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.
4-H Youth Development
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Evans County 4-H created opportunities for 4-H to continue through a variety of platforms. Although we were unable to conduct face-to-face programming for a majority of 2020 and many 4-H events were cancelled or shifted to a virtual format, 4-H has continued to make a positive impact on young people's lives. Just like the 4-H motto, "To Make the Best Better", we have been able to use social media and a variety of distance technology tools to continue promoting 4-H and offering educational opportunities. Young people become productive, contributing members of society through 4-H.
In February 2020, 14 members of Evans County 4-H competed at Southeast District Junior/Senior Project Achievement. Four senior members won first place and advanced to State 4-H Congress. Just one month later in the midst of the beginning of the pandemic, 16 members of Evans County 4-H competed in Georgia 4-H’s first Virtual Southeast District Cloverleaf Project Achievement. These students adapted their presentations to continue presenting and record their demonstrations to compete virtually. 15 of these 4-H’ers placed first, second, or third in their categories. District Project Achievement provides youth with the opportunity to build public-speaking skills, increase confidence, and develop leadership skills at all ages.
4-H continued Club Meetings through virtual platforms using Zoom, Facebook, and Instagram. Five virtual 4-H meetings were held and reached almost 70 participants using activity challenges to engage students. Evans County 4-H members also participated in 4-H Spirit Week and Ag Awareness Week virtually.
On February 1, 2021, Megan Powell started as the new Evans County 4-H Extension Agent. 4-H is working to partner with the school system and community to conduct 4-H club meetings to deliver educational opportunities to fifth through 12th grade students.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
During the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face delivery of agriculture programming was limited, but the Evans County Extension Office continued to safely offer soil, plant tissue, and water testing services. Onsite consults with the ANR Agent were conducted for farmers and homeowners who needed assistance to identify plant diseases, pests, and plant nutrition issues. Evans County Extension improved its communication and increased agriculture awareness with farmers and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with the local radio station and creating the Evans County Ag Updates Blog. The online blog and radio are useful tools for distributing timely updates and educational information in reference to agriculture and the environment.
The Evans County Ag Updates Blog has become a great way to distribute weekly information to growers and homeowners. During a recent email survey, 63 percent of respondents found the information to be helpful and timely “always” while the remaining 37 percent stated they found the information to be timely and helpful “most of the time.” One respondent in the survey stated, “It keeps us informed of weather, harvest conditions, and other important info like insect pressure that may be mounting in our area.” The ANR agent also started doing local radio spots to promote ag awareness that are aired 3 times daily on the local Claxton radio station. These radio spots reach approximately 1,500 listeners per day giving a monthly exposure of around 45,000 listeners. The Evans County Extension ANR Agent is continuing to impact the community each year. There are upcoming plans for on-farm research trials and increased community outreach.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Evans County Extension does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences agent based in the office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions regard food safety, food preservation and treating mold and mildew. These topics and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office or by phone conferences with Family and Consumer Sciences agents in surrounding counties.