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 on the county over the past year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
As a result of increased food safety concerns related to COVID-19 and also, an increased interest in local sources of meats, more landowners in Harris County are fencing in the pastures and buying, cows, sheep, and goats to stock the pastures with. Limited pasture management skills make it difficult to provide an adequate amount of quality forage for their animals. This low-quality forage cannot move through the digestive system. This causes the animal to become impacted and die. After losing $10,000 worth of cattle, the producer contacted the Harris County Extension Office. The first order of business was to determine what caused the impaction. Harris County Extension Agent ran a forage test on the hay. It was determined that hay was very low-quality. This poor-quality forage in addition to inadequate energy levels used for digestion in the cows from being thin was identified as the reason for impaction. While working with the individual producer to improve forage quality, the county agent developed county-wide programming to educate producers on the importance of quality forage production. In a collaborative effort between Extension Beef Cattle Specialist and NRCS, the county agent offered Harris producers the Pasture Condition Score Sheet. To improve forage quality, producers were encouraged to implement soil and forage testing practices. The goals of the project are to:
• Identify livestock concentration and sacrifice areas
• Identify and reduce soil erosion and soil compaction areas
• Improve ground cover to 85% of pasture area
• Improve soil fertility and (pH) for 85% of producers who submit soil samples
as determined by the soil sample
• Improve forage quality for 85% of producers who submit forage samples as
determined by forage sampling
Harris County 4-H working with Youth
Science Camp Success through the Collaboration
The collaboration of HCHS Science teachers and the 4-H staff was a Super Hero themed science day camp. The mission of eSTARS was to provide “Engaging Science and Technology Activities in Real Situations.” Neither group had been able to hold in-person regular day camps in two summers. This collaboration would serve to get both groups of educators back in the minds of families planning their children’s summer.
Harris County 4-H staff taught lessons with hands-on activities as part of the science camp. High school students served as teen helpers. Several of the high school students were also 4-H’ers. A plan was created for each day to have a focus theme. Another advantage of the camp was the cost. Harris County 4-H provided all the supplies needed for their lessons at no cost to the camp.
Harris County 4-H staff provided these lessons and activities.
• June 21 – Physics Day. Lesson: Magnetism Activity: Made Magnetic Slime
• June 22 – Technology Day. Lesson: World of Coding Activity: Hack Your Harvest Coding Game
• June 23 – Super Hero Day. Lesson: Recycling Activity: Made Super Hero Chia Pets from scraps and aluminum cans
This collaborative effort created an engaging week of youth eSTARS Science Camp. Forty-seven students and fifteen teen helpers attended the e-STARS Science Camp. Harris County 4-H staff of three spent over 24 hours teaching combined and 30 hours preparing for the lessons and getting supplies. Since 4-H provided their own supplies, this helped the camp with overall cost. The camp’s goal is not to go over budget by at least breaking even on costs. This helped to achieve that goal and still provide fun activities.
Students were taught educational activities from five different educators’ perspectives and teaching manners. This helped keep the students engaged because who taught throughout each day changed. Students gained knowledge with each lesson. The majority of the students said making the Super Hero Chia Pets from recycled cans was their favorite thing. They watched the grass sprout to grow hair on their hero pet. They learned about the Earth’s magnetic field and tested objects for magnetism. All students took part in learning to code and stated they understood what coding means after the lesson. Students worked in groups and singularly during the camp for a variety of activities.
This is the beginning of a relationship that can strengthen the reputation of Harris County 4-H programming. There will be more opportunities for science teachers from Harris County High School and staff from Harris County 4-H to work together for the common goal of educating our youth.
Family and Consumer Sciences
We do not have a Family and Consumer Sciences program in Harris County. We call on Muscogee County Extension for assistance.