University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. Here are a few examples of Extension's impact in the county over the past year.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The Healthier Happenings program continues in Taliaferro County, located in Crawfordville, Georgia. With the continuation of CDC grant in 2019, the Healthier Together Taliaferro (HTT) Initiative is making a positive difference in the community. Taliaferro County has a high rate of obesity, chronic disease, poverty and a shortage of safe places to be physically active, and is designated as a food desert. The purpose of the HTT initiative is to introduce meaningful programs to help mitigate these problems.
Healthier Together Taliaferro works in partnership with multiple community collaborates to host the Taliaferro County Bike Rodeo at AH Stephens State Park, a safe environment for families to be physically active. Students, families and community civic groups also participate in the Taliaferro County School Family and Fitness Night, enjoying physical activities and A Taste of Taliaferro, a healthy food cook-off using family favorite recipes.
The Healthier Together Taliaferro Initiative collaborates with Touching Taliaferro with Love Day Camp (TTWL) and the Taliaferro County Schools to offer a day camp for students, and Oconee County 4-H program assistant Allison Barnes traveled to Taliaferro County to teach 4-H Yoga for Kids.
Through the Healthier Together Taliaferro 12-Week Walking Challenge participants walked or ran 10,400,711 steps, for a total of 4,521 miles.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
As one of the smallest, poorest and unhealthiest counties in Georgia, having access to proper nutrition in Taliaferro County is an essential component to the Healthier Together Taliaferro Initiative.
Tasked with improving food access in the county, the HTT Initiative received funding through the CDC grant to plant a community garden in the city of Sharon, Georgia, which donated land for the garden. The CDC grant also subsidized the training of five community members in the Master Gardener program to aid in the management of the garden. All produce grown in the garden is available to the community. Taliaferro County Master Gardeners also assisted local churches in placing raised garden beds on church properties, with church members taking responsibility for the gardens.
4-H AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In-school 4-H youth programming through Taliaferro County Schools includes five 4-H clubs reaching 76 youth in fourth through eighth grades each month under the leadership of Rock Eagle 4-H center program specialist Anna Nolan and Wilkes County 4-H community service specialist Kassandra Swiney.
Highlights for the year included an in-school project achievement contest for all elementary and middle school students. Six fourth through sixth graders competed at Cloverleaf Project Achievement at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in November, with two 4-H’ers earning first place honors, Jose Olidon in Computers and Kaylee Cervantes in Food for Fitness. Taliaferro County won the Largest Percentage of Increase in Participation Award at the contest. Four seventh and eighth graders competed at the Northeast Junior/Senior District Project Achievement in March.
Taliaferro County was well represented at 4-H events including Junior Camp, Junior Conference and Fall Forum, and a newly created after-school Cooking Club has been a huge success.