In This Issue

Organization Highlights New Mud Kitchen

Look Ahead 2022

Ask the Family Educator

Plant Care Tips

Upcoming Events

In The Press

Local Fish Recipe

Out In Your District

Career Opportunities

Upcoming Events


Community Education


Suffolk County Farm

Donate to CCE-Suffolk

Happy New Year!

Message from our Executive Director

Happy New Year and thank you for your support this past year! It is our privilege to work alongside you and offer you our unique resources – we wouldn’t be what we are without your support!


This year, INNOVATION is our motto! We are looking towards innovation in everything we do and bringing it to you and your communities.


Enjoy this update and find out what we have been up to and what is coming up this month. I hope to see you at our local fish tasting at PJ Harbour Club with our Marine team on January 20th! Many thanks to our public officials who joined with us to highlight many of our community services over the holiday season.  And check out our new monthly column – Ask the Family Educator. Bring your questions and your concerns to us and we will answer them each month.


Thank you and Enjoy!

~Vanessa Pino Lockel


Highlights: New Mud Kitchen at the Farm and more...

new mud kitchen has found a home at the Suffolk County Farm. Mud Kitchens are outdoor play kitchens where children (and adults) play and use nature to guide their play.

Mud kitchens encourage pretend play. Children will act as if one object is really something else. For example, when making soup, a stick is a spoon, and all the rocks are different vegetables.

Our Nutrition and Diabetes Team has been hard at work with their Local Eats program through library workshops and cook-alongs. They are out in our libraries each month, sharing research-based information and advice on managing diabetes.

Our Marine Program put on a great Shellabration in collaboration with Greenport BID. It was a success following a virtual version from last year. The program enjoyed being out in our community and enjoying a great weekend with local businesses and vendors.

Our Agriculture Program is getting ready for the Ag Forum this month. They will share the latest research on environmentally safe and viable production. In addition, they will cover issues related to crop culture along with marketing tips and other updates.

2022 Look Ahead from our Program Directors

Community Education:

"Our educational programs continue to empower underserved communities and build strong relationships with collaborators throughout Long Island."

~Zahrine Bajwa


"We look forward to continuing our research and industry-facing outreach as well as providing the best gardening insights for our public."

~Nora Catlin


"We’re looking forward to a safe and productive 2022 filled with exciting projects and new partnerships"

~Chris Pickerell

Farm and 4H Youth Development:

"We look forward to providing hands-on research-based learning to all residents, particularly young people, with themes in agriculture, animal sciences, history, STEM, healthy living, and life skills in a unique year-round learning environment and in community spaces."

~Vicki Fleming

Ask the Family Educator

I have been suffering with Covid-19 anxiety for almost two years! How can I deal with it more successfully in this New Year? 

I think most of us have been struggling with worry, and have been filled with anxiety for ourselves and our loved ones. We are overwhelmed by this virus which looms over us, causing us to feel exhausted. This can lead to defiance and risk-taking behavior, or to feelings of numbness and apathy. Neither extreme of behavior leads to well-being. So, what can we do to help ourselves? 

The first step is to let go and realize you can’t control everything and there’s only so much each of us can handle. Become more comfortable with uncertainty, a tall order for sure, but life-affirming if we learn how to do this.  

Next, enjoy unscheduled time with yourself and with loved ones. Read a book, do breathing exercises for relief, engage in an upbeat conversation. Try to eat nutritiously, exercise, and enjoy a full night’s sleep.  

Finally, assess risks for yourself and your family. Have family discussions about behaviors that work well for your family, remembering that your choices should take into consideration how they affect others in your community. We will get through this pandemic. None of us know when it will end, but our daily attitudes will affect our physical, mental and social well-being. 

Click here to email a question to our Parent Educator


Plant Care Tips: Natural Christmas Trees

Are you sure what to do with your natural Christmas tree after the holiday season is over? Here are some Do's and Don'ts with you evergreen. 

Do's with your Natural Christmas Tree:

  • Curbside Pick Up: More municipalities will pick up your tree for recycling about 2 weeks after Christmas for curbside collection. Make sure to check if there are any size requirements. In addition, remove all ornaments, tinsel, and lights. Most areas will turn your tree into mulch that can later be reused by residents.

  • Drop-off Locations: Some towns and farms have drop-off locations for no charge. 

  • Recycle it Yourself: Christmas trees can be made into mulch, used as fish/bird feeders, and soil erosion barriers.

  • Christmas Lights Care: Recycle old or broken Christmas lights and electronics by bringing them to your local electronic drop-off locations. Some stores like Best Buy and Target have recycling bins at their store entrance for electronics. 

Christmas Tree Don'ts

  • Don't Wait Until the Tree is Dry to Throw Out: When dry, evergreen is highly flammable and can create a huge mess when removed. 

  • Tree Coasters: Since Christmas trees have sticky sap, Christmas Tree coasters will ruin your furniture.

  • Firewood: Evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils, creating creosote buildup in your chimney.

Click here for more information on Christmas Trees.

Click here for more resources on Gardening and Horticulture.

Upcoming Events


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Suffolk County Farm/ 4-H

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Community Education

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In The Press

Tu Prensa- People of the Year

Our Executive Director Vanessa Pino Lockel was listed as 2021 Tu Prensa People of the Year! This award recognized the transformative changes she has made through CCE-Suffolk.

Click Here to Read More

The Father of Landscape Architecture- Olmstead Lecture

Roxanne Zimmer, Ph.D., our community horticulture specialist was featured in the "Press-Republican". Roxanne will give virtual lectures with a focus on explaining the design principles utilized by Olmsted in his gardens.

To join this lecture or others, visit our Upcoming Events section of this newsletter.

Click To Read More

Local Fish Demand On The Rise

The Seafood Source recently mentioned us and our Choose Local F.I.S.H initiative in their conversation about the growth in seafood demand during the pandemic.

Our local fish initiative increases awareness of all the benefits of eating local, sustainable fish. 

Click To Read More

Choose Local F.I.S.H Recipe

Pan Fried Scallops


  • 1 1/2 lb. scallops
  • 1 lemon, for cleaning scallops
  • salt, for cleaning scallops
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 to 2 lemons, juiced
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper


1. To clean scallops, place in large bowl and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and juice of one lemon. Mix with your hands (or a wooden spoon) and let sit for one minute. Then rinse in water and place on a clean, dry side towel or layered paper towel for 5 minutes to ensure that water is absorbed. As the scallops must be dry, you may need to individually dry them with a clean paper towel. 

2. In a large sauté pan, heat ghee or butter on medium. Place scallops in pan and cook for about 5 minutes ensuring that they are browning. Flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. For well-done scallops, you can cook longer. Finish with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 

Click to see more Local F.I.S.H Recipes

Out In Your District

We were present in Riverhead at the LI Science Center for their pop-up store with Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio and Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.

Our Executive Director, Vanessa Lockel, joined Suffolk County Legislator Jason A. Richberg and others for the Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Task Force. They reviewed 2021's progress and shared recommendations for the new year. This task force continues to make Suffolk safe for expecting mothers in our community.

Congressman Tom Suozzi invited us to participate in his press conference highlighting our county's environmental projects funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund. We join in this initiative by reducing existing marine debris enhancing coastal restoration. 

Vanessa Lockel has joined Governor Kathy Hochul Latina's Mentorship Initiative Planning Committee. This committee serves to intervene with inequities Latinas face in the workplace.

Career Opportunities

Sr. Administrative Assistant

Sr. Administrative Assistant of the Agricultural Program, Riverhead, NY

Click to see all our listings
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