PRINCESS ANNE, MD-(June 17, 2021)-A group of 19 middle and high school students from the Mid-Atlantic are fortunate that COVID-19 restrictions have lifted per Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for them to experience an in-person AgDiscovery summer program this year at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  As with many activities, the 2020 edition was canceled.

“We are so happy that conditions have allowed for participants to reside in dorms and have the opportunity to see what it is like living on a college campus,” said Corrie Cotton, a research assistant professor in UMES’ Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences and one of the program directors.  “They are just getting acclimated, but have already gone on a field trip and have participated in hands-on activities related to 4-H STEM, animal care, sustainable food systems, aquaponics, agribusiness and threats to global food security related to plant disease.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Inspection Service, AgDiscovery is a free opportunity for young minds to explore agricultural sciences and gain knowledge about related careers, such as wildlife management, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, entomology, food safety, food production, agribusiness and forestry, Cotton said.  UMES’ program is in its ninth year and has introduced over 140 students to the diverse careers and opportunities in the field.  “Agriculture is so much more than farming,” she said. “It touches every aspect of our lives.”

“Participants learn through a series of student-centered labs, workshops, research projects and field trips,” Cotton said.  “They also have a chance to interact with scientists conducting state-of-the-art research at the UMES Agricultural Experiment Station and at regional research centers. At the end of the program they present their research projects to an audience of parents and UMES faculty and staff.”

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 410-621-3850,

Photos by Todd Dudek, agricultural communications photographer/videographer, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore,

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