By participating in virtual wellness challenges, 214 adults set goals to increase fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and a variety of other healthy behaviors to improve overall wellness. Participants reported that tracking behaviors reminded them to make healthy lifestyle choices. Two Medina County employers incentivized participation in these challenges, creating a culture of work that supports employee wellness.
Medina County has added 10 new teaching sites to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP Ed) in 2016, including Garfield Elementary School, where more than 60 percent of students are receiving the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, as well as several public housing complexes.
SNAP-Ed has reached 739 adult participants and 1,961 youth and preschool participants between the months of January and September 2016. Adult SNAP-Ed participants surveyed showed positive behavior changes and outcomes including using strategies taught in the program to manage portion sizes, drinking more water and less sugary beverages, and having less concern about food running out before being able to buy more. These behaviors and outcomes are consistent with the program goals of obesity prevention and working toward a food secure climate across Medina County.
The Medina County 4-H Junior Leadership Club has worked for many years to raise and save funds to build a new Milkshake Booth. This year, the club has agreed to donate $40,000 to the Medina County Agricultural Society to fund the building of a new Milkshake Booth. During the week of the Medina County fair and the weekend prior to the fair opening, the 4-H Junior Leaders members worked in the milkshake booth, developing job skills through customer service, punctuality, teamwork, and communication. Money earned from the sales of milkshakes helps to provide education, training, and opportunities for members, in addition to giving back to the community.
Extension’s Community Development (CD) educator worked with Medina County Economic Development and the Made in Medina Committee to assist manufacturers in need of employees and to help the unemployed, underemployed, and emerging workforce to fill existing openings. This initiative also focused on creating a pipeline of talent for manufacturing careers through introducing youth and parents to manufacturing as a viable and beneficial career choice. The impact on the economy will continue to be measured to determine the return on investment (ROI).
Agriculture and natural resources provides required continuing education and certification training for 48 private pesticide license applicators and fertilizer applicators to continue conducting their work within Medina County. Farmers and other applicators can keep up-to-date with the latest research, rules, and safety training for reducing pesticide exposure, drift, and runoff of excess nutrients into our communities.
Medina County Junior Fair Board hosted CME Group 4-H Commodity Carnival at the 2016 county fair. Youth provided information to educate and increase the understanding of 316 fair goers on the importance of agricultural commodities. A hands-on activity provided a connection to the risks involved in managing an agricultural business.
Eight Medina County Middle Schools participated in the OSU Extension program Real Money. Real World., where the entire eighth grade class learned critical concepts related to personal finance. Students were able to put their knowledge to use in a realistic simulation in which their designated earnings (less deductions) from an assigned career, were budgeted to support the needs of their given family scenario.
Five specially trained volunteers and 23 4-H members and their pets participated in the 4-H PetPALS Program, a program linking youth and their pets with senior adults. Volunteers taught youth valuable skills, which allowed youth to communicate and interact with residents in nursing home, assisted living, and health care facilities. Youth members learned to select and train their pets as well as develop leadership and citizenship skills that will last a lifetime.
More than 200 Medina County youth, teens, campers, counselors, parents, volunteers, Extension educators, and state specialists participated in the Medina County One Stop. The event offered a variety of trainings and activities for individuals connected to the 4-H program, including child abuse and neglect training, camp registration, crafts and activities, team-building,10-Minute Science, risk management, project-specific trainings, and BCI background checks for volunteers.
Medina County Master Gardener Volunteers have conducted nine local garden-related programs in 2016 for all ages. 115 adults and 54 children have learned about planting, seeds, gardening, growing vegetables in the ground, raised beds, and containers through workshops and presentations conducted by volunteers in the community.
A backyard poultry program was held in Medina to assist 20 homeowners wishing to raise their own chickens for meat and eggs at home. This program addressed bird health, housing, and rules for raising chickens on a small scale.
A pasture rescue workshop for 11 farmers was held to improve grazing lands and pastures for livestock raised here in Medina County.
