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 SERVICE LEARNING
Paulding County For the 2019-2020 program year, Paulding County 4-H designed a middle school service-learning project curriculum that provided students the chance to learn about volunteer opportunities in the community and the creativity to design their own service project. This curriculum spanned over several months and was divided into three main parts: planning, communication, and implementation. Students participated in the service-learning project that their individual club had selected and designed. These projects included a canned food drive, pet food drive, campus clean-up, teddy bear drive for local law enforcement, a volunteer day at a local food pantry, and a workday at the local animal control. In the club meeting following their service project, students were also provided a lesson on empathy that allowed them to have open discussions on the importance of understanding situations that friends or classmates may be experiencing. They also participated in a team-building activity in which they reflected on their team’s strengths and weaknesses and how this could be applied to a large-scale community project.
As a result of our 4-H members’ dedication to their community service projects, our middle school 4-H clubs were able to complete the following accomplishments:
· Over 50 volunteer hours at Paulding County Animal Control cleaning and sanitizing the puppy room and livestock holding area.
· 195 lbs. of pet food donated to Paulding County Animal Control.
· 16 volunteer hours at Paulding County Helping Hands with approximately 1700 lbs. of carrots and jackfruit were sorted, packaged, and distributed to senior citizens of Paulding County.
· 351 lbs. of canned and dry good donated to Paulding County Helping Hands.
· 88 new teddy bears or stuffed animals donated to Paulding County Sherriff’s Office.
AGRICULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES
In training provided for landscape and arboriculture professionals, a combined total of 60 CEU’s were earned by certified arborists and licensed pesticide applicators. Additionally, we have processed 612 soil, plant, water, forage, insect, and disease samples providing Paulding County residents with unbiased, research-based recommendations that help prevent fertilizer and pesticide runoff into local waterways. Programming topics have included pesticide safety, pasture management, and home gardening best management practices for targeted audiences including homeowners, professional pesticide applicators, landscapers, and farmers.
MASTER GARDENER EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS
Master Gardener Extension Volunteers have a long history of connecting with youth in Paulding County through 4-H programming, MG Sprouts, and school garden partnerships. These programs help Master Gardeners to share research-based knowledge with youth. An additional program of the Master Gardeners is their annual plant sale, which is a widely anticipated community event, the proceeds of which traditionally fund Master Gardener outreach programming. As Master Gardeners worked with youth across the county, they determined that they could amplify their impact by supporting youth planning to go further with college or technical education related to agriculture and natural resources, by introducing a scholarship opportunity. Since the inception of the Scholarship in 2009, Master Gardeners have seen the importance of this initiative through the successes of recipients and Paulding community members have taken note. Through marketing of the scholarship, yearly contributions made by community members to the scholarship fund total $2075 since 2018. Community contributions have allowed Master Gardeners to begin saving a portion of plant sale proceeds, in an effort to make the scholarship self-sustaining in the future. Master Gardeners have raised more than the $11,000 awarded through their annual plant sale fundraiser. Currently, Master Gardeners budget each year to provide $1000 in scholarship funding through their plant sale proceeds (this is about 25% of average annual plant sale proceeds). In addition to that budgeted amount, they have added a yearly contribution of $500 yearly to savings for the scholarship fund’s future.