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
In 2020, the Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) program assisted homeowners, farmers and land owners by providing educational seminars and virtual webinars on many topics including landscaping, controlling invasive species, protecting native pollinators, and managing soil fertility. Programming was delivered to the public via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube platforms and archived, when possible, to allow future access to residents and producers across Georgia. The ANR program posted nearly 250 announcements, articles and publications to social media platforms throughout the year. We conducted over 50 farm and homeowner site visits, as well as 11 invasive species scouting trips that resulted in 26 reports. The Kiwanis Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market occurred from June to October, recording over 1600 visitors for the season. ANR staff also oversaw the relocation of the Healthy Life Community Garden at Fairmont. This new 1 ½ acre location features 36 raised garden beds, potting stations, a pavilion, greenhouse space, pollinator garden, and children’s play area. Educational programming at both community garden locations was cancelled in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, but the gardens continued to grow, and over 500 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were produced.
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. 2020 taught 4-H’ers and staff the importance of being flexible to the changing guidelines. Like most activities in 2020, 4-H moved to a virtual setting for programs, activities, and contests. Beginning in the 5th grade, 4-H members are taught public speaking skills working in partnership with teachers and counselors to reach 850+ students. Spalding County 4-H submitted 60 recorded speeches for Virtual District Project Achievement, the most participants throughout the state.
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 their interests. Two Spalding County 4-H’ers served in leadership roles on district and state-wide boards, one serving as President of the State Board of Directors, growing their confidence in public speaking, planning experience, and the ability to lead by example. In 2020, two 4-H’ers earned first place or “Master” status in the International and Engineering and Mechanics project areas for project achievement. Project clubs adapted to the virtual format and programming continued digitally for Edible Clovers, CSI, summer activities, and County Council. The Food Showcase team placed 1st in the district and 3rd in the state for their submitted videos. 4-H is a well-rounded program focusing on civic engagement, healthy living, STEM, and agriculture that calls all youth to “Make the Best Better.”
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) staff worked with community partners to provide community-based health and wellness programs in an effort to address health issues facing our community. FACS offered the nationally recognized Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Program in Spalding County. Prevent T2 is a year- long lifestyle change program that stresses 5–7% weight loss and 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Upon completion of the program all the participants had accomplished their 5% or more weight loss and their 150 minutes per week physical activity goals, greatly reducing their risk of Type 2 diabetes. The Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), helps individuals and families improve their nutrition, stretch their food dollars and promotes increased physical activity, graduated over 150 high school youth and adults before having to transition to virtual programming.
• FACS offered VITA Tax Assistance, a no cost tax preparation service provided by UGA Extension.
• Certified, professional trainings taught to 27 foodservice professionals and 59 child care providers.