COVID-19 Resources
UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

Making A Difference in Our County

We're working hard for the citizens we serve even through a pandemic. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:

 

#RockdaleEatsARainbow Goes Digital: Virtual Nutrition Program for Families

Rockdale County Cooperative Extension pivoted its successful rainbow-themed nutrition program to reach new audiences via social media during the 2020 pandemic. Nearly 8000 seniors, guardians, and children from three counties, two states, and two countries benefited from this reimaged health initiative. Rockdale County Extension’s overarching goal was to show the community that healthy eating can be fun and doable in hopes of reducing chronic disease rates. The Rockdale Eats a Rainbow (RER) program was modified for a virtual format with 7 color-themed weeks of live 45-minute educational sessions including 15 total recipe videos. Prior to the class, participants received weekly grocery and equipment lists. They participated in online classes involving a mix of live instruction and pre-recorded recipe videos. Videos highlighted food safety information, cooking tips, and appropriate tasks for children. Families could ask real-time questions and were invited to share their photos if they made the recipe at home. “Highlight reels” shared all the community photos from the previous week. From 2017-2019, RER reached over 1750 people with in-person programming. The 2020 virtual format reached new and diverse audiences; 240 people joined live from three Georgia Counties, two states, and the United Kingdom and 56% of participants reported never attending a previous RER or UGA Extension program. RER video content also reached nearly 8000 people in a single summer.

Final retrospective surveys showed that 100% of respondents attended or watched 4+ sessions. Having recordings increased access, as 33% reported not always being able to tune in live. 100% of families made at least 3 RER recipes and 78% of participants reported being surprised by how much they liked a particular food after trying the recipes. Unexpected benefits included novice adult cooks building their confidence in the kitchen. The evergreen nature of recorded content and polished videos has opened doors as well; the Rockdale County Senior Center emails RER videos to over 225 home-bound seniors each month to engage them while the center is not open for in-person nutrition education.

Testimonies
• “(RER) has motivated my daughter to eat all kinds of veggies and really get in the kitchen. She even repeatedly tries veggies she doesn’t think she likes just to see if the different recipe will make it a better experience for her.”
• “We have definitely tried more recipes with fruits and veggies because of RER. We have printed out all the recipes and will continue to make them. My son, especially, has enjoyed learning more things you do can do with produce in the kitchen.“
• “The program was helpful and empowering. I'm a novice cook, but these recipes make me feel like I'm able to accomplish something.“
• “The seniors are enjoying your Rainbow videos! They love the music, handwashing, your cutting skills are amazing, and the nutritional value is there as well. Thanks for bringing that connection of your presence of eating healthy into their homes!”
• “This was my first online experience with UGA. I am excited to see what else is available.”

 

Postive Youth Development Programs during a Pandemic

The Rockdale County 4-H Agent and staff were faced with having to recreate their 4-H summer program due to the Coronavirus pandemic. During a normal year, 4-H members get on the bus and go on different trips around Georgia so we decided to take that concept virtually and toured different places in the United States. The 4-H members were able to participate in eight different trips during the month of June. The trips were unique and different, with a variety of activities to go along with each location. The 4-H members visited Death Valley National Park, Channel Island National Park, Zion National Park, and Katmai National Park exploring different landmarks forms by different destructive forces and wildlife. They also visited Austin, Texas to learn about entrepreneurship and came up with their own business models. They toured The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. creating their own art pieces and museum piece to go in the Rockdale County 4-H History Museum. The last stop was to Orlando, FL to tour Disney World and Universal Studios while learning about roller coasters. They then completed their own STEM activity, by creating a roller coaster with items found in their house. The trips took place on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 2:00PM and they could attend the live version or watch a recording later. The participants were asked to complete a survey after each trip to earn a stamp on the 4-H Passport. If they received at least five stamps, they would earn a prize. The 4-H Virtual Road Trip was a successful virtual program for Rockdale County 4-H! This program had 27 total participants complete at least one or more trips and 14 participants earn at least five or more passport stamps to earn the prize. The participants were engaged during each road trip and stated the following in their survey responses, “The trip was very interesting and educational,” “we want the trips to last longer,” and “I want to go there in person sometime!” One parent is quoted saying “Thank you for these great programs! These trips have been fun – such a good idea for a summer when we are largely stuck and home.” Another parent said “Thanks you for these programs and activities! My kids look forward to the activities and the trip event is amazing.” The 4-H staff asked knowledge-based questions during the survey, 100% of the students that participated in the Austin, Texas trip could correctly define entrepreneur. As well as 100% of students that participated in the trip to Death Valley National Park understood that lines on a topographical map showed elevations. On top of the Virtual Bus Trip, Rockdale County 4-H Staff also offered Wow Wednesday educational programs and monthly virtual contest.

Socially Distant and Digital Home Garden Programming During COVID-19

In order to deliver content during COVID-19 lockdowns, Rockdale Extension Agricultural Agent pivoted to digital delivery to directly address issues relevant to food security and home gardening during quarantine. This response centered upon the monthly delivery of hour-long lectures on the topics of vegetable gardening, hydroponics, organic techniques, water conservation, landscaping, composting, and mushroom farming. These webinars were archived, and subsequently uploaded to allow for repeat viewings hosted on our county website. Supplementary to these programs, registered participants were sent publication packets with relevant resources to the topic, and also given the option to opt-in to a bi-weekly mailing list providing COVID updates from both the county and state office. These updates included guidance on soil and water testing, upcoming digital events across the state, and guidance on how to support local farmers. In total, eight webinars were conducted on the topics listed above. Across all live sessions 451 clients participated. Digital archives have been viewed 41 times collectively. A benefit of digital delivery meant that Rockdale Extension’s reach expanded from the local south metro region to other states including: Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Illinois. Additionally, we had one client on three separate sessions tune in from England, making this an international program. Registered participants were sent a follow-up Qualtrics survey to evaluate program effectiveness.


Results from 255 Survey Responses (rounded to nearest percent):
• Are you concerned about food insecurity? (55% Y, 40% N, 5% N/A)
• Did COVID-19 influence your decision to register for this event? (68% Yes, 30% No, 2% N/A)
• Was the information provided practical and understandable? (81% Y, 11% N, 8% N/A)
• Was the information provided relevant to COVID-19 concerns? (63% Y, 31% N, 6% NA)
• Were the supplemental publications useful and practical? (90% Y, 1 % N, 9% N/A)
• Do you plan on to garden at home using the information from this lecture? (61% Y, 13 % N, 26 % N/A)
• Will you use UGA Extension resources in the future for your home gardening practice (82 % Y, 7 % N, 10 % N/A)
• Is this information useful in the context of home quarantine? (45% Y, 35 % N, 20% N/A)

 

Download Our Annual Report (pdf)