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 Liberty County Extension office eagerly assists homeowners with a variety of agricultural and natural-resource-related questions and concerns. In 2016, the office processed 85 soil samples, 47 water quality samples and two nematode analyses through UGA laboratory services. The Liberty County Extension staff identifies plant diseases, insects and weeds and aids residents in obtaining pesticide licenses. A large variety of research-based publications is available both online and in person at the Extension office. These publications range in topics including gardening, landscaping and lawn care, water quality, herbicide and pesticide use, livestock and poultry, fishing and beekeeping.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
In an effort to share research-based ideas on how to keep families healthy, UGA developed Food Talk, a free, online program to help Georgians make nutritious food choices on a budget. The website includes a blog, recipes, glossary and videos. Additionally, citizens can register for a free account and access six lessons about food choices, basic nutrition, the health risks associated with poor diets, economical food choices and quick, easy meal planning. Each module is interactive, allowing participants to answer questions about the content as well as personal questions about their own lifestyle. After completing all six modules, participants can visit the Liberty County Extension office to receive a bag of education extenders: a water bottle, measuring cups and spoons, shopping lists, a reusable grocery bag and a completion certificate. To date, 18 Liberty County residents have completed all six modules. One participant said, “Prior to watching the lessons, eating healthy seemed nearly impossible because of the high cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. The recipes and lessons included in Food Talk are both tasty and cost-efficient. It is definitely worth the time, and the education extenders are great.”
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Having the knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle as a child can make a profound difference on all stages of a person's life. In-school and after-school Liberty County 4-H programming helps youth lead lives that balance physical, mental and emotional health. Specific focus areas for 4-H healthy living programs include nutrition, childhood obesity, drug awareness, bullying prevention, fitness, safety and stress management. The Health Rocks! program is a national 4-H healthy living program that teaches the norms and consequences of youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use as well as stress management and positive behaviors. In 2016, Liberty County 4-H staff provided 39 in-school Health Rocks! lessons to 210 youth. One teacher said, “Having the 4-H staff come to our classrooms enhances what we are doing and gives the kids the opportunity to learn about living a healthy life.” Additionally, after-school 4-H meeting topics covered fitness, bullying prevention and internet safety. In March, a group of high school 4-H members coordinated a Kick Butts Day event, a public education awareness campaign to end childhood use of tobacco products. Youth created an informative video, educational displays and a selfie station, where community members could learn about the dangers of tobacco use and pledge to abstain from using tobacco products. Over 50 members attended in-person, and more than 1,000 were connected to the event through social media.