We Grow Youth
July is full of camps! Union County 4-H held several camps this month. The camps included STEAM Explorers, Project Runway, Going for Gold, and Kid Chef. We are very grateful to Union County's new communications team for producing the following video and helping us tell the story of our Kid's Chef Camp.
Marcus collaborated with 4-H to bring another year of the Kid's Chef camp through 4-H summer fun. Over the 3-day camp, our 4-H kids learned to make several different recipes such as black bean brownies and 3-ingredient pancakes. They also learned to use knives safely and practiced hand washing and cleaning their cooking space to prevent germs.
Campers learned about the importance of proper nutrition for animals as well as what products come from animals. They enjoyed getting hands on as Rachel taught them how to "milk a cow" and played several educational games which enhanced their understanding of animal husbandry.
Fifteen Union County 4-Hers attended NC 4-H Congress which is a leadership conference for teenagers. Four Union County members were inducted into the NC 4-H Honor Club. They are Reva Dandrow, Kendall Kennedy, Taivon Sams, and Nikki Tuttle. Tuttle and Sams were also inducted as South Central District officers - secretary/treasurer and reporter.
Union County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers worked in cooperation with the Monroe Garden Club & Monroe Parks & Recreation to support this program that brings children outside, into the garden, and gets their hands in the dirt.
In partnership with Alliance for Children and New Testament Child Development Center, Health & Wellness Agent, Marcus McFarland led a taste test with 3 year old and 4 year old preschool children. This was a part of the Farm-to-Early Childhood Education initiative with the Center for Environment Farming Systems. The children learned to make a healthy summer peach salad with a dressing. The kids enjoyed chopping up the peaches with safety knives, mixing and shaking up the dressing, and ripping up the herbs and greens for the salad.
We Grow Knowledge
Rachel Owens, Livestock Agent in partnership with Union County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Soil & Water Foundation and Scott Baucom of Fence Row Farms began a Forage Variety Trial. An experimental forage variety trial was planted with Scott Baucom of Fence Row Farms where four different varieties of summer annual forages were planted in late June. The data has been collected throughout July in preparation for the Forage Field Day to be held in August.
We held 2 of 3 summer workshops in July with UCPS educators from both elementary and high schools across the county to work on the revamped Wake Up to Agriculture Experience. The workshops focused on curriculum building and finding ways to incorporate Agriculture and STEM based activities into the classrooms of 3rd grade teachers. Workshops also focused on ways that high school agriculture teachers can best prepare their high school students across the school year to present and educate the 3rd grade students at Wake Up to Agriculture Week in April of 2020. The workshops were co-facilitated by Crystal Starkes, UC 4-H Agent with NC Cooperative Extension, and Brian Davis, Director of Career Readiness for UCPS. Both July workshops were held at the UC Ag Center.
We Grow Citizens
Marcus McFarland, Health & Wellness Agent shared canning tips and resources at the Waxhaw Farmers Market. Marcus was on site answering questions, offering canning and preserves class resources, and provided pressure gauge checks for pressure canners.
Marcus continued teaching home food preservation with his Summer Can Jam Series. This was a three day course on food safety when canning foods, materials used for canning and preservation, as well as a hands-on lessons in two important methods of canning, Water Bath and Pressure Canning. Area Specialized Agent in Food Safety, Debbie Stroud came in to discuss safety and pressure canning instructions. Participants were able to practice making dill pickles and canned green beans and were sent home with resources to help them practice more canning at home.
Dr. Erika Niland, Associate Professor of Biology - Wingate University discussed Insects, Pests & Their Thermal Limits at the July Union County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers monthly educational meeting. Participants learned how insects respond to temperature changes and how that may affect them and our gardens in the future.
Union County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers staffed an Information Booth at the Waxhaw Farmers Market. Volunteers were on hand to answer questions related to gardening.
Members of the Waxhaw Jr Art League, Bonnie Wood, Patricia Dudley, Liam Drake, and Jacob Dudley, began painting an agriculture scene on the above ground cistern adjacent to the Teaching Garden.
We Grow Economy
The Union County Farmers Market is celebrating 30 years of serving our community with fresh, local, in-season produce, meats, honey, baked goods and hand made artisan items. We hope you enjoy this short promotional video produced by our staff that highlights the variety of items produced right here in Union County!
Cheri Bennett, EFNEP Nutrition Educator and Rachel Owens, Agriculture - Livestock Agent, completed the required training through the Eastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to receive certification from the National Council for Behavioral Health in the area of Mental Health First Aid. The training was offered to NC Cooperative Extension employees, as a means of equipping staff with tools to identify when consumers may be struggling with mental health or substance abuse problems and to connect them with the appropriate support and resources when necessary. Mental Health First Aid prepares staff members to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
Crystal Starkes has been accepted into the 2019-2020 Union County Leadership Development Program. The leadership development program began in 2013 and to date 160 UC employees have completed the 9-month program. The program was created to focus on building organizational strength through the development of key staff throughout the organization. Participants begin each year by discovering their personal strengths, individual communication style, emotional intelligence quotient, and creative thinking and innovation styles. They then use this insight to build a personal career plan. The program then moves to skill and competency based learning which includes topics like disciplined listening, change management, performance management, coaching, interviewing and selection, public speaking, time and attention management, and team building.