Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
In 2016, over 4,150 clients contacted the Bartow County Extension office through phone, email and in-office consultations with farm, lawn and garden questions. Over 550 soil, water, forage, insect, weed and plant disease samples were processed through the local office. Bartow Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEV) hosted a series of seven lawn and garden seminars in 2016 with an average of 30 participants per seminar. Seminar topics included deer-tolerant plants, growing tomatoes, native plants, food and farming myths, planting for wildlife and wreath-making. The Northwest Georgia Green Industry and Gardening Symposium, hosted at Chattahoochee Technical College, had 70 participants. The symposium targeted advanced home gardeners and horticulture industry professionals. Topics at the symposium included tree troubleshooting, landscape safety, a UGA Trial Gardens update, turfgrass pest management strategies, and bee and pollinator protection from pesticides. Commercial pesticide applicators and certified arborists received a combined total of 140 continuing education credits. Based on conservative estimates, each hour of pesticide credit gives a business an added economic value of $6,427.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Of the many opportunities in Georgia 4-H to develop leadership, one of the most positive experiences is for older 4-H’ers to mentor younger 4-H’ers by serving as Teen Leader. Twenty-two local 4-H’ers attended one of two Teen Leader trainings for approximately 3.5 hours. Before training, 47 percent knew a lot about being a Teen Leader and after, 100 percent knew the Teen Leader’s role. Answering whether they felt confident as a Teen Leader, 47 percent reported feeling confident before training and 93 percent reported feeling confident after training. When asked about their comfort level when handling difficult situations, 60 percent reported feeling comfortable before training and 93 percent reported feeling comfortable afterward. After training, these Teen Leaders volunteered for Project Achievement, public speaking contests and summer day camps. Five of eleven Bartow 4-H day camps, ranging from sports to science, were implemented by teens. When asked if hosting a day camp or being in the training had an impact, one student replied, “Yes! Leading and being in training has gotten me to realize that youth are the foundation for everything. No matter what shape or size, their experience can make or break something. They set our future and we need to nurture them to behave correctly.”
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Bartow Family and Consumer Science Extension staff are striving to address the needs of local families with a holistic approach. One highlight was launching the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education program (SNAP-Ed) in 2016. UGA’s SNAP-Ed offers Food Talk classes consisting of six interactive sessions to enhance healthy eating behaviors. Bartow Extension collaborated with 10 agencies, reaching 180 low-income participants through 782 educational hours of classes. Of these, 67 percent completed the program. Bartow County exceeded SNAP-Ed’s first-year goal by 155 percent and had one of the highest completion rates in the state. As a result, Bartow County was chosen to pilot a new statewide curriculum, Food Talk: Better U, which began in November of 2016. Bartow Extension also offered food safety classes for restaurant managers and taught consumers safe ways to preserve food and stretch their household food budgets.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.2