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Judy Ashley, UGA Extension Coordinator for Walton County

Sample News Column

Judy Ashley, county Extension coordinator in Walton County, wrote a good column for her local newspaper reminding local citizens who's who in their office and what they are working on. Check out her column below and consider writing something similar for your local newspaper.

Improving the community through partnership, education

By Judy Ashley

What does local farming, youth development, nutrition education and radon have in common? The answer is — Walton County Cooperative Extension. We are an informal, educational, network that combines the expertise and resources of federal, state and local governments to improve people's lives. We extend the reach of the University of Georgia to connect you with knowledge, research and resources in the areas of youth, family, and agricultural needs.

William Carlan and I support the Agriculture and Natural Resource issues in the county by helping local farmers, homeowner, and green industry professionals with soil and water quality, plant and animal production, and environmental issues. Just today, as I write this article, we received a call about a homeowner's well that seems to be contaminated, a client has come in with a soil sample to send to our lab, and a mysterious looking insect has been brought in for identification. And, the day is young.

Down the hall, you will find Glen Blair and our 4-H program assistants, Gwen Queen and Michelle Rogers. They run the 4-H program for young people teaching leadership, citizenship and life skills to over 1,600 youth in Walton. Although schools are out this week, they haven't slowed down as the local goat show, Junior Rally and officer training are just around the corner. There is always plenty to get ready for in 4-H.

Molly Kimler, our EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) program assistant, works with low-income audiences and teenage moms to instill good eating habits. Today she is preparing a food safety lesson for a Head Start parents meeting before she is off to Athens for the next couple of days for training in the areas of financial literacy and nutrition.

Becky Chenhall, our radon educator is organizing the 300-plus posters that were submitted in the Radon Awareness Poster contest. Radon is an odorless, invisible gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil. If found in excess amounts in the home, it can lead to lung cancer. Becky works to provide information on how to test for radon in the home and what to do if found.

We provide answers to the public with the research of the University of Georgia to back us up. In this day and time of "information overload" and the easy access to the internet, you should always remember to check sources. As UGA Extension professionals, we are required to base our solutions to client issues on research, not home remedies and hearsay. Whether recommending the safest method possible to control fire ants, or showing a homeowner how to test their home for radon, you can trust that our information is research based.

Got a question? Give us a call at 770-267-1324 or stop by our office at 100 N. Broad St. in Monroe. We are at your service.

Judy Ashley is the Walton County extension coordinator. She can be reached by email at jashley@uga.edu.

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