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 2019, Towns County Extension maintained its traditional corn and vegetable production meetings. These meetings educated farmers from Towns and surrounding counties on new insects, diseases, weeds and vegetable varieties. These meetings also provided pesticide credits to farmers. Pesticide credits are very important to enable farmers to have access to the pesticides that they needto educate them on how to use the pesticides safely.
Towns County Extension hosted a Master Gardener training at the beginning of 2019. Twenty-three people attended the 42-hour course. Towns County Master Gardeners consistently finish in the top 10 of total volunteer hours and the top five of hours per capita from the more than 60 Master Gardener programs in Georgia. These new Master Gardener trainees have jumped headfirst into ongoing projects including the Ask a Master Gardener Booth, the Hamilton Gardens, library gardens, and many more.
Many households in Towns County rely on well water. These houses on private wells have no regulatory body making sure that they have clean water. Towns County Extension has encouraged well water testing, resulting in more people being educated about what is in their water and if it is safe to drink. Extension has also provided education and testing for radon in air and water.
Towns County Extension has worked closely with the Blue Ridge Mountain Cattlemen Association to educate ranchers. Specifically, Towns County Extension has educated ranchers on weed control and an invasive tick that is capable of spreading rapidly and killing livestock.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Towns County 4-H program was a great success in 2018-2019 in reaching the youth of Towns County. We had approximately 220 Towns County fourth through 10th graders participate in in-school club meetings. Many of these 4-H’ers also participated in Cloverleaf Camp, Junior and Senior Project Achievement, BB Team, Horse Club and Garden Club. Our Towns County 4-H’ers are dedicated learners looking forward to one day becoming great leaders.
Our in-school program consists of monthly meetings in each fourth through sixth grade class. Each 4-H’er learns about careers, agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). At the end of the school year they look forward to Cloverleaf Camp.
Towns County 4-H took 29 4-H’ers to Cloverleaf Camp Burton on beautiful Tybee Island, Georgia. Campers experienced visits to the beach and local historical sites. Each camper participated in exciting educational classes throughout the week. Some of these classes included marsh life, seining, beach ecology and herpetology.
Our after-school clubs included Horse Club, Garden Club and BB Team, with approximately 40 4-H’ers participating in learning community and leadership skills. The Horse Club program continues to teach 4-H’ers about different breeds, the habits of a horse and horse care. It also gives them the opportunity to learn basic riding skills and attend trail rides. In Garden Club 4-H’ers learned the basics of maintaining a garden and growing vegetables and ornamental plants organically with Towns-Union Master Gardener Association volunteers. Our Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education (SAFE) BB program taught gun safety and marksmanship skills to fourth through eighth grade 4-H’ers. Next year ninth graders will be able to participate in BB and seventh through ninth grade 4-H’ers will have the opportunity to complete the Georgia Hunter Safety Course.