Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. Since the sart of COVID-19, adjustments were made to put safety measures in place, like sanitizing the office space and making classes virtual. There was a large pivot to emphasize the health and safety of the community and our staff. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
The Athens-Clarke County Extension Office provided many services to the citizens of our county in 2020. A contributing factor to the continuing ability to reach our constituents was the completion of a new Extension building, which was dedicated on September 9, 2019. In summary, the office provided a total of 353 classes, serving 5,030 teaching contacts. In addition, responses were provided to more than 466 inquiries through phone calls, office and email consultations. Social media reached 35,350 constituents through 164 posts on Facebook and Instagram, in which all program areas were represented. A breakdown by program area follows.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences personnel provided 705 teaching hours on the topics of nutrition, weight management, cancer prevention, eating a healthy diet and financial literacy, reaching more than 585 citizens of Athens-Clarke County and University of Georgia faculty and staff. Food safety classes for restaurant managers, farmers market vendors, produce farmers and consumers were offered throughout the year as well. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) continued reaching out to residents of the county, providing 279.5 hours of nutrition education to more than 40 class attendees and farmers market patrons. SNAP-Ed program assistants also presented the pilot program for Better U in Spanish for Spanish speakers for the first time in the state of Georgia.
4-H Youth Development
As a component of the school system curriculum, Athens-Clarke County 4-H continues to serve all youth in grades five through eight though Virtual Programs. In 2020, more than 800 children and teenagers received information about Athens-Clarke County 4-H opportunities with 200 participating in Zoom Educational Programs and 62 participating in conferences and competitions. They learned and excelled in leadership, citizenship, public speaking, critical thinking skills, teamwork, building character and good sportsmanship. The 4-H program offered a variety of Virtual after-school educational activities. Students may join judging teams, including forestry, wildlife, consumer judging and poultry. As part of these educational teams, students learn subject matter to prepare for competitions.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agriculture and Natural Resources personnel made more than 1,285 educational contacts in the community. These contacts were made in a wide variety of settings, from teaching gardening classes, such as the popular free “Green Thumb Lecture” series, to civic group presentations, Master Gardener classes, home site visits and informational exhibits and activities at local events. More than 23,000 issues of Shades of Green, the Athens-Clarke County Extension monthly gardening newsletter, were distributed to more than 1,980 community members. More than 150 Athens-Clarke County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers contributed more than 7,000 hours at UGA demonstration gardens, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Athens-Clarke County school gardens. Two Plant a Row for the Hungry vegetable gardens produced more than 3,779 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks. With the assistance and supervision of Athens-Clarke County Extension employees, Master Gardeners answered more than 328 phone calls, emails and in-person questions from the community. These questions covered home vegetable gardening, ornamental and landscape plantings, turf information, pest control recommendations and plant, insect and disease identification.