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Story in Brief

As COVID-19 began to spread across the US, UGA Extension faculty and staff had to find new and impactful ways to reach and serve clientele. The Camden County Extension Office’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program began an ongoing virtual lunch and learn program that increased program participation numbers – reaching greater numbers of clientele over a larger geographic area than previously accomplished with traditional programming. Topics included Gardening in a Sub-Tropical Swamp, Welcoming Pollinators to Your Landscape, Composting Basics, Watering in the Landscape, Native Plants and Low Maintenance Landscapes, Encouraging Biodiversity at Home, Welcoming Wildlife, Hurricane Preparation – Making a Plan, Invasive Plants in the Home Landscape, Snakes of Georgia, Seed Saving, Misunderstood Species, Citrus Issues in the Home Landscape, and Pruning Basics. Ninety-five percent of attendees stated that they had experienced a behavior change as a result of the webinar(s) that they attended. Behavior changes shared by participants included beginning to compost waste, reduction or elimination of pesticide use, adding habitat needs for wildlife and pollinators to the landscape, creating a hurricane preparedness kit, sharing information learned with others, utilizing IPM strategies, removing invasive plants from the landscape, greater appreciation of and more time spent in natural areas, and adding native plants to the landscape. Through this virtual platform the agent was able to connect with many more clients than usual, and over a greater geographic area. Through the virtual platform the agent had up to 170 attendees per session. In person the most she is able to accommodate is 20 attendees per session. The timing and virtual platform allowed busy working clientele to attend who often can’t commit to in-person programming. One participant shared, “The zoom meetings are really great and I’d love to see them continue after the pandemic because they are very accessible.”