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 Augusta-Richmond County 4-H Club serves more than 1,050 students in area schools and in the community as a whole. Students in all grades are taught effective presentation skills and many go on to compete at the district and state levels. Fourth grade students are provided a curriculum that focuses on the environment, the natural world and agriculture. Fifth grade student lessons focus heavily on developing science skills, covering various topics such as barrier island ecology and microorganisms. Middle school students are taught stress-reduction and team-building skills. High school students focus on skills to prepare them for adulthood and relationship smarts. In 2020, Augusta-Richmond County 4-H Club expanded programs offered by introducing a Fishing Club and Relationship Smarts while also increasing the number of in-school clubs. Augusta-Richmond County 4-H continued to grow the programming offered through the Horse Club and County Council. Participation in District Project Achievement and 4-H summer camps has increased. County Council participated in the Keeping Augusta Beautiful community engagement initiative and was selected as Volunteer of the Month for October 2020. Augusta-Richmond County 4-H’ers were recognized for their achievements. Savannah Hockenberry won 1st place at State Congress, becoming a Master 4-H’er in Companion Animal Science. Tyler Sims won the Georgia 4-H Foundation 2020 Holiday Card Contest and won 1st place in the December Cooking with 4-H Contest. Tyler Sims and Conner Sims both received Honorable Mention in the November Cooking with 4-H Contest. In 2020, Augusta-Richmond County 4-H were awarded grants and donations from Augusta Exchange Club, Creel-Harison Foundation, Ms. Bridgette Whittemore and the Frank Davis Memorial totaling close to $10,000.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Richmond County Agriculture and Natural Resources was very busy in 2020. The pandemic might have kept people at home with quarantine, but that did not keep them from getting outside and getting involved in the landscapes. The volume of calls and emails increased about 30% during our busiest time of the year from spring into early summer. People really forgot how much the outdoors can do for the psyche. Richmond County ANR also organized the 2019 ECO-Meet which hosted 31 teams (124 youth) consisting of 19 area middle schools with 42 volunteers to help with the event. The venue in North Augusta, SC was donated by the City of North Augusta at a value of $1,750. A local restaurant donated meals for all 124 participants and 42 volunteers at a value of $950. Breakfast was donated by the Augusta Area Master Gardeners at a value of $135. The GIS team from Columbia County also hosted a drone demonstration after lunch. ECO-Meet volunteers contributed a total of 294 volunteer hours on the day of the competition. All contestants in ECO-Meet were surveyed about their experience of the overall competition as well as their assessment of the learning module built by Richmond County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources. 70% of the youth participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the study packets helped them in school. 50% of all participants stated they studied a lot for ECO-Meet. The next meet will be held at Augusta’s Lake Olmstead in November of 2021.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences focuses on the well-being of citizens of all ages by providing education and outreach in the community. In 2020, FACS programming addressed issues in the areas of financial capability, job skills, food safety and resources unique to the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Through financial education programming 340 participants received 680 hours of instruction related to improving their financial capability. Additionally, through virtual platforms including Zoom and social media over 9,000 individuals received unbiased, research-based information to help improve the well-being of citizens in the Augusta area.
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
UGA Cooperative Extension in Richmond County delivers nutrition education through the UGA Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP focuses on providing education in four core areas: budgeting, diet quality, food safety and food security. Federal, state and local resources are merged to reach limited-resource families who are caretakers of children. Participants are able to improve nutrition practices, learn how to stretch their food dollars, prevent foodborne illness and try new recipes after completing this eight-week series program. In 2020, Richmond County EFNEP Program Assistants delivered Food Talk curriculum through face-to-face programming and virtual programming. Additionally, Richmond County EFNEP continues partnering with multiple community partners to provide EFNEP series-based sessions. Through community partnerships and outreach events EFNEP resulted in 276 graduates. In addition, partnering agency volunteers donated $8,401.00 through in-kind service hours. EFNEP Richmond County continues to deliver Food Talk to the families by promoting researched based nutrition education.