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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for June 2014

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

Extension Colleagues:

Retirement time is here! It is with mixed emotions that I write my final section for Extension E-News. Hopefully our wonderful support staff (Sharon Dowdy and Cindy Tucker) will cut me a little slack in the word limit for this issue.

First, let me say there are many great things happening in UGA Extension and I am very proud of where our organization is today. We are now seeing the economy rebound and are experiencing great legislative support for CAES and UGA Extension. I am confident this is going to translate into new resources and a period of rebuilding and growth. Over the last two years we have been working toward our goal of putting a strong administrative team in place to handle the rebuilding and administrative leadership transition. I have great confidence in the team that is now in place and know they will work together to keep Extension on a trajectory of growth and excellence.

We are fortunate to have three new individuals joining the leadership team for Extension:

  • We are pleased to announce Dr. Leticia Sonon has accepted the position of director for our Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories. Dr. Sonon began her career in the Philippines and holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture/soil sciences from Visayas State University. She holds a master's degree in soil chemistry/fertility from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in soil chemistry from Kansas State University. Before coming to UGA she served as a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State University. Since coming to UGA in 2004, Dr. Sonon has been the program coordinator for the soils laboratory and she served as interim director AESL since May of 2013.
  • We are also pleased to announce that Craven F. Hudson from North Carolina State University has accepted the offer to serve as our associate state 4-H leader. Mr. Hudson currently serves as special assistant to the Extension director at North Carolina State University and executive director of development for 4-H/family and consumer sciences in the NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Craven earned his bachelor's degree in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and holds a Master of Forestry from NC State. He is currently working on a doctorate of education at NC State. We look forward to Craven joining Georgia 4-H on July 15, 2014.
  • Also, Steve Brown and I are pleased to announce that Dr. Todd Hurt will take on a special assignment for one year to assist with program and staff development and advance agent/specialists training projects in ANR. This special assignment will be in place while Steve serves as interim associate dean for Extension and ANR program coordinator and until a new associate dean for Extension is in place. We appreciate Todd's willingness to take on this assignment and assist us with pushing forward key projects related to agent training and staff development during the upcoming period of administrative transition. Todd will work with our program development team, ANR PDCs and ANR specialists on developing needed trainings and advancing ANR programs.

Now, if you will indulge me, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to work for Extension for over 32 years.

  • Thanks to Texas A&M administrators who took the chance on hiring a young, fresh-out-of-graduate-school entomologist for a position as an Extension urban entomologist 32 years ago. There were not many female role models in this male dominated field, but I could not have asked for more supportive colleagues who taught me how to support county agents.
  • Thanks to Dr. T. Don Canerday and Dr. Curly Cook for recruiting me back to UGA and my colleagues in the UGA Department of Entomology for their support and friendship.
  • Thanks to the hundreds of county agents and specialists that I have worked with and worked for all across this state. They are the lifeblood of our organization and supporting and representing them is a great job.
  • Thanks to Dean Gale Buchanan for providing me the opportunity to diversify and enter into the administrative world of Extension as a district director. I will be forever grateful to my fellow DEDs and district staffs for their encouragement and support during my tenure as the North and Northeast District director.
  • Thanks to Dean Scott Angle for the opportunity to serve on his leadership team over the last 8 years. I could not have asked for a better boss and more supportive dean.
  • Thanks to Bob Shulstad and Joe Broder for their support and mentoring. As a team we were able to take on some of the most challenging times for CAES.
  • Thanks to the program leaders, directors of county operations, and district directors that have served on my CES leadership team over the past 7 years. I am grateful for their honesty, loyalty and incredible work during some difficult times.
  • Thanks to the support staff that have always made the day-to-day operation of the office, the travel schedule and the family a little easier to manage. Throughout my career I have been blessed with strong support from administrative assistants and budget managers and it would have been very difficult to serve in these positions without their strong backing and friendship.
  • Finally, thanks to my husband, parents, family and friends for their unwavering support and love and for the years of tolerance of the travel and work schedule of an Extension professional.

It is now time to exchange the business suits and heels in my suitcase for golfing and hiking attire and to begin the process of marking off the trips on our bucket list. It has been an incredible journey and I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you and for you. There's only one thing left to say...GO DAWGS!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price encourages everyone to use the Extension listservs to target emails to the proper audience;
  • Steve Brown looks back at how Georgia Extension began with one Carroll County agent;
  • Deborah Murray shares news of growing county support of the Walk Georgia program; and
  • Arch Smith announces the new State 4-H Council.


