4-H CARTEENS is a peer-to-peer traffic safety program for first-time traffic offenders with the primary goal to reduce the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders and in turn reduce injuries and fatalities on the road. Individuals are typically cited for speeding, traffic sign and signal violations, reckless operation or other moving violations. Participants in the Morgan County program are required to attend the program with a parent or guardian. After-class evaluations by youth participants show that 80 percent are more likely to consider what could go wrong if not driving carefully. After-class evaluations by parents indicate that 93 percent “agree” or “strongly agree” that the session will help their youth become a safe driver. One parent stated after the program, “I hated being required to attend the program with my son because I am so busy, but it was a great program and I think all parents and young drivers should have to attend this program.”
The Morgan County 4-H Cloverbud day camp provides a one day “camping” experience for K through second grade youth and a counselor-in-training opportunity for 13-year-old 4-H members interested in becoming CITs for 4-H resident camp. In August 2016, for the first time, 31 Cloverbuds, three first-year 4-H members, eight older youth-in-training, three Extension professionals, and one adult volunteer participated in the “Fun with Nature” day camp at Burr Oak State Park. This camp involved a new venue for the program, new partners for OSU Extension – Morgan County and an expanded focus for Cloverbud Camp. The outdoor adventure theme provided attendees an entire day of connecting with nature through hikes, water exploration, games and crafts led by the Burr Oak State Park naturalist and two other environmental educators working through another area organization, Rural Action. The program resulted in multiple benefits for both the youth and the adult leaders involved. While exploring the park, campers learned more about Burr Oak, spent quality time outdoors, became more familiar with the outdoor programs available at the park and gained a better appreciation for the environment and their role in protecting and preserving the natural resources. Being outside and being active all day led to more engaged campers and counselors plus fewer issues with boredom or acting out. Camp follow-up comments from verbally polled parents and staff indicated the venue change was well-received by both campers and their parents.
Safety around the home and farm: Each year, residents in our county are seriously injured or killed around equipment. In June, a presentation was made to 80 adults on pesticide safety including long term exposure to small amounts of pesticides. The presentation also emphasized the importance of personal protective equipment to reduce pesticide exposure and how to read the label to use the pesticide with the lowest toxicity to humans and the environment. During the past year, seven ATV presentations and demonstrations were provided in Morgan County to 167 youth. The sessions taught how to safely ride and operate the equipment. In addition, proper age requirements and safety equipment were taught to the youth. The goals of these programs are to educate residents of the dangers of farm and recreational equipment, and to think safety prior to using the equipment.
SNAP-Ed improves daily life: Local Extension family and consumer sciences professionals (SNAP-Ed) provided nutrition education to eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients. Participants learned ways to make their money go further while eating healthful, tasty food. A total of 2,931 direct contacts were made. Of the 2,931 direct contacts, 151 were teens and adults. Of those participants, 83 percent reported that they were somewhat or very confident that they would make one positive change in their household or lifestyle after attending this program.
Behavior change regarding using basic cooking skills such as following a recipe or measuring out ingredients improved after receiving SNAP-Ed programming, with 66 percent of participants indicating that they are somewhat or very confident that they can use basic cooking skills.
Behavior change regarding drinking water instead of sugar-containing drinks has also improved after receiving SNAP-Ed programming, with 51 percent of participants indicating that they usually or always choose water over sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Balance My Day curriculum for schools was available through the SNAP-Ed programming. It offered a seven-topic nutrition series about eating breakfast, eating different kinds of fruits, eating healthy snacks, eating different kinds of vegetables, drinking water instead of soda or juice, eating food from the MyPlate food groups, and doing things to become or stay physically active. At least 2,080 Morgan County youth were given age-appropriate nutrition lessons from this curriculum, which provided interactive, hands-on lessons that integrate nutrition and physical activity knowledge with reading, writing, mathematics and science.
16th annual Ag and Livestock Field Day: Each year, OSU Extension – Morgan County plans a major field day in the county with the cooperation of the Morgan Soil and Water Conservation District, and other businesses and organizations. In August, more than 170 people attended the meeting at Wiseman Livestock Farm. The 16th annual Ag and Livestock Field Day included a tour of conservation practices for crop fields, hay storage and feed options for livestock. There were also presentations on adding quality and value to cattle, marketing livestock, feeding options and financial management to help producers become more competitive in a challenging environment.
Child abuse and neglect training: The Ohio State University, the state 4-H office and the OSU Extension – Morgan County office take seriously the moral and ethical responsibility to safeguard the minor participants in the 4-H Youth Development program. As a result, 65 4-H volunteers and 4-H riding therapy volunteers, five Morgan County adult 4-H camp staff and 17 4-H camp counselors were trained on the types of child abuse and neglect, signs and symptoms of child abuse, prevention measures and the reporting obligations in instances of suspected abuse or neglect of minors.
Morgan County Master Gardener Volunteers help link Extension to the community by connecting the organization to individuals interested in gardening, most often as a hobby, but who are also interested in volunteering and giving back to their communities. In Morgan County, since 2002, nearly fifty people have completed the Master Gardener Volunteer training and of those, half have continued to fulfill their annual volunteer commitment. Master Gardener Volunteers have taken the mission of Extension out into the community by partnering with the library to do educational programs, by building and maintaining a community education garden, by developing a speakers bureau and by organizing a summer garden tour. Each activity has served to strengthen the ties between Extension and the community and helped to ensure that accurate, research-based information is being shared. Each area of outreach has also resulted in program participants enrolling in the Master Gardener Volunteer class, thus continuing the cycle of service.
Pesticide training for youth and adults: In February, 28 producers attended a pesticide recertification course that is required every three years. As a result of these classes, 85 percent have improved personal safety and 81 percent have improved practices to protect the environment. In addition, 14 junior and senior FFA students attended two classes on pesticide training and were tested to receive a license. Those with a license can develop broader job responsibilities, enhanced resumes, greater understanding of the effects of pesticides, and how to use them in a safe and judicious manner.
Forages and livestock: Morgan County is in the Appalachian foothills, making most of the land suitable for forest or forage cover. Managing the land can improve utilization for livestock and wildlife, and improve profitability for farmers and landowners. Twelve programs were provided to educate clientele on how to manage invasive plants that can affect the quality and productivity of land in this region, improve grazing practices to reduce erosion and improve productivity, and to improve productivity raising livestock.