Washington County (2016)

2016 County Highlights
Washington County
202 Davis Avenue Marietta, OH 45750
Phone: 740-376-7431
Bruce Zimmer
Health and Wellness

Cooking Matters – A series of six classes taught with hands-on activities to increase adoption of food resource, food selection, and food preparation strategies by limited income adults, was taught two times in 2016 by SNAP-Ed program assistants and the FCS educator. Additional funds from the SNAP-Ed state grant, Farm Bureau of Washington County, The Marietta Community Foundation and Sisters of St. Joseph’s provided equipment and supplies to operate this intensive course. OSU Extension partnered with Evergreen Bible Church to provide childcare and transportation to the classes. Research has found that cooking a meal at home costs approximately 60 percent less than eating out. In post-class tests, participants reported 100 percent confidence that they can use basic cooking skills and buy healthy food for their family on a budget. Pre- versus post-class survey results found a 33 percent increase in use of nutrition facts on food labels to make better choices, a 43 percent increase in choosing low-fat dairy products, and a 64 percent increase in choosing low-sodium food options. Cooking Matters participant Kelly said “Cooking Matters taught me how to encourage my child to try more nutritious foods. It also helped me to become more confident in the kitchen and experiment with recipes to adapt them to my family’s tastes.”

Live Healthy Live Well e-Challenges – Using social media, the Family and Consumer Sciences educator conducted two, six-week online wellness challenges with 100 adults from Washington County during the past year. Twice-weekly email messages encouraged respondents to increase their physical activity, improve their diet, and to use coping techniques to reduce stress. More than 87 percent of Challenge participants report adopting one or more of the recommended practices that might help reduce their risk of developing chronic disease in post-challenge surveys. While research on the cost savings of workplace wellness programs varies, studies have typically shown a return of $3 per $1 spent, and a new study shows a health insurance savings of $2.38 per month by employees who participate which would equal $12,480 for a one-year savings by Washington County participants. One participant from the recent Challenge reported because of their Challenge participation “I became more aware of serving sizes for the foods I eat. If my stress level begins to climb I try to do something "for me" before it takes a toll. Walking or making greeting cards are two of my favorite stress reducers. When at the farmers market on Saturday I looked for vegetables and fruits that I had not had in a while but are now in season.”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) focuses on impacting limited income Washington County families and youth by teaching food budgeting, nutrition and meal management strategies. More than 6,500 adults and youth participated in nearly 550 classes focusing on MyPlate, incorporating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains into their diet, eating breakfast, reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing daily exercise. Participants showed improvement in their nutrition habits in the areas of choosing water instead of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages and using a smaller plate for portion control according to post-series surveys. By working cooperatively with other Extension departments and community partners, SNAP-Ed was also able to provide a local Boys and Girls Club with a raised-bed garden to plant, grow and harvest their own home-grown fruits and vegetables to eat. Additionally, the demand in the area, especially from schools across the county, has allowed us to expand our efforts with the addition of another Program Assistant in September of 2016.

Nearly $1 million in funding within the county through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant and Community Housing Impact and Preservation Programs requires that the county must develop an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice document. As Fair Housing coordinator, our Community Development educator completed a comprehensive five-year plan update. These along with HOME and other housing enhancement programs guard against housing discrimination and help provide housing in our communities. 

Job Skills and Careers

Food Safety Training – In early 2016, the Ohio Department of Health announced a new policy including specific training and certification requirements for license renewal of risk level 3 and 4 food service operations. The OSU Extension – Washington County office responded by offering classes and providing opportunities for online courses and testing. This year, 92 owners/managers completed the nationally recognized ServSafe Manager training program. After training, 95 percent of participants taking the examination successfully passed their certification exam on their first attempt. OSU Extension – Washington County also partnered with area restaurants, camps and businesses to provide employee level food safety training. At a recent ServSafe Manager class, a student noted “Everyone should take this class. Now that I have taken this, I will be sending all of my employees.”

Thriving Across the Life Span

Successful Co-parenting – These classes in Washington County have not only helped 144 parents, but its’ also impacted more than 260 children. In 2016, Washington County provided tools, and keys to help families transition into a new journey in their life. Successful Co-parenting is a class for separating or divorcing parents to receive information on how to best help themselves through the divorce process, while also helping their children cope with living in 2 separate homes. Many parents report back that they are using the materials or information they’ve learned during class. One parent shared that they are better able to communicate with their co-parent and that their families are adjusting well after the divorce. Successful Co-parenting is making an impact by preparing parents for the post-divorce lifestyle, while helping them provide a healthy positive environment for their children to enjoy.

The Washington County 4-H CARTEENS program is a teen-led, traffic safety education program for first-time juvenile traffic offenders. CARTEENS is a combination of Caution and Responsibility with teens as the presenters. In 2016, eight 4-H CARTEENS volunteer presenters reached an audience of more than 165 teen offenders and their legal guardians for a total of more than 330 drivers reached. Some participates expressed that they will be more aware while driving to avoid some of the mistakes that young drivers make and also reported wearing their seatbelts. The goals of the CARTEENS program are to reduce the number of repeat teen traffic offenders, reduce the number of teen traffic offenders, and increase awareness of traffic safety. The message that participates receive is powerful and in most cases educates the young traffic offenders about being cautious and more alert while driving.

Sustainable Food Systems

OSU Extension – Washington County hosted the 2016 Beef School, with 18 beef producers attending. Participants learned about the current beef market, when to cull cows, pros and cons of artificial insemination versus keeping and maintaining a bull, and forage production.

