn from expert volunteers, meet new friends, and chat about the results of our Dahlia Nitrogen Rate Trial. 

Results from the Dahlia Nitrogen Rate Trial and a fact sheet can be found here

The team helped with splitting dahlia tuberous roots and applying diatomaceous earth to prevent pests and diseases. These will be organized by variety and used in exhibition gardens at CCE Nassau's East Meadow Farm, Eisenhower Park, and Planting Fields Arboretum. 

Earth Day Collaboration with Hampton Jitney

Teaming up with Hampton Jitney, we were excited to mark Earth Day 2024 by giving away seed packets filled with pollinating plant species during bus journeys!

The mix of seeds was carefully formulated with annual and perennial varieties to help a wide variety of pollinators in the Northeast region.

Thank you to Andrew Lynch for all your help in coordinating this effort!

Long Island Farm Bureau Awards Gala

Congratulations to all of those honored at the 102nd Long Island Farm Bureau Awards Gala, celebrating the achievements of farmer members and citizens for their work on behalf of the agricultural industry!

Dr. Mark Bridgen, Professor at Cornell University, received the Long Island Farm Bureau Citizen Award in recognition of his exemplary leadership at the Cornell University Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center and dedicated service to both farmers and the wider community.

Additionally, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. received the Lifetime Impact Award, while Rodney Anderson was posthumously honored with the Amherst Davis Memorial Farmer Citizen of the Year Award.

It is our privilege to host a memorial bench for Rodney at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center—a perfect setting to honor Rodney's legacy not only as a farmer but also as a genuine community builder.

Read the full story from the Riverhead Times-Review here

Viticulture Researcher Alice Wise Presents to SC Legislature

Alice Wise, CCE Suffolk Viticulture Researcher, recently shared insights with the Suffolk County Legislature EPA Committee regarding Long Island's vineyards and ongoing initiatives to enhance agricultural sustainability.

Alice dedicates her efforts to cultivating and examining different grape varieties at the Cornell University Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center. Her findings are instrumental in offering valuable guidance to vineyards throughout Long Island.

Thank you to the Committee for your time!

Learn more about the CCE Suffolk Grape Program

Shop Local!

Many local farm stands are still open and offering amazing produce!

Whether you're looking for fruit, vegetables, dairy, or baked goods, there's sure to be a location that has what you need.

Check out our Farm Stand List for all of your farm-fresh produce! 

View here

This list has been compiled by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County as a service to Suffolk County residents and farmers. If you would like your farm stand to be included, or if you have any changes or corrections, please contact the Agriculture Program at

Community Education

Mental Health

Month Resources

May is #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in our lives. 

Every May, our educators seeks to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being and provide education and information to support individuals and communities. 

This year, each week of #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth will focus on a different topic. Check out the awesome workshops below, and be sure to check the Community Education blog for new posts:


WORKSHOP: Mental Well-being for Older Adults

May 2, 9:30am - 10:30am


WORKSHOP: Recognizing and Managing Anxiety in Youth

May 7, 12:00pm - 1:00pm


PARENT TALK: Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Meeting ID: 942 5162 0623 • Passcode: 494561

May 16, 12:00pm - 1:00pm


WORKSHOP: Healing from Adverse Childhood Experiences: Helping Kids Through Trauma

May 20, 12:00pm - 1:00pm


WORKSHOP: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Youth

May 29, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Screen-Free Week 2024

Join us for Screen-Free Week, a global invitation the first week in May to take a break from entertainment screens and experience more peace, connection, and fun!

Check out this infographic for helpful tips

Learn more on the Community Education blog

Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Health & Wellness Fair

The team participated in the Port Jefferson

Chamber of Commerce sponsored Health & Wellness Fair, offering tips for healthy living for seniors, families and youth.

Our table featured a wealth of resources, tips, recipes & programing information from Diabetes, Human Development, SNAP-Ed and

Nutrition areas. Hooray for Health!

Meeting with NYS OASAS

Parent Educator Cara Sultan recently met with the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

OASAS manages one of the largest Substance Use Disorder systems of care in the U.S., comprising around 1,700 prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. The group’s mission is to administer, support, and supervise a data-informed continuum of addiction services, emphasizing equity, dignity, compassion, and respect.

We extend our sincere gratitude to the OASAS team for meeting with us as we gear up to introduce our upcoming drug awareness initiative, Guiding Good Choices. This program aims to empower parents with the necessary tools to help their children resist drugs, cultivate healthy habits, and strengthen family relationships.

SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Northeast Partners Meeting

Community Education Program Director Zahrine Bajwa, PhD, along with Senior Nutritionist Christina Nadolne and Diabetes/Human Development Program Manager Linda Altenburger, were in Boston recently for the Nutrition Education Northeast Partners Meeting!

The group enjoyed networking with nutrition professionals from across the northeast, gaining knowledge and ideas for our own SNAP-Ed educators. 

St. Joseph's College Wellness Fair

Liza Reytblat Haner and Claudia Ravines Clarke attended the St. Joseph's College Wellness Fair in Patchogue on 4/18, representing Family Health and Wellness, Community Education and Nutrition.

The duo met with students and community members and shared information on parenting, wellness, diabetes resources, and healthy eating habits.

Partners for Wellness with Options for Community Living Inc.

Earlier this year, the Community Education Program presented our PSE SNAP-Ed COPT initiative, named Partners for Wellness, to a new partner agency; Options for Community Living, Inc. The agency was so excited to learn about what we can do to support their goals. 

At the organization's Wellness Fair, we shared the Happy Hummus Dip and Veggie Chili recipes, which were truly loved by all. We are very excited to be providing monthly lunchtime workshops, with our first being presented in April on Myplate & Moving More.  

Since beginning our partnership, the agency has posted several of our healthy messaging posters around their office, and offers fruit infused water in their employee lounge/cafeteria. With the nice weather well underway, a walking group has also started to meet and walk.  

Thank you to Options for Community Living for your engagement and enthusiasm!

The Parent Cafe:

Free Parenting Classes

In today's parenting landscape, establishing a supportive community is paramount for families, providing an avenue to express concerns and acquire invaluable insights. Find your community at the Parent Cafe!

Through this program, families can access free, research-based educational sessions conducted by expert Parent Educators, Nutrition Educators, Lactation Consultants, and more. As an added treat, gifts and light refreshments accompany these informative gatherings!

Surveyed participants at the last Parent Cafe held at the Connetquot Library reported the following:

  • 80% reported using positive discipline strategies to teach their children appropriate behavior
  • 90% reported feeling more confident in their parenting abilities
  • 100% reported having more patience with their child when they have a temper tantrum as a result of attending the Parent Cafe

Childcare is available!

Click the link below to learn more/register!

Suffolk County Farm and Education Center

350 Yaphank Avenue | Yaphank, NY 11980

Learn more/Register

St Gerard Majella RC Church

300 Terryville Road | Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

Learn more/Register

Virtual Classes Via Zoom

Learn more/Register

Check out some press coverage of this amazing initiative!

Long Island Media Group


Ask the Family Educator

by Maxine Cohen, Parent Educator

What is the function of boredom?

Boredom finds us all, even when we are doing important things. It is a psychological feeling of discontent, and is typically short-lived. It is an unpleasant feeling which pushes us to do something else to move out of it. We may escape boredom by exercising or socializing, both positive activities. Or, we may escape by binge eating or other risk-taking activities, all negative actions. Therefore, using boredom is an acquired skill, one in which we learn how to recognize it and then react appropriately.

Children under the age of 8 are usually not bored as they continually discover novel things each day. Boredom becomes more common between the ages of 8 to 15 when children are in school. Smartphones and the internet are places children turn to decrease their sense of boredom; however, even being on Facebook and Instagram can lead to boredom because these activities are merely passive.

Boredom is a call to action. As we age, we gain self-knowledge. We are better able to seek action to decrease boredom. Boredom should not be confused with laziness, as being lazy is close to apathy or not caring. Boredom is a feeling of restlessness and agitation, the opposite of apathy. Interestingly, this state of boredom did not exist before the mid-eighteenth century when our society became more automated. Prior to this period, we did not have the luxury of time to experience this feeling. As the decades have passed and our lives have been aided by technology, we have more “free” time.

How can we re-frame boredom? This “free” time can be an opportunity to re-fresh and renew yourself and your family. Think of healthy stimulation such as exercise, exploring the outdoors, gardening, volunteering in the community, socializing, playing music, reading, and enjoying the arts. Boredom can provoke our imagination and creativity. As adults, we are role models and our children look to us for leadership in how we spend leisure time. Do some collaborative brainstorming with your children, discussing what they can do when they feel bored. Try to think of boredom as neither good nor bad. It’s a signal for action, and what we do about it is what matters.

