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.
GOLDEN RADISH AWARD
Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs), along with Chattooga County Cooperative Extension, o¬ffered local schools an opportunity for supplemental classroom instruction. Chattooga County schools accepted this invitation with appreciation and support, and now Chattooga County MGEVs serve third through fifth graders at four elementary schools on a monthly and as-needed basis. This past year Trion City Schools partnered with Chattooga County Extension and Chattooga County MGEVs to begin the “Green Team Project,” a program for selected high school students interested in expanded studies in fields of horticulture, agriculture and related topics and helping to maintain an outdoor classroom at the school. In addition to providing hands-on instruction in a variety of gardening-related subjects and introducing related career opportunities, the project also involves cocurricular academic enrichment tied not only to students’ core studies in science, math, social studies, economics, health and nutrition, but also to concepts of environmental stewardship and other community service programs at school. On-site work experiences and educational field trips are offered for students completing 135 hours with the program each year with a minimum of three years of program participation. Goals for the project include giving program participants unique educational opportunities and hands-on experiences using horticultural and agricultural topics; providing farm-to-table opportunities for Trion City Schools students under Georgia Department of Agriculture guidelines; and creating and maintaining an outdoor classroom consisting of a greenhouse, raised-bed planters, herb garden, food garden, pollinator garden, pond area, and technology-centered gardens which all students and the community will be able to use, enjoy and continue to develop for years to come. In September 2018, the Green Team received a Gold level Golden Radish Award for extraordinary work in farm-to-school initiatives, coordinated and presented by the Georgia Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Health, UGA Extension and Georgia Organics.
4-H CERTIFIED TEEN LEADER TRAINING PROGRAM
Over the past 12 years, 4-H has provided the Certified Teen Leader training program curriculum to train seventh through 12th grade students at the beginning of each school year. Trainings generally take three to four hours, based on the number of participants. All trainings provide 4-H’ers hands-on learning activities to become engaged, reflect and apply what they learn. Students demonstrate what they have learned through leadership opportunities like 4-H dances, Project Achievement, community service projects, summer activities and 4-H camp.
In 2019, 112 students completed the Georgia 4-H Teen Leadership training program. Evaluations following the training showed that all of the students improved their knowledge about the role of a Teen Leader and the ages and stages of nine to to 11 year olds, and they all felt confident handling difficult situations. Of those students who completed the training, 86% remained active in 4-H throughout high school. Most served as Teen Leaders at 4-H dances, and 70 senior 4-H’ers served as judges at Cloverleaf Project Acheivement and Project Achievement. All have facilitated group meetings, directed groups and led educational workshops. Thirty-one 4-H’ers have been elected to a district leadership positions, serving as a district or state officer or presiding at assemblies and conferences. Forty-five students served as Teen Leaders at camp, and seven went on to become 4-H camp counselors.