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
Through classroom and after-school programs, the Forsyth County 4-H Club offers education and structured opportunities for youth ages nine to 19 to engage in activities that develop critical thinking, team-building, public speaking and other citizenship and leadership skills. In 2018, the Forsyth County 4-H agent expanded in-school 4-H club curriculum choices and extended the curriculum to grade levels that had not been served in past years. In addition to retaining fifth grade in-school club meetings at six schools, 4-H provided weather and climate science lessons to fourth-graders at four elementary schools and to 15 seventh-grade classes at a middle school, reaching 2,213 students each month. 4-H staff also taught before- or after-school club meetings at six other county elementary and middle schools, reaching another 88 students. Throughout the year, 4-H supported nine after-school skill-building teams. Two teams, the 4-H Senior Recurve Archery Team and the 4-H Wildlife Judging Team, secured spots to compete at the national level. Through their outreach efforts, 4-H staff made 171,631 client contacts and increased 4-H enrollment by 60 percent over the previous year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The ANR program area serves diverse client audiences through a variety of services, including laboratory analyses of soil, water and forages; in-office plant pathology diagnostics and pest identification; individual and on-site consultations; in-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and adult-education programs. Through the nine-week Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program, more than 30 new and beginning farmers learned both the business side and the production side of farming. The eight-week Georgia Master Naturalist training introduced 28 budding citizen-scientists to the complex interactions of local natural resource systems. Single-session classes and Extension volunteer-led events delivered horticulture and environmental education to several hundred youth and adults through hands-on activities. The Agriculture and Natural Resources agent utilized various mass media channels to deliver information to targeted general and professional audiences. Through education and the annual Extension fall plant sale, the agent helps county residents restore native biodiversity to the county.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The state’s 2018 County Health Rankings placed Forsyth County as Georgia’s healthiest county, but not all county residents are healthy. While the obesity rate is on par with the state average, the cancer rate is 20 points higher. Because chronic diseases can be mitigated through lifestyle choices, the Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent offered several educational courses emphasizing nutrition, dietary guidelines, health body weight and increased physical activity to help clients succeed with chronic disease management, prevention and weight loss. Fifty-four participants, 71.4 percent of whom were uninsured, participated in the bilingual UGA and American Cancer Society Cooking for a Lifetime program. Through these classes, participants learned about screening guidelines and cancer prevention through nutrition and physical activity. The FACS agent also partnered with the local parks and recreation department to offer two eight-week Walk-a-Weigh programs providing nutrition and health education targeting overweight and obesity conditions. In each session, attendees participated in a classroom lesson, a recipe taste test and a group walk.