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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for June 2013

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

Extension Colleagues:

I hope your summer is off to a great start!

News items since the last issue of Extension E-News:

Greg Price named director of county operations

I am pleased to announce (pending approval from UGA administration) the appointment of Mr. Greg Price as director of county operations for UGA Extension effective July 1, 2013. Greg has served CAES and UGA Extension in many capacities during his career and is eminently qualified to move into this state-wide leadership position.

Greg PriceGreg holds a BS degree in animal science from Berry College and a MBA from Brenau University. He has served as a county agent in Spalding, Cobb and Douglas counties, an Extension 4-H specialist for international programs and as the 4-H program development coordinator for Southeast District. He also served UGA Extension as our program development and accountability coordinator and as our liaison with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). Since 2007, Greg has been the district director for northwest district. Greg's many years of service in Extension, his experiences at the county and district levels and his work with ACCG will serve him well as he moves into the director's position. Please join me in welcoming Greg to his new role.

Search announced for district directors in northwest and northeast districts

Greg's upcoming departure from the role of DED for Northwest District will create a critical vacancy in our administrative team. In addition, Norman McGlohon will retire the end of July and create a second DED vacancy. Thus, we will immediately begin the process of filling both the northwest and northeast district director positions. Next week I will charge one committee to conduct these two searches and streamline the search, screening and interviewing processes. The coming weeks will be a time of great opportunity for those seeking to take on a significant leadership role in UGA Extension.

The search committee members are Lori Bledsoe (chair), Tammy Cheely, Ronnie Barentine, Shirley Williamson, Kris Braman, Chris Adcock, Phil Torrance, Debbie Murray, Sadie Brown, Paul Pugliese, Menia Chester, Mike Lacy, Diane Bales and Arch Smith. I ask everyone to assist this committee and help to identify and recruit our future DEDs for north Georgia.

Tony Tyson will serve as interim district director

Tony Tyson will continue to work on our administrative leadership team as a rehire and will serve as interim DED of Northwest District until the position is filled. I certainly appreciate Tony's willingness to delay full time retirement a while longer and assist us through this period of transition.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson shifts gears yet again and looks forward to seeing new faces in Extension leadership roles;
  • Steve Brown announces new screening process for Master Gardener volunteers;
  • Arch Smith explains that 4-H summer activities go beyond camp week; and
  • Deborah Murray shares news on The Coca-Cola Company's new support of the Walk Georgia Program.


County Operations

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

The Count Down Has Begun!

Well, I guess it's official – I have been replaced! I'm sure you all know by now that Greg Price has accepted the position of director of county operations for Georgia Cooperative Extension. Greg will assume his new duties on July 1, 2013, and I will hand over the keys to my office. I think most of you know that I officially retired two and a half years ago, but because of the budget situation we were not able to refill my position immediately. So, I agreed to continue to serve in my previous role on a part-time basis. I have enjoyed my time in this role, but it is now time to look to the future, and I am confident that Greg will provide the vision and leadership that is needed to move us forward.

Even though my office will no longer be in Conner Hall, I'm not going away completely just yet. Since Greg will be vacating the district director position in northwest district and Norman McGlohon plans to retire as the northeast district director at the end of July, Dr. Sparks has asked me to stay on to help provide interim leadership for these two districts while we search for two new district directors. We plan to begin the search for these important positions immediately and hope to have these individuals in place sometime this fall. Dr. Sparks has appointed one search committee for both positions and the searches will run simultaneously.

We have been talking for quite a while about the opportunity for some of you to step up and take leadership roles in our organization and we're hopeful that several of you will accept the challenge and throw your hats in the ring. We have some outstanding people in Georgia Extension and I look forward to seeing the next wave of leaders to emerge. We are at a critical time in our history and the decisions that are made over the next few years will be extremely consequential to our future success. We welcome everyone's input in the search process and I hope that you will participate and provide your thoughts as we fill these important positions.

Over the next few months, I will be working between Griffin and Athens. My new office will be in 312 Hoke Smith on the Athens campus.

This will be my last article in Extension E-News. I look forward to Greg sharing his pearls of wisdom in this space beginning next month. I also look forward to dropping one more deadline from my calendar! I wish the best of luck to Greg and to the organization to which I have dedicated the last 32 years of my life.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Background Screening of Master Gardener Volunteers

For many years now, the Georgia Master Gardener program has been a huge success in many local communities across our state. Some might argue that what I'm about to say endangers that history of success. I don't think so, but we are going to have to adapt to some changes. Recent events beyond the scope of our control have forced us to take a hard look at how we accept Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) to represent the University of Georgia and Georgia Cooperative Extension. After a lot of input from agents, MGEVs and others, it's time to make a policy decision that will be consistent across the state. I'd like to thank Sheri Dorn, coordinator of this program, for her hard work in this process. This is NOT Sheri's decision. This decision is a consensus among many that have taken an open-minded look at the realities of how the program currently operates as well as the legal world in which we live.

