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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for November 2012

Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824,

Extension Colleagues:

The last four weeks have been a very interesting time for our country and state. The election is now over and our local, state and national leaders for the immediate future have been identified. These are difficult times and our elected officials have tough jobs to do as they work to resolve the most pressing issues facing our nation, state or county. Now is time for us to congratulate the newly elected officials and make sure they are familiar with UGA Cooperative Extension and the impact of our work in their district. Please do not underestimate the power of the local connection with these elected officials. And, thank you for your ongoing work to keep us connected with them.

The news on state revenue figures for October 2012 is positive. Georgia's net tax collections for October totaled $1.38 billion for an increase of $83.5 million, or 6.4 percent, compared to October 2011. Through four months, net revenue collections totaled $5.6 billion — an increase of $258.5 million, or 4.8 percent, compared to last year. Please remember the budget is based on 5 percent growth so we need to see this continued positive trend through the holiday season on the first six months of 2013.

In the last four weeks, I have traveled to all corners of the state and represented UGA Cooperative Extension at several national meetings. I attended District Plan of Work sessions in Dahlonega, Griffin, Tifton and Statesboro. It was great to be face-to-face with all our agents and share an update from CAES administration. And, I appreciated the opportunity to address the membership of GACAA at their annual conference in Callaway Gardens. Rock Eagle was the sight of Junior Conference and a cabin dedication on a beautiful November Sunday morning. I also represented us at the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees fall meeting in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and the national meeting of APLU (Association of Public Land Grant Universities) in Denver, Colorado. Although I am a little road weary, it is always an honor and privilege to be with you and represent Georgia Cooperative Extension on the national level.

Notes of special interest for this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Andress on being recognized as the winner of the National Award for Excellence in Extension at the 2012 APLU meeting.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Maria Navarro for being presented the 2012 New Teacher Award at the APLU meeting.
  • Dr. Gail Hanula has announced her retirement effective Dec. 1.  (Please read the profile on Gail in this edition of the newsletter.) Please join me in recognizing and thanking Gail Hanula for her years of service to Georgia Cooperative Extension and for her outstanding leadership of our EFNEP program. She will certainly be missed. A meeting is on the schedule with Dean Fox and Dr. Debbie Murray to discuss plans for interim leadership of EFNEP and future direction of this position.
  • Charlene Carpenter will retire from our State 4-H office at the end of November. Charlene, thanks for 40 years of service to UGA and 35 years of keeping our State 4-H Office running smoothly and efficiently. You have "trained" three of the finest State 4-H Leaders in the nation and they/we are most appreciative of your talents.

Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving holiday and GO DAWGS!!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson reminds us that we have a lot to be thankful for;
  • Arch Smith provides information on the new 4-H Code of Conduct, Art at the Rock and Charlene Carpenter's retirement;
  • Deborah Murray gives an update on FACS training efforts; and
  • Steve Brown encourages us to look at the changing demographics of our clients.

County Operations

Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

Giving thanks

This article is going to be a little different from the newsletter articles I usually write. I guess maybe I'm in a reflective mood at the moment, but I want to change things up this month.

This is the time of the year that we, as Americans, take time to give thanks for the things and people who have blessed our lives over the past year. So I wanted to take this opportunity to list some of the things that I'm thankful for. Most of you know that I have had the challenge of caring for my wife who is suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 55. Yet through all the challenges of dealing with this unfortunate situation, I find much to be thankful for in my personal life. I have wonderful friends and co-workers who have supported me throughout these difficulties. I also have four terrific children, each of whom is married to a wonderful spouse and I am blessed with four healthy, happy granddaughters with one more grandchild on the way. I am also thankful that my wife has wonderful caregivers and that she is still able to enjoy the simple moments in her life. She still recognizes me and it fills my heart with joy to see her face light up when she sees me coming. Life is good.

That's enough about me. As an organization, we in Cooperative Extension also have much to be thankful for. Here are a few things that come to my mind:

  1. We still have a total budget of almost $80 million including state, federal and county sources. We tend to focus on what has been cut, but this is still a large public investment in our organization.
  2. We have been able to fill more than 40 agent positions in the past year and we are in the process of filling six specialist positions.
  3. We have been busy conducting new agent foundations trainings for the first time in several years, and we have an outstanding group of new Extension faculty. This brings a sense of renewal to our organization.
  4. We have completed nine new cottages at Rock Eagle 4-H Center and we have funding in hand or pledged for six or seven more.
  5. We have a new dean of FACS (Dr. Linda Fox), a new associate dean for FACS (Dr. Deborah Murray), two new district Extension directors (Dr. Laura Perry Johnson and Joann Milam), and two new program development coordinators (Bobby Smith and Melinda Miller) all of whom are full of excitement and new ideas to help lead our organization forward.
  6. We continue to have the support of our federal, state and local elected officials primarily because of the great work done by our faculty and staff and the impact that you have on people and communities.
  7. We get to come to work every day and spend our time helping improve the lives of the people of Georgia.

