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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for August 2010

Photo: Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824, caesext@uga.edu

Extension Colleagues:

School buses are back on the roads, Athens' roads are jammed with U-Haul trucks and the hustle of students moving in to dorms or apartments is everywhere. Oh, the signs of the end of summer and the start of another academic year. These signs also indicate Bulldog football and cooler weather must not be far behind!

Late July and early August has been a period of great activity for the Review of County Operations-Refining the County Delivery Model work. The Extension administrative team has been busy pulling together all the data, organizing the input and identifying common themes. The steering committee will meet this week to review the input and discuss alternatives for the UGA Cooperative Extension county delivery model. Our goal is to have a report to Dean Angle by the end of August. Remember, to stay informed on where we are in the process, please check in frequently with the website on Review of County Operations.

My first trip to the Georgia Experiment Station (now the UGA Griffin Campus) was in 1978 as an undergraduate intern working in the entomology department. Earlier this month, Dr. Clint Waltz asked me to provide opening comments at the UGA Turfgrass Field Day. As I stood at the podium overlooking the new turfgrass facilities and putting green, thirty-two years of history with the campus flashed before my eyes. The UGA Griffin Campus has never looked better and I am so very proud of our legacy of strong research and Extension programs supporting our turfgrass industries. Griffin Campus, UGA Turfgrass Team and industry supporters/sponsors, thanks for a great field day!

Congratulations to Dr. M. K. "Curly" Cook on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for Georgia 4-H at the recent 4-H Gala celebration. Curly's UGA-CAES career was distinguished and he reached every part of our organization having served as a county agent, livestock specialist, Extension department head and ANR program leader. But it is his interest and passion for youth livestock programs and the great legacy of his work in this area that we celebrate with this award. Visit the Georgia 4-H Gala website to learn more about Dr. Cook's recent recognition.

Congratulations to FACS Dean Laura Jolly on being named UGA's vice president of instruction. Dean Jolly will officially become our new vice president on Sept.1. Dean Jolly, we wish you great success as you move into this role on a permanent basis and greatly appreciate your ongoing strong support of Extension programs.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson addresses some of the challenges we face during this tough budget time;
  • Arch Smith highlights 4-H activities in August and announces the "I Am Georgia 4-H" campaign;
  • Elizabeth Andress provides participation updates from FACS programs Walk Georgia, When Your Income Drops, Your Money Your Future, Wash Your Paws, Georgia! and Relationship Smarts; and,
  • Steve Brown writes about the "NR" portion of our ANR programs.
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County Operations

Photo: Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060, coopext@uga.edu

Steady as She Goes!

It's hard to believe summer is almost over! The August rituals are in full swing. As I write this article, Athens is a madhouse with students moving into dorms and trying to find their ways around campus. Traffic has picked up, and my parking permit has suddenly become a hunting license! Another August ritual (at least for the past few years) has been the annual notification from the Governor's office that we need to hold back a portion of our budget.

Two weeks ago we were asked to hold back 4 percent of our fiscal year 2011 budget – another cut! We were also asked to submit plans for 6% and 8% cuts. We are hopeful (and a bit optimistic) that we won't have to implement those. We will be able to absorb the 4 percent cut without having layoffs in Extension. By the end of the calendar year we will have enough vacancies through retirements and resignations to meet the cut. If we have to cut deeper though, it could lead to layoffs.

We will continue to manage our budgets conservatively and we plan to operate very similar to the way we operated last year. Travel funds will be limited and if you haven't heard already, we will hold another virtual Winter School. I have been told that our capabilities with Horizon Wimba have been enhanced and that we may have a little more flexibility this year in the way we handle classes. On the positive side, Georgia Extension has been recognized around the country, and at the university, as being on the cutting edge in adopting new technology for training and information transfer.

