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
The Lanier County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent introduced the first Beginner Beekeeping Series to the area. The series of six classes taught youth and adults about constructing a bee hive, anatomy and physiology of honey bees, common pests and diseases, and how to extract honey. Several people started their own hives with the guidance provided by the series. Participants finished the classes with an increased understanding about beekeeping and how honey bees drive agriculture in Lanier County. In collaboration with university specialists, on-farm research results in improved management practices and increased profitability for row crop and small fruit production. Livestock and poultry producers also benefit from troubleshooting and researched-based publications provided by the agent.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The new Lanier County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent has focused on building relationships and partnerships with Lanier County organizations and citizens, as well as promoting the role of the FACS agent in Lanier Count. This included hosting Ask an Agent at the Lakeland Public Library to give community members an opportunity to get research-based answers to their financial, housing and health and wellness related questions.
The Lanier County FACS agent also taught Learn to Cook: Good Food That’s Good for You, a series of classes focused on empowering children ages eight and up in the surrounding area not only how to cook, but how to cook food that’s healthy as well. By the end of the series, 92% of class participants correctly named all five food groups. When asked to finish the sentence “I think eating nutritious food is...” children answered “good for the body and mind,” “an amazing thing to do,” and “yummy.”In 2020, the agent will continue to grow the knowledge and confidence of Lanier County in all things money, food, home and health.
4-H Youth Development
The Georgia 4-H summer camping experience is unparalleled in the nation. To help extend the camp opportunities to all 4-H members, Lanier County 4-H has worked to lower the cost of camp and offer scholarships and fundraisers. In 2019, more than $6,600 was raised for camp through grants, donations and onion sales. Because of these development efforts, more youth in Lanier County have been able to benefit from 4-H camp. Ten 4-H’ers attended Junior Camp at Camp Jekyll and 24 members attended Cloverleaf Camp at Fortson 4-H Center. At 34 total, this is 12 more campers than in 2018. In 2019, 21 youth benefited directly from onion sales and scholarships.
Lanier County 4-H’s District Project Achievement (DPA) participation increased by 44% with nine Cloverleaf, three junior and one senior participants attending DPA contests. Our 4-H enrollment increased from 174 youth in 2018 to 265 youth in 2019. Lanier County 4-H continues to offer a variety of activities including in-school club meetings for fifth through 12th graders, Consumer Judging, Poultry Judging, Modified Trap Shotgun team, leadership conferences, summer activities, community service opportunities and livestock shows.
Lanier County youth have the opportunity to learn new skills, increase self-confidence, make new friends, experience different surroundings and participate in many new things. These elements of positive youth development will continue to grow Lanier County 4-H’s total program, building its local social capital now and for many years to come.