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.
4-H Youth Development
The practice of encouraging youth to begin healthy habits at a young age is not a new phenomenon, but it has proven itself to be an ongoing and fruitful endeavor. In order to promote the importance of healthy lifestyles among the youth of Jones County, the Jones County 4-H Club instituted a series of programs over the course of two years to engage students in activities that would increase their awareness and foster lifelong behavioral changes in regard to their personal health. These programs included Relationship Smarts lessons, 4-H Yoga for Kids, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). One hundred thirty-five Gray Station Middle School and Clifton Ridge Middle School students participated in five Relationship Smarts lessons, and 157 elementary school students participated in 22 4-H Yoga for Kids sessions. After completing their surveys, 91 percent of middle school students who participated in Relationship Smarts lessons indicated an increase in awareness of what a healthy relationship should look like and how to pursue relationships with others while retaining their personal identity. Of the students who participated in 4-H Yoga for Kids, 71 percent exhibited behavioral changes as a result of their continued practice of yoga outside of the organized program. Furthermore, seven EFNEP participants graduated from the program. Of the adults and students who participated, 86 percent of class members indicated an increase in knowledge and 74 percent expressed that they continued to cook the recipes taught in the class.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Jones County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent instituted a series of programs and presentations to target environmental areas of interest to residents in the county. These target areas were identified as pond quality, bees, and pollinators and wildlife management. The Jones County ANR agent worked with area agents to provide pollinator-related community programming in the area. Jones County Extension collaborated with Bibb County Extension to host a Pollinator-Friendly Landscapes program series. Program collaborators included Middle Georgia State University, Putnam County Extension, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Topics included alternative pollinators, safe pesticide use, flower types, bees and pollinator-attractive plants. Jones County Extension also conducted a Bees as Pollinators program for the second grade at Gray Elementary School in Jones County and a Shade Gardens for Pollinators presentation for the Gray Garden Club. Eighty-seven percent of participants from the Pollinator-Friendly Landscapes program series indicated that they gained knowledge and that they would share information learned from the series with someone else in the community.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Jones County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) resources and more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and phone conferences with FACS agents from surrounding counties. Neighboring FACS agents often conduct programming that our county residents are welcome to attend.