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
UGA Extension in Athens-Clarke County taught over 125 gardening classes to 1,500 community members, including the popular Monthly Gardening Class series held at the Athens Public Library. More than 160 Athens-Clarke County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers contributed over 14,000 hours of service in the area. Volunteer projects included Plant a Row for the Hungry, UGA demonstration gardens work, work at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, work at Athens-Clarke County school gardens, Junior Master Gardener
programs, civic group presentations, “Ask a Master Gardener” farmers market informational booths, home site visits, newsletter articles and plant clinics at special events. Two vegetable garden operations for Plant a Row for the Hungry produced a donation of over 3,700 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks.
Extension employees and trained Master Gardeners answered more than 4,000 gardening-related phone calls, emails and in-person questions from the community. These questions covered a variety of topics including home vegetable gardening, ornamental and landscape plantings, turf information, plant identification, plant disease identification and treatment, pest control and identification, wildlife control and removal, and access to local resources, suppliers and events. “Shades of Green,” the Athens-Clarke County Extension monthly gardening e-newsletter, was distributed to more than 1,500 community members. The Georgia Master Composter program completed its fourth year, with
more than 75 graduates volunteering over 5,500 hours in compost-related activities since the program began in 2012. School gardens were also a focus, with a dedicated staff member coordinating middle school farms, composting programs and a student-run restaurant each week during the summer.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Athens-Clarke County 4-H serves all youth in grades five through eight as a component of the school system curriculum. In 2016, more than 1,000 children and teenagers participated in Athens-Clarke County 4-H. They learned and excelled in leadership, citizenship, public speaking and critical thinking skills as well as teamwork, building character and good sportsmanship. Athens-Clarke County 4-H has received awards for outstanding participation in these areas as well as for having the most junior camp participants. Athens-Clarke County 4-H continued its robotics club in which students use 4-H Robotics Platforms lessons and LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT software to build a robot and learn how it works.
The 4-H program offers a variety of after-school educational activities. Students may join after-school judging teams, including forestry, wildlife, consumer judging and poultry. In these educational teams, students learn subject matter to prepare for competition. They can also participate in LifeSmarts or Challenge Bowl. In these activities, students learn a variety of topics and compete in a quiz-bowl setting, answering questions at the competition.
Special initiatives have continued to target youth at risk. More than $10,000 in 4-H camp scholarships was granted to students who could not afford camp fees.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Family and Consumer Sciences provided 45 nutrition and wellness programs for local residents, including the Walk-a-Weigh healthy living program. These programs helped over 1,000 participants adopt new habits that promote a healthier body and weight control, including making more nutritious food choices and increasing daily physical activity. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) enrolled over 600 low-income participants.