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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Approximately 840 students and teachers from 42 first-grade classes attended Spalding County Farm Day. A collaborative effort between UGA Extension in Spalding County, Griffin Spalding County Schools, Farm Bureau and the UGA Griffin campus, the Spalding County Farm Day helps children understand the connection between farms and the food they eat. Bledsoe Farm, a 204-acre UGA-Griffin research facility, hosted the event. During their visit, the children rotated through eight stations featuring beef and dairy cows, horses, chickens, honeybees, forestry management, vegetable production, weather station management, and food safety. Students had the opportunity to see, hear, touch and ask questions. One of Spalding County Farm Day’s highlights (besides the ice cream) was the tram ride through the row crop fields where students saw corn, soybeans, sorghum and millet growing. UGA Extension agents, Spalding County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, UGA-Griffin specialists and personnel, 4-H’ers, local farmers, and Farm Bureau staff all worked together to make this event a successful educational experience.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) staff collaborated with Spalding County Parks and Recreation to present Foods of the Month lessons to 231 lower- and upper-elementary youths at four Summer Food Service program sites during the summer break. The Foods of the Month curriculum is part of a National Parks and Recreation initiative to promote healthier out-of-school meals and increasing physical activity for youths. Each lesson included interactive games, crafts and food tastings that focused on seasonal fruits and vegetables.
In addition to serving Spalding County youths, Spalding County Extension offered estate planning workshops specifically for senior audiences. There were workshops at three senior adult locations as well as the public library. More than 70 individuals attended the workshops, which focused on drafting a will and completing Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney forms. After attending the program, most participants indicated that they planned to complete all three forms.
4-H Youth Development
The mission of the Spalding County 4-H Club is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This is accomplished through hands-on learning experiences. Beginning in the fifth grade, 4-H members are taught public speaking skills. Working in partnership with teachers and counselors, 4-H focuses on teaching public speaking skills to all fifth-graders throughout the school year. Spalding County 4-H took more than 100 4-H’ers to District Project Achievement, and 85 percent of students presenting demonstrations placed first, second or third.
4-H offers a variety of opportunities covering a range of interests, and the 4-H approach of “Learn by Doing” serves 4-H’ers well as they explore those interests. Spalding 4-H offers students opportunities to highlight their talents on many levels. A Spalding 4-H’er won first place in the Georgia 4-H Foundation holiday card contest and the foundation featured her original artwork on their holiday card. A Spalding 4-H’er was selected as a vocalist for the highly competitive Clovers and Company performing arts group. 4-H is a well-rounded program that calls all youth to “Make the Best Better.”