Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
Family and Consumer Sciences
UGA Extension in Rockdale County has an overarching goal to make healthy eating fun and reduce health conditions in the community. At the Taste of Conyers festival, 600 individuals enjoyed a rainbow vegetable wrap, which received rave reviews — 97 percent of people said that they loved it or liked it. Rockdale County Extension was recognized for best appetizer at the festival from the Atlanta Food and Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society. The keystone Fun for Families (FFF) program addressed picky eating in a six-week series of 20-minute, interactive, rainbow-themed food “commercials.” More than 650 children and parents attended FFF in 2018. The weekly average attendance doubled from 55 participants in 2017 to 110 participants in 2018. Week-to-week retention was high, as 50 children attended more than 50 percent of the sessions. Comment cards from parents showed that 83 percent of adults learned something new each week and 78 percent of adults intended to try something they saw at FFF at home. The Rockdale County Extension office also hosted the inaugural Rainbow Party nutrition festival with cooking demos, community organizations and interactive carnival games that taught healthy eating principles to 200 attendees. Thanks to grant support from the Hospital Authority of Rockdale County, the Extension office gave $1,000 worth of produce to families. One parent said, “I told others how much fun my daughter had at the events and how excited my daughter was at home afterwards. She wanted to help to make the foods and snacks we learned about each week. Very helpful with a picky snack eater.”
4-H Youth Development
In Rockdale County, many teachers split their science time with social studies, limiting science teaching time. The Rockdale County Extension agent and 4-H staff have implemented a science curriculum to teach during their traditional 4-H in-school programs. During the 2017-18 school year, the Rockdale County 4-H Club implemented and adapted new science lessons into their yearly curriculum to incorporate the Georgia Standards and encourage critical thinking and individual discovery through learning by doing. Rockdale County also offered multiple “Science Resource Guide” classes outside of the traditional classroom setting. The Rockdale County Extension 4-H staff taught a total of 336 science lessons during the traditional 4-H in-school program, reaching about 820 students a month. Teachers have said that these programs and lessons “add value to our classrooms as they are reinforcing the science standards we are already teaching” and “bring an exciting new aspect to teaching the standards to our classroom.”
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Rockdale County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) have continued their mission of service and education in 2018. Of the many projects currently in progress here in the county, the Plant-a-Row Vegetable Garden is perhaps the most prominent. In 2018, the garden produced more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce for Rockdale Emergency Relief (RER). In addition to providing produce, the space also served as an outdoor classroom for educational demonstrations on gardening and pollinator-friendly practices. Other projects include maintaining the Memorial Arboretum located on the grounds of the International Horse Park, planting ornamentals at the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, and providing educational booths at festivals and plant sales throughout the year. All told, MGEVs contributed nearly 2,600 hours for a value of almost $60,000 in 2018.