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
UGA Extension in Lamar County gained a new Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in March 2018. This change brought new programs to the area. Lamar County Extension hosted several workshops for the surrounding counties, allowing participants to earn credit hours for their private and commercial pesticide licenses and to gain the knowledge needed to identify problems and implement solutions on their farms. Along with producer programs, the Extension office implemented a new lunch and learn series for homeowners. This program allows individuals in the community to learn about a vast range of horticultural and healthy-living information ranging from home gardening to healthy eating. We offered four of these programs in 2018 and will offer six in 2019. Once again, the Southeastern Hay Contest was a success. More than 60 samples from Lamar and Upson counties were entered, with two placing among the top five in their respective categories. In 2018, Lamar County experienced excess rainfall that may affect the quality of harvest for the next year or so, but the county was lucky not to experience the magnitude of devastation of counties to the south. Our thoughts go out to those individuals. The most successful program of the year was the August Hay Day hosted at County Line Farms. More than 100 individuals attended the one-day event, which kicked off with presentations from three agricultural specialists and concluded with hay-field equipment demonstrations and agricultural sponsors.
4-H Youth Development
In 2018, the Lamar County 4-H Club extended the reach of their educational programming to third- and fourth-graders. The educational efforts included hands-on activities focusing on horticulture, literacy, culture, foods, healthy lifestyles and science. These efforts promote children’s positive development through cooperative learning and developmentally appropriate activities.
The MG Sprouts horticulture program, developed to meet Master Gardener Extension Volunteers’ requests for youth materials, was offered as an after-school and summer program to third-grade 4-H’ers. The literature-based program involves the 4-H’ers attending six sessions where a garden-related story is read aloud. The youths explore the world of plants through hands-on horticulture, crafts, writing and games. The hands-on activities included creating compost, planting sunflower seeds and garlic, and making potting soil.
Parental interest was the catalyst for the inauguration of the Lamar County 4-H Cloverbuds program. The Lamar County 4-H Cloverbuds program fosters youth development by creating a positive learning environment to teach lessons focusing on science, healthy lifestyles, personal safety, the environment and art. The program spans the length of the school year with youth attending monthly, one-hour after-school educational sessions. Hands-on activities include water filtration, hand-washing and sensory science.
An international focus was introduced to fourth-grade 4-H’ers to bring awareness of the lives of youth around the globe and enhance their understanding of their roles in the world. The Food, Culture and Reading nutrition education curriculum provided the youth an opportunity to travel the world through 4-H lessons. Through a wide variety of experiential activities, 4-H’ers were privy to the literature, customs, language, food and art of eight different cultures. The hands-on learning activities, which included making Chinese lanterns and aboriginal rain sticks, helped to heighten the learning experience.