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
Rural Dade County supports a farm-gate value of more than $36 million, underscoring the need for UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H programs. While the majority of Dade’s citizens are generations removed from agriculture, their roots go deep, and we are making strides to encourage agricultural ties through Extension education and events. Ag Day is a favorite of schoolchildren and consistently reaches more than 300 students each spring. This event gives pre-K, second- and fourth-grade, and middle school students the chance to visit the UGA Extension office and experience agriculture through unique hands-on learning opportunities in beekeeping, looming, spinning, seeds, vegetables, livestock, wildlife, blacksmithing, forestry and more. We hosted another successful Dade County Family Agricultural Fair in September 2018. In contrast to Ag Day, the Family Agricultural Fair is held in the evening to better accommodate working families and incorporates the agricultural aspects of Ag Day with interested community partners. In just two hours, more than 400 community residents attended the 2018 Family Agricultural Fair, which featured more than 20 agricultural and community business exhibits, including Farm Bureau, Colmore Farms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Spinning Fibers and the Dade County High School FFA Chapter. These events stimulate exciting conversations with children and adults about the connection between the animals and crops they see and the food on their tables. Dade County Extension provides much-needed education and support to local farmers, producers, county residents and youth regarding the importance of agriculture. We are looking forward to a successful 2019 with the addition of personnel after seven months without an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent. On January 1, ANR Agent Sarah Flowers joined the team of County Extension Coordinator Wade Hutcheson, 4-H Educator Alison Henderson and Secretary Carey Anderson. The team’s goal is to usher in a renewal and revitalization of agricultural sciences in the coming years so that agriculture once again thrives in Dade County.
4-H Youth Development
The Dade County 4-H Club serves more than 350 third through 12th graders, offering in-school club meetings, after-school clubs, judging teams, Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education), summer camp and public-speaking opportunities. Elementary school counselors requested College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) lessons to help fourth- and fifth-graders prepare for Georgia-required career portfolios at the end of their fifth-grade year. Fifth-graders are following the “Your Money, Your Future” lessons that culminate with in-class businesses. Fourth-grade classes will be presenting science projects after participating in the “How to Make a Science Project” lessons. Third-grade classes are experiencing hands-on science demonstrations that supplement their Georgia science standards. The after-school 4-H Activity Club met twice weekly in the fall and once weekly in the spring. The club encompasses gardening, science experiments, crafts and service projects including maintaining raised beds and flower gardens, starting a worm garden and building a small greenhouse. They participated in a Rivers Alive clean-up project, sent thank-you notes to farmers and made Christmas cards for residents of a local nursing home. Almost 50 percent of Activity Club members participated in District Project Achievement this year. Clover the 4-H cow is a great magnet for 4-H displays, starting conversations with staff, parents and students about what 4-H has to offer at events she attends, including Ag Day, Family Ag Fair, Read-to-Lead and the local Fourth of July celebration.