Suffolk County Farm & 4-H

New Camp Stores!

Check out brand-new online stores, featuring exclusive merchandise from Peconic Dunes, Peconic Dunes Sea Adventures, The Suffolk County Farm Camp, and CCE Suffolk! 

Whether you're looking to show support, outfit your campers for the summer, or maybe just want a piece of camp nostalgia for yourself, there's something for everyone! 

Peconic Dunes

Peconic Dunes Sea Adventures

Suffolk County Farm Camp

CCE Suffolk

Presenting to the

Suffolk County Legislature

Sarah Titmus, Program Coordinator at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center, recently had the pleasure of presenting to the Suffolk County Legislature Education Committee!

Sarah, alongside Farm Administrator Vicki Fleming, spoke on our collaborative effort with Independent Group Home Living, Inc. (IGHL). Established in 2004, Cornell Cooperative Day Habilitation provides day services to developmentally disabled adults, with participants volunteering their time to perform upkeep around the grounds. Throughout the year, educational and training opportunities are provided in a variety of areas pertaining to the farm.

Thank you to the Committee for the opportunity to share this amazing program!

Learn more

Career Explorations 2024

Know a young person interested in learning more about potential careers and fields of study? Don’t miss New York State 4-H Career Explorations!

Held from June 26th to June 28th at Cornell University, 4-H Career Explorations aims to expand possibilities for youth by connecting them to Cornell; sparking interests in careers and career pathways; developing academic, leadership, and life skills; and providing opportunities to experience college life.

This program is open to all NYS youth entering 8th grade and up.

Learn more/register here

4-H Participant Kaitlin Eckles Featured in Newsday

As Brookhaven Town officials weigh changes to a town law regulating chickens in residential areas, Newsday reporter Carl MacGowan wrote up an amazing profile of Suffolk County 4-H member Kaitlyn Eckles!

A member of the 4-H Club at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center, Kaitlyn has a flock of six chickens in her family's Manorville backyard — the start of what the 14-year-old hopes is a burgeoning business selling fresh eggs to her neighbors.

CCE Suffolk Animal Science Educator Kate Perz also shared some insight in the article. As the leader of the incubation program and instructor on chicken raising, Perz says she teaches students such tricks as keeping chickens in lighted areas in the winter so they will continue to produce eggs. Besides acting as composting devices, chickens also are natural fertilizer producers, she added.

Those with a Newsday subscription can read the full article here

Week of the Little Children

Earlier this month, Little Farmers Preschool joyfully embraced the Week of the Young Child in collaboration with The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)!

Sponsored by the NAEYC, the world's largest early childhood education association, this annual celebration shines a spotlight on the needs of young children and their families while acknowledging the early childhood programs and services that cater to those needs.

Throughout the week, the festivities were marked by themed days:

Music Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Work Together Wednesday, Artsy Thursday, and Family Friday.

At Little Farmers, held at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center, the children played musical instruments, crafted trail mix, collaborated on creating child-sized "bird" nests, fed baby goats, immersed themselves in the delightful tale of 'Beautiful Oops' by Barney Saltzberg, and expressed their creativity at the art table!

Suffolk County 4-H

Sock Fundraiser

Get yourself some awesome socks, and support Suffolk's 4-H Youth!

Socks will be shipped directly to your home upon ordering. Socks are 100% American-made, and one size fits most, cross knitted for premier stretch.

Order here

Try the Farm's 1 Mile Walk!

Planning to visit the farm soon? Enjoy a refreshing workout amongst the fields and animals!

Check out the one-mile walk route here

You can also join our Executive Director on her Thursday and Friday morning runs on the property? Please email to sign up.


Take Our Energy Survey for the Chance to Win a $50 Gift Card!

CCE Nassau, CCE Suffolk, and Hofstra University are conducting a study of home energy use and cost on Long Island as part of the Long Island Clean Energy Hub’s goal to support an equitable transition to a clean energy economy. All Suffolk County and Nassau County residents are encouraged to complete this short survey!

We’d like to offer you an opportunity to enter a raffle for a $50 gift card to take this 10-15 minute survey about your household's energy use and the associated expenses—respondents have a 1 in 10 chance of winning a gift card. Your responses will be anonymous.

Take the survey here

Thank you for assisting the Clean Energy Hub in our efforts to help communities lower their home energy costs and deliver a cleaner living environment to residents!

