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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
To expand the reach of a growing population, Gwinnett County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) added two program assistants — one FACS and one Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) — both of whom are bilingual in English and Spanish. This allowed FACS to increase its number of programs from 289 in 2018 to 513 in 2019, reaching 12,280 participants. FACS routinely collaborates with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), Parks and Recreation, Health and Human Services/Senior Centers, local libraries, faith-based groups, farmers’ market coordinators, child care providers, the Hispanic-Latino community and many others. One example of an existing collaboration involves a team approach to cancer prevention education. UGA Extension provides cancer prevention education, including healthy cooking demonstrations, and the health department provides free breast and cervical cancer screens to program participants who meet eligibility criteria. Overall, FACS programming includes a strong focus on child care provider training, food safety, good nutrition, meal planning on a budget, maintaining a healthy brain, and prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease for individuals of all ages.
4-H Youth Development
In 2019, our 4-H Youth Development program delivered 700 educational programs reaching 31,388 participants. Programs were offered to students in GCPS using STEM-related curriculum designed to meet Georgia’s Performance Standards and Gwinnett Academics Knowledge and Skills (AKS) standards. Other age-related learning opportunities for youth took place in the after-school setting and at grade-level council meetings. Special interest club meetings included forestry, horse club, robotics coding and robotics. Our 4-H youth attended overnight Cloverleaf Camp at Rock Eagle 4-H Center, engaged in fundraising and community service project activities, and challenged themselves to improve their knowledge and presentation skills at competitive Project Achievement events at the district and state levels. Gwinnett 4-H staff began collaborating with special-needs teachers to offer 4-H programming to special needs students in 2020. We salute our 4-H volunteer Cisco Damons as the recipient of the 2019 Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year for the National 4-H Southern Region.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Requests from teachers for assistance with garden-related science projects are steadily increasing from Gwinnett’s public and private schools. Hiring a previous teacher as an agriculture and natural resources (ANR) program assistant to serve as our school garden coordinator has helped Extension meet this increasing demand. On August 23-24, our ANR staff involved our Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs), teachers, and the general public in the first Great Georgia Pollinator Census. Our ANR agent partnered with UGA’s Small Business Center to implement the Journeyman Farmer program for individuals interested in learning how to start a small, urban farm business. Pesticide applicator environmental education continued, with a focus on mosquito control training. This year, Extension recruited county agencies and MGEVs to form an Environmental Action Team designed to collaborate in providing environmental education to schools, homeowners and other target groups. ANR and MGEVs provided a combined total of 488 programs reaching 12,705 participants.