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 Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in the Gwinnett County Extension office provides professional pesticide applicators numerous environmental protection education and training programs on the safe and proper use of fertilizers. This year, 678 pesticide credits were given to professional pesticide applicators in three different categories (Ornamental and Turf, Right of Way and Mosquito Control). Program evaluations revealed that 90 percent of all participants thought the techniques and strategies taught would save their business money, help them become more efficient in their operations and help them make changes in the ways they handle pesticides and control landscape and turf pests. Educational programs are also offered to landscape professionals on how to improve the appearance of landscapes using environmentally safe practices.
The ANR team consistently offers free educational programs to homeowners on a countywide basis in a variety of settings. Trained Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) assist the team in reaching a large audience (12,569 program participants in 2018). In collaboration with three other metro Atlanta Extension offices, Gwinnett County Extension provided Master Gardener training to 20 new and enthusiastic Gwinnett County volunteer trainees. This enabled our MGEVs to engage in 13,119 hours of projects and educational programming in 2018 alone.
Because we have received incrementally more requests to assist Gwinnett County teachers with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related gardening projects over the past two years, we expanded our capacity to meet the needs by conducting an additional MGEV training open to teachers only.
Responding to walk-in customers (1,339), phone calls (6,814) and emails (24,865) are all part of the daily functions of the ANR team as they provide guidance on how to successfully grow vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs. Other routine services include plant and plant disease identification and soil and water testing through UGA’s Soil, Plant and Water Laboratory.
4-H Youth Development
Our 4-H youth education and development program is delivered via in-school programming, after-school clubs, summer camp experiences and supervised/guided activities that help students learn and practice leadership skills, such as public speaking. Gwinnett County 4-H’ers gain valuable knowledge and skills that help them become successful, contributing members of society. The Gwinnett County 4-H Club provided researched-based education to 7,575 fifth-grade students in 12 out of 19 Gwinnett County Public School clusters using a STEM-related curriculum designed to meet Georgia Performance Standards and Gwinnett Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) Standards. Learning also takes place after school, at grade-level council meetings, special-interest club meetings, summer camps, fundraising and community-service project activities and through competitive Project Achievement events at district and state competitions.
Family and Consumer Sciences
In an effort to accommodate a growing Gwinnett County population (more than 1.17 million projected by 2030), a new part-time, bilingual Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program assistant was hired, enabling the expansion of outreach efforts to include both English and Spanish-speaking residents on topics such as food safety, nutrition, chronic disease prevention and basic home finance. In 2018, FACS offered 289 programs reaching 5,512 participants. In total, 685 of all Extension programming reached 15,006 limited-resource audiences.