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
Hall County has continued to grow both commercially and residentially. In rural areas, agricultural land 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.
In response to this, UGA Extension in Hall County has developed successful partnerships with a variety of community groups such as the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. Hall County Extension has been able to provide insight into the agriculture industry across the county. Another successful awareness effort includes an agriculture day for a local elementary schools. Students and teachers learned valuable information about the poultry, dairy, beef and vegetable and fruit industries.
There are approximately 152 active Master Gardener Extension Volunteers in Hall County. Our Master Gardeners enjoy serving the county by providing more than 12,000 horticultural volunteer hours annually. The focus of the Master Gardener program is to educate the public through environmental stewardship, home food production and gardening with youth.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The Hall County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program has been working to extend nutrition and health education to residents in Hall County. The program’s main focus areas are chronic disease prevention at all ages, food safety and food preservation, as well as general nutrition topics. In order to distribute this information, partnerships were forged with local business and civic groups as well as local schools, libraries and nonprofits. More than 1,500 face-to-face contacts were made in nutrition classes, workshops and hands-on demonstrations including monthly senior-nutrition lessons at the Senior Life Center. FACS Extension in Hall County assembled 27 exhibits around the county, including local farmers markets, to address food safety and budgeting when purchasing foods, reaching more than 700 contacts. Lessons were taught in middle- and high-school FACS classes with topics ranging from green cleaning to using technology in the early childhood classroom.
The Hall County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) served 165 clients with a total of 438 direct educational sessions. EFNEP reached 380 family members and volunteers donated $714 through in-kind service hours. Our community partnerships included Avita Community Partners, Good News Clinic, Lanier Technical Institute, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Project Search and the Salvation Army. Clients reported measurable improvements in the four core areas of the program, which include diet quality (90 percent improvement), food safety (84 percent), food budget (79 percent) and physical activity (63 percent).
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Hall County 4-H Club is known for its excellence in hands-on education in and out of the classroom. The Hall County 4-H staff delivers agricultural awareness and science enrichment programs in the school environment to more than 1,275 students monthly. A key element to school programs is the opportunity for youth to learn about public speaking through the 4-H demonstration process. Writing and presenting 4-H demonstrations accomplish a variety of Georgia Performance Standards in an enjoyable format. Schools connect to the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) through 4-H with student presentations titled “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.”