Background screenings have become an essential step in protecting our clients as well as our volunteers. After a year of working through UGA-directed volunteer policy updates, we are benefitting from lessons learned. In particular, the MGEV program continues to work through the process of screening volunteers. Some counties have screened all MGEVs, while others have screened selectively. This has presented challenges for managing volunteers serving in multiple roles, in multiple counties and also at multiple facilities throughout the college and university.

Recognizing that MGEVs represent UGA Cooperative Extension to the public in visible roles, that MGEVs can have a high level of responsibility in their volunteer roles, and that it is essential to have a consistent, strong program across the state, we will be transitioning to screening all Georgia MGEVs. It is recognized that MGEV program policies regarding background screening may be more stringent than those for other volunteer roles at other UGA facilities. This effort to screen all MGEVs is to establish the necessary consistency in the MGEV program required by all roles and responsibilities that MGEVs carry out on behalf of UGA, not just at individual sites or in individual situations.

The state program office of the MGEV Program will be working with district directors, PDCs, CECs, and agents as agents complete the screening process for all MGEVs by year's end. Support materials will be available to meet with volunteers who need questions answered. Thank you to each of you for your commitment to this volunteer program. We appreciate the extra effort you have made to answer questions about this sensitive topic from volunteers who can be passionate and concerned about their role as a MGEV. We look forward to the many outstanding accomplishments achieved and benefits that Georgia communities receive when these volunteers partner with UGA Extension.

We love our volunteers and we hope they love us back. We do not take this decision lightly and understand that some of our most talented MGEVs will opt to discontinue their service rather than undergo a background check. We wish them well and hope that they will understand why we must institute this policy.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Extension's Walk Georgia program featured at the GMA Meeting

The Coca-Cola Company is sponsoring the 2013 Georgia Municipal Association Meeting in Savannah, Ga., set for June 22-25. GMA will be launching a healthy communities' initiative at this meeting. Coca-Cola is sponsoring a Walk Georgia walking event at the meeting and will be providing us an exhibit at the meeting and a back cover advertisement on their sponsor page for this event.

This is the first of many Coca-Cola sponsored events that will feature Walk Georgia. Thanks to Janet Hollingsworth, Teri Black and Jackie Ogden for representing Walk Georgia and UGA Cooperative Extension at this meeting. The advertisement will direct GMA members to call their local Extension office, call the 1-800-Ask-UGA phone number and/or go to the Walk Georgia website. Many county managers and city officials who are familiar with you and your office will be at the meeting so you may get calls about Walk Georgia. This is an opportunity for elected officials and county managers to connect with us in ways to impact the entire community.

Here is what you need to know about the program:

  • A Fall Walk Georgia Campaign will begin Sept. 1. The registration opening date will be announced.
  • You and your office will serve as the local point of contact for Walk Georgia. We hope you will market Walk Georgia to these leaders and your communities and assist individuals and teams in signing up for Walk Georgia.
  • Local government in your community may want to organize a Walk Georgia Task Force. We would hope that the Extension office would provide at least a minimum of support. Extension does not have to lead the task force, just support it.
  •  We will be encouraging communities to organize local Walk Georgia task forces to support their communities in getting physically active.

Contact any Walk Georgia Task Force committee member or me if you have questions.


4-H and Youth Development

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

Georgia 4-H summers are filled with more than summer camps

Over the past 25 years I have frequently heard someone in Putnam County say, “Well, it's summertime and Rock Eagle is about to be busy!” Usually I agree that we are having summer camp, but occasionally I take a moment to explain that summer campers are only about 10 percent of the total number of guests who annually visit Rock Eagle 4-H Center.

While summer 4-H camp is an important tradition of Georgia 4-H, it is not the only program offered by Georgia 4-H. During the summer most counties offer a local day camp; some hold residential camps within their communities. One county held a rabbit show last weekend with more than 500 entries from Georgia and South Carolina—they even brought in a judge from New York. Many young people are looking for animals for their livestock projects while others are preparing for State Congress.

The State 4-H Horse Show and Horse School are being held as I write and Beef Futurity is only a few weeks away in July. Young people are auditioning for Georgia 4-H Clovers and Company while the current Clovers group is preparing for their final performance of “Higher” next weekend at State 4-H Council. During State Council we will conduct our traditional Citizenship Ceremony for the 55th time since 1959 and elect a new slate of State 4-H Officers. Some 4-H members are preparing for the land judging contest in August, and others are growing watermelons for the Georgia 4-H Watermelon Contest.

Mark your calendars for the 2013 Georgia 4-H Gala that will be held at the Loews Atlanta Hotel on Saturday, Aug. 10. Tickets are available at We hope some of you will plan to attend and join our 4-H friends and alumni as we honor Associate State 4-H Leader Emeritus and 2011 National 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee Harold Darden with the Georgia 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award.

