Cherokee UGA Extension set to welcome agent
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
August 31, 2012 12:53 AM | 1278 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Residents with a green thumb will once again have an official expert to call on with all of their agricultural concerns.

Starting Sept. 1, Louise Estabrook will move from north Fulton County to Cherokee County to serve as the county’s only agriculture and natural resource agent through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

An extension of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Cherokee County Extension Service provides information to local farmers, gardeners and any other interested residents on a variety of topics.

Estabrook said some of those include soil and water quality testing, insect identification, and testing diseased plant materials.

“I train master gardeners, if we or I don’t have the answer, I go to the (UGA) specialists,” Estabrook said.

Estabrook’s new role was announced at the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners meeting in June. She replaces Paul Pugliese, who left the position in 2011 after serving in the role for four years.

After moving into her office on 100 North St. in Suite G21, Estabrook said she’s looking forward to start serving the people of Cherokee County and all of their various agricultural related questions.

“I can’t wait,” Estabrook said. “It’s a big challenge every time you switch locations because every time there’s a whole new set of priorities.”

She predicts some of those new challenges will include more farm-related questions involving pasture weeds and livestock concerns, which she dealt with far less at the north Fulton office.

Estabrook invited all residents to come to her office and provide ideas of what they would like to see her do in her new role, including new programs or types of gardens they may be interested in. Her hours at the new office will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and her email is laesta@uga.edu.

“They can email me, telephone me, walk in,” Estabrook said. “They can leave samples here, they can fill out forms and when I return to the office, will be happy to take a look at whatever it is.”

Estabrook said she worked out of the north Fulton office for five years in the same role and previously worked as an extension educator for Cornell University for six years, so she said she is familiar with a variety of concerns relating to the natural environment.

Another purpose she will serve includes recruiting and training future master gardeners, who volunteer their time and go through training to receive the designation.

“The only way I can handle this job is by using the volunteers as events, demonstration gardens and doing the actual work of reaching out to people,” Estabrook said.

Sue Allen, a local master gardener, said she is looking forward to having an agent in the county once again.

“It’s tremendous because its going to allow us to have classes for Cherokee County upcoming master gardeners because we needed an agent for us to get new people involved,” Allen said.

Allen said it’s important to have its own agent because the role requires knowledge in all things nature-related.

“There’s things that we (master gardeners) cannot answer where she’s got that background and expertise,” Allen said. “We all have our own little niche.”

THE LOUISE ESTABROOK FILE:

* CITY: Cumming

* OCCUPATION: Cherokee County Agriculture and Natural Resource agent/4-H Agent at University of Georgia Cooperative Extension

* EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in ethnobotany, State University of New York Empire State College; associate degree in ornamental horticulture, State University of New York at Cobleskill; candidate for master’s degree in agricultural leadership, University of Georgia

* FAMILY: Married to Michael, two children Michael, 30, and Alicia, 20
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