UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

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

In 2022, the Augusta-Richmond County 4-H Club served more than 1,600 students in area schools and in the community as a whole. Students in all grades are taught effective leadership and presentation skills 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 engaged in lessons focused on physical science. High school students focus on skills to prepare them for adulthood and team building skills.

Augusta-Richmond County 4-H continued to grow the programming offered through the Horse Club, Fishing Club, Small Animal Club, and County Council. We added 9 new teen leaders to our Certified Teen Leaders program and now have a total of 12 active teen leaders. Participation in District Project Achievement and 4-H summer camps has increased. Dylan James won 3rd place at State Congress, representing Richmond County and Northeast District in the Performing Arts, Drama category. In 2022, Augusta-Richmond County 4-H received grants and donations from Augusta Exchange Club, Creel-Harison Foundation, Ms. Bridgette Whittemore and the Frank Davis Memorial totaling close to $10,000. With the funds, we were able to award 24 scholarships to assist with summer camp costs. We also received a $18,000 grant from Jefferson Energy Cooperative, aiding in the purchase of a new van to transport our 4-H’ers to various locations and events around the state.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Richmond County Agriculture and Natural Resources was very busy in 2022. The sheltering at home from Covid-19 had a big impact on individuals spending time in their personal landscapes. After the pandemic quelled efforts to host the biennial Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program in 2020 and 2021, the reenergized people Richmond County were eager to learn more about gardening. Richmond County ANR decided to not only host one Master Gardener program in the winter of 2022, but hosted two. With the choice to take the class in the morning of evening two days a week, 56 people took part for 50 hours of training per session. In March, we graduated a fresh group of Master Gardeners that increase our active volunteer list to over 130 people. In the first year, the group accounted for over 2800 hours of community volunteer service. The 2022 Master Gardener Extension Volunteer training was so popular, we decided to host another class in the winter of 2023 with 26 people already enrolled.
Richmond County ANR also hosted the 2022 ECO-Meet at Pendleton King Park which consisted of 31 middle school teams (124 youth) from 19 area schools with 42 volunteers to help with the event. Donations for the event from various vendors totaled $1,750 including a breakfast donated by the Augusta Area Master Gardeners at a value of $135.
During the calendar year of 2022, Richmond County ANR wrote 68 weekly newspaper articles for select Georgia and South Carolina newspapers as well as did 18 regional television placements discussing a variety of issues related to our field. ANR also presented an additional 28 in-person sessions to different groups around the CSRA with 530 face to face contacts.

Family and Consumer Sciences

Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) focus on the well-being of citizens of all ages by providing education and outreach in the community. In 2020, FACS programming helped a great deal to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19. The key areas that were addressed included financial capability, job skills, and food safety. During this COVID-19 period, the financial education programming involved about 340 participants that received 680 hours of instruction. This helped to improve their financial capability and wellbeing. The COVID-19 period enabled virtual platforms that captured over 9,000 citizens in the Augusta area, who received unbiased, research-based information towards improving their well-being. Fast forward to 2023, new efforts are currently in-progress to tackle post-COVID-19 challenges. These new efforts will focus on areas such as consumer protection, food access, food safety systems, as well as quality assurance, which will strive to improve the health conditions of families especially the less privileged, seniors, and vulnerable. Looking beyond 2023, there is great hope that as many families within the Augusta area, from the youth to the elderly, would benefit from the FACS-oriented community efforts, both short and long term.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

University of Georgia 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 and teens in our community. Participants can improve nutrition practices, learn how to stretch their food dollars, prevent foodborne illness and try new recipes after completing the series-based programming. In 2022, 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 agencies to provide EFNEP series-based sessions. Through community partnerships and outreach events, EFNEP resulted in 351 adult and youth graduates. In addition, partnering agency volunteers donated $31,986.00 through in-kind service hours. EFNEP Richmond County continues to deliver Food Talk to families by promoting researched based nutrition education.

Download our annual report (pdf)