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.
All face to face 4-H summer programming was canceled due to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). This meant that Catoosa County staff were faced with the challenge of delivering youth development programs and opportunities at a distance or in a virtual format.
Catoosa County 4-H staff were tasked with finding creative ways to implement virtual learning and hands-on summer activities. Starting in June 4-H staff offered a variety of Facebook Live interactive videos for youth. Our different video series included:
Classic Caleb: Mr. Caleb led students through a time travel into the 80's and 90's by introducing them to different activities and fun they could still do now, that their parents did then. Videos included Collecting Sports and Celebrity Cards and Pictures and sending them off to get Autographed, Old School Video Gaming, and Exploring Nature.
Looking for Lauren: Miss Lauren created a scavenger hunt game for students to compete in every week. She would place "Little Lauren", a picture of herself with a prize, at a different location in the county with an online hint so students could safely and socially distanced find her and win the prize. Once she had been located, students were updated on Social Media with her location and the winner announced.
Roberta Remembers: Mrs. Roberta's video series involved picking Blueberries and Sunflowers, showing students places they could go in the area to get fresh fruits and flowers even during the pandemic. She also featured her Alpaca Farm, did a series about Goats and Chickens, and taught students virtual about livestock and farming.
2019-2020 was the second year that Extension was asked to provided science lessons to 4th grade classes at one elementary school in Catoosa County. The lessons were once a month and focused on “Water” with hands on activities. Lessons included: The Life of a Rain Drop; Severe Weather; Weather Interpretation; Flooding; Plants and Habitats; Habitats and Ecosystems. Teachers said they enjoyed the hands on activities especially the Life of a Rain Drop lesson on the water cycle. One teacher, who participated in the 2018-2019 school year and moved to high school, invited Extension to come and teach lessons for her environmental science classes for 2020-2021.
Extension held virtual programs free for the community on Garden Insect Pests, Invasive Species , Bee Keeping Basics, Back Yard Basics, Bee Communications , and Hay Testing.
We hosted a Trash Pick Up day this summer was in collaboration with other conservation entities in the county and encouraged residents to get out and pick up trash in 3 designated polluted areas. Bags and gloves were provided for those willing to pick up in those areas. 15 folks, including a Boy Scout troop, participated in picking up 26 bags of trash and one couch.
The Extension Agent was interviewed by Chattanooga News Channel 3 and appeared in a news segment about the mysterious seed that were being mailed all around the USA. This segment aired multiple times in the surrounding area. Agent was also interviewed by Chattanooga Times Free Press about the mysterious seeds. Agent focused on spreading information on what to do if a person receives the seeds, as well as informing the public to no plant the seeds as they could be an invasive species.
Catoosa Extension created social media accounts using Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to promote office activities as well as to display educational material. Extension Agent created educational videos and infographics for media pages. Educational videos included nature walk videos where agent identified tree leaves and insects, as well as a series called “The Bug Plug!” which are short videos highlighting insects pertinent to the citizens of Catoosa County and the state of Georgia. The Bug Plug! series has been the most popular of the educational videos with over 1,000 people reached with each video.
Catoosa County Extension recognized the need for educational and general information in the county on the environment and natural resources. The Extension office provided free and accessible material to the citizens of Catoosa County. The newest endeavors for the year 2021 is the start-up of the Catoosa County Garden Club. We look forward to new opportunities to serve our community in 2021.