But for Putnam County's newest Purdue Extension educator Ann Delchambre, experience comes by traveling from one side of the planet to the other. Delchambre, who recently accepted a position as the county's extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, may have just completed her college education in 2002 but this admitted science and nature enthusiast has studied the salty farm soils of Australia, analyzed the DNA of wheat crops in the vast agricultural fields of Hungary and designed a landscape plan for a public library in East Chicago, Ind.
"The experience was great," Delchambre
said. Delchambre, who makes her home in Lafayette and commutes to Greencastle three days a week, received her bachelor's degree in horticultural science from Purdue University in 2000.Hoping to expand her horizons even more, she went on to earn her master's degree from the University of Queensland in Australia.
While in Australia, Delchambre
was able to work closely with local farmers who taught her
how to grow crops in the poor soils of Australia.She
said the salt content of the soil there is so high that even the groundwater tasted salty when she
drank it from a well. Delchambre
also spent time in the farmlands of Hungary where she
experimented with different types of wheat strains.Hungarian farmers have been working since the end of the Soviet Union to improve their wheat products to compete in world markets.During the years that the country was under communist rule, Hungarian farmers weren't allowed to genetically modify their crops, Delchambre
is hoping to use these and other life experiences as she
gets involved with Putnam County agriculture.
"I think I have a lot of experience that I can share for the better," she
said. As the extension educator for agriculture and natural resources, Delchambre will not only work closely with local farmers but will act as a consultant to anyone who has questions ranging from how to improve their garden crops to what to do about insects and pests.
"If it's not 4-H or consumer family science, it winds up in my office," she
"It was then that I decided this is what I wanted to do," Delchambre
Since returning to the United States from her
been looking for just the right job.She
found it in Putnam County.
"It's a very bad economy and I'm glad to be able to get a job in my field," she
said."Doing a half-time position is a nice place to start."
Readers of the Banner-Graphic will be able to find a semi-weekly column written by Delchambre
in the Farm section of the paper.While the columns will often be focused on farming, Delchambre
will write on other nature related matter more geared to the general public's interests.
"I want to make sure everyone can enjoy the columns ‹ not just the horticulturalists," she
For now, Delchambre's time is being spent getting acquainted with her
new surroundings, meeting new faces and attending lots of meetings.
"Right now, I'm just getting a handle on things," she