Speaking of watermelons, I have not planted a garden in several years, but a couple of Saturdays ago—June 1 to be exact—I planted a few rows of peas, butterbeans, and snap beans, some squash, and a couple of tomatoes. Yes, it was probably a little late, but the timing proved to be perfect as the rains of the past few days have gotten the tender, young plants off to a great start. Of course I have had to stake the tomatoes so they will not fall, and since I started the squash plants in small containers, I will need to transplant them in the next few days. And, as always, I will have to work to keep the weeds down. This small garden reminds me of the work we do with 4-H members. We are growing the next generations of leaders and citizens. The many and varied programs of 4-H are designed to inspire young people to develop the life skills that are needed to insure success.

I hope you enjoy some time this summer with the 4-H members from your county. It will make a significant difference in their growth and development as tomorrow's leaders.


Outstanding Extension program

We are pleased to announce that the June winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Bartow County Extension Office Open House coordinated by Paul Pugliese, Allison Perkins, Kathy Floyd, Kim Payne and Brielle Shinall with Bartow County Cooperative Extension.

The Bartow County Extension office hosted an open house for the public on April 9, 2013. This timely event covered an array of current interest topics for members of the community ranging in age from youth ages 9-19 through adults. Over 100 members of the community attended the event and learned of the many different programs and services provided through Bartow County's Extension office.

As a fun introduction to the youth leadership of Bartow County's 4-H program, County Agent Allison Perkins and Associate Kim Payne directed the Bartow 4-H'ers in a performing arts variety show. Core educational programing for the event was delivered through seminars intentionally designed to be engaging, entertaining and educational. Extension Coordinator and ANR Agent Paul Pugliese spoke about the the top 10 tree and landscape mistakes and Kathy Floyd, retired Family and Consumer Science Extension agent, presented tips for home food preservation.

Betty and Louis Clark examine actual lawn and garden weeds on an identification poster at the Cooperative Extension open house Tuesday evening at the Olin Tatum Agricultural Building. Visitors had opportunity to tour the Extension offices and learn about the services available. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News

Betty and Louis Clark examine actual lawn and garden weeds on an identification poster at the Cooperative Extension open house Tuesday evening at the Olin Tatum Agricultural Building. Visitors had opportunity to tour the Extension offices and learn about the services available. (Photo by Skip Butler/The Daily Tribune News)

Agents, Master Gardeners, 4-H'ers and Extension volunteers manned education stations where visitors could learn about agriculture, natural resource conservation, home gardening, home food preservation and youth activities offered through the Bartow County 4-H program. The Bartow County 4-H club had active 4-H'ers from Bartow County engage in conversation with visitors about their 4-H poster projects which were on display.

Visitors were able to explore the Extension office and gather take home information on topics of interest. The Master Gardeners set up the "Ask a Master Gardener" booth. A series of informative videos on soil testing, water testing and locally grown/farmers market food safety procedures were played on a constant loop. As an action point for the Open House, all visitors were given the opportunity to sign up and take the 40 Gallon Challenge.

To round off the evening, door prizes were awarded to attendees including free soil testing vouchers, insect and weed identification books and rain gauges.


Personnel actions since May 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Bacon County – Renee Holland, Public Serv Asst – Blueberry Farm, 6/1/2013
  • Camden County – Robert Castleberry, Co Extension Associate (100% county-funded), 6/3/2013
  • Evans County – Kali Wasdin, Co Extension Associate, 6/1/2013
  • Glynn County – Adrien Crapps, Public Serv Rep, 5/1/2013
  • Houston County – April Baggs, Public Serv Rep, 5/1/2013
  • Houston County – Rebecca Creasy, Public Serv Asst, 5/1/2013
  • Houston County – Charlotte Mote, Public Serv Rep, 5/1/2013
  • Macon County – Muqita Lumumba, CEPA, 5/9/2013
  • Pulaski County – James Freeman, Public Serv Rep, 6/1/2013
  • Washington County – Georgeanne Cook, Public Serv Asst, 6/1/2013

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Bacon County – Jakyn Jennings, County Extension Agent to County Extension Coordinator, 5/1/13
  • McIntosh County – Barbara Miller, Program Assistant to Co Extension Associate-Resource Manager, 5/1/13
  • Muscogee County – Teresa Burkett, County Extension Associate, transferred from hourly position, 6/1/2013
  • Oglethorpe County – Marcus Eason, Public Serv Rep, transferred from County Extension Associate, 6/1/2013


  • Calhoun County – Cindy Edwards, VISTA, 6/1/2013
  • Colquitt County – Janelle Jelks, VISTA, 6/1/2013
  • Henry County – Kelly Brannen, CEPA, 6/30/2013
  • Houston County – Kassie Love, VISTA, 6/1/2013
  • Houston County – Vince Thomas, OMK, 6/1/2013
  • Jackson County – Teresa Edwards, County Secretary, 5/17/2013
  • Stephens County – Kayla Hubbard, County Secretary, 5/31/2013