We indeed have much to be thankful for.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060,

What the Presidential election means to you

Hopefully, my title caught your attention. I've been around long enough to know better than to get into a discussion on politics, but I think there is a take home message from this election that we should all recognize.

All of the major news networks had extensive post-election discussions about how our changing demographics played into this year's election. There was endless analysis of how males, females, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and various age groups voted. Then there was analysis of the voting tendencies of those that thought the economy, or social issues or national security was the biggest issue in this election. Then there was analysis of rural vs. urban voting tendencies and the influence of geographic region, religion, income level and educational level. These numbers were compared to similar numbers from previous elections. Perhaps the political pundits spend a bit too much energy crunching the demographic numbers, but the fact remains that different groups of people see things from different perspectives. Politicians know that and they campaign accordingly.

What do demographics mean to us in Cooperative Extension? Our clientele represent the same diverse demographics as all of those groups that the politicians tried to win over. Do we know how these groups perceive us? Do we understand how our demographics are changing in Georgia? Are we willing to change our traditional methods as our clientele change?

Unlike politicians whose messages often change with the political winds, our message is pretty consistent. Our message is factual and unbiased, not subject to change. But if we are to be effective communicators of facts, we must know our audience and how to be effective agents of positive change in times of changing demographics.

The Georgia of 2012 is not the Georgia of 1990, when I came here. Those educational methods that were once clearly the most effective, may now need to be re-evaluated. Even in Georgia's rural, agriculture-based economies, where we typically perceive change to be very slow, younger farmers are steadily replacing older farmers. Consumer demographics are driving the demand for agricultural products. How are changing demographics affecting your job as an Extension worker? Are your teaching methods as effective as they used to be? Are you missing an important demographic because you're out of touch with the type of information they need?

Politicians ask these questions all the time and we should, too.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Deborah MurrayDeborah Murray, FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4862,

Some new approaches for delivering FACS programming

I want to thank our FACS Extension specialists who provide leadership in the use of technology and new approaches to support FACS programming in ALL counties. Connie Crawley, Extension Nutrition and Health specialist, has offered the Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge, a targeted email newsletter program for Extension clientele, all over the state. This program allows anyone with an email address to sign up for weekly email newsletters from the county Extension office. These electronic newsletters contain lots of tips and support for not gaining weight over the holidays.

FACS Extension specialists Pamela Turner, Sharon Gibson and Diane Bales provide leadership and training for FACS Agents in the use of social media. Training conducted this month included setting up a blog, targeting your audience, using social media analytics to determine reach and impact, taking photos for online use and mastering your fear of video. The training also reviewed the university's new best practices guidelines. All participants were given a copy of the new social media guidelines. The agents participating in this pilot are Jackie Ogden (Chatham), Marnie Dekel (Candler), Edda Cotto-Rivera (DeKalb), Inés Beltrán (Gwinnett), Susan Moore (Laurens) and Laura Smith (Telfair). This team of agents will be provided with follow-up training and support from Pamela, Sharon, and Diane. As Extension and outreach faculty, the FACS specialists say "it will befit us to investigate these tools and ask the question, How can we use social media to reach the 'Connected Generation' all of whom are comfortable with accessing information online?"

EFNEP personnel changes
Our nationally recognized EFNEP program is losing two long-time significant individuals due to retirements. Dr. Gail Hanula, EFNEP coordinator, and Marilyn Huff-Waller, administrative support, are both leaving the end of November. Both will be missed, but they have left us a well-organized and "tightly run ship" with excellent and dedicated EFNEP agents and program assistants who are dedicated to the EFNEP program. In the short-term I will be the interim director and our Foods and Nutrition department chair and our Extension specialists and faculty have all made a commitment to support EFNEP during this time of transition. Gail and Marilyn are leaving the program in great shape and for that we all are thankful!

Congratulations, Elizabeth
Although it was not possible for me to attend the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Elizabeth Andress celebrated receiving the National Award for Excellence in Extension in good company with Beverly Sparks, Lynn Bailey, her department chair, and Dean Fox. The award recognizes her work as the director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation and her years of work teaching Georgians and people across the country how to safely and properly preserve their food. The award is given annually to an Extension professional in each of five regions who excels at programming, provide visionary leadership, and make a positive impact on constituents served. Elizabeth started her career in Extension in western Pennsylvania, and she has worked for the UGA for about two decades. We are very proud of Elizabeth and the recognition she brings to UGA and our Extension program.


