Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
On-the-Fly Adjustments for Master Gardener Program
What began as a typical year, quickly turned into an unprecedented challenge. COVID-19 brought ‘normal’ life to a stand-still in March 2020, leaving among other things, a partially completed Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Training. After initial adjustments the Bibb County Extension office adapted the face-to-face program to a virtual format. Fourteen participants successfully completed the program. By the end of the summer, students successfully installed demonstration gardens highlighting the use and impact of color in plantings and the incorporation of resistant vegetable varieties. In addition, two accessible beds were rebuilt and planted. One participant commented, “Thank you for making it all seamless and attainable…Every lecture was given by a very capable teacher who managed to impart gardening knowledge despite it being through the computer.”
Expanding Family & Consumer Sciences’ Reach
COVID-19 posed a definite challenge to offering FACS programs for Bibb County residents. In response, Extension quickly pivoted to provide residents with educational classes and resources in a digital format. The Bibb FACS Agent developed, edited, posted and in some cases starred in a variety of virtual sessions, videos, social media posts, Facebook Live feeds and Canva publications. Select topics included: ‘Wear Your Mask’, ‘Physical Activity and Social Distancing’, ‘Portion Distortion’, ‘Tasty Tailgating’, ‘Handwashing Experiment’, ‘Healthy Snacks’, ‘Pantry Roundup’, and ‘Cooking with Kids’. We created a total of 47 original sessions, videos and posts. Those combined outreach efforts reached 45,663 and had 7,730 engagements (likes, comments, or shares).
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Goes Virtual
Free nutrition education is offered to Macon-Bibb County residents who care for youth and have limited resources. The University of Georgia Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) provided a series of nutrition education using the Food Talk curriculum. In spite of the pandemic, over 400 classes were provided virtually and served 400 youth and adult MBC residents. Educators taught parents and teens how to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, improve diet quality, and prepare nutritious recipes on budget. Clients completing the program reported improvements, including 91% who reported eating more fruits and vegetables, 80% who increased their understanding of food safety, and 97% who improved their diet quality.
Supporting Bibb 4-H’ers During COVID
Bibb County 4-H offers a variety of information and life experiences to the youth of our community. While this year presented challenges to our traditional programming, Bibb County 4-H worked hard to continue “making the best better” even during the pandemic. Throughout the summer, youth participated in STEM boxed activity programs which provided a break from screen time during the quarantine. Face-to-face club meetings resumed in some Bibb schools in August. Sixth graders learned about earth science each month, seventh grade participated in Project WILD and eighth graders prepared for their future by learning important life skills. Outside of school students were encouraged to get involved in different special interest club such as: Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, showing livestock, leadership and public speaking.