OSU Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) taught 836 individuals in 116 classes on nutrition, food safety, food budgeting, and food security in 2016. In addition, 600 youth and adults receiving or eligible for the USDA’s SNAP benefits were reached through food pantries, health fairs and nutrition events around the county. As a result, participants were significantly less likely to run out of food at the end of the month, were more likely to make economical and healthier choices when grocery shopping, and were more likely to provide healthier meals for their families.
OSU Extension partnered with the Butler County Employee Wellness Committee to improve overall health. As a result, workplace wellness programs focusing on stress management increased. In addition, 92 people were reached through sun safety education efforts. Individuals had their facial skin and hands viewed for damage and increased awareness of how the sun and tanning beds damage skin and can lead to skin cancer.
The Development of Living Skills (DLS) program offers in-home instruction to individuals and families referred by Children Services. Instruction is given in the areas of nutrition, parenting, child development, money management and home economics. DLS provided 1,224.75 hours of teaching time to 101 clients. As a result, 21 children were reunited with their parents from foster care, and 31 at-risk children were able to remain in their parent’s home, avoiding foster care or kinship care.
More than ever, youth today need a clear understanding of how to manage their finances. Real Money. Real World. (an OSU Extension signature program) gives middle and high school students an understanding of how current income and life choices affect future income. Participants learn how much to expect to pay for housing, transportation and childcare, and how to balance “wants” and “needs.” This hands-on program was offered to more than 1,500 youth; and 58 volunteers staffed the simulation experience. As a result, students felt it was important to do well in school, get an education or training after high school, plan family wisely, have a plan for spending that includes both needs and wants, learn how to make wise financial decisions, and start saving money regularly
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are more than 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses every year. Food safety training for food service professionals is essential to public health and provides potential and current employees the opportunity to market skills and advance income. The ServSafe program provides food safety education and facilitates certification with the National Restaurant Association and the Ohio Department of Health.
Nine women attended the eight-week Annie’s Program. Topics included farm management, retirement and transition, marketing, risk management, communications and financial management. All of the participants reported that they learned something new that would help them with their management of their farm enterprise.
In 2016, there were 62 4-H clubs in Butler County, which represented more than 1,193 members. This program was delivered with the help of 179 adult volunteers, who gave countless hours back to our community and youth. In 2016, two new 4-H clubs were started.
During 2016, 660 teens were mandated to attend one of 40 Butler County 4-H CARTEENS programs accompanied by a parent or guardian. This program is a partnership between OSU Extension, Butler County Juvenile Court, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. This program is staffed by 24 teen volunteers, who gave more than 4,800 hours to the program.
During summer 2016, 15 STEM-focused programs were conducted which reached more than 500 youth. STEM curriculum educates students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics based on real-world experiences. All of the areas are integrated into a cohesive learning experience based on real-world applications.
The Junior Master Gardener program was taught by OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. During the eight-week program, 12 youth participated in lessons about vegetable garden planning, planting and care, pest control, soil health, and invasive species. Educational outreach efforts at farmer’s markets and county fair reached more than 1,300 people.
This year, 50 inner-city youth attended farm tours at Niederman Family Farm, Double J Farm, Jason Jackson’s Farm and the Hamilton Urban Garden Systems. Youth had the opportunity to learn about agriculture and 4-H.
In the summer of 2016, 425 youth participated in 4-H camp and clinics.
In 2016, 32 teens served as 4-H camp counselors, completing training and utilizing life skills that they developed during camp and afterward. Counselors developed leadership and social skills, emergency preparedness, and organizational skills to provide younger youth with better learning experiences.
Suburban communities have more residents who are food insecure than urban or rural, but often the problem is hidden or misunderstood. Use of HEAL MAPPS is a community-based participatory research method that addresses perceptions of food insecurity and healthy food access through photography and global positioning systems. Five youth mappers and three adults residing within Meadow Ridge Apartments in suburban West Chester Township took pictures of community features that they perceive to help or hinder healthy food access and food security along routes that they regularly use. Working along with researchers from the OSU Food Opportunity Research Collaborative, Butler County Success, and 4-H, the mappers used the pictures and map routes to facilitate a community conversation with more than 35 stakeholders and leaders. The results of this process are resident-informed recommendations and actions around improving healthy food access and food security (see the story map at http://go.osu.edu/BeSZ.)
Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) are OSU Extension-trained volunteers empowered to educate others with timely research-based gardening information. The reach of the Master Gardener Volunteer program is immense. In 2016, MGVs reached countless people through media, community projects, and programs. Butler County Master Gardener Volunteers donated more than 4,700 hours last year, providing horticulture education to the public. Their volunteer efforts resulted in $94,618 worth of community service throughout Butler County.
Butler County citizens learned about agriculture in the Farm Zone building at the Butler County fair. Topics included agriculture, pollinators, where our food comes from, natural resources, science in agriculture and exploring our outdoors. Master Gardener Volunteers also staff this event with an Ask the Expert booth for gardening help. More than 3,500 fairgoers went through the building in 2016.
Proper pesticide usage following the integrated pest management method was a main focus for homeowner education. Through the horticulture hotline, newsletters, Home Horticulture Series, community outreach, and one-on-one consultation, OSU Extension – Butler County helped 1,750 homeowners make research-based decisions on pest and disease management, as well as pesticide usage in their home landscapes and gardens.
Pressure to limit the use of fertilizers is increasing. Legislative, regulatory and non-government organization activities, including legal action pertaining to nutrients in the environment, are taking place on national, regional, state and local levels. OSU Extension provided two trainings to local producers on how to incorporate the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship into their local nutrient management plan through the fertilizer certification program. A total of 95 percent of the 115 participants said they learned valuable information and they would be able to utilize this information on their farm.
Invasive species, including emerald ash borer and most recently the walnut twig beetle with Thousand Canker Disease, are of concern in Butler County as well as around the state. To better prepare citizens for best management decisions, OSU Extension – Butler County continues to lead educational efforts by providing information on how to identify species and symptoms, economic impacts, tree identification, proper controls, and regulatory laws for invasive species. More than 500 citizens were reached at local festival displays, community meetings, house visits, and with one-on-one phone consultations.
Increasing yields of agronomic crops/forages as well as correct use of pesticides was a main focus during OSU Extension pesticide applicator meetings. During 2016, 92 participants representing more than 25,000 acres in Butler County were provided up-to-date, research-based information on the safe and effective use of chemicals.
More than 500 4-H members learned how to ensure animal and food safety by attending quality assurance training led by OSU Extension and certified Butler County agricultural education teachers. Participants learned the importance of maintaining medication and treatment records, proper administration techniques, and appropriate feed processor procedures and feed tag recommendations.