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:
JOURNEYMAN FARMER PROGRAM
Habersham County Extension hosted a Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program for seven weeks at the Extension office to engage new and beginning farmers. Over 30 participants learned hands-on production practices and techniques for getting involved in fruit, vegetable and small ruminant production.
SOQUE RIVER WATERSHED ASSESSMENT
Agriculture and Natural Resources agent Steven Patrick has collaborated with North Georgia Technical College, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the Soque River Watershed Association to conduct a biotic assessment of the Soque River. During 2016, tributary streams of the Soque River were sampled to assess the fish living in the stream. The stream segments are listed as biotically impaired by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which cites that only six to eight species are present. On average, samples collected in local streams yielded an average of 14 species, with the highest number coming from just below the Demorest Wastewater Plant, where a surprising 19 species were collected.
SOUTHEASTERN YOUTH KAYAK FISHING SERIES
Habersham County 4-H coordinated a youth kayak series in northeast Georgia that attracted competitors from seven states for participation. Two Habersham County anglers finished in the top five for Angler of the Year. Over $8,000 in prizes was awarded during the course of the season.
Highlights of the collaboration this year included a local foods camp, a sunflower garden, taste testing activities at the school and culinary arts classes at the 4-H office. This spring, we are working on expanding our cooking and culinary arts classes to incorporate cool-season and warm-season vegetable production in our garden. These classroom activities help to encourage healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The true strength of the 4-H program in our county is its diversity. Our club features outstanding youth from every facet of our local community. Our club had several significant achievements in 2016, including second place in the LifeSmarts competition at the state level; top five in Archery; second place Senior team in Poultry Judging with the top individual competitor, Christine Budd; third place Senior team in Cotton Boll Consumer Judging; fourth place in Forestry Judging; Reserve Grand Champion Lamb shown by Taylor McClellan; and nine youth placing in the top three for their project area at District Project Achievement. Our Fine Arts Club was invited to perform at several large events, including the Chattahoochee Mountain Fair.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) issues are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and through phone consultations with FCS agents in surrounding counties. This year, we are excited to host a FCS intern, Jessica Polson, who has planned several programs on radon, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed), culinary arts and nutrition.
MASTER GARDENER CERTIFICATION
The Habersham County Extension office teamed up with the Headwaters Master Gardeners to provide certification training for 11 Master Gardener Extension Volunteer interns. These interns were given 11 weeks of classroom instruction, which later translated into 550 hours of community service in Habersham County. Projects included Habitat for Humanity landscaping, a plant sale to raise funds for college scholarships and Victory Home, and a large vegetable plot at Victory Home to help the residents by providing fresh vegetables.