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.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Cherokee County Cooperative Extension held two workshops to educate the public on the ancient art of grafting. The rootstock utilized for this class was selected for superior disease resistance, precocity-early bearing, and dwarfing size-control. Grafting techniques are relatively simple and have been well documented as far back as the first millennium BCE, however the practice is somewhat unknown outside of the nursery trade and college horticulture courses.
Preparation for the workshops began five months prior to the April classes to assemble the materials required for individuals to graft five trees. A selection of 60 heirloom and disease-resistant apple and crabapple scion varieties were grafted. The workshop consisted of theory of the science of grafting by UGA Extension fruit specialist David Lockwood followed by hands-on grafting of trees.
The sessions drew 62 attendees from 20 counties in Georgia and Tennessee. A total of 62 people participated in the grafting class. As a result of the grafting training 92% indicated they had no previous experience grafting and 100% improved their knowledge of grafting techniques. A three-month follow-up survey of participants revealed that 75% of the total grafts conducted were successful, with many individuals reporting 100% successful grafts
4-H AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Cherokee County 4-H provided leadership programs for middle and high school students through after-school programming, 4-H county council meetings and Georgia 4-H Teen Leader training. At the conclusion of meetings and trainings, 4-H’ers were given numerous opportunities to apply skills learned such as team building, conflict resolution, presentation skills and leadership roles and responsibilities.
A total of 119 students participated in monthly leadership lessons from six different middle schools and 4-H County Council. Leadership topics and lessons covered included characteristics of a leader, what’s your personality, communication styles, defining yourself as a leader, listen to be a leader and goal setting. The Georgia 4-H Teen Leader training class was also offered and eight students successfully completed the training and were certified as teen leaders.
At the conclusion of the lessons and trainings, 4-H’ers were surveyed and asked “How has 4-H helped you become a better leader?”. Some responses included, “There is no other place that facilitates such an inexhaustible supply of opportunities for growing as a speaker and a listener, a learner and a teacher. I could not be more proud to call this organization home, to say I’ve served as a 4-H’er,” and “4-H has helped me be more confident in myself. I’ve learned how to work in a team and voice my ideas. To be a leader means to be a listener and be confident when others are afraid, or even when you are scared. 4-H has allowed me to take on positions I would not have been able to uphold otherwise.” Other comments were “It has helped me communicate with others better and also help understand how to utilize my strengths,” and “4-H has helped me become a better leader by giving me the chance to work with younger 4-H’ers and sharing with them what I have learned and experienced over the years.”
4-H’ers as a whole felt that their leadership skills had matured at the conclusion of the programming and that they had improved self-confidence in leading others.