Roughly one in six people incur foodborne illness each year. Around $55.5 billion is spent on health-related costs due to foodborne illnesses .In Ohio, the Department of Health requires Food Protection Certification for licensure. Wood County Family and Consumer Sciences staff remain a viable resource to educate and train food operators regarding safe food handling behaviors.
The Wood County 4-H CARTEENS program taught 130 first-time juvenile traffic offenders valuable safety information. For the program, 25 teen facilitators utilized a “teens teaching teens” approach to traffic education while also building offenders’ self-esteem and interpersonal skills. As a result of this program, 92 percent of the participants including teen facilitators and adult instructors said they will drive more cautiously, will not text and drive, and will slow down when operating a vehicle.
This year, 4-H offered educational experiences to 3,200 youth, 300 volunteer advisers, and 300 teen leaders. There were 54 community 4-H clubs with an enrollment of 1,300. In all, 85 teens helped conduct judging events, skillathons and clinics and were involved in community service. At least 70 4-H members and young adults were heavily involved in the planning of the junior fair; and 85 4-H teens were camp counselors for 4-H and Kids’ Outdoor Science Camp.
4-H camp was filled to capacity again in 2016 with 206 4-H campers. This year, 44 camp counselors and 14 adults received training to enable them to design a camp program that incorporated many of the critical elements needed in a positive 4-H experience. As a result of the training program, 94 percent of the counselors felt better prepared to lead campers; and 89 percent learned new techniques in dealing with campers with special needs and preparing for emergency situations.
In 2016, Wood County FCS offered three series of six-week Cooking Matters classes to individuals who were struggling with food insecurity. After participating in the Cooking Matters course, families are more confident in their cooking abilities, cooking meals more often, and making meals healthier and more budget-friendly. Over the long term, families were still eating more fruits and vegetables and reaching more often for low-sodium options, low-fat dairy foods, and lean proteins and whole grains. Eating healthier meals puts Wood County families at lower risk for diet-related diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The Northern Ohio Crops Day continued to address timely topics that impact grain producers’ bottom line. This year, 160 participants learned how new technologies and issues could be affecting their operations and management decisions for the coming crop year. Also, 80 of the participants received private or commercial pesticide re-certification credits and 25 Certified Crop Advisers obtained continuing educational credits. All participants received the necessary credits for Ohio’s fertilizer certification program. The program is sponsored by 17 local ag businesses, and the OSU Extension Erie Basin Extension Education and Research Area.
Women in Agriculture, a one-day workshop conducted in Wood County, engages females ages 17 to 85 and supports families involved with agriculture by conducting educational programs and activities that address their pursuit in building independent and productive lives. Afterward, 81 percent reported the program Increased family communication on the farm, 93 percent reported the knowledge gained at the workshop can be applied to their farm operation; and 95 percent reported the knowledge gained will be applied to their personal life. When asked the most important thing learned, one participant stated: Women in ag all have to prove themselves more on the farm or business. If we all can support each other and be ourselves, then ag’s future is brighter.” Another reported: “You have to tell your story. We have to be a strong example of women in ag for our future women in ag!”
The Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program is a cooperative effort between Wood County Park District and OSU Extension. This collaboration has significantly impacted the knowledge of the participants in natural resources. The volunteer naturalists have been involved with planning and conducting educational seminars.
The Wood County Master Gardener Volunteer program has grown to 147 active volunteers. Our MGVs are very active in various projects throughout the county, including a new native bed planting in The Grove at the Wood County fairgrounds and a new quilt garden at Simpson Garden Park. MGVs are also active in presenting horticultural information to local garden clubs, libraries and other organizations. They hosted the annual Plant Exchange, reaching more than 250 people with information on invasive plants and pests, native plants, monarch butterflies, and composting, as well as plants to give away.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is important minimize ultraviolet radiation exposure on our skin from the sun. The Sun Safety program conducted by Wood County family and consumer sciences provided information on proper use of skin protection products and sun safety practices to guide lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of skin cancer. “I never thought about the importance of protecting my lips from sun damage,” said one Wood County resident.
Agricultural research projects were conducted by Extension in nutrient management, soil and water quality improvement, integrated pest management, and production efficiency. Specific projects focused on cover crops, soil compaction, soil quality, pest scouting, soybean population comparisons, crop rotation, and sustainable cropping systems. Results were shared at local agronomy updates at the Conservation Tillage Conference, Northern Ohio Crops Day, Northwest Ag Research Field Crops Day, and other events. As a result, producers improved farm income and reduced pesticide and fertilizer use by following Extension recommendations.