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Wheeler: Improving community through partnership, education

POSTED: April 12, 2013 1:30 a.m.

What do local farming, youth development, nutrition education and radon have in common? The answer is Hall County Cooperative Extension.

We are an informal, educational network that combines the expertise and resources of federal, state and local governments to improve people’s lives. We extend the reach of the University of Georgia to connect you with knowledge, research and resources in the areas of youth, family and agricultural needs.

In the office, Wanda Cannon supports the needs of homeowners with gardening questions and the Hall County master gardener extension volunteer program. I support the agricultural and natural resources issues in the county by helping local farmers, homeowners and green industry professionals with soil and water-quality questions, plant and animal production and environmental issues.

Just today, we had someone bring in five soil samples for testing, a farm visit, a couple of calls about grub and mole damage in lawns, and an email question from a new land owner on how to make his 20-acre farm productive.

Down the hall, you will find the 4-H staff including 4-H agent Judy Tilford and 4-H program assistants Roxanne Hulsey and Ruth Alligood. They keep the 4-H program going and impact the lives of young people every day by teaching leadership, citizenship and life skills to more than 1,600 youth in Hall County. This week, they have been getting ready to take some 4-Hers to the area poultry judging contest, adult volunteer overnight chaperone training and preparing for a trip to Rock Eagle for the statewide target sports
competition.

Sandra Stringer, our EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) program assistant, works with low-income audiences and teenage moms to instill good eating habits. Today, she showed a group a new recipe to cook for their children that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and cook.

We provide answers to the public with the research from the University of Georgia to back us up. In this day and time of "information overload" and easy access to the Internet, you should always remember to check sources. As UGA Extension professionals, we are required to base our solutions to client issues on research, not home remedies and hearsay. Whether recommending the safest method possible to control fire ants, or helping families prepare nutritious meals, you can trust that our information is research based.

Got a question? Give us a call at 770-535-8293 or stop by the office at 734 East Crescent Drive, Gainesville. We are here to give you the help you need.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

 


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