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 1,900 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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Richmond County Agriculture and Natural Resources collaborated with the Richmond County Board of Education, Engineering and Parks departments to implement the second season of chemical mowing on more than 600 acres of county-maintained properties. Chemical mowing is a combination of limiting, eradicating and suppressing vegetation that requires continual maintenance. These specially designed methods of weed control saved these partners more than $300,000 in labor and equipment cost by drastically reducing weekly mowing. Our collaboration will be expanded from school grounds, cemeteries and a few parks to include roadways and larger open areas.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences focuses on the wellbeing of citizens of all ages by providing education and outreach in the community. In 2019, FACS programming addressed issues in the areas of financial capability, job skills, food safety and preservation. Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), poverty simulation programs and sharing curriculum with educators on teaching job skills in the classroom, 243 participants received 865 hours of education related to improving financial capability within the community. Additionally, hands-on workshops provided audiences of all ages with 200 hours of education on home food preservation and 469 hours of food safety education for both foodservice audiences and adult and youth consumers. FACS also participated in UGA Extension’s internship program hosting a summer intern, an Augusta native who conducted research in sensory evaluation and gained experience in community education.
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
UGA Cooperative Extension in Richmond County delivers nutrition education through the 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 stretch their food dollars, prevent foodborne illness and try new recipes after completing this eight-week series. In 2019, Richmond County EFNEP program assistants delivered “Food Talk” and “Hablemos de Comida” curriculums, providing 2,639 educational sessions for adults and youth. Additionally, since 2018, Richmond County EFNEP has collaborated with nine new agencies, building agency partnerships to 31. Through community partnerships and outreach events, EFNEP continues growing to offer this excellent resource to residents in Richmond County.