The Agritourism Seminar held February 23, 2016 offered information and inspiration to 32 farmers on how to extend their growing season, add value on the farm, expand their business into tourism endeavors, and how to plan accordingly for liabilities, budgeting, and marketing.
This year, 95 junior campers participated in 4-H camp at Kelleys Island; and 54 campers participated in Cloverbud day camp. A total of 40 counselors volunteered their time at one or both camps These teen leaders completed rigorous training to prepare for their counselor roles in areas such as child development, behavior and risk management, camper health and wellness, supportive relationships, and teaching. Of the 96 campers attending 4-H camp at Kelleys Island, which was a 39 percent growth from 2015, 50 percent were first-year campers. Favorite Kelleys Island camp activities included 9 Square in the Air, the Glow Luau, Gaga Ball, and snorkeling. Youth participated in outdoor learning experiences and gained skills in independent living, communications, teamwork, and leadership.
Medina County 4-H has 1,133 youth members and 282 volunteers serving in 2016. A total of 2,243 projects were judged and exhibited at the Medina County fair. During the life of a project, a member must identify their interests, meet enrollment deadlines, research their project, and perform a variety of project-related tasks (e.g., record keeping, decision-making, public presentations, and judging preparation). 4-H members are involved in every level of preparation including decisions related to which animal to take, how to care for and raise a healthy animal, tracking business expenses and health records, working with the animal daily to train the animal for showmanship, and understanding the life cycle of an animal from birth through sales. These tasks translate into life skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, purchasing and fiscal management, record keeping, time management, teamwork, being responsible, leadership, showmanship, and public speaking.
In 2016, 12 Medina County 4-H members served as teen facilitators for the 16th annual Sister to Sister Conference (a one-day event for girls ages 11-13). The teen facilitators gained valuable experience understanding the purpose and function of a board. Serving on a board with representation from multiple agencies, teens learned that board members work together as a team to identify a need, develop and facilitate a program that is compatible with the board’s goal. Through this process, teens have the opportunity to discover their strengths and contribute to the board’s goal. This year, 54 middle school girls participated in this popular community event.
Fifteen Master Gardener Volunteer trainees ranging in age from 18 to 60+ have completed more than 50 hours of continuing education and training in horticulture, insects, and soils in 2016 to become Master Gardener Volunteer interns. Each volunteer will be required to contribute 50 hours annually of volunteerism for OSU Extension, keeping them engaged in their community and increasing support to Medina residents on home horticulture topics.
A total of 27 current Master Gardener Volunteers have volunteered 1,337 hours of their time to educational projects and workshops in Medina County, including promoting pollinator conservation, teaching container gardening, workshops with kids in preschool, collecting data, and giving presentations to various groups in the community. These efforts are valued at more than $30,835 to the Medina County community.
OSU Extension – Medina County’s CD educator updated the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Brunswick Hills Township. The updated information was used by the Trustees to support the levy request for additional funding for law enforcement based on an increase in population since the previous report. The information is being used for other planning purposes as well.
In 2016, 48 pesticide applicator license holders attended recertification training. Training included information on reducing pesticide drift, excess pesticide applications, and improving safety of the applicators and those around them.
A "Global Climate Change and Gardening" workshop was held October 24, 2016. Seventeen attendees learned about the history of climate fluctuations, changes and impacts from human activities, and how climate fluctuations may impact gardening in the future.
The second annual OSU Pond School was held on June 1 in Medina – the pond capital of Ohio, in partnership with Medina Parks, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Cleveland Metroparks, and Medina Soil and Water. This three-track workshop offered 46 participants education on nutrient runoff, algae management, wildlife conservation, and fisheries management for pond owners and managers. This class helps reduce wrongful use of aquatic pesticides, reduce runoff that contributes to harmful algae blooms, and increase pond owner confidence in managing their pondscapes appropriately.
A total of 361 Medina County 4-H members and parents participated in “Assuring Quality Care for Animals” in 2016. Good production practices and good environmental stewardship were covered in-depth. Hands-on learning included a visual evaluation of water samples. Youth gained knowledge on the importance of providing clean drinking water for their livestock and how to prevent run-off and contamination.