We Grow Union County NC Cooperative Extension - Union County Center

June 2019

We Grow Youth

4-H STEAMer Fun Has Begun!

Union County 4-H STEAMer Fun program is in full swing. Youth between the ages of five to fourteen years old have participated in a variety of different day camps including Exploring 4-H, Let's Get Creative, and STEM Bytes. Exploring 4-H focuses on the four H's for young people between the ages of five to eight years old especially those who have never participated in a summer day camp program. Let's Get Creative is a creative arts camp which focuses on theater, painting, pottery, and others. STEM Bytes is a day camp which focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As a way to connect with the UCPS middle school academies, the program provided lessons in agriculture technology and health sciences.

Kendall Kennedy lead campers in creating their own underwater paintings.

Congratulations are in order to the youth who competed in District Activity Day on June 14th in Lincoln County. Union County was represented very well with more than 20 youth presenting. Of the twenty participants, sixteen placed wither bronze, silver, or gold in the competitions. Congratulations to Christopher Bernash for placing silver in Arts & Communications, Kaitlyn Caldwell for placing silver in Careers & Entrepreneurship, Oona Erickson for placing silver in Citizenship/Community Service, Deacon Taylor for placing gold in Fisheries & Aquatic Resources, Olivia Stegall and Madeline Taylor for placing gold in Foods & Nutrition, Halinen Mineo for placing gold in Health & Fitness, Kendall Kennedy for placing gold in Health & Fitness, Mars Reckard for placing silver in Science & Technology, Joey Gaertner for placing gold in Science & Technology, Evelyn Carr for placing bronze in Science & Technology, Mary Gaertner for placing silver in Science & Technology, and Ethan Carr for placing bronze in Science & Technology.

Deacon Taylor placed gold for his presentation in Fisheries & Aquatic Resources.
Kids at the Farmers Market: Cooking with Local Foods!

Cheri Bennett, EFNEP Educator and the Union County Public Library partnered to do a summer storytime and nutrition program for parents and their children at the Union County Farmers Market. The goal of the program was to encourage children to experience cooking, try a variety of fruits and vegetables, and enjoy the adventures of reading to develop healthy minds and bodies, in addition to exposing more families to local foods and the County's Farmers Market.

We Grow Knowledge

A new variety and nutrient management trial was put in with John Springer using Non GMO Conventional Soybeans with the help of Richard Melton and the new Area Grains Agent, Jenny Carleo.

The High-Tunnel melon trial continues with DabHar Farms and Small Farms Agent - Aaron Moore.

The second installment of Chainsaw Safety workshops took place where industry professionals received training in storm damaged tree cleanup. This series was made possible by funding from OSHA and partnerships with the University of Georgia Urban Agriculture, STI Turf Care and Union County Farm Bureau. Debbie Dillion - Extension Horticulture Agent and Bill Smith - Urban Forester facilitated the training.

We Grow Citizens

The Extension Master Gardeners held a workshop with guest speaker Chelsea Sloggy - Senior Education Specialist with Union County Soil & Water Conservation District. Chelsea taught participants about the iNaturalist App which is a way that flora and fauna can be photographed, mapped and shared with our community and the world.

Chelsea Sloggy - Senior Education Specialist, Union County Soil & Water Conservation District
This "Soil Ball" model simulates the molecules in soil composition

The Union County Master Gardeners held their Successful Gardener Meeting with Aaron Moore - Small Farms Agent presenting "Dirt Vs. Soil - Soil Building". Aaron discussed the basics of soil health and what you can do in your garden to build your soil and improve your gardening results!

Union County Beekeepers Association Monthly Meeting

Aaron Moore taught a session on Integrated Pest Management at the monthly meeting for the Union County Beekeepers Association. Integrated Pest Management is a sustainable approach to managing pests that combines multiple approaches including prevention, avoidance, pest monitoring and suppression in a manner that minimizes public health, economic, and environmental risk.

We Grow Economy

Marcus McFarland - Nutrition & Wellness Agent conducted his first Safe Plates for Food Managers training for this year. Safe Plates for Food Managers training is a module and activity based training for leaders in Food service to identify causes of food borne illness and discuss ways to prevent food borne illness through best food safety practices. The participants enjoyed real life stories related to the content as well as the hands-on activities that followed. Seven food service managers were certified through this session.

Staff Highlights

It's just as important that we continue to develop and grow ourselves so that we can continually provide Union County with the most accurate and current information available. In June our entire staff participated in a staff development day where we learned more about the updated technology in the Event Center as well as received training on the new Virtual Reality headsets that will be incorporated into various programs.

Several staff members supported Union County 4-H during the South Central District Activity Day. They served as either facilitators and or judges during the event. Crystal Starkes and Leah Joyner would like to express their appreciation to Andrew Baucom, Rachel Owens, Marcus McFarland, Aaron Moore and Kaylyn Gise.

Showcase of Extension Master Gardener programming

Debbie Dillion, Horticulture Agent presented a poster with information about “Weed Identification & Management Workshop for NC Extension Master GardenerSM Volunteers” – regional workshop attended by NC EMGV from 5 counties. She also presented at the NC State Extension Master Gardener College on Campus Conference which was attended by 180 Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension Agents.

Rachel Owens - Extension Agent Livestock

Rachel Owens joined the Union County Cooperative Extension team this month. she comes to us from Giles County Virginia where she served as an interim Agricultural Agent. She received her bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech in Animal Science and then earned her master's degree in Agricultural Business and Economics from West Texas A&M University. Rachel hosted a "Meet & Greet" session where she met with thirty Union County livestock producers and 4-H youth livestock members.


Union County Cooperative Extension, NC State - College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

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