Volunteering is a great way to get involved with CCE!
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Volunteering is a great way to get involved with CCE!


Volunteers are very important to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. Over 1,200 individuals volunteer their time to a variety of Extension activities, contributing over 73,000 hours each year! 

Through duties as diverse as teaching others to prune trees or make compost, answering callers' questions on consumer or gardening issues, mentoring young people as they acquire new skills, or serving as board members or on committees that guide our work, volunteers represent Extension's far-reaching roots in our community.

Ongoing opportunities appear below, with contact names for additional information.  Some programs may require specialized training to participate; upcoming training dates are listed where known.  

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

Prospective volunteers complete an application form.  In addition, those who volunteer to work with vulnerable populations (children, individuals with disabilities, etc.) will be asked to consent to a criminal background screening at Cooperative Extension's expense, as a means of ensuring the safety and security both of our volunteers and of the people we serve through our programs.

Childcare Provider(s)

Participants in CCE's nutrition and parenting classes can attend and complete the full sequence of workshops if free childcare is provided, yet we do not have funds to support this service. We are seeking volunteer childcare providers who could be scheduled for a 2-3 hour session occasionally, and a Coordinator to develop a list and to recruit/schedule those volunteer caregivers. Experience in early childhood development or daycare is desirable!  Contact Anna Steinkraus at 272-2292 or ams69@cornell.edu.

Consumer HelpLine 

The Consumer HelpLine is a community education effort staffed by trained volunteers, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Volunteers help callers to explore options for solving current problems, and provide information that can help them make informed decisions. We offer training and flexible scheduling. Volunteers should have good listening skills, a warm telephone manner,  and an interest in helping people find information and learn how to work through their problems.  Knowledge of consumer/housing issues or an interest in learning about them is suggested.  For information, contact Carole Fisher at 272-2292 or crf11@cornell.edu.

4-H Youth Programs

4-H offers youth aged 5-19 from throughout Tompkins County a variety of special interest clubs, afterschool programs, short-term enrichment offerings, a public speaking program, Environmental Appreciation Days, summer programs, and an annual youth-run Fair. There are many short- and long-term opportunities for volunteer involvement, depending upon the skills you care to share and the time you wish to commit to volunteering.

  • 4-H Club & Fair Programs
    Share a craft or a special skill with young people, help lead a 4-H Club, or spend a day as an evaluator for 4-H Fair or public speaking competitions. Individuals with knowledge of agriculture, plant science, animal husbandry, entomology, and textile/clothing construction are always welcome, but if you have a different expertise you'd like to share, please contact Brenda Carpenter at 272-2292 or btc6@cornell.edu to talk about your ideas! Orientation for new leaders and volunteers is provided on an ongoing basis throughout the year.  Call for upcoming dates
  • Duck Race & 5K Run
    Each April, 4-H holds a rubber duck race on Cascadilla Creek and a 5K run to raise funds for youth programs. Volunteers serve on an event planning committee, sell chances in advance of the event, and perform a host of duties on race day. Contact Megan Tifft at 272-2292 or met38@cornell.edu for more information!
  • 4-H Environmental Appreciation Days
    Each May, as many as 500 local 4th-6th graders take school field trips to local state parks, 4-H Acres and other sites in Tompkins County, where volunteer instructors lead them through three 50-minute hands-on nature and ecology lessons.  Individuals who wish to volunteer as instructors should contact Megan Tifft, 272-2292 or met38@cornell.edu.

Green Building Volunteers

Help plan and execute the annual Green Building Open House, a 2-day event held on the first  weekend of October, sponsored jointly with the Ithaca Green Building Alliance. Other opportunities to promote alternative building and green energy technologies in Tompkins County are planned.  Contact Guillermo Metz at 272-2292 or gm52@cornell.edu for information.

Locavores: "Eat Here Now!"

Help our community become more aware of  local foods and farms, culinary events, and community gardens while encouraging the purchase and consumption of more local and regional products. Help create or update a Locavore website and newsletter; organize or volunteer at special events, and more! All skills are needed.  Contact Liz Karabinakis at 272-2292 or evk4@cornell.edu.

Nutrition Education Volunteers

CCE-Tompkins provides USDA-funded and Operation Frontline nutrition classes for families with limited resources.  Volunteers shop for groceries; or set-up, assist at, or clean-up after hands-on cooking classes.  Contact Lara Parrilla Kaltman at 272-2292 or ljp9@cornell.edu to learn more.


Brenda T. Carpenter
Extension Community Educator, 4-H Youth Development
(607) 272 - 2292

Last updated May 2, 2015