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
Many Oglethorpe County youth do not have access to full, nutritious meals at home. Today’s youth are not being taught how to prepare nutritious meals, or about kitchen safety. Cooking to Share is a monthly after-school 4-H program coordinated by the Oglethorpe County 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences agents that allows 4-H’ers the hands-on opportunity to prepare a well-balanced meal. A needy family is identified and contacted, a menu is developed and food is purchased using donated funds. 4-H’ers cook the meal under the direction and watchful eyes of 4-H teen leaders and adult volunteers. Since the first Cooking to Share was held in February 2013, approximately 1,575 youth have participated and $3,150 has been donated to purchase supplies and ingredients. The Cooking to Share program has impacted the lives of 63 Oglethorpe County families in their time of need. 4-H’ers have learned kitchen safety, how to prevent foodborne illness, how to prepare healthy meals and how to give
Family and Consumer Sciences
In Oglethorpe County 30% of adults are obese. Obesity and overweight contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and some cancers. In response to this issue, the Oglethorpe County Family and Consumer Sciences agent offered programs on cancer prevention, nutrition and physical activity education, weekly newspaper articles, and social media content focusing on nutrition and physical activity education. Cooking for Cancer Prevention, Walk-a-Weigh, Cooking to Share and Senior Center programming were offered to citizens in Oglethorpe County. A total of 150 educational contact hours were provided to 25 early childhood education professionals through the UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences classes. These 25 professionals oversee the nurturing and development of 225 children in Oglethorpe County. Out of those 25 participants, 19 early childhood education professionals completed 114 educational contact hours from the three-part series, Basic Core Skills for Child Care Series: Injury Prevention, There’s No Excuse for Child Abuse, and Infectious Diseases. The other six child care professionals attended an Eat Healthy, Be Active training to improve nutritional and physical activity practices within early learning centers in Oglethorpe County.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Oglethorpe County commodities have a farm gate value of more than $220 million, including landscape services. Agriculture, landscape services and directly related businesses comprise 45.7% of the county’s total economic output and 29.2% of county employment. UGA Cooperative Extension in Oglethorpe County provides access to up-to-date research-based information from UGA experts. The Agricultural and Natural Resources program continues to support farmers, landscapers, home gardeners and other citizens throughout the county. Local relevant issues, such as livestock production, soil fertility and water quality, are addressed through applied research, technical assistance, on-farm consultations, classes and media. In 2019, the ANR agent position was filled after the previous agent’s retirement. The new agent, Shanna Reynolds, along with program development team members, is working hard to identify future programming opportunities with an emphasis on youth agricultural awareness and livestock production profitability.