We Grow Youth
Bill Smith - Union County Urban Forrester
The annual Indian Trail Tree Initiative was held in April. Over the course of one week Bill presented to 932 students in 9 schools, planted 18 twelve foot tall trees and gave away 932 pine trees to students for them to plant at home.
Also in April, Bill presented a "History of Arbor Day" lesson to 60 kids at Sutton Park in Monroe. Together they planted two 12 foot tall trees and the children took home pine trees to plant at home.
Marcus McFarland - Family & Consumer Science Agent
In March Marcus taught a lesson on "Eating the Rainbow" at Sardis Elementary School where students made a pineapple salsa and participated in activities that helped them understand nutrients in fruits & vegetables.
Marcus & Crystal Starkes, Union County 4-H Youth Development Agent partnered to teach an activity at the Union Academy Life Skills Day where they facilitated a lesson on sugar consumption with 10th graders. Students learned how to make a healthier soda.
On Earth day, students at the J Ray Schute Center learned about decreasing food waste and ways to keep growing your own food from previous food.
Crystal Starkes - 4-H Youth Development Agent
4-Her Zackary Baucom participated in the NC 4-H EVER Green in Greensboro where he showcased what youth are learning in Union County About STEM education and robotics.
Twenty 4-Hers interested in coding and robotics completed the Dash & Dot Robotics program. Youth learned how to code the robots using Blockly app. They also learned the importance of teamwork, collaboration and planning. The finale of the program was a competition with the Union County Public Library's 12 teams!
Teen Retreat is a regional conference for 4-Hers to gain leadership and teambuilding skills. Nine youth from Union County participated and voted in their new officers.
Union County 4-H's Embryology program continues in March and April. Several hundred chicks were hatched out in second grade classrooms across Union County!
The Science Explorer's Expo held at Cane Creek Park was a huge success! This family friend event focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities. 4-H youth volunteered and lead a lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly.
50 4-Hers participated in this annual talent and presentation competition on April 25th. This event provides young people the opportunity to challenge themselves to step out and speak in front of a crowd helping them to develop vital public speaking skills.
Third graders throughout Union County participated in Wake Up To Ag Day at their cluster high schools. This partnership between 4-H, Union County Public Schools and FFA Chapters provides these elementary students the opportunity to learn about agriculture first hand from older youth. Many of these FFA students remember participating in event when they were in third grade.
Dancin' In The Clover 2019
Union County 4-H & Youth Development raised $59,000 at the organization’s 10th Annual Spring Gala – Dancin’ in the Clover, held Saturday, March 16th at the Union County Agricultural & Conference Center.
The funds raised at this event will become scholarships for summer camps, leadership building conferences, state conferences, 4-H Congress, and other opportunities for 4-H members and other youth in Union County who need financial assistance.
We Grow Knowledge
Debbie Dillion - Horticulture Agent
In March Debbie conducted a regional pesticide training for private applicators. Fifty eight people received continuing education credits in Ornamental & Turf, Aquatic, Public Health, Forest, Dealer, Right of Way and Demonstration & Research.
Sixty two people attended a regional pesticide school in April facilitated by Debbie. These classes were organized for students who were studying to take their first time applicator exam.
Debbie facilitated a lesson on herbicides for private applicators during the March Educational Meeting for Carolina Green Industry Network. Debbie is an Extension Representative on the CGIN Board.
Aaron Moore - Small Farms Agent
Aaron Moore, liaison agent for Union County Beekeepers Association helped UCBA host and facilitate the 2019 State Beekeepers Meeting. Over 650 licensed beekeepers attended and participated in continuing education workshops.
Phyllis Kesling of Dabhar Farms, Monroe is partnering with Aaron Moore to conduct a melon trial in high tunnels. This trial is looking at six different melon types for production in high tunnels. The objective of this project is to identify melon types that perform well in high tunnels and produce yields high enough to be considered for use in these high value spaces.
Union County Cooperative Extension continues it's partnership with Wingate University as Aaron facilitated a lab for a Food Chemistry course. Aaron took 12 students on a farm tour where they had the opportunity to see examples of the practical use of chemistry in agriculture production.
Marcus McFarland - Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
Marcus also facilitated a lab for Dr. Clontz's Food Chemistry class. The class of 15 students learned about substituting ingredients like flour and eggs when unavailable with items like applesauce and black beans. The students made brownies, pancakes and banana bread using substituted ingredients.
Andrew Baucom - County Extension Director
Corn and Soybean trial plots have been planted over the course of March and April. Seven corn trials ranging from variety selection and starter fertilizer's to weed management. Six soybean trials random, from variety selection to planting dates. 35 acres total have been planted for research trials and on farm demonstrations.
Approximately 75 Broiler Service personnel attended the Broiler Supervisor Short Course conducted by the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, hosted by NC Cooperative Extension to learn about updates in research in poultry husbandry and diseases to assist their companies and growers to produce the highest quality chicken possible for customers. This event was held in conjunction with the Poultry Equipment show and expo where service people and growers had a chance to see and talk with over 35 poultry related suppliers about their latest products and services.
We Grow Citizens
Cooperative Extension exhibited at the Union County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo where staff had the opportunity to share information about our diverse programming with over 70 local businesses and municipalities.
Cheri Bennett - EFNEP Educator
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, (EFNEP), Union County, hosted "Conversations Worth Having: The Role of Nutrition Education in Preventative Care." At this gathering of community members, health & human services professionals, as well as, other Cooperative Extension staff from the South Central District, discussed ways that EFNEP Educators can partner with other human service agencies to offer preventative care more extensively in Union and surrounding counties.
Cheri Bennett hosted a teen cooking class focusing on traditional Irish food at the Lois Morgan Edwards Library in Marshville. This was a hands on class where youth learned culinary skills as well as cultural and historical information on Ireland.
EFNEP classes have seen a rise in participants this year with the average class size being 25 people. Students learn valuable food budgeting skills and vital nutritional information while preparing new recipes such as steamed tilapia and tofu sushi.
Debbie Dillion - Horticulture Agent
Debbie continued her Extension Gardener Series that included topics such as composting and perennials & annuals. In conjunction with the Master Gardeners two free workshops are offered every month at the Union County Agricultural Center. Participants toured the Teaching Garden, learned about Women in Botany, and small space gardening.
We Grow Economy
The 2019 Union County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers hosted their Spring Plant sale in April. Eager residents from all over the county lined up and waited in anticipation for the event to begin. The sale includes plants divided from the Teaching Gardens as well as from Master Gardeners personal gardens.
The Farmers Market resumed season operation hours for Saturdays in April. The market is open from 8 am until 2 pm and is currently offering local strawberries, annuals, vegetable starts, locally raised meats, eggs, in season produce and more. Eighteen vendors have been setting up each week to provide Union County residents with fresh, local foods.
NC Commissioner of Agriculture Visits Union County
Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture for North Carolina visited Union County in early April and addressed over 100 citizens and high school students at Weddington High School. The Commissioner listened to local high school students share their experiences in 4-H and FFA, and the way these programs have guided and shaped their lives. Cooperative Extension produced several short videos sharing the student's perspective on agriculture in their lives. The videos were incorporated into the evening's program.
The following morning, Commissioner Troxler joined Union County producers at a local farm shop for breakfast and discussion on agriculture both at the state and local level. Producers and staff both enjoyed the opportunity to hear Mr. Troxler speak as well as to have invaluable time to address their thoughts and concerns with him.