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.
COWETA 4-H PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT AND COMPETITIVE TEAMS
Georgia 4-H empowers youth to learn, discover and create through exceptional, abundant and relevant learning opportunities in a cornerstone program called Project Achievement. Project Achievement allows youth to sharpen public speaking skills, think independently and be creative. All Coweta County fifth graders are introduced to Project Achievement through in-school programming at all 19 of the county elementary schools. In 2019, 69 fifth and sixth graders competed at district competition, with 40 competitors placing in the top three. In addition, 16 middle and high schoolers competed at the Junior and Senior level. Three senior competitors moved on to compete at Georgia 4-H State Congress, the highest level of competition. In addition, 24 other Coweta 4-H students were recognized at State Congress for mastering in their program areas including dairy heifer show team, dairy quiz bowl, horse quiz bowl, land judging, master horseman and horse judging.
YOUTH LEARN THE IMPORTANCE OF EATING HEALTHY
Childhood obesity costs Georgians nearly $250 per person each year. An unhealthy diet contributes to this growing epidemic. To address this, the University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension program in Coweta County teaches local youth how to make healthy meals and snacks. Coweta County’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) and 4-H programs collaborated to offer a nutrition education and healthy snack preparation class during 4-H Coding Camp. During the lesson, campers had an opportunity to plan and share a healthy snack they would make at home. Following group discussion, campers made and ate a yogurt parfait. Fruits, nuts, whole-grain cereal and other healthy toppings were made available. By the end of the day, campers learned why it is important to choose healthy food and learned how to make a healthy meal and snack. One child commented, “I’ve never had cereal and fruit in my yogurt, this tastes so good.” Surveys indicated that after the class, all 13 campers were able to write down a healthy snack to make at home. One child wrote that the most important thing they learned from this lesson is “that you have to eat healthy to be healthy.”
MASTER NATURALIST PROGRAM IMPACTS LOCAL COMMUNITY
The Coweta and Fayette County Extension offices hosted an eight-week Master Naturalist Program with 25 participants attending the program from six counties — Coweta, Fayette, Dekalb, Carroll, Meriwether and Henry. All of the participants received their certification. Survey results show that participants felt the program offered more than they expected and they were interested in future master naturalist classes and events. In the months following the program, newly trained master naturalists had located invasive species and followed Extension recommended procedures for removing them. Several of the participants were Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) who used the training to assist the county offices in answering client questions about water conservation, invasive species identification, tree identification and pollinator protection. MGEVs who took the course have used the apps iNaturalist and SEEDN while leading garden walks and conducting plant identification site visits. One attendee indicated that, thanks to the program, he can now identify birds, trees, native plants and invasive plants, and he even created two large pollinator gardens using the resources provided, reporting that his landscape attracted hummingbirds and dozens of monarchs this year.