Suffolk County Solar Fair

On Earth Day, Clean Energy Choices staff joined Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, as well as Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning staff, at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge to offer educational services on residential solar and home energy audits.

We are grateful to offer our services to all Suffolk residents interested in their clean, renewable energy options!

Learn more about the CCE Suffolk Clean Energy Program

Free Energy Assessment at Central Islip Public Library

On May 15th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, the Central Islip Public Library will be hosting a free energy information session, featuring our Clean Energy team, the Long Island Clean Energy Hub, and more!

Learn more

Start Training for a Career in Renewable Energy and Net Zero Building!

Apply today for Power Up Wind, Solar & Renewables, a FREE United Way of Long Island training program and certification that will help you secure a career in the fast-growing fields of renewable energy, smart grid, and green construction.

This Program will operate out of United Way’s state-of-the-art E3 SmartBuild Training Center in Deer Park and includes:

Introduction to Solar, Wind Turbines, and Renewables

Hands-on training for high-performance and net zero building

Building Science Principles Certification

Assistance with Job Placement upon course completion


This program is currently FREE of charge and enrollment is limited! Available in both English and Spanish.

Learn more and apply here

Y en español aquí


Presenting to the

Suffolk County Legislature

CCE Suffolk Fisheries Director Scott Curatolo-Wagemann, alongside Marine Program Director Chris Pickerell, recently presented to the Suffolk County Legislature EPA Committee regarding our work to support our region's fishing industry. 

Thank you to the Committee for an excellent discussion!

Learn more about the CCE Suffolk Fisheries Program

Cooking on Sabor Con OLA

The Marine Program Fisheries Team and OLA of Eastern Long Island recently partnered up to record bilingual cooking demos on Sabor Con OLA!

The team shared some Local F.I.S.H. facts and filmed instructional videos on how to prepare Monkfish Tacos and a Squid and Tilefish Ceviche.

Videos coming soon! 

Beach Cleanup with

Long Island School for the Gifted

Sea Stars Marine Camp in Northport hosted 3rd and 4th graders from the Long Island School for the Gifted. The group did a beach cleeanup at Sunken Meadow State Park, collecting 36 pounds of garbage!

Learn more about Sea Stars Marine Camp

ALP Open House

Thank you to all who attended the open house for the Aquaculture Lease Program (ALP), hosted by Suffolk County and held at our offices in Riverhead.

The ALP Program, initiated in 2009, enables businesses to lease underwater lands in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay for aquaculture purposes.

The open house disseminated program details to interested parties and welcomed public comments.

Learn more here

Beach Grass Planting

With the help of several volunteers, CCE’s Habitat Team planted 3000 culms of beach grass to vegetate a dune on town property near the Tiana Bayside facility in hampton Bays.

With the amount of erosion happening during the fall and winter, it is crucial for us to keep our dunes vegetated with beach grass to stabilize and build our defense against waves and flooding.

Back to the Bays Aquaculture Coordinator Kate Rossi-Snook Presents at Sag Harbor Earth Day Event

In celebration of Earth Day, Back to the Bays Aquaculture Coordinator Kate Rossi-Snook had the pleasure of presentating to a packed theater at Sag Harbor Cinema, announcing Sag Harbor as the newest “Back to the Bays Stewardship Site.”

The program has been active on Shelter Island for the past few years, with successful shellfish re-seeding projects, eelgrass restoration, and coastal habitat restoration.

The Earth Day event also included the screening of two archival films on the lives of baymen and fishermen.

Donate Here

Your support enables us to continue to be a vital and necessary part of our county’s future. Your gift today helps ensure our programs of tomorrow.

CCE Suffolk Board of Directors Highlight

Leslie Merinoff Kwasnieski

Leslie Merinoff Kwasnieski is a distiller/winemaker and a passionate advocate for local agriculture and sustainable practices. Over the course of her career she has worked in distillery operations, strategic brand development, and impactful community engagement.

As the co-founder and distiller at Matchbook Distilling Co., located in Greenport, NY, Leslie has been making a case for tying distillery operations and farms closer together for a new wave of sustainable spirits. Under her guidance, Matchbook has been hailed as “a gem of a distillery” by The New York Times and recognized for crafting the future of spirits by Vogue Magazine. The distillery is renowned for its innovative approach, producing two unique spirits each month, each with its own distinct brand identity. These creations not only push the boundaries of traditional spirit categories but often establish entirely new ones, demonstrating Leslie’s commitment to farm first production.

