Variety of programs offered by extension

Programs presented by Auglaize County Ohio State University Extension Office impact youth, families and the community, local office educators say.

Extension Office educators were able to reach more than 2,200 youth with the 4-H program through community clubs, school enrichment, and special events. Approximately 275 adult volunteers assisted with the programming, according to 2012 highlights.

Extension Director Beth Miller, who works closely with the county 4-H program, said this year they have moved the enrollment date up from May 1 to April 15, which has been an adjustment.

“With the changes in the new state data base, we needed more time to get the information in,” Miler said.

She said the change in enrollment date has gotten more clubs meeting earlier and more youth picking up project books now. Quality Assurance for livestock projects already is underway.

Fifteen new volunteers have submitted applications for 2013, pending background checks and an orientation.

With the Auglaize County Fair still several months away, Miller said Junior Fair Board members already are working on securing judges and trophy donations.

Market hogs and food and nutrition projects have been the most popular among 4-H youth, while chick embryology continues to be the most popular classroom project.

Approximately 1,000 students in 44 classrooms last year learned through hands-on experiences at school brought to them by the local extension office. Programming topics varied from the chicks to weather to nutrition education and tobacco risk awareness. 4-H in the Classroom programming also helped students learn about making good choices and focusing on friendship skills and conflict resolution.

Camp Palmer taught the 169 campers participating in the five-day program a variety of skills, while trained counselors gained leadership experience. Cloverbud Day camp offered the same types of experiences to younger 4-H members, according to county highlights for 2012.

The CARTEENS program promoted safe driving to 130 teens and worked with local law enforcement officers, who served as guest speakers, as part of a collaborative effort with the Auglaize County Juvenile Court system.

Programming for families and communities was presented by Auglaize County extension educators on topics ranging from diabetes, nutrition and sun safety.

As diabetes continues to increase in Auglaize County, to address the issue, educators collaborated with Joint Township District Memorial Hospital (JTDMH), in St. Marys, to present a program on dining with diabetes, to help participants make positive changes in managing the disease.

“We have been doing a lot of Dining with Diabetes,” said Barb Hennard, who serves as a family and consumer science educator in Auglaize and Mercer counties. “It’s been a very positive program.”

Hennard said a video has been developed, which is now available to help with follow-up to the class or as part of an online course.

“Sometimes people go through the classes and then they have questions,” Hennard said, noting the video, which focuses on how to shop with diabetes, could help answer unresolved concerns.

She said endowment funding has provided the opportunity for her to work with the Auglaize County Educational Service Center to provide a series of four classes aimed at the preschool age. The programming included ideas for nutritious family meals, discussed kindergarten readiness, and through a puppet show addressed social topics with the children. Approximately 50 people attended the classes held at JTDMH.

Approximately 200 third-graders learned the importance of making healthy food choices, proper portion sizes and physical activity through a “Choose It! Use It!” program offered by the Auglaize County Extension Office in 2012, while 630 participants in the Department of Agriculture’s supplemental nutrition assistance program received nutrition education on a variety of topics from the extension office. The office receives more than $34,000 in federal funding for nutrition education for low-income residents.

Seventy-six food service managers, supervisors and staff of schools, health care, food pantries and restaurants completed training for the ServSafe Food Safety program also offered by the extension office last year.

Participants reported increased knowledge in handling food to prevent foodborne illnesses, while county sanitarians reported improvements in the safe handling of food in local establishments, Hennard said.

On the agricultural front, the extension office provided educational information through participation in the annual Conservation Tillage and Technology (CTC) Conference, in Ada, last spring, with a special program for crop consultants and precision agriculture. Almost 100 participants took part in the 14th annual Manure Science Review last summer, with emphasis placed on liquid manure, mortality composting and reducing phosphorus in Ohio waters.

Through continued monitoring for the western bean cutworm, fewer adults have been found throughout the state and approximately 20 found in Auglaize County traps in 2012. With numbers continuing to decrease, no economic damage caused by them was reported last year.

 A noon dairy series monthly from November through March continued to be popular  as was the Auglaize County Ag Breakfast, with discussions and speakers on the third Tuesday of every month at RJ’s Coffey Cup.

Forty-five youth were able to improve their safety and shooting skills with rifle, shotgun, and bow and arrow, during an annual Family Outdoor Skills Day last summer at the Moulton Gun Club. Forty-two youth were members of 4-H shooting sports and learned about safety and shooting techniques with 11 qualified advisors throughout the year.