One area of concern for us is the aging of our computers, peripherals and network infrastructure. In the past we were able to use year-end funds to update our equipment, but those funds have not been available for the past three years. We know we have a lot of equipment that needs to be replaced, especially in the counties. In the past couple of years we have been fortunate to have access to grant funds to replace some computer equipment and many counties have also contributed funds for that purpose, but it hasn't been enough. We will continue to seek grant opportunities and work with counties, but this will be one of our priorities when budgets begin to improve.

Very soon we will be rolling out our plans for some strategic changes in our organization to meet the needs of the state with a smaller workforce. These changes will take some time to implement, and in the end, hopefully we will be a stronger, more effective organization. We expect that for the next couple of years budgets will continue to be tight, but we will keep moving forward and working to ensure that our public value remains high.

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Agriculture and Natural Resources

Photo: Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060, astdext@uga.edu

The "NR" in ANR

Some might say that we in ANR spend too much time on the "A" and not enough on the "NR". It's not really a valid criticism. We do spend quite a bit of time on natural resources, but admittedly, the demands of production agriculture in Georgia are sometimes overwhelming.

A few weeks back, Ken Lewis and I attended the tenth annual CARES program on a private farm near Live Oak, Fl. CARES (County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship) is an awards program for Lower Suwannee River basin farmers that have adopted agricultural practices that help protect the quality of the water in the Suwannee River (http://www.suwannee.org/cares.html). Believe it or not, it was attended by close to 1,000 people, including the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and lots of local politicians. I knew water issues were a big deal in Florida, but the turnout was more than I expected. I made the effort to go to this event because I thought it was important to show that, even with all the animosity surrounding the tri-state "water wars," we in agriculture should stick together regardless of state boundaries. I went because I wanted our Florida counterparts to know that we realize the Suwannee River begins in Georgia and both states have a responsibility to protect it.

A few days later, I attended the first annual SHINES program near Adel, Ga. SHINES
(Stewards Helping to Improve the Natural Environment of the Suwannee) was created to recognize local farmers and municipalities in the Upper Suwannee River basin who participate in voluntary, incentive-based programs to improve and enhance water quality. Jake Price (Lowndes) also attended. My counterpart from the University of Florida and several officers of the Florida Farm Bureau crossed the state line to show their support. With twice our population and essentially the entire state an environmentally sensitive area, Florida has been forced to deal with water issues on a grander scale than we have. They still have a lot of problems. Recently, environmental groups sued EPA to enforce Florida water quality standards that most agree are unattainable. Environmental groups have alleged that lawn fertilizer applications have caused environmental damages to Florida waterways, although these allegations are largely unsubstantiated by science.

Those of us in Georgia should watch this scenario very closely. Georgia, Florida and Alabama politicians have waged verbal and legal battles about water, but science and agriculture should have one voice. Agriculture (both rural and urban) can indeed impact water flow in our rivers and the quality of that water. The "A" and the "NR" in ANR are inseparable. Georgia water flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, Alabama and at many points in between. Some of it flows through Alabama and Florida along the way. We should always be aware of the possible consequences of agricultural operations and we should educate our growers on how to minimize those consequences, no matter which side of the state line they're on.

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Family and Consumer Sciences

Photo: Elizabeth AndressElizabeth Andress, Interim FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4860, eandress@uga.edu

The Many Facets of Health

The Spring 2010 report for Walk Georgia shows 2,014 Georgians actively participated in the statewide banner program, logging the equivalent of 300,598 miles. About 71% exercised "a lot or a little more" during the program, compared to the weeks prior to the program. Some 95% reported that Walk Georgia encouraged them to exercise. During the 2009 Spring session, 4,592 Georgians enrolled and 3,036 were still participating at the end of eight weeks. The committee is discussing the reduced participation this past spring compared to both sessions run last year. We of course have fewer agents in counties to encourage team and individual participation, but nevertheless, this program is something that appeals to a wide cross-section of Georgians of most ages and let's hope we can all encourage more participation in the next session. Appreciation is extended to the dedicated leaders of this program from various departments.

