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 AWARENESS PROGRAMMING
In today’s world, most citizens and community leaders did not grow up on a farm, a recent development compared to previous generations. This generation gap of firsthand agriculture experience has left many people detached and unfamiliar with the economic impact and importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. Educating Wayne County’s youth, citizens and community leaders is vital to ensure the sustainability and growth of the agriculture industry. In 2019, Wayne County Cooperative Extension collaborated with the local Farm Bureau, local Chamber of Commerce and with local county and city administration in partnership with local farmers to plan, organize and conduct agriculture tours open to local youth and community members. Efforts to increase agricultural awareness were offered through farm days, farm tours and lunch-and-learn programs provided by the Wayne County Extension office. Students and educators were more informed about the benefits provided by our agricultural community, the community’s career options, the locally grown food supply and the local economy. Adults are now more cognizant of the educational needs within our community. There are a multitude of stops and learning activities provided across the board for youth and adults, providing new integrated techniques in the agriculture industry. Programing for each event is advertised via social media, school and newspaper announcements.
4-H YOGA FOR YOUTH
The link between physical and emotional health is clear, young people who have good physical health are more likely to have good mental, emotional and behavioral health. Healthy living is a cornerstone of the 4-H youth development program and is even part of the 4-H pledge. Wayne County 4-H implemented a program to address this issue of mental health in youth. Wayne County 4-H began a 4-H Yoga for Kids program in 2019 that was led by the trained county agent to assist children and youth in acquiring the skills needed to become emotionally healthy by developing self-esteem and stress-management techniques. Participants also had the choice to attempt partner poses that fostered trust and teamwork.
FACS: FOOD SAFETY IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
Food Safety Education is being taught in Wayne County to address the risk of foodborne illness. Foodborne illness is a common, costly, yet preventable, public health problem. Both children and the elderly have a higher risk of developing serious complications from foodborne illness than healthy adults. Extension is the only source for citizens of Wayne County to receive ServSafe Manager Certification. The Wayne County FACS agent, in collaboration with other Family and Consumer Sciences agents, offers ServSafe Manager Certification training in Wayne and surrounding counties once per year each. From 2015 through 2019, 69 newspaper articles have addressed food safety and/or food preservation for local readers and seven food-safety classes have been held at Wayne County Senior Center. The agent attended four food-safety trainings per year with state specialists to incorporate the most up-to-date information on food safety for public clientele.