County Operations

Greg PriceGreg Price, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

Before I venture into today's topic it is imperative that I thank Dr. Beverly Sparks for her unyielding support of county agents across Georgia. In her role as specialist, district director and the leader of our organization, she has always been a friend to the county agent. When I hear agents reflect on her leadership I always hear words such as listener, grace and integrity. With her leadership, often in difficult times, Extension continues to be strong and relevant. Beverly has been an excellent shepherd and leaves this organization poised to move into the next 100 years of service. I join four districts in thanking Dr. Beverly Sparks for her leadership and friendship.

Using listserv lists to distribute information has become the framework of our communication structure. When I started with Extension we would send a letter to the mailroom and ask them to distribute it throughout the Extension organization. There was a menu of many different mailing lists from which we could pick. The mailroom would duplicate the letter and stuff envelopes with mailing addresses from the requested mailing list.

When e-mail came along we were given the ability to send a message to many people quickly at little cost. This created more casual use and thus created the "full inbox." Employees soon began to complain about mass e-mails going to everyone when the topic was really targeted to a few.

In response, Extension recreated the old postal service mailing lists into listserv distribution lists. By using the listserv distribution lists you can target your message to your audience. The Extension organization is complex with over 1,000 employees and there are many ways to group our employees into distribution lists according to their location and job description. The Extension listserv system has over 100 lists or combinations of lists that offer very direct targeting of e-mail when used properly.

When sending an e-mail, you should select the listserv distribution list that best targets your intended audience. To eliminate duplicates it is best to send to a single list. However, it is acceptable to send to a couple of targeted lists with a few duplicated names rather than to send to many unintended employees of a single list.

Some of our most common Extension listservs are:
EXTALL – All Extension Faculty/Staff – Statewide
EXTANR – All County/District/State ANR Faculty/Staff
EXT4H – All County/District/State 4-H Faculty/Staff
EXTFACS – All County/District/State FACS Faculty/Staff
EXTCOALL – All County and District Faculty/Staff
STEXTALL – All State Extension ANR, 4-H, and FACS Faculty/Staff
STEXTANR – All State ANR Faculty/Staff

There are many more lists that target program areas by location such as Southwest District ANR Agents (SWANR). There are lists that target a level of administration such as the list for All State ANR Departmental Coordinators (STANRDC). There is a list that targets retirees (EXTRETIRED). You can even send an e-mail to just the employees at the Wahsega 4-H Center (STEXT4HWAHSEGA).

If you are a member of any Extension list you can send to another Extension list even if you are not on that list. People outside the organization are blocked from using these lists. PDF and Microsoft Word attachments are allowed on most lists.

EXTANNOUNCE is a special list for non-business information of interest to all Extension employees. Everyone, including retirees, is on this list. Please note that personal information concerning a death or sickness of an employee's family should only be shared with the employee's permission and should be limited to immediate family (father, mother, child, spouse). Please do not use this list to advertise personal for sale items.

Outlook has rules and filter options to help you manage your inbox. Understanding the different lists can help you use these tools.

Finally, because of their large distribution EXTALL and EXTANNOUNCE are moderated lists. E-mails sent to these two lists must be reviewed by the moderator during office hours before they are distributed. You cannot send attachments to these two lists.

Please review our Extension Listserv web page for more information. We would enjoy receiving any feedback on how we can improve this system.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Ever since Samuel Cowan first started delivering agricultural education to the people of Carroll County in 1904, Cooperative Extension has been making a huge impact in the lives of Georgians. Even though Woodrow Wilson didn't sign the Smith Lever Act creating a national network of Cooperative Extension Services until 1914, Georgia had a head start. And we've been a national leader in delivery of unbiased, research-based information from the land grant university system ever since.

We've been hearing a lot about our history during this centennial anniversary year. The history of our evolution from a single man delivering programs from a horse-drawn buggy to our current state is an amazing story. As we grew and became increasingly complex, leadership of this organization has become more and more of a daunting task.

For the last six years of our history, Dr. Beverly Sparks has been faced with that daunting task. Until you have worn those shoes, you can't imagine the complexity of issues that cross the associate dean's desk. Despite the inevitable stress of the job, Beverly's laid back style has made us all comfortable calling her by her first name. Thank you, Beverly, for your sacrifices that have kept this organization strong through some very tough times. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

County Commissioners

The last week in June, I traveled the entire state meeting with county commissioners during their regional ACCG meetings. This was a great experience as I shared with them Walk Georgia and talked with them about how their county Extension offices are a great resource for health and wellness. I personally met and talked with nearly 200 commissioners from across the state. County commissioners are struggling to meet the demands of providing services to their constituents while dealing with rising health care costs for their employees and incarcerated citizens in their jails, as well as struggling community hospitals who rely on county support. This impacts the support available for Extension. Revenues are not growing enough to meet all the demands of increasing healthcare costs, so the more they have to spend on healthcare, the more our budgets at the local level suffer. Listening to county commissioners share healthcare issues they struggle to meet at the local level was very eye opening. We have a real opportunity to assist.