There is also an aspect of family health to financial well-being. A team of specialists and agents developed When Your Income Drops to help individuals and families cope with a loss of income. Nearly a quarter of Georgia's FACS agents provide the program on a regular basis (typically monthly) for unemployed workers in their counties. Evaluation suggests the program helps participants identify community resources, feel more optimistic about the future, and have a better idea of what they should (and should not) do. FACS Extension has also cooperated with Georgia 4-H again on Your Money Your Future to reach young people with education about money and with the goal of providing healthy attitudes for the future. 4-H agents provided this series through the school club program in 4th through 8th grade classrooms in more than 20 Georgia counties. Matched pre- and post-tests from more than 2,000 students are currently being analyzed. The lessons were very well received by the students, teachers, and 4-H agents and have now been incorporated into the Georgia 4-H curriculum.

Capitalizing on the H1N1 flu scare and requests from school principals, a new handwashing education initiative in Georgia, Wash Your Paws, Georgia!, was implemented this year. The campaign features a bulldog and teaches children proper handwashing methods. FACS and 4-H have implemented the program with more than 5,000 youth so far. Results from pre- and post-tests indicate the program has been very successful.

The completed 2009 evaluation for the Relationship Smarts program reveals 631 youth across 12 counties received various components of this interactive program that engages youth in active learning about healthy relationships. Participants included youth from middle and high schools, 4-H, church youth groups, foster care, housing authorities, boys/girls clubs, and other community programs, as well as teen parents. The majority of participants were female (69%), in the 8th grade (70%), and 13 or 14 years of age (64%). Some 86% of participants reported that they had been in a dating relationship re-confirming the relevance of this programming. After participating, youth reported greater awareness and understanding of healthy relationships: at least 65% of the participants reported gains in knowledge following each lesson received. As well, the majority of participants (at least 70%) said they are now more confident in using the skills learned and in establishing healthy relationships.

FACS Extension continues to address important issues related to the many facets of individual and family health. Strong families and strong communities continue to be our mission. The sampling of programs and impacts shared here are only representative of a wide variety of methods employed to reach out to Georgia citizens to accomplish this mission. As agents and specialists continue to build our Focus on Outcomes teams and deliver programs leading to documentable impacts, we will make even more strides toward showing that Cooperative Extension can strengthen Georgia individuals, families and the systems with which they interact.

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4-H and Youth Development

Photo: Arch SmithArch Smith, Interim 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H, asmith@uga.edu

"I Am Georgia 4-H" campaign launches

The 2009-2010 4-H year was a tremendous success and it presented numerous opportunities and challenges for 4-H leaders in Georgia. On Aug. 1, Georgia 4-H began its 107th year of creating leaders. Early in 2010, we were reminded just how much support Georgia 4-H has across our state.

Georgia 4-H is developing a new campaign "I Am Georgia 4-H." Between now and National 4-H Week (Oct. 3-9, 2010), county 4-H programs will receive more information on the promotion of the "I Am Georgia 4-H" campaign. During 4-H Updates this month, we will distribute more than 15,000 "I Am Georgia 4-H" car window decals for local county Extension offices to share in their communities. In addition, we have partnered with a friend of 4-H to place a billboard along Interstate 75 that reads "4-H: Creating Leaders for 107 Years." If you are aware of others that can help us acquire billboard space around the state to promote Georgia 4-H, we would appreciate any leads you might provide from your community.

