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
The Peanut Burrower Bug causes significant economic losses on an annual basis in Georgia with few effective management options. The options we currently have can negatively affect the environment, and have been used without an accurate method to assess actual risk of infestation or injury. Previous research conducted by past Emanuel County UGA Extension agent, Mark Crosby and Dr. Mark Abney found that monitoring the Peanut Burrower Bug using pit-fall traps assisted in determining when management was necessary though no validated thresholds existed. UGA Extension faculty used trap data to help growers make insecticide management decisions. Fields with few or no bugs were not treated, but those where high numbers of bugs were captured were treated with granular chlorpyrifos. Using the data provided, local county agents and the UGA Peanut Entomology Team continue to use research and survey data to provide guidance to growers on management options and decisions. During the 2020 growing season, Emanuel Peanut and Grain consultant Mark Crosby and Emanuel County agent Savannah Tanner partnered to monitor over 13,000 peanut acres in Emanuel, Candler, and Johnson counties to assist in providing outreach, education, and management options to local peanut producers.
4-H Youth Development
When COVID-19 began to sweep the US, it became increasingly evident that our everyday lives would be altered. In Georgia, schools, government agencies, and some businesses were forced to shut their doors. For UGA Extension specifically, county offices were closed and the governor’s shelter-in-place order mandated that at-a-distance program delivery be the only option. Initially, the public was inundated with online content. The novelty of digital activities, Zoom meetings, and virtual school soon wore off and the public, parents of youth in particular, were left looking for alternative educational experiences that excluded additional screen time.
In an effort to provide engaging, educational, and hands-on 4-H programming, 4-H Agent Jakyn Tyson developed 4-H Summer Fun Kits—four individually themed packets that includes crafts, recipes, educational content, and a hands-on project or learning experience. The activities within the kits had no online or digital components, and materials needed for each were common items found in the home or were mailed in the kits to the youth. The cost per kit was set at $5 to enable participation for youth from any income level. The kits were based on themes that would appeal to a wide variety of youth: Prizewinning Pumpkins, Electricity, Pollinators, and Cupcake Wars.
A total of 38 youth in 2nd-7th grade requested and received the kits. Over 47% of those youth have enrolled in 4-H and already participated in 4-H activities including: Horse Club, Showing Livestock, Cooking Club, and Georgia 4-H Project Achievement. Another 34% of youth that received the kits are still pre-club age (Georgia 4-H allows participation in 4th Grade), but have reported that they plan to enroll and engage in more 4-H activities.
One participant’s parent reported that their child loved actually receiving the kit in the mail and was disappointed when the program ended. Another parent shared that they were happy that it wasn’t virtual and that their child could “unplug” for a while and still receive some educational content. While Emanuel County 4-H was unable to recruit and retain youth through traditional day camps and field trips, they were able to share educational and hands-on summer programming that left 4-H members wanting to be involved.