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
The Houston County Extension office provides Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) programming to farmers, landscapers and homeowners. In 2016, the ANR agent, Charlotte Meeks, led a variety of programs to meet the needs of the community. Meeks conducted an on-farm peanut variety trial. Information from this five-variety trial will be provided at the 2017 Peanut Production Meeting to help producers determine which varieties will work best for their farms. Green Up 2016, a commercial landscaping workshop, was designed based on information received from a panel of landscapers. Fifty-six people attended this March workshop, and all received six hours of recertification credit along with updated information on ornamentals and turf. This workshop was a product of cooperation between Houston County and Macon-Bibb County, and is intended to recur as an annual event. A spring and fall series of Gardening with the Masters was offered to homeowners throughout the year, with over 170 homeowners in attendance. The classes were taught at night and included topics such as landscaping, vegetable gardening, turf, propagation and pollinators.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The UGA's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is working to alleviate health disparities imposed by socioeconomic status by providing low-income Georgians with the knowledge, skills and resources to improve nutrition practices and increase physical activity. Participants in southwest Georgia improved their diet quality, physical activity, food safety practices and food resource management skills during 2016. Peer Educator Mallorie Talvan has accumulated a total of 625 EFNEP hours directly serving county residents and 2,417 hours serving client family members. Volunteers donated $4,212 through in-kind service hours, and 33 graduated from EFNEP. Participants of the Food Talk series reported measurable improvements in the four core areas of EFNEP: diet quality (55 percent improvement), food safety (40 percent improvement), food budget (43 percent improvement) and food security (35 percent improvement). This is a total estimate from all of the Houston County agencies with which EFNEP collaborates throughout the year.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The main focus of the local 4-H program is helping youth to reach their fullest potential through interest-based programming. Meetings are held at the local office, Robins Air Force Base and 23 public schools, including all nine middle schools. In the past three years, Houston County 4-H has exponentially increased their program’s accessibility to local youth. The current program offerings are: youth summer camps divided by age group; monthly meetings; judging teams for poultry, consumer awareness and cotton production; Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) in the disciplines of archery and shotgun; raising and showing livestock; basketball; health and nutrition; first aid and CPR; team building; 4-H and Horse Quiz Bowl; horse showing; public speaking development through 4-H Project Achievement; youth conferences; local leadership workshops; educational field trips and excursions around the state; and interest clubs for younger youth led by teens.