Also, 11 farmers attended a grazing field night to learn about watering and fencing systems for rotational grazing as well as programs available to help cost share the expense for implemented fencing and watering systems.

This year, 76 farm businesses attended the Pesticide Applicator Recertification and were recertified for their Ohio Department of Agriculture pesticide licenses. They stated that the program helped them become more aware of best-use practices on the farm in relation to their safety, worker safety, animal safety, and environmental issues.

Food safety is paramount to animal agriculture, assuring consumer acceptance and confidence in a market where competing proteins and other alternatives are emerging, rivaling food products of animal origin. Furthermore, issues surrounding animal welfare in agricultural livestock production have surfaced that must be addressed at all levels of food animal production, including youth participation in food animal projects. Assuring Quality Care for Animals teaches 4-H members how to use best practices that guarantee producing quality and safe animal products for consumers, as well as responsible animal handling, care and welfare in not only farm animal production, but also with companion and performance animals. In 2016, 80 percent of Washington County’s 4-H projects, not including group projects, were animal projects. At least 301 4-H members and their parents learned about animal handling, care and welfare, in addition to food animal safety by attending a two-hour training session.

Two pesticide licensing test were held in the county hosted by OSU Extension and delivered by ODA.

Eighteen goat producers and owners attend the goat management workshop. Participants learned about predator control, forages for goats, veterinarian update for goats, and FAMACHA training – parasite monitoring. Participants received their FAMANCHA certification.

Engaged Ohioans, Vibrant Communities

Participating in the county’s 28 4-H clubs were more than 700 Washington County 4-H members “learning by doing the 4-H way” with 690 projects. In all, 101 adults and 34 teens serve as volunteers with the Washington County 4-H program. In addition to 24 traditional community clubs, Washington County has four special interest clubs including the CARTEENS Club, Camp Counselor Club, Interstate Exchange Club, Shooting Sports Club. In 4-H, youth learn by doing projects that are designed to fit their needs at different ages. Through a variety of projects—from food and forestry to rockets and rabbits—4-H gives children and teens opportunities to learn life skills, to practice them, and become confident in their ability to use them in the future.

The volunteer fire and emergency medical services departments throughout our county have as their mission protecting the lives and property of the communities they serve. To better enable them to do that our county community development program through grant writing assistance, aids in equipment procurement. A recently obtained thermal imaging camera will allow a department to see areas of heat through smoke and darkness. This life-saving equipment allows firefighters to locate victims and identify fire hot spots, reducing risk of loss of life and property damage. Other examples of assistance include rescue vehicles, automated CPR device, and numerous fire suppression equipment items.

Young people know 4-H camp is fun, whereas youth development experts and parents know 4-H camp helps build teamwork, job readiness, communication and leadership skills, all while campers connect with nature. In 2016, Washington County had 202 youth participate in 4-H Cloverbud camp, beginner camp, junior camp, or senior camp at 4-H Camp Hervida. Adult staff members were assisted by 39 trained teen volunteers to serve as camp counselors for the camps.

4-H Youth Development in Washington County has been hatching chicks for many years. The ChickQuest program in Washington County is thriving while reaching students throughout the county. Nine classrooms participated in the ChickQuest program in 2016. ChickQuest is a 4-H school enrichment program that encourages youth to build STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills while they investigate the life cycle of an embryonic chick. The ChickQuest program reached 190 elementary students in five different schools, as well as 48 high school students. The students enjoyed classroom learning to see how the chicks progressed each day. The 21-day hatch cycle allows STEM activities each day for students to experiment and develop hypothesis. Two Washington County schools made and submitted videos to a statewide contest and won free incubators. This contest sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council’s has helped to bring the ChickQuest program to these classrooms for years to come. 

Environmental Quality

The Washington County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan is designed to identify risks associated with natural disasters. The goal of this plan is to protect life and property from the impacts of these disasters. Our community development program specialist, working with government agencies throughout the county, acted as project manager for this five-year plan update. Addressed in the document’s vulnerability analysis were $3.6 billion in potential property damage. The Washington County plan developed a long-term strategy to implement mitigation actions, which could minimize costs associated with disaster damage and remediation.

At OSU Extension – Washington County’s annual garden party event, Master Gardener Volunteers educated 71 gardeners about, attracting pollinators, type of plants to establish for pollinators, why when and how to prune, making a bird friendly yard, native plants, and organic and non-organic pest management. Forty-four gardeners participated in the overnight Garden Road Show to the Flower Show in Cincinnati, OH, and 38 gardeners participated in the daylong Garden Road Show to the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, Ohio. A Bring One Take One plant exchange attracted 50 gardeners from the community. Master Gardener Volunteers worked with a group of young adults from the juvenile detention center to plan, plant, build, and harvest vegetables in the teaching garden outside the Extension office. The Master Gardener Volunteers organized and hosted a Winter Horticulture Garden series over six Sundays which 154 participants attended and learned about, winter sowing, pollinators, bee keeping, soil and composting, beneficial insects, and plant pathology.

This year, 43 local farmers attended the Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training, which covered soil sampling, water quality, nitrogen management, and phosphorous management. Those in attendance received their fertilizer certification.

Also this year, 18 residents attended the tree identification workshop. They learned how to identify trees and how to use the tree identification guide. Participants received a quick guide to tree identification as well as a detailed color manual.

Washington County receives $123,896 in federal funding for nutrition education for low-income people, thanks to Extension’s local-state-federal partnership. Visit fcs.osu.edu/programs/nutrition for more information.