Intern wants to grow ag knowledge base

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Erika Love, the new summer intern at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Wilson County, has been busy.

The 26-year-old Roanoke Rapids native is a student at North Carolina A&T State University studying agriculture education.

Last week, Love took a group of 4-H’ers to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, one of four such trips she will lead during her 10-week assignment in Wilson.

She went to Rocky Mount and recorded some radio talks about gardening with Cyndi Lauderdale, the horticulture agent in the local Cooperative Extension office.

“I had to pick eight different topics to talk about: pinching flowers off of tomato plants, Venus flytraps, staking trees, Ambrosia beetles, scale insects, sunflowers, Roundup alternatives and the numbers that appear on fertilizer bags and what they mean,” Love said.

Love has worked with the Wilson County Master Gardeners weeding in the Wilson Botanical Gardens. She has rubbed elbows with community leaders at the Wilson County AgriBusiness Committee’s monthly meeting at Parker’s Barbecue. On Wednesday, Love manned a tent at the Wilson Farmers and Artisans Market in downtown Wilson.

Next week she will be visiting Beddingfield High School and Bryant Glover’s horticulture class.

That is right in line with what Love wants to do as a career. She would like to teach high school students.

Love had already earned a two-year associate degree in agribusiness maintenance from N.C. State University. She said there’s a widespread “gap of knowledge” when it comes to what average folks know about agriculture.

“People don’t know where their food comes from,” Love said.

Love started May 28. Lauderdale said Love will be helping with the 4-H summer fun programs and other activities throughout the summer

“She will be teaching the youth and adults and meeting county leaders learning about the range of activities of a North Carolina Cooperative Extension office,” Lauderdale said.

“I like Wilson,” Love said. “I am very interested in leaning about the community and about the people in the community.”