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, Union County Extension maintained its traditional vegetable production meeting. This meeting educated farmers from Union and surrounding counties on new insects, diseases, weeds and vegetable varieties. This meeting also provided pesticide credits to farmers that are required to keep and renew the pesticide license in the future. 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.
Union County Extension approved the graduation of 19 students that participated in the 2019 Master Gardener training. These new Master Gardeners have jumped headfirst into on-going projects including the Ask A Master Gardener Booth, Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center, library gardens, and many more. The Master Gardener program also transitioned into virtual format for many of their meetings.
Many households in Union County rely on well water. The homes on private wells have no regulatory body making sure that they have clean water. Union County Extension has encouraged well water testing, resulting in more people being educated about what is in their water and ensuring homeowners can determine the water is safe to drink. Extension has also provided education and testing for Radon in air and water.
Union County Extension has worked closely with the Blue Ridge Mountain Cattlemen Association to educate ranchers. In 2020, Union County Extension facilitated many of these meetings to take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Union County 4-H Program is a partner in education by providing lessons to 4th and 5th grade students on college and career preparation that meets Georgia’s Department of Education, College and Career Ready Performance Index requirements. The College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), is the waiver to Georgia’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). CCRPI is a more comprehensive school improvement program that not only measures student performance in reading, language arts and math, but also includes science, social studies, career awareness and graduation rates. The career indicator in CCRPI requires that students in Georgia schools receive grade specific lessons on career awareness aligned to Georgia’s 17 Career Clusters.
The Union County Extension staff partnered with the local elementary school counselor and teachers to provide lessons on career readiness to both 4th and 5th grades during monthly in-school 4-H club meetings. 4th grade lessons were developed to match the needs for the 4th grade CCRPI cluster, which includes: Architecture and Construction, Manufacturing, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Business Management and Administration. 5th grade lessons were focused on Marketing, Government and Public Administration, Finance, and Information and Technology using the Georgia 4-H CCRPI Curriculum. As a result of the Union County 4-H programming in the elementary school, all four hundred and twenty-three students in the 4th and 5th grades, completed lessons in their grade appropriate CCRPI cluster.