4-H and Youth Development

Arch SmithArch Smith, 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H,

Georgia 4-H update

On Nov. 6, we notified all county Extension agents via email that a new 4-H Code of Conduct goes into effect on Nov. 15, 2012. Over the past 30 years, the Georgia 4-H Code of Conduct has been adapted and changed. We have used a positive approach to discipline over the past 20 years that considers an asset base for behavior rather than a deficit model. This means that we outline what is expected - not only what is not allowed.

New code of conduct
We traced the code of conduct in the Georgia 4-H archives and determined that the first 4-H discipline policy was introduced on June 1, 1976. This policy set forth to guide awareness and implementation of expected behaviors of 4-H youth. Much like the current Georgia 4-H Code of Conduct, inappropriate behaviors received consequences in keeping with the nature of the severity of the behavior.

We hope that you will visit with your 4-H program development coordinator, Jenny Jordan or me if you have questions concerning the new 4-H Code of Conduct. As we have the opportunity to visit with agents across the state over the next few weeks and months, we will certainly be including updated training on the use of the Code of Conduct.

With the new college incident reporting form and the code of conduct being available for use now, we hope the new code of conduct helps you explain to youth and their parents our expectations of behavior while clearly articulating the consequences for those who choose to act outside the Georgia 4-H Code of Conduct.

National 4-H agents meeting
During the past month, a delegation of more than 70 members of the Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Agents attended the National 4-H Agents Association meeting in Orlando, Florida. The meeting was a tremendous success and we want to express special congratulations to many of our Georgia co-workers who received national recognition. In addition to the nearly 70 county, district and state staff that were in attendance, we were also joined by Dr. Beverly Sparks, associate dean for Extension for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Linda Fox, dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Again, congratulations to all Georgia faculty and staff members who received recognition during the national meeting.

Art at the Rock
We also remind you that Art at the Rock is this weekend, Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18. Art at the Rock, an outstanding juried arts show, has become an annual tradition and we invite and encourage you to attend. It's an excellent way to get a head start on shopping for gifts for the coming holiday season.

National 4-H Council
Georgia 4-H now has two individuals serving as members of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees. Dr. Beverly Sparks has been a member of the board for the past couple of years and just last week Tess Hammock, a former state 4-H officer and Monroe County 4-H member, joined the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees as one of two youth members. Congratulations to Tess who is a freshman agricultural communications major at the University of Georgia.

Charlene is retiring!
At the end of November, Charlene Carpenter, who has served as administrative associate to the State 4-H leader since 1985, will retire. Charlene has worked for UGA for 40 years and spent the past 35 years in the State 4-H Office in Athens. We wish Charlene the best in retirement and will be celebrating her career with UGA and Cooperative Extension on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Clover Room of the Rock Eagle 4-H Center Dining Hall.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I know that we all have much to be thankful for, and I hope that each of you enjoys a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends.


Personnel actions since October 1, 2012

New Hires

  • Coffee County—Alyse Hall, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 10/01/12
  • Crisp County—Lesli Evans, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 11/01/12
  • Decatur County—Ash Bailey, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 11/01/12
  • Laurens County—Johnathan "Dexter" Wilkins, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 10/01/12
  • Lowndes County—Amanda Gilbert, CEPA 4-H, 11/01/12
  • Sumter County—Mitzi Bacon, FACS Agent, 11/01/12
  • Tift County—Connie Davidson, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 11/01/12

Part-time Positions:

  • Bibb County—LaShea Lawrence, AmeriCorps Member, 10/01/12
  • Clayton County—Laura Key, AmeriCorps Member, 10/01/12
  • Fayette County—Cynthia McCrary, Secretary, 11/01/12
  • Floyd County—Cherilyn Selman, 4-H Program Assistant, 10/18/12

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Coffee County—Kevin Tatum, Co. Extension Agent-4-H to Co. Extension Coordinator, 10/01/12


  • Houston County—Peggy Bledsoe, FACS, 11/01/12
  • Telfair County—Jack Wall, CEC-ANR, 10/31/12
  • Twiggs County—Roosevelt McWilliams, CEC-ANR, 10/31/12


  • Bleckley County—Susan Newby Collins, Program Assistant (County-funded), 10/31/12
  • Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens—Catherine Williams, Program Assistant, 10/13/12

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