Toppe Has Big Plans As WVU Extension Agent
Wetzel County residents might see the addition of new WVU Extension programs thanks to the county’s new agent, Mollie Toppe.
Toppe, who has been an agent for for the outreach service of WVU since mid-September 2014, perhaps has been in the spotlight lately for her drive to bring Energy Express back to Wetzel County. However, that is not all Toppe has planned for Wetzel County.
“Mollie is a breath of fresh air for the county as the agent,” Wetzel County WVU Extension Office Administrative Assistant Abby Delaney notes. “She has hit the ground running.”
It’s no surprise that one of Toppe’s major platforms deals with education. Prior to her tenure at the extension office, she was a reading specialist at Short Line School. Recently, Toppe went back into the school system to introduce a program called “Build a Budget.” Students at Paden City Elementary School and SLS had to learn to budget an income from a suggested job they were assigned. “Kids liked it,” Toppe noted. “They were certainly surprised.” Toppe added that kids also seemed to show a deeper appreciation for what their parents must go through on a daily basis.
Toppe is also interested in perhaps, in the future, bringing the “Build a Budget” program to adults in the community.
Toppe also has what it takes to support the Wetzel County 4-H program, as well as agricultural growth and healthy eating within the community. Besides her extension agent duties, she also owns and operates Jennings Brae Bank Farm with her husband, John Jennings. One of Toppe’s many goals is to search for plenty of volunteers for the summer’s 4-H camp. She stresses that even an hour volunteering is deeply appreciated.
Besides searching for volunteers for camp, Toppe is also collaborating with Tyler County’s WVU Extension Office on a 30-hour Master Gardener course. This program consists of a volunteer training course designed to provide experienced home gardeners with the information and skills necessary to share their experience and knowledge with others. In exchange for 30 hours of indoor and outdoor instruction, candidates must agree to donate 30 hours of volunteer service to West Virginia University Extension. Volunteer activities currently carried out by Master Gardeners in Wetzel and Tyler counties include local beautification projects, as well as information booths at Farmers Markets and other locations.
Toppe also hopes to have a “Dining with Diabetes” class in the near future to assist those in the community who are struggling with the disease plan healthier meals.
When not planning new programs for the community, Toppe can be found at the WVU Extension Office in the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families. Here, Toppe and Delaney answer a variety of calls to the office regarding canning, insects, and plants. “We provide research-based answers to questions,” Toppe states, adding that if Toppe and Delaney cannot find an answer, they can provide a resource who can. “We know a lot of community resources,” she states.
Wetzel County’s WVU Extension Office is located at 2213 Mountaineer Highway, New Martinsville. The office can be reached also by calling 304-455-0934. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.