Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Extension Hall County 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
Hall County has continued to grow both commercially and residentially. Agricultural land in rural areas can be an attractive target for development as the county population pushes past 200,000. With this continuous change, there is an increased need for agriculture awareness.
The Hall County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension Agent provides research-based information and individual consultation in the areas of agriculture and natural resources to Hall County citizens. Educational programming is developed and designed to assist individuals in making sound economical and environmental decisions that affect their everyday lives.
Despite the pandemic, the Hall County ANR Agent provided testing, analysis, and consultation in many areas including water quality and erosion control, forage analysis, soil fertility testing, crop and ornamental disease control, insect infestation management, home landscape management, turf grass, wildlife management, weed control, and livestock management.
There are approximately 150 active Master Gardener Extension Volunteers in Hall County. Our Master Gardeners enjoy serving the county, providing more than 10,000 horticultural volunteer hours annually. The focus of the Master Gardener program is to educate the public about environmental stewardship, home food production, gardening with youth and the value of landscapes.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The Hall County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Extension program works to improve the health of citizens in the community. Primary focus areas include chronic disease prevention, food safety, food preservation, and general nutrition topics, but often include budgeting information and tips for healthier homes. This research-based information is distributed through partnerships forged with local businesses, civic groups, schools, libraries, and non-profit agencies. Due to the ongoing pandemic, face-to-face program was halted and the FACS agent had to become creative in distributing the programming. Programs were conducted live using Zoom platform and informational, interactive videos were created to help engage participants in the content. The agent even conducted virtual food preservation classes to meet the needs of those learning how to preserve foods they were growing in their new gardens while staying home. Social media became a platform to help engage local citizens and provide educational resources. Reaching over 40,000 people, the agent conducted a series during the holidays to help families focus on wellness during the stress of the holidays. The FACS agent regularly provided training and resources to family and consumer sciences teachers across the state of Georgia through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Education and presented five statewide trainings for extension agents to learn innovative ways to use technology in their training methods. The agent leveraged collaborations with other agents in the state to have a broad reach with programming efforts throughout the state.
EXPANDED FOOD AND NUTRITION EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Hall County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Program Assistants provided 755 sessions of the series-based FoodTalk curricula for adult participants. Eighty-one adult participants attended enough sessions of the FoodTalk series to become program graduates. Community collaborators volunteered 116 hours of their time valued at $2,726 of in kind services. In 2020, UGA EFNEP in Hall County directly reached 157 adults, representing households of 601 individuals. 62% of adult EFNEP participants reported that they were income-eligible to receive federal assistance. 71% of adult participants were caregivers for children under that age of 19.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Hall County 4-H is known for its excellence in hands-on education in and out of the classroom. Even in a pandemic, Hall County 4-H has continued to provide agricultural-awareness and science-enrichment programs virtually in the school environment to more than 824 5th graders each month. A key component of school programming is the opportunity for youth to learn about public speaking. With face-to-face programs not possible in 2020, students have focused on writing essays and creating informative posters which reinforces a variety of Georgia Performance Standards. Junior and Senior 4-H (7th-12th) programs focus on college and career preparation. In a traditional year, Hall County 4-H'ers participate and compete in after-school clubs, teams and activities. A few of the clubs offered are Horse Club, Cooking Club, Target Sports Teams, Poultry Judging Team and residential summer camp experiences.