Ottawa County (2016)

2016 County Highlights
Ottawa County

240 W. Lake St., Unit C Oak Harbor, OH 43449

Phone: 419-898-3631
Kathy Booher
Health and Wellness

Ottawa County residents have expressed an interest in protecting and enhancing their health and wellness. Through the family and consumer sciences program, a total 164 people were reached through in-person and online educational opportunities centered on aspects of health and wellness ranging from sun safety, food preservation, and nutrition. Programs are aimed at helping people make smart decisions that will positively impact their health, wellbeing, and safety. Workplace wellness has taken the forefront as employers and co-workers build upon making a healthy environment to work in. Through the online Live Healthy Live Well email program in which individuals asked to receive periodic messages, as well as during in person programming, several different workplace sites have been reached with messages to support and guide healthy decision making and activities.

Ottawa County’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed), which provides a grant-funded program assistant for the county at no charge to the county, served a total of 297 Ottawa County residents during the 21 Nutrition Education classes provided in the 2016 Fiscal Year. Of those 297 participants 151 were adults (ages 18+), 54 teens (ages 14-17), and 92 youth (ages 2-13).

As a partnership with SNAP-Ed and the Ottawa County Resource Center, an ongoing nutrition education class is provided to senior citizens at five of the senior centers. The seniors’ nutrition education classes focus on the USDA’s MyPlate, healthy food choices, shopping tips on a budget, and daily physical activity. Of the 151 Adults participating in SNAP-Ed nutrition classes 87 were senior citizens.

SNAP-Ed once again provided nutrition education at two free meal sites for youth during the summer months. Along with receiving a free meal from the United Way, youth participated in education classes to better understand nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Programs focused on knowing and understanding the USDA’s MyPlate, choosing foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars, the importance of daily physical activity, and steps to take to prevent food waste.

Job Skills and Careers

More than 175 licensed charter captains and exhibitors attended the 35th Annual Ohio Charter Captains Conference. This Ohio Sea Grant led program draws statewide interest, typically reaching 20 percent to 25 percent of the licensed captains in the state. Partners include the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife. This program increases information flow to the charter industry and educates captains in fishery resource management, business management, laws and regulations and marine technology. The conference is designed to support the economic benefits to the region via the charter industry while also enhancing stewardship of the lake by those who use the resource the most. Of the captains who responded to a post-event survey, 40 percent reported increasing profitability, and 90 percent of respondents in 2016 reported improving their operation based on information presented at the conference.

The Real Money. Real World. financial literacy program was conducted at four school districts across Ottawa County, reaching a total of 389 students in eighth grade. Youth went through the spending simulation as well as other sessions of career exploration and saving for the future. Youth noted the program helped them realize how expensive things really were in the real world.

When asked what was most surprising students said “How much everything in a home really costs” and “I didn’t realize how much stuff like clothes, food, and gas add up.” Many students also made plans to open savings accounts and to make better decisions about spending and saving. One student said “I plan to watch my spending more carefully and make wise decisions when buying things.” Youth also realize the impact their grades and education have on their future income with several students saying one thing they plan to change after this program is their grades, amount of education, and planning to go to college longer to get a better job.

Thriving Across the Life Span

The Ottawa County 4-H school enrichment program offered 15 different programs and educational activities kits available to kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers. The programs that are offered meet the Ohio Educational Learning Standards for each grade and incorporate hands-on learning and skill development for youth. When the programs and kits are brought into the classrooms, the students learn in-depth information on the subject being offered. By providing these programs and kits, it helps not only the students, but it also helps prepare the teachers to teach the subjects with additional content required by the Ohio Educational Learning Standards. During 2016, more than 3,000 contacts were made in Ottawa County in the School Enrichment Program.

4-H members from Ottawa County helped share 4-H programming with third-grade classrooms in our local schools during 4-H Awareness Week in February. The teens were able to teach the third-graders about the agricultural process of how popcorn is grown and produced. The teens who helped administer the program gained public speaking and demonstration skills when presenting to the students. Opportunities for the third-graders to continue to enjoy fun educational programs by joining 4-H were shared through brochures that were provided to build their family’s knowledge of what our 4-H program has to offer.

4-H CARTEENS curriculum is used with first-time juvenile traffic offenders who are sentenced by the court to attend the program. CARTEENS is a program that presents factual information to promote safe driving techniques with the intent of reducing the number of teen traffic violations and accidents. The Ottawa County Juvenile Court and Sheriff’s Department issues the offenders to our program. When the offenders leave, they have a fresh and renewed knowledge on driving laws. This is accomplished through hands-on demonstrations of numerous different situations that they may come across. The offenders see firsthand how they will act on the roads while being impaired with the use of a driving simulator and impaired goggles. They also see how long it takes to have a car come to a complete stop while driving at different miles per hour ranges. During all these stations, the instructors review different road laws with the offenders. The offenders leave our program with more knowledge on how to be better drivers on the roads which makes our community a safer place to live in.

Of the 88 counties in Ohio, only eight of them border Lake Erie. As a result, many Ohio youth may be familiar with their Great Lake but never had the opportunity to experience it in person. Ohio Sea Grant partners with OSU Extension, Cleveland Metroparks, and ODNR-Division of Watercraft staff to put on the five-day Sea Camp on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie. Activities include making their own fishing lures, sport fishing basics, sun safety, use of GPS units, aquatic biology and sampling methods, kayaking, snorkeling, charter fishing, filleting fish, and operating power boats and PWC’s. In 2016, 48 adolescents attended Sea Camp. More than 50 percent of participants caught their first fish from Lake Erie, and more than 75 percent tied their first fishing lure, cleaned their first fish, and had their first experience using scientific equipment to collect aquatic organisms. Sea Camp on Kelleys Island has fostered personal connections and a sense of responsibility to Lake Erie for hundreds of Ohio teens, and helped them grow in to Lake Erie literate people, by providing hands-on experience to a variety of recreational opportunities.

Engaged Ohioans, Vibrant Communities

Through invited presentations and advisory committees 59 people were introduced specifically to program offerings of OSU Extension – Ottawa County. This has created new partners to help OSU Extension in Ottawa County provide needed educational initiatives including new partnerships with the local hospital, CASA of Ottawa County, and Ottawa County Juvenile Court.

Environmental Quality

Northern Ohio Crops Day is an annual educational program and is the largest scale agricultural program in Ohio? In northwest Ohio? Its purpose is to address timely topics that impact grain producers’ bottom line and environmental impact. The 180 participants learned how new technologies and issues could be affecting their operations and management decisions for the coming crop year. During the training, 130 of the participants learned about procedures and products for recertification of their pesticide applicator’s license, and 25 Certified Crop Advisers obtained continuing educational credits. All participants learned the new rules and regulations for Ohio’s fertilizer certification program, and have the proper resources and knowledge to apply properly and make a significant impact on the soil and water quality in the region. The program is sponsored by seventeen local ag businesses, and the Erie Basin EERA. 

Ottawa County receives $68,366 in federal funding for nutrition education for low-income people, thanks to Extension’s local-state-federal partnership. Visit for more information.