Before Matchbook, Leslie worked at The Noble Experiment Distillery and William Grant & Sons, where she was instrumental in the growth and success of Sailor Jerry Rum, crossing the milestone of 1 million cases sold. Her journey in the spirits industry began with Broke In Burlington, an events marketing company she co-founded, which specialized in integrating national brands into local culture, laying the groundwork for her future endeavors in brand development and community engagement.

Beyond the spirits industry, Leslie has shown a steadfast commitment to community and economic development. She has served on the board of Brownsville Community Culinary Center, contributing to its mission of culinary education and workforce development in Brownsville, NY. Leslie’s tenure on the Economic Development Committee for Southold Town from 2017 to 2021 further exemplifies her dedication to fostering economic growth and sustainability.

Leslie's investment in and advocacy for disruptive practices in the spirits industry extend to her roles as an investor in Compass Box Whiskey, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, and SevenRooms. These positions underscore her belief in challenging the status quo and her vision for a more innovative and inclusive industry.

Upcoming Events

Canning for Beginners

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

These are great classes for beginners who want to learn and understand canning/preservation expertise. Everyone will leave with a jar of something delicious. Please, wear a closed-toe shoe/sneaker (no sandals or high heels), bring an apron and a hair tie-back.

Class size is limited, be sure to register and pay early.

Learn more/Register

Crafting with Laurie at the Suffolk County Farm

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Join us for a curated program with local artist Laurie Janowtitz!

Come down to the farm and create a spring themed home decor sign.

Learn more/Register

Goat Yoga

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Saturday, June 1, 2024, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

+ more

Enjoy yoga on the farm with our friendly goats! A fun twist to traditional flow.

End your day in downward dog and some laughs. All levels are welcome to goat yoga. Various dates and time May through November

Please bring your own:

  • Yoga Mat
  • Water bottle

Learn more/Register

Volunteer Horseshoe Crab Monitoring

Monday, May 5, 2024, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Monday, May 7, 2024, 9:05 PM - 11:05 PM

Monday, May 9, 2024, 10:40 PM - 12:40 PM

Monday, May 21, 2024, 8:20 PM - 10:20 PM

Monday, May 23, 2024, 9:30 PM - 11:30 PM

+ more

Join us in a state-wide effort to monitor their population and inform policy that will help sustain their population for generations to come!

The data collected from this community science program is essential to the conservation of horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds, and is published in scientific journals.

Check out the calendar for more dates/to learn more

Play Time, Learn Time

Monday, May 6, 2024, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Monday, May 13, 2024, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Monday, May 20, 2024, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The Community Education Program is proud to once again offer Play Time, Learn Time at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center’s Nature Explore Classroom!

Bring your little ones (ages 1-5, siblings welcome) to discover this outdoor space which allows for plenty of messy play, building and interactive art exploration as well as a music and movement area. While your little ones play nearby, our Parent Educators will be available to answer your parenting questions.

The Nature Explore Classroom Certification Program is a nationwide effort that acknowledges institutions fostering outdoor classrooms and offering comprehensive programs that enable children to incorporate the natural environment into their learning experiences. The Suffolk County Farm's Nature Explore Classroom is a longstanding testament to this initiative, now in its 14th year of certification.

You are welcome to come to one or all of the available dates!

Learn more

ArtSEA Create + Sip: Oyster Shell Decoupage at New Moon Cafe

Monday, May 6, 2024, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Join us for an exciting evening of creativity and fun at ArtSea Create & Sip - Oyster Shell Decoupage! Get ready to unleash your artistic side with decoupage as we learn about the importance of local oysters and oyster reefs

Immerse yourself in the fun, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a creative experience with friends and fellow marine and art enthusiasts.

During the event, you'll learn about the important work that Back to the Bays, an iniative of Cornell Cooperative Ext. Marine Program, is doing in our local bays.

Admission Includes: Instruction, Materials, and Door Prizes!

Learn more/Register

Parent Support Programs

Join us for FREE educational programs for parents to learn valuable information to promote and understand youth mental health.

  • Recognizing and Managing Anxiety in Youth

Tuesday, May 7, 12-1pm

Learn more/Register

  • Cultivating Resilient Teens

Tuesday, May 14, 12-1pm

Learn more/Register

  • Teens and Screens

Thursday, May 23, 12-1pm

Learn more/Register

  • Caring for Yourself in Stressful Times

Friday, May 24, 2024 ,12-1PM

Learn more/Register

Tiana Tuesday Garden Club

Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Join us at our Tiana Bayside facility in Hampton Bays on Tuesday, May 7, for our Coastal Garden Club.

