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:
USING WILDFLOWERS TO REDUCE ROADSIDE MAINTENANCE
Roadways play a significant role in economic development and can be a valuable asset to local communities. Fayette County is continuously looking at ways to improve roadsides and reduce maintenance costs. Wildflower establishment can result in a 25 to 30 percent maintenance cost savings, provide wildlife habitats and give low-cost landscape color. Kim Toal, the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent for UGA Extension in Fayette County, was contacted to provide some assistance in providing effective ground cover on the median of a new bypass in Fayette County. After evaluating the needs for the site and the county, the Extension office decided to do a test project of wildflowers and evaluate the effectiveness of this ground cover for other areas in the county. Wildflowers provide a more efficient and cost-effective landscape color along roadways when compared to traditional landscaping, and they provide a higher aesthetic value than would grass or bare ground. Wildflowers need minimal care once established, offering significant cost savings to maintaining rights of way and roadsides. It was expressed that based on the cost savings already shown, all medians on this road should be planted in wildflowers. In response to this study, county road crews asked for educational programs for roadside maintenance. One grounds employee stated that he would like to do this on all the medians on this road, and it has already shown to be a cost savings to the county. Additionally, other county departments have considered adding wildflowers to landfills and other county roads and rights of way.
SCIENCE EDUCATION FOR HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS
To increase science education opportunities for homeschooled students, Fayette County 4-H youth and adults worked together to plan and execute a yearlong series of science lessons for Fayette County 4-H Homeschool Club. Many homeschool families look for outside resources and opportunities to enhance the ways that their children are exposed to science. Homeschool families interested in 4-H often look specifically for science opportunities. To meet this need, 4-H leaders developed fun, hands-on science lessons for homeschool meetings. Four elected youth officers, along with the homeschool volunteer leader and 4-H agent, selected topics and activities at the start of the school year. The officers had roles not only in planning the meetings, but also in leading lessons and activities. The youth brought ideas to planning sessions, and they were also responsible for some of the research required to plan a lesson. In addition to science lessons, meetings for homeschoolers also incorporated community service and public speaking through monthly student presentations. Topics included forces and motion, static electricity, neutral buoyancy, non-Newtonian fluids and DNA extraction. The Fayette County 4-H Homeschool Club had 40 youth members and met once a month. Members were enthusiastic about activities and all were well received. Hands-on activities kept youth engaged and actively learning. Parents were thrilled with the subject matter. When surveyed, 92 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge increased as a result of 4-H Homeschool Club science lessons.