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:
MASTER GARDENER EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS
Master Gardener Extension Volunteers are part of a statewide network of trained volunteers. In Fannin County, Master Gardeners conduct projects to benefit the community. One important project they have started is adding raised beds at all three elementary schools. The volunteers also work with teachers to teach the youth classes on agriculture. Fannin County Master Gardeners offer educational nature walks, plant sales and seminars. When regular personnel are out, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers work in the Extension office.
Fannin County is home to numerous second homes. Many of these homeowners have never lived in an area that uses private domestic wells, and the Extension office has been able to educate them on well water quality. Fannin County Extension sends more bacterial water samples to the UGA Feed and Environmental Water Laboratory than any other county in the state. Mineral tests are also provided. In addition to the testing, education about the water and the results are provided to the clientele so that they better understand how wells and the water supply work. A format has been developed for the clientele to understand, regardless of whether they are homeowners, foster parents, realtors, restaurants or other public businesses that depend on domestic wells for their water supply. This educational tool has allowed a smooth transition for homeowners moving into a rural setting.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Fannin County 4-H has an enrollment of 295 young people, and 4-H provides various opportunities to these youth. The young people have worked on a community project assisting local veterinarians in inoculating pets to help control the spread of rabies. This low-cost activity helps educate the young people and the public on the dangers of rabies. In addition to helping with this event, 4-H members have brought joy to nursing home residents with visits and gifts. Leadership is another aspect of 4-H in Fannin County. Older members are developing leadership skills as they assist younger members in their project and community work. Because of the popularity of after-school activities, poultry, livestock and garden clubs have been added. Cloverbuds is an early-age club that has started this year. Besides in-county activities, members have participated in various competitions that teach life skills. Fannin County 4-H also provides opportunities to see other parts of the state. Because of their community participation, many 4-H'ers have earned scholarships to take part in statewide activities.
Fannin County is one of the leading counties in the state for agritourism. Apples are the main agritourism enterprise, but there are also wine grapes, strawberries, brambles, blueberries and vegetables. Because the public is on the farm, growers use integrated pest management (IPM) to control insects and diseases. Using this form of pest control lowers the amount of pesticides applied, which makes it safer for the public. In order to properly use IPM, the growers depend on weather data that is generated from a statewide network. Growers attend area production meetings put on by Extension to keep up to date on the latest production information. In addition to on-farm activities, the roadside stands offer value-added products such as cider, fried pies, jams, jellies and donuts. Because of the home winery laws, several of the enterprises have started offering hard cider and wine to their clients.