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
Walker County Extension is growing Georgia from the ground up. Our programs help enable citizens make informed decisions to improve their quality of life as it relates to social/economic well-being and the environment in which they live. We work to ensure our diverse agriculture remains productive and sustainable. During the height of the pandemic, Walker County Extension remained open, fielded calls and requests for assistance by phone and e-mail; assisted clients in person by appointment and site visits working with growers to support the $78 million farm gate value that is Walker County agriculture. We altered the traditional in-person program format to offer local, state and regional virtual classes. Walker County Extension presented 298 educational classes and held 16 events in Agriculture/Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Development, reaching more than 11,000 citizens. Outreach efforts included 297 radio programs, 44 crop progress reports and ANR newsletters. In 2020 Walker County processed 336 soil samples, 59 feed/forage samples, 21 water microbiology samples analyzed for bacteria and 17 drinking water samples for quality. We worked to ensure the annual rabies clinic was safely held. During the pandemic, Walker County Extension coordinated the event, meeting safety protocols established by the CDC and State of Georgia. Walker County Extension developed a plan to accomplish the event while protecting clinic staff, citizens and pets. The clinic was safely held and provided rabies vaccinations to 693 pets.
4-H Youth Development
Preparing Youth for STEM Workforce through 4-H Robotics Impact:
STEM jobs are the jobs of the future says the U.S. Department of Commerce. Students that participate in robotics programs gain self-confidence and self-esteem with applicable knowledge of science and technology. With these life skills, they make positive contributions to society and engage in their communities. Walker County 4-H piloted an elementary VEX IQ Challenge robotics program during 2019-2020 yielding 4 awards at 6 regional and 1 state competitions. Students learned about robotics and STEM education and said they may pursue a career in STEM. Students felt that the most important thing they learned was teamwork.
Covid-19 Assistance 2020 Impact:
Walker County 4-H took the initiative to create an online evaluation to gauge youth/parent concerns about the sudden closure of schools due to covid-19 in March 2020, and how they can be helped in the situation. Walker County 4-H was able to provide all feedback to local school system administrators to help them in the planning processes for the end of the 2019-2020 school year virtually. Along with that, Walker County 4-H was able to continue providing "hands-on" service to the youth of the county during March-May 2020 by working to bag 661 breakfasts and 661 lunches for each school day and help distribute to those on free & reduced lunch.
Education 2020 Impact:
Walker County needs assessments are showing the need for more life-skills based programming. During the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 years, we have included more Family and Consumer Sciences related curriculum by integrating financial literacy in all 7th grade clubs and LifeSmarts in all 8th grade clubs. All 4-H youth have also participated in communication and public speaking education programs and events. Walker County 4-H also collaborated with LaFayette Women’s Club on a youth literacy initiative as well as local Agriculture programs and businesses for 4-H livestock shows.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Throughout the year, Walker County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) offered programs on healthy eating, as well as importance of regular physical activity, in efforts to improve knowledge on how nutrition and physical activity can improve health. Empowering with the knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle to prevent disease and promote wellness, UGA Extension EFNEP program nurtures good health for our community. The program offered both virtually and in person provides guidance on portion sizes, nutrition label reading, cooking demonstrations for selecting and preparing nutrient dense foods, and physical activity guidelines for a healthy weight goal. It also helps with meal planning, food selection, food safety and maintaining a grocery budget. After the programs, 90% of participants reported significant knowledge and understanding of healthy eating and physical activity as a way to improve their health. They also reported that they would use the information received and intend to change to their eating habits. Of the 90%, everyone reported that they feel healthier, less stressed and more in control. EFNEP classes can be held in partnership with the following but certainly not limited: 9-12 Classrooms, Communities in Schools, Health Department, Parenting Classes, Public Housing Authorities, Community Centers and Libraries, Faith Based Organizations, Food Pantries, Recreational Centers.
If you are interested in bringing EFNEP into your school or community, please contact Rebecca Hamilton at email@example.com or call 706-638-2548 for participant and partner information. For tips, recipes, and more connect with our UGA Walker Co EFNEP Facebook page @WalkerEFNEP