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
The Pulaski County 4-H Club provides foundational education through the Health Rocks curriculum to help instill healthy decision-making skills in youths to prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Reaching more than 160 youth a year in seventh and eighth grades, the in-school 4-H club meetings provide youths with the knowledge to comprehend risky behaviors and their consequences.
Youths from low-income families engage in more risky behaviors during adolescence than youths from middle-income and high-income families. With a school system that has 100-percent free meals, a lot of our youths meet the criteria to become vulnerable to engaging in risky behavior. The earlier an adolescent begins using and/or abusing substances like alcohol, tobacco and drugs, the higher the risk for dependence.
Pulaski 4-H partnered with Pulaski County Middle School (PCMS) to offer the Health Rocks curriculum to educate youths on making healthy decisions concerning alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Middle school is a key development age for youths and also a time of increased peer pressure. Health Rocks is a wellness and life-skills curriculum developed by the National 4-H Council that focuses on positive youth development and life-skills development as an approach to creating a firm foundation for youths to develop positive decision-making, critical-thinking and stress-management skills. In 20-2018, Pulaski 4-H secured $2,100 in grant funds for Health Rocks programming. All seventh- and eighth-grade students were seen in school club meetings during educational time once a month for the 20-2018 school year. More than 160 youth engaged in the 10 hours of instruction from the Health Rocks curriculum and participated in the evaluation. Four Health Rocks Ambassadors and one adult were trained from Pulaski 4-H in 2017-18.
A PCMS teacher stated, “This is real-world knowledge that our youth need to combat peer pressure, deal with stress in a positive way and reduce risky behavior. 4-H provides this needed education to our students so that they can succeed in life. It is obvious that 4-H cares about the well-being of our youth.” The Health Rocks curriculum creates a positive impact by providing knowledge and hands-on activities to reinforce the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. By instilling healthy decision-making skills through Health Rocks, Pulaski County 4-H is helping create a trend toward helping youths decrease risky behaviors in Georgia.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Cotton is the most widely planted crop in Pulaski County, accounting for nearly 25,000 acres and between $15 million and $20 million in annual value. Cotton variety selection is one of the most critical steps in producing a cotton crop, as it can have an effect on yield, fiber quality and pest management options. Annually, UGA Extension in Pulaski County partners with a local cotton producer to take part in the UGA On-farm Cotton Variety Performance Evaluation Program. This year, 14 popular cotton varieties were planted in replicated plots on the grower’s farm. At harvest, the plots were measured and the harvested cotton was weighed and ginned. The yield and fiber quality data collected from this trial will be used in the UGA Cotton Variety Performance Calculator to help cotton producers across the state make better-informed decisions about their cotton variety selections. Due to the impact of Hurricane Michael, the Pulaski County variety trial was utilized to research the possibility of a varietal difference in the amount of cotton lint lost due to the heavy wind and rains associated with the hurricane.