UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

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

Improving & Increasing Food Safety Knowledge in Houston County 2020

Foodborne illness is a common costly, yet preventable, public health problem. The Houston
County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent provides ServSafe® programs to educate food
handlers on the proper methods of safe food preparation, in order to reduce the cases of
foodborne illness. There has been a consistent effort from the agent to build new relationships
and expand the reach of these programs. This yielded new partners and audiences to provide
food safety programs. This has strengthened her reputation in the county and has created a great
collaboration with the Houston County Health Department.
Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) FY 2020
The University of Georgia’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (UGA EFNEP) is
working to alleviate health disparities imposed by socioeconomic status by providing low-
income Georgians with the knowledge, skills, and resources to improve nutrition practices and
increase physical activity. Participants in Southwest Georgia improved their diet quality,
physical activity, food safety practices and food resource management skills during 2020. Peer
educators in Dougherty, Houston, Colquitt and Sumter counties were led by the Houston County
FACS agent to impact households representing 1,328 individuals.


4-H Youth Development

In 2020, the Houston County 4-H program enrolled 757 youth from 2nd through 12th grade as active members in our clubs. Members were exposed to monthly educational meetings, monthly specialty club meetings, and multiple leadership conferences and community service activities.

Overall, the 4-H in Houston County had a successful program year, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Throughout 2020 Houston 4-H had: 12 youth exhibited livestock, 21 youth participated in project achievement, 573 participated in monthly club meetings, , 23 engaged in our 53 participated in specialty clubs and 42 were a part of our S.A.F.E. Shooting sports team. All of the programmatic efforts would not be possible or successful without the staff in Houston County Extension or the stewards of the program, Houston County 4-H volunteers. In the 2020 programmatic year, volunteers served more than 600 hours, leading youth in areas of agriculture, leadership and communications. The volunteers are vital to our program and the offerings.

The Houston County 4-H program continued to provide programs through a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth had the opportunity to participate in virtual competitions, various STEM activities, join a performing arts club, take courses in the teen leader certification, and even take part in Camp-In-A-Bag while at home. The 4-H staff answered their call of service and provided exceptional programs to our clients.

Houston County 4-H will continue to grow and positively impact youth, who represent our future.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, our face to face programming has altered how we are currently programming, and our urban agriculture programs have been adversely affected. These guidelines have made us “think outside of the box” and move our programming to virtual formats. Through these virtual programs, we have been able to reach a broad and diverse audience.

UGA Extension Houston County offered gardening classes to youth at the local libraries. Since we were not able to meet in person, we created and handed out, through local libraries, 100 Pollinator Activity Bags for youth! The video that went along with the activity bags has reached 286 people on the Houston County Extension Facebook Page.

Each month we have an update with the Houston County MGEVs at a garden location. This year we have moved our updates to Facebook Live on our closed Facebook Group for Houston County Master Gardeners. MGEVs can tune in live and participate in the update, or they can watch the video at a later time. These videos are then edited and posted to our Houston County Extension Facebook page for public viewing. Our Facebook Live MGEV updates were viewed by 131 Houston County MGEV with approximately 15 participating live during each video. The edited updates that have been posted to our Houston County Extension Facebook page have reached 4,956 people. Our Garden Basics demonstration videos that are posted to Facebook are receiving around 300 views per video.

This fall we partnered with Georgia Military College (GMC) to offer a lunch and learn on native pollinators and plants. This lunch and learn was taught by Houston County Master Gardener Karen Le. Participants learned about native pollinators and plants and were encouraged to visit the Native Plant Center at GMC. Fifty-five people attended the Native Pollinator and Plants lunch and learn. The lunch and learn has also increased the attendance at the GMC Native Plant Center plant sale. Because of the impacts of these virtual programs, we have decided to continue incorporating virtual programs with our face to face programs.

Download Our Annual Report (pdf)