We are still in the process of preparing our coastal gardens for summer. Through this free event, you will have the opportunity to learn about coastal plant propagation, bed prep, and local plant species. Come prepared to work outside in the garden, wearing protective clothing and bringing along sun protection, garden gloves, and water.

This event can count towards community service hours!

Learn more/Register

Brewery Lecture Series

Thursday, May 9, 2024, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Meet the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program team for casual and fun presentations about our work and learn how you can give Back to the Bays!

The team will be at Kidd Squid Sag Harbor for a presentation on the local oyster population and industry!

Kidd Squid Brewing Co. | 11 Spring St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Register here

Baby Animal Day

Saturday, May 11, 2024, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Bring your family and friends to enjoy a day on the farm with baby animals, wagon rides, food trucks, games, and more!

$15 per person ages 3+ (if you don't buy tickets in advance, $20 per person at the gate)

We are thrilled to hold one of our favorite events once again! Please make note of the following event details:

  • All guests ages 3+ are required to have a ticket. Everyone under the age of 3 do NOT require a ticket to attend.
  • No dogs are allowed.
  • The event will be held on Saturday May 11, 2024 from 9:00AM to 4:00PM * Last entry 3:00PM
  • Parking is FREE

Tickets include:

  • Admission to the farm event
  • UNLIMITED wagon rides
  • Hands-on interactions with some farm animals
  • Baby Animal visits * TWO nursery visiting areas!*
  • Touch-A-Truck
  • Long Island Flying Eagles Model Aircraft Club demonstrations

Food trucks, face painting/glitter tattoos, and more will also be on site!

Learn more/Register

Board of Directors Meetings

Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This month's meeting of the CCE Suffolk Board of Directors will be held on May 15th at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center.

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Ask the Dietician!

Friday, May 17, 2024, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Friday, June 21, 2024, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

+ more

Join us for a free diabetes Q&A session with a nutrition expert!

Hosted at the Middle Country Public Library:

575 Middle Country Rd, Selden, NY 11784

No registration needed.

Learn more

Pressure Canning Workshop (Not Recommended for Beginners)

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

These are great classes for foodies who want to expand their canning/preservation expertise.

Everyone will leave with a jar of something delicious. Please, wear a closed-toe shoe/sneaker (no sandals or high heels), bring an apron and a hair tie-back.

Class size is limited, be sure to register and pay early.

Learn more/Register

Bloom 2024

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Don't miss Bloom 2024 at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center!

Bloom is a bilingual wellness event held with our friends at the 100 Hispanic Women Long Island Program, featuring hay rides, food trucks, farm animals, health checks, nutrition classes, goat yoga, and so much more!

Music & Entertainment by:

En Vivo 93.3FM

La Fiesta 98.5FM

Food Trucks:

Pupusas City

Island Empanada

Frank's Steaks

Roxy's Ice Cream

Sponsorship opportunities are also available!

Learn more

Jr. Marine Biologist: Sea Explorers Marine Camp

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Sunday, June 2, 2024, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Sunday, August 11, 2024, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Looking for a unique way to spend time with your preschooler? Join us for a fun-filled two hours as you and your child learn about the marine environment.

This very special program includes hands-on time with live marine animals, beach activities, and a craft. This is a great way to introduce your child to marine ecology! Space is Limited, pre-registration required!

Register here

Bay Babies & Bay Buddies

Come join us at Bay Babies & Bay Buddies for a fun day of exploring and learning about fascinating creatures!

There will be two sessions for two age groups:

Topic: Horseshoe Crabs

18 - 36 Months | Wednesday, May 22, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Learn more/Register

Ages 8-10 | Thursday, May 23, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Learn more/Register

Topic: Shorebirds

18 - 36 Months | Wednesday, May 29, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

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Ages 8-10 | Thursday, May 30, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

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ArtSea Afterschool

ArtSea After School is all about exploring, creating, and having fun with friends!

