Another year is coming to a close and it has been a busy one!! Reflecting back on the year, we thought we’d share some of our favorite moments! We laughed with local comedy group Completely Stranded back in January, and most importantly, we raised $1100 for the United Way of the Adirondack Region. We will be bringing them back for a show on February 9.
Dr. Dave Barbano hosted an incredible cheese tasting for staff in early 2017 in our cafeteria annex. He had a wide variety of cheeses from around the world and thorough explanations of each. It was a real treat!
In 2017, we visited Peru Central School four times as part of their Lunchtime Grill series for students to learn about different careers. Each time we represented a different career. We talked about animal care with yearlong dairy and equine interns Victoria Vendetta and Samantha Dobbins; agricultural research with Ph.D. student Mac Campbell and Research Technician Laura Klaiber; agricultural librarian with Librarian Amy Bedard; public relations and marketing with PR Coordinator Rachel Dutil.
After realizing that many of our Miner Morgans were deficient in vitamin E, we began a research study to look at the best delivery method of vitamin E to horses. The research attracted donations to help sponsor the research from individuals and organizations such as the Champlain Valley Morgan Horse Association.
Clinton County Dairy Princess Katarina Emerich – daughter of Miner Institute’s Dairy Outreach Coordinator Wanda Emerich – attended several events at Miner Institute as an ambassador for the local dairy industry. She handed out cheese, helped kids make crafts, and helped pick winners for door prizes at our annual Dairy Day seminar.
We toured multiple school groups and celebrated 30 years of the Summer Experience in Equine Management program with an early-August reunion. Later in the fall, we had a mini-reunion when students from 2016 returned for a long weekend.
For the second year in a row as part of the annual Battle of Plattsburgh weekend events, we participated in the Rotary Club’s bed race in downtown Plattsburgh. We made it through several rounds and had a great time!
At the 2017 Applied Environmental Science Program graduation ceremony in December, we were pleased that Cheryl Donah could join us and accept her honorary certificate. Cheryl was the longtime secretary in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at SUNY Plattsburgh who retired at the end of 2017.
One of Miner Institute’s most valuable “products” is our alumni. They move on from Miner Institute to (hopefully) successful careers in agriculture-related fields. They help to broaden Miner Institute’s network and, in some cases, become collaborators for our research and education programs. Several of our Summer Experience in Equine Management alumni have ultimately become Miner Morgan owners! One of the most notable career choices for alumni is Miner Institute employee. Of our roughly 50 full-time employees, 11 are alumni from one of our education programs. It is a strong testament to the culture and atmosphere of Miner as a workplace and also of the caliber of our education programs and thus, the students that we attract.
“I recall the day I got a call from Katie(Ballard), who was looking for someone to fill a technician position. From the moment I heard the message, I had already decided I would take the job. I was ready and eager to come back to Miner in any fashion. When I moved all of my stuff from Pennsylvania, I never would have dreamed that I would still be here today… looking back it was not a case of moving on to the next stage of my life, it was actually more like coming home,” said Heather Gauthier, a research technician and Summer Experience in Equine Management alumnus. Heather has been employed at Miner Institute since 2000.
Katie Ballard has been the director of Miner Institute’s research program since the program started in 1992. She fondly remembers being crowned the first-ever “Miner Moron” as a Summer Experience in Farm Management student in 1983 for putting a tractor in the ditch. From that point on, someone was given the award weekly on Fridays at lunch. Most notably, she recalls that Ev Thomas (then agronomist at Miner Institute) earned a Miner Moron Award for his driving skills on the way to Empire Farm Days that summer. Katie participated in the graduate program following her summer as a student and was hired full time in 1987.
Equine Manager Karen Lassell says that she feels “blessed to enjoy my job as much as I do – the horses, the students and fellow employees.” Karen participated in the Summer Experience in Equine Management program in 1989 and then came back as the year-long intern in 1991 and has been employed at Miner ever since.
“I’ve always felt that whether you are a student or employee, Miner Institute provides many opportunities…you just have to have initiative and be willing to work hard to make the most of your time here,” Katie said. “It’s helpful to take a walk through the Heritage Exhibit every once in a while to become re-inspired by Mr. Miner’s vision for Hearts Delight Farm. I think we are doing a pretty good job and following his planned purpose of the farm.”
Alumni turned employees:
Wanda Emerich: Dairy Outreach Coordinator and alum of the Summer Experience in Farm Management program.
Katie Ballard: Director of Research and alum of the Summer Experience in Farm Management program.
Karen Lassell: Equine Manager and alum of the Summer Experience in Equine Management program.
Heather Gauthier: Research Technician and alum of the Summer Experience in Equine Management program.
Andrew Whitney: Research Technician and alum of the Advanced Dairy Management program.
Jeff Darrah: Agricultural Lab Manager and alum of the cell biology program.
Laura Klaiber: Research Technician and alum of the Applied Environmental Science program and the graduate program.
Lisa Klaiber: Research Technician and alum of the Applied Environmental Science program.
Anna Pape: Dairy Herdsperson and alum of the Summer Experience in Farm Management program.
Charlie Hacker: Research Technician and alum of the Applied Environmental Science Program.
Eric Young: Soil Scientist/Agronomist and alum of the Applied Environmental Science Program.