This past Saturday (August 14) the Georgia 4-H Foundation and the Georgia 4-H Advisory Committee hosted the 2010 Georgia 4-H Gala. The gala is held every third year and recognizes one individual with the Georgia 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2010 winner is Dr. M. K. "Curly" Cook, a retired Animal Science specialist with Cooperative Extension and an avid supporter of youth livestock programs. Curly was extremely instrumental in the development of the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Ga. Congratulations to Dr. Cook and his family upon receiving this award. Also, during the gala, more than $100,000 in private support was raised for the 4-H Legacy Endowment which supports unfunded 4-H projects.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, Georgia 4-H will dedicate two new cabins at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Special invitations have been mailed to many friends and supporters of Georgia 4-H, and we ask you to encourage 4-H'ers and friends to attend the dedication which will begin at 11 a.m. in front of Cabins 31 and 32. Construction of the two new cabins has been funded by the Georgia 4-H Foundation through gifts made available from the Georgia Development Authority and Kroger. Cabin 31 will be the Georgia Development Authority Cabin in honor of Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin and Cabin 32 will be the Kroger Customer Cabin. In addition to the dedication of these two cabins, we will re-dedicate the newly renovated Gas Building and we will honor the Georgia Propane Gas Association for their support of this renovation project.

A special thanks to our 4-H agents, 4-H program assistants, volunteer leaders and teen leaders across the state of Georgia who are actively working with our schools to continue delivering the 4-H program to Georgia's youth. As we enter a new program year, we know that Georgia has the best program in the nation. Please continue to make the nation's best 4-H program even better during the 2010-2011 program year.

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Personnel actions since July 1, 2010

New Hires

  • 4-H & Youth—Laura Waters, Public Service Assistant, 7/1/10
  • 4-H & Youth—Jennifer Griffeth, Administrative Associate I, 8/9/10
  • Colquitt County—Santee Ezell, VISTA Grant, 8/21/10
  • Fulton County—Menia Chester, Weatherization Program Coordinator
  • Houston County—Darra McClendon, CEPA, 8/24/10—transfer to VISTA Grant, October 2010
  • Lowndes County—Hana Lemoine, VISTA Grant, 8/21/10
  • Sumner County—Kristen Strickland, VISTA Grant, 8/21/10
  • Southwest District—Ashley Brown, County Secretary, 6/24/10
  • SW District Office—Sarah Harrison, Intern, Volunteer Student Program, 8/12/10 to May, 2011

Retiree/Rehires

  • Baldwin County—David Lowe, 7/1/10
  • Hall County—Debbie Wilburn, 7/1/10
  • Jones County—Hiram Sears, 7/1/10
  • Lincoln County—Martha Partridge, 7/1/10
  • Madison County—Carl Varnadoe, 7/1/10
  • McDuffie County—Frank Watson, 7/1/10
  • Monroe County—John Pope, 7/1/10
  • NE District Office—John Parks, 7/1/10
  • Oconee County—Henry Hibbs, 7/1/10

Retirements

  • Southeast District—Evelyn Patrick, County Ext Prog Asst, 6/30/10

Departures

  • 4-H & Youth—Joelle Freeman, Administrative Associate I, 6/4/10
  • CAES Business Office—Whitney Gaughan, Human Resource Specialist III, 7/23/10
  • Clayton County—Charles Rose, Weatherization Program Coordinator
  • Colquitt County—Luz Cooper, CEPA EFNEP, 8/11/10
  • Dougherty County—Patricia Jackson, CEPA EFNEP, 7/30/10
  • McDuffie County—Kyle Hamlin-Filkins, Public Service Rep, 7/31/10
  • Mitchell County—Russ Williams, ANR Summer Intern, 7/28/10
  • Northwest District—Emily Chow, County Ext Program Asst-Forsyth, 7/31/10
  • Northwest District—Teresa Holm, Public Service Rep-Forsyth, 6/30/10
  • Polk County—Lori Franklin, FACS Public Service Asst, 7/30/10
  • Richmond County—Patricia Martin, 6/30/10
  • Schley County—Beth Bird, CEPA 4-H, 8/27/10
  • Soil and Test Lab—Kathryn Shepard, Laboratory Tech II, 8/6/10
  • Southeast District—Paula Vanotteren, County Ext Prog Asst, 7/2/10
  • Southwest District—Phillip Petway, Public Service Asst, 7/16/10
  • Terrell County—Leslie Cliett, CEPA 4-H, 8/11/10
  • Tift County—Jill Chafin, ANR Summer Intern, 8/11/10
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