Recipients of the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) learn how to stretch their food dollars and create balanced meals through classes offered by OSU Extension. A SNAP-Ed program assistant, whose position is fully funded by a federal grant, offers interactive classes on balanced meals and food shopping guided by MyPlate, emphasizing making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, making half of your grain choices whole grains, making dairy choices low-fat or fat-free, and getting a variety of protein sources including plant-based ones. This is the first year of the program in Paulding County.
A countywide task force/emergency planning group to address local concerns about biting insects was started in July, with a focus on addressing issues related to the Zika virus. Local, state and national groups identified human health, livestock biosecurity/health and safety as the top factors to focus upon. The statewide group is working with OSU Extension, The Ohio State University, the CDC, state and local hospitals, travel agencies, OSU Veterinary hospital, statewide government and local health departments on the proactive educational approach to this potential epidemic.
STEM Pathways programs in science, technology, engineering and math improve young people's curiosity, logical thinking, problem-solving, team communication and workforce skills necessary to compete in a high-tech global society. STEM programming took place in a variety of settings in Paulding County that allowed for 305 youth to practice experiential learning. Activities included Junk Drawer Robotics, Art Robots, Balloon Chairs, Marshmallow Catapults, and Bouncy Balls. Meccanoid, the 4-H robot, also made an appearance and interacted with the youth.
This year, 672 youth received agriculture and natural resource (ANR) training from the ANR educator and the 4-H Youth Development educator in two educational programs: More Than Just Cows and Plows; and Soil and Water Conservation District Natural Resources Fifth Grade Field Day. These educational programs met STEM requirements and introduced new subject matter to youth that they would not get from other resources.
A $3,800 grant from the Ohio 4-H Foundation for Lego EV3 Robotic Kits was received. This robotics program introduced youth to the amazing world of robotics and programming. Youth learned how to build a Lego robot and then program the robot to complete different tasks. Goals of this program are to encourage youth to consider careers in STEM professions, develop teamwork and critical thinking skills.
Through Extension-led teaching, 29 youths served as residential camp counselors for younger youth in Paulding County. The camp counselors were trained for a total of 24 hours in the following areas: child development, communication, cultural awareness, risk management, personal commitment, program planning, self-direction, teaching teamwork, problem-solving, and professionalism. Additionally, the 4-H educator taught more than 100 camp counselors from across the northwest area of Ohio how to recognize and prevent bullying and what to do if they learned that bullying was occurring at camp or elsewhere.
Paulding County 4-H served 364 youth through 13 4-H clubs. Paulding County 4-H is led by 43 adult volunteers who provide safe, inclusive environments for youth to determine goals and make educated decisions. Members develop leadership and interviewing skills as part of being club members and officers. The program encourages youth and parents to work as a team to problem-solve building skills for resiliency. Parents are involved in participation at club events and are encouraged to learn along with their children. The youth completed 520 hands-on educational projects that increased their skills and knowledge in the areas of animal sciences, veterinary science, clothing and textile science, creative and leisure arts, food and nutrition, healthy living, natural resources, STEM and citizenship.
Each year, the Paulding County Master Gardener Volunteers are required to earn a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education credits and 20 hours of community service credits toward their annual requirements to be active volunteers. Paulding County has 12 active/certified MGVs who volunteered more than 1,550 hours of community service. At the current Ohio rate of $22.14 per volunteer hour, this equates to $34,317 worth of volunteer support to our county.
4-H camp helps build critical life skills for both campers and teen counselors by stressing teamwork, communications and leadership. Camp also cultivates the job readiness skills employers look for, all while giving campers a chance to connect to nature. In Paulding County, 104 campers and 29 teen counselors spent five days sharpening these important life skills having a “Dino-Mite” time. This year, 36 youth ages 5-8 also participated in a Cloverbud day camp where they learned about dinosaurs.
In cooperation with juvenile court, the Paulding County 4-H program coordinated and hosted the highly successful Ohio 4-H CARTEENS program. This program seeks to reduce the number of second-time traffic offenders in Ohio by having driver safety information taught to teens by teens and other professionals partnering with the State Highway Patrol. CARTEENS provided bi-monthly court appointed traffic classes for 42 first-time traffic offenders.
Hundreds of local questions in consumer horticulture were asked through the Paulding Master Gardener Volunteer hotline and/or the ANR educator. Practical answers and affordable solutions were provided in the areas of gardening, weed identification/control, pond management, arboriculture and pest mitigation. In addition, OSU Extension – Paulding County conducts many on-farm and residential visits to help horticultural producers and home owners resolve crisis situations relative to plant disease, spray drift and insect control.
OSU Extension – Paulding County provides agricultural resource expertise to boost farm productivity. The boost in farm productivity comes from providing assistance and guidance in farm management topics which include developing farm leases, negotiating cash rents, enterprise analysis and budgeting. Agronomic issues include pesticide training, planting recommendations, weed, disease and insect identification and management recommendations, and soil test interpretation and fertilizer recommendations. Clientele rely on receiving university recommendations to correct problems or gain new information for the individual or business.
MGVs offered education programs throughout the community, local nursing homes/assisted living areas, and local schools. MGVs and the county educator continue to work with the Antwerp AC/DC on developing rain gardens in the Antwerp Park area. Additional projects include landscaping the Oakwood Habitat for Humanity House, Grover Hill Elementary Environmental Garden, Payne Park, Antwerp Village Containers, Junior Master Gardener program, Memorial Garden at the fairgrounds, the Reservoir Park, Fort Brown, Antwerp Village, and the Black Swamp Nature Center. A memorial was established in Oakwood in memory of Master Gardener Volunteer Nolan Shisler.
The 4-H educator made a significant effort to reach youth not involved in traditional 4-H clubs. During the 2015-16 school year, more than 350 different youth were taught curriculum centering on life sciences, financial literacy, career development, environment, and literacy through school-enrichment programs.
This year,47 farmers with pesticide licenses learned safe and effective methods to control agricultural pests by attending Extension-hosted training. On average, each participant applies pesticides on 1,102 acres, making this year’s program reach 51,780 acres of cropland. Participants improved personal safety practices and improved pesticide handling practices (mixing, loading, storing, and applying). More than 135 farmers are licensed in Paulding County and must obtain three hours of recertification every three years.
Through Extension-led training, 43 volunteers were certified in child abuse policy, taught to identify the four types of child abuse, and how to report it properly. Training volunteers on this information led to better understanding in the community for signs and symptoms, frequency of issues at the county and state level, and an awareness of the many different kinds of abuse.
Managing nutrients to improve water quality is very important for Paulding County. Since 2014, more than 200 farmers have completed Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (FACT) at programs in Paulding County. Attendees learned best management practices for managing soil test levels and applying nitrogen and phosphorus. As water quality is important to all stakeholders, including farmers, three water quality monitoring stations were installed by farmer volunteers to monitor dissolved reactive phosphorus leaving the field. On-farm research emphasis continues to be the 4 R’s (right rate, right source, right time, and right placement) of nutrient application on farm fields.
OSU Extension’s nutrient management plan writer, housed in Paulding County, has completed seven nutrient management plans (NMP) and comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP) within Western Lake Erie Basin, with about 4,313 acres covered.
Paulding County hosted the Northwest Ohio Livestock Producers Meetings (NWOLP), with more than 70 participants, from January to April. Topics included ONMRK (Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeping System), dairy farm robotics, Swine Industry Audit, Avian Influenza update and biosecurity. Producers could earn two hours of CLM credits at each event.