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, Towns County Extension maintained its traditional vegetable production meeting. These meeting 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 need to educate them on how to use the pesticides safely.
Towns County Extension saw the graduation of 19 students that participated in the 2019 Master Gardener training. These new Master Gardener have jumped headfirst into ongoing projects including the Ask a Master Gardener Booth, the Hamilton Gardens, library gardens, and many more. The Master Gardener also transitioned into virtual format for many of their meetings.
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. In 2020 Towns County Extension facilitated many of these meetings to take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Towns County 4-H program has seen a few challenges in 2020. Even through these challenges Towns County 4-H has persevered and continued our program in Fall of 2020. Approximately 200 Towns County 4th through 10th graders participated in in-school club meetings. We were able to bring back our in-school, virtual learning, and afterschool club meetings thanks to our partnerships with the Towns County Board of Education, Towns County, Chatuge Gun Club, and Brasstown Valley Stables. Many of these 4-H’ers have participated in Project Achievement, BB Team, and Horse Club. Our Towns County 4-H’ers are dedicated learners who have been excited to see our program back up and running in 2020.
Our in-school and virtual program consisted of monthly meetings in each 4th through 6th grade class. Each 4-H’er learns about careers, agriculture, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). At the end of each school year 4-H’ers look forward to a fun filled summer at Cloverleaf Camp.
Cloverleaf Camp in 2020 was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid, but thankfully this did not stop Georgia 4-H. Georgia 4-H was able to provide all 4-H’ers across Georgia a virtual camp experience at each of their 4-H camp locations called “From the Mountains to the Sea”. Some of these classes included marsh life, beach ecology, environmental education, archery, herpetology and many more.
Our after-school clubs included Horse Club and BB Team with approximately 20 4-H’ers. The Horse Club program continues to teach 4th through 12th grade 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. Our Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education (SAFE) BB program taught gun safety and marksmanship skills to 4th through 9th grade 4-H’ers.