History of CCE

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County's 100th year Anniversary from CCE Suffolk on Vimeo.


Cooperative Extension Service is established. The 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act established the Land Grant System. The 1914 Smith-Lever Act established the Extension system “to aid in diffusing among the people useful and practical information...”


The Long Island Vegetable Research Farm is established on Sound Avenue in Riverhead, providing a facility to conduct crop research.


Home Economics Bureau established in Suffolk County... renamed Family and Consumer Sciences (now known as Family Health and Wellness) in 1993.


4-H started in Suffolk in 1936. Clubs for young people were initially geared toward preserving rural interests. Boys experimented with crop and livestock production and girls learned about cooking and sewing. As the almost exclusively rural landscape changed to include urban and suburban communities, 4-H evolved providing relevant projects, still research-based and affiliated with land-grant universities.


Suffolk County Farm Bureau split, creating Cooperative Extension Service which provided research-based information to farmers to help them maximize their production, and the Long Island Farm Bureau which acted in an advocacy role


Our Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) emphasizes the nutritional content of foods, food shopping and preparation, and food safety. The particular needs of limited-resource families with children are addressed in many of our programs while nutrition education programs for families with young children can also be found at local libraries and in schools.


The horticultural diagnostics lab is established in Riverhead, expanding to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum site in 1998. The labs provide reliable outlets to identify problems with trees, lawns, and shrubs, and expert information.


CCE assumed management of the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, an original working farm. The historic Almshouse Hay Barn is being restored thanks to grants. The Farm is a popular site for families and school groups, as well as a venue for CCE’s annual fundraiser PumpkinFest. Youth education programs are offered for pre-K to 12th graders and for those with special needs.


The Master Gardener Program is established in Suffolk County. Master Gardeners have given over 125,000 volunteer hours back to Suffolk communities through gardening programs in schools, towns, churches, and in county facilities.


The Spring Gardening School is offered for the first time, providing workshops and information to Suffolk gardeners.


Marine Sciences Program became part of CCE, becoming known and respected internationally with projects designed to bring back Long Island’s eelgrass and shellfish populations, as well as provide a public education program on stormwater runoff.


CCE educators provide accurate information to the public about HIV and AIDS, addressing groups throughout Suffolk County.


The Marine Center at Cedar Beach in Southold is incorporated into CCE’s Marine Program. In the late 1990s the Vanderbilt Museum site in Centerport is realized bringing education programs to western Suffolk.


The Children’s Garden is started at the Farm, continuing to be a popular program for Suffolk’s youngest gardeners.


Diabetes education grants are approved, enabling educators to work with the Department of Health to provide prevention, early detection, and management information to thousands of county residents. The Diabetes Resource Coalition of Long Island is recognized as a regional community coalition for diabetes prevention by the State of New York Department of Health Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.


CCE’s Human Development Program is expanded to provide parenting information to a wider cross-section of Suffolk’s population.


CCE assumes leadership for the Peconic Dunes summer camp, providing a new venue for CCE to expand our commitment to environmental issues facing Suffolk County.

CCE coordinates and provides academic and environmental educators for the SOAR program which is funded by the Suffolk County Probation Department. SOAR is an alternative high school that offers English, math, social studies and science, and a day reporting program for adjudicated youth to empower 13-17-year-olds to improve their lives and future prospects. Instilling hands-on skills and problem solving knowledge using the environment as an integrated context for learning, SOAR builds the confidence and experience level of at-risk youth.


Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy signed legislation implementing the largest reseeding effort attempted in the United States. CCE’s Marine Program is conducting this project restoring bay scallop populations to the Peconic Estuary in collaboration with Long Island University.


Funding makes it possible to begin restoration of the historic Suffolk County Almshouse Hay Barn.


The Long-Term Care Insurance Education and Outreach Program in cooperation with the Suffolk County Office for the Aging is established to help individuals make critical care decisions.


CCE celebrates 90 years with The Good Earth Gala, a major fundraiser, raising nearly $200,000 for educational programs.


CCE of Suffolk was awarded a $1.2 million Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant from New York State. This grant is intended to generate and promote creative strategies aimed at preventing and reducing obesity-related health problems.


With a grant of $60,000 awarded by Pritchard Charitable Trust, the Family Health and Wellness program provided assistance to dozens of grandparents and other relative caregivers through “Parenting the Second Time Around” (PASTA), Cornell University’s award winning curriculum for grandparents raising grandchildren.

Child development and nutrition experts from CCE’s Family Health and Wellness program launched a blog aimed at bringing parenting and wellness advice to families. Our professionals offer guidance on a variety of topics including positive discipline, bullying, cooking with children, physical activity and more.


CCE was awarded $258,925 from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and matching grants for the removal of abandoned lobster traps and other fishing gear from the Long Island Sound. Members of the Long Island Lobstermen’s Association and CCE marine staff, including Jacqueline Wilson, worked together to identify the location of the gear, remove it safely from the seabed, and have it recycled at nearby facilities


Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk Receives $6.5 Million Grant to Oversee Long Island’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Eat Smart New York (SNAP-Ed/ESNY) Obesity Prevention Program through 2019. Long Island’s SNAP-Ed program aims to improve health and reduce obesity among youth and adults who receive or are eligible for assistance under federal guidelines.


In the spirit of acting locally and thinking globally, the Suffolk County 4-H has partnered with a sister organization in Texas as part of an exchange program to broaden their horizons and knowledge beyond our county borders.


Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Celebrates 100 years with events including the Good Earth Centennial Gala.

Last updated November 5, 2021