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.
MASTER GARDENER EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS (MGEVs)
Each year, MGEVs work to connect UGA Extension, plant enthusiasts and communities across the state. Pickens MGEVs have a passion for volunteering. In 2019, Master Gardeners volunteered for 2,777 hours and had 2,505 in-person contacts. Their time was spent in five priority areas: home, food production, gardening with youth, environmental stewardship and value of landscapes. The MGEVs are heavily involved with the 4-H program, local schools, community organizations, businesses and with individuals with special needs.
In 2019, MGEVs made more than 20 home site visits to provide advice to homeowners, installed raised beds, created a perennial garden for a handicapped child, sponsored and planted four flowerbeds for the Pickens Animal Rescue Ranch, and provided more than 250 hours of general office support for the Extension office. Additionally, MGEVs presented several symposiums this year including Spring Fling, Monarchs and Milkweeds Across Georgia, Pollinators and Bees, Perennial Propagation and Pruning Forum, The Art of Nature, and Create a Hypertufa Herb Garden.
Master Gardeners are involved within the community. In 2019, MGEVs presented three programs to local garden clubs, planned and installed plants for Habitat for Humanity homes, built and maintain raised garden beds, assisted the children’s home with a vegetable garden and participated in the Library Festival of Trees. MGEVs have a passion for growing and helping their community.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Participation and overall interest in the Pickens County 4-H program has increased. 4-H has been recognized and welcomed into the elementary schools, middle school, and junior high school for monthly lessons or participation in club days. The increased exposure enabled direct contact with interested students, increasing overall participation in monthly in-school and after-school meetings. These students have become involved by conducting community service projects, starting a cooking club, and competing in a variety of district competitions. Examples of district contests are poultry judging, forestry field day, cotton boll and consumer judging, District Project Achievement, and Qualifying/State BB and shotgun matches. One new experience that 4-H offered this year was an opportunity to compete at the Georgia National Fair in public speaking and educational exhibit contests. Our youth have the opportunity to learn new skills, increase their self-confidence, make new friends, experience different surroundings and participate in many new things.
Summer is one of the most exciting seasons for 4-H. Pickens County Cloverleaf 4-H’ers traveled to Fortson 4-H Center for a week-long summer camp where they spent time at Stone Mountain, White Water, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and connected with 4-H’ers from across the state. Junior 4-H’ers travelled to the beach for camp at Jekyll Island. The rest of the summer was packed with local day camps for 4-H’ers consisting of Healthy Living, Cooking 101, Project Days, community service, and a horse camp. To end the summer with a fun memory, 4-H’ers took a trip to Medieval Times in Atlanta.
Pickens County is very proud of our volunteers. Many of the activities and programs listed above would not be possible without volunteers. For three years in a row, Pickens County volunteers have been recognized at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet held at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. This year, Pickens County volunteer Melvina Carlan received the Lifetime of Service Award for Georgia 4-H. Volunteers donate their time and effort to make 4-H programs succeed on a community, district and state level.