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Cazenovia woman appointed CEO of Onondaga County Cooperative Extension

Cazenovia resident Anastasia Urtz was recently appointed as chief executive officer of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Association of Onondaga County.

"I develop and lead educational and technical assistance programs in agriculture and food systems; children, youth and families; community and economic vitality; environmental and natural resources; and nutrition and health," Urtz said. "I also work closely with elected officials, government agencies, foundations, corporations, faculty from Cornell University and local educational institutions, Association staff, and volunteers in developing and delivering educational programming."

The Cooperative Extension is nearly 100 years old. It was founded by the state in 1911 as part of Cornell's mission to apply knowledge from research and experience to address the needs of local communities. The Onondaga County Extension was founded in 1913.

The Onondaga County extension provides several programs in the county: 4-H youth development programs, Eat Smart New York nutrition programs, CommuniTree Stewards urban forestry programs, Onondaga Earth Corps youth green job training, food security initiatives and "Rain Catchers" watershed education.

Besides her position with Cooperative Extension, Urtz has been a member of the board of directors of the Cazenovia Children's House since 2004 and a member of the town of Cazenovia planning board since 2008.

"The Children's House is important to me because it offers an excellent early education program for young children that allows parents to pursue their own professional responsibilities knowing that their children are experiencing a supportive, enriching environment," Urtz said.

During her tenure on the board, Urtz has supported many projects, including stabilizing the operating budget, making numerous capital improvements to the CCH Route 20 facility, developing an employer-subsidized health insurance option for staff members, expanding after-school care based on community needs and increasing teacher participation in organizational planning.

Urtz joined the town planning board after the adoption of the town of Cazenovia comprehensive plan. The planning board reviews proposed land while considering applicable laws to foster development patterns that preserve the historic, scenic and rural character of the town.

Urtz has lived in Cazenovia with her husband, Louis Orbach, since 1998. They have a five-year-old son, Benjamin.

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