With the knowledge and inspiration gathered during our field experiences and talks around the beautiful coastal grounds of Tiana Bayside, students will then have the opportunity to create their own artwork with the guidance of local artist Carolyn Munaco

There will be two sessions for two age groups:

Topic: Horseshoe Crabs

6 - 8 Years | Wednesday, May 22, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Learn more/Register

8 - 10 Years | Thursday, May 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Learn more/Register

Topic: Shorebirds

6 - 8 Years | Wednesday, May 29, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Learn more/Register

8 - 10 Years | Thursday, May 30, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Learn more/Register

ArtSEA Create - Oyster Decoupage

Thursday, May 23, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join us for an exciting evening of creativity and fun at ArtSea Create - Oyster Shell Decoupage! Get ready to unleash your artistic side with decoupage as we learn about the importance of local oysters and oyster reefs

Learn more/Register

Community Baby Shower at the Copiague Library

Saturday, May 25, 2024, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

New and soon-to-be parents will meet organizations that specialize in early childhood development, breastfeeding, staying fit after baby and so much more!

During the Baby Shower, there will also be free baby items, raffles and programs for parents such as “Keeping Fit as a New Parent” and “Reading to your Little One”.

This is free event and there will be giveaways!

Learn more

Understanding and Improving Your Personal Wellness

Wednesday, May 29, 2024, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Wellness can be defined as a dynamic process of learning new life skills and making conscious choices toward a more balanced and healthier lifestyle.

During this program, we will explore 8 dimensions of wellness. You will assess your current wellness and identify strengths as well as areas that may benefit from improvement. Suggestions for each wellness domain will be offered to guide your efforts in improving your overall wellness and become the best version of you.

Learn more/Register

Stewardship Session: Shell Bag Assembly

Friday, May 31, 2024, 3:00 PM  5:00 PM

Help our Aquaculture Coordinator create bags of oyster shells for our spat-on-shell oyster reef restoration projects!  

Bags of cured oyster + clam shells are used to set baby oysters onto, which is called spat-on-shell, or SOS. The SOS is then used to build oyster reefs at our various Stewardship Sites.

The volunteer time will entail: cutting and tying mesh to create bags; shoveling cured shell into the bags; neatly stacking bags off to the side. Gloves can be provided, but we encourage you to bring your own. Expect to get mildly wet and/or dirty, depending on conditions.

This is a great opportunity for high school students to get service hours!

Learn more/Register

Private Sunset Wagon Rides at the Suffolk County Farm

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Friday, June 7, 2024, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Saturday, June 8, 2024, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Sunday, June 9, 2024, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

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Experience the farm all to yourself with a private group sunset tour!

Please note:

  • Close toed shoes are required to enter goat pens so please dress accordingly.
  • You are more than welcome to bring your own s’mores supplies and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Available dates on a first come first served basis!

Please register at least two weeks prior to schedule your group. Don’t wait, dates fill fast!

Spring and Summer Experience:

Enjoy the farm all to yourself with a private group sunset tour! The experience includes personal farm tour guides, wagon ride, animal visit, time inside the goat pen, and campfire!


$350 per group. Up to 20 participants. Children under 3 are free and do not count towards head count. An additional wagon is available for $150 for a maximum of 40 people total.

Learn more

Parenting Style - Your Style Makes a Difference

Tuesday, June 4, 2024, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Research shows that how a parent interacts with their child sets the stage for the child’s future development.

The style in which a parent parents is a large part of that interaction. Research also tells us that there is one style of parenting that provides the best outcomes for children. Come to this program to learn about the different parenting styles and what style you have.

Learn more/Register

Farm to Table

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Thursday, July 4, 2024, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Thursday, August 1, 2024, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Thursday, September 5, 2024, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Thursday, October 3, 2024, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Learn about the process of making syrup by helping drill and tap our maple trees and hanging buckets to collect the sap. Everyone can watch how the sugaring process happens.

Enjoy a wagon ride on our "Syrup Express" for a quick visit to our farm animals.

  • Tapping Demonstrations
  • Maple Sugaring Process presentation
  • Wagon Rides-ongoing

Learn more

Family Life Subject Educator

Riverhead, NY

The Family life Subject Educator is a member of the Human Development team under the Community Education Program. Responsible for supporting educational program needs, assisting in delivering program goals and objectives, planning, implementing, and evaluating educational programs for adults and youth with a subject matter focus on child & human development, social emotional health, and wellbeing. Work as an Extension Association team member in addressing local, regional, and statewide programming priorities.

This individual represents Cornell Cooperative Extension's Community Education programs to the public, community leaders, government officials, and Cornell University as part of program delivery.

This position is funded by a contract with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Learn More/Apply

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