Your county commissioners were very enthusiastic about Walk Georgia and how they can use it as part of their employee wellness programs. I also shared with them the Healthy Georgia Counties Checklist of low-cost or no-cost ideas they can implement to engage employees in improving their own health. Please feel free to share this again with your county commissioners. This document was prepared for the ACCG annual meeting in April and shared widely there.

We will also plan a Walk Georgia event for county commissioners at their fall legislative conference in October. On Oct. 10, a health and wellness tract will engage county commissioners in further training that we will be involved in. County commissioners were very responsive to having this option as part of the new Lifelong Learning Academy, and I look forward to Extension being a local resource to assist.

Goodbye, Beverly

Max De Pree, author of Leadership is an Art, defines leadership as more of an "art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed in its practice." At the June 26 retirement reception for Beverly Sparks, as I helped celebrate her retirement, those who have admired Beverly Sparks' leadership gave testament to this definition as they spoke of Beverly's grace and calm and her artful leadership during times of great stress for Georgia Cooperative Extension. Beverly's legacy to us is her art of leadership that has benefited so many in the organization. Thank you, Beverly.


4-H and Youth Development

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

It is no secret that summer is a busy time for Extension, and particularly, the 4-H program. The 81st State 4-H Council meeting at Rock Eagle 4-H Center was held June 20-22. Our state 4-H officers selected "4-H: Living the American Dream" as their theme. Former Bibb County 4-H member and HLN host Nancy Grace was the guest speaker on Saturday afternoon. Nancy shared her 4-H story and encouraged the delegates to continue their hard work so that their dreams would be fulfilled. The Honorable Terry England, chair of the Georgia House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, led the new voters in the annual citizenship ceremony and addressed the group on the importance of voting and exercising their voice. Representative England also encouraged the 4-H members to continue to pursue their dreams.

At the end of the final assembly, the new slate of state 4-H officers were announced. As expected, there was great anticipation as to who the state council voting delegates had elected to represent Georgia's nearly 172,000 4-H members for the 2014-2015 4-H year. The new slate of officers are president—Ben Hancock, Irwin County; vice president—Matthew Pryor, Bartow County; state representative—Ezra Hall, Bartow County; state representative—Anna Holcombe, Hart County; state representative—Thomas Gilbert, Bartow County; northeast representative—Sarai Mapp, Baldwin County; northwest representative—Cody Norris, Heard County; southeast representative—Caroline Sweat, Johnson County; and southwest representative—Hannah Rucker, Tift County.

Georgia 4-H State Officers 2014

At the conclusion of state council, the newly elected officers traveled to Athens for three days of officer training. In addition to their instruction time, the board met with University of Georgia campus leaders including President Jere Morehead; Dean Scott Angle; Dean Linda Fox; Mr. Greg McGarity, director of athletics; Paul Brooks, associate vice president for Public Service and Outreach; and UGA Associate Dean of Extension Beverly Sparks. During their sessions, the new council members asked questions of the campus leaders. One recurring question was, "What are the most important traits to being a good leader?" The answer most frequently given was to be a good listener.

As I listened to the questions and the responses given to the new youth leadership of Georgia 4-H, I began to reflect on the past eight years of Dr. Sparks' leadership as associate dean for Extension. During her tenure we have had a difficult budget situation and a reduction in staff at a time when—more than ever—our state's farmers, families, and youth needed the resources of Extension. Dr. Sparks has always listened and responded to the challenges of these difficult times. Our new state 4-H officers will not spend much time with Dr. Sparks, but she has been a remarkable leader for Extension. Her support of 4-H goes far beyond our state line as she has served as a member of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees. In recent years, as the national 4-H program sought to resolve governance issues, her colleagues selected her to represent the Southern Region Extension Directors in developing a communication plan for the national 4-H partners. Most importantly, she has always been willing to listen to the needs of 4-H and respond with support to continue to keep Georgia 4-H as one of the nation's leaders in youth development.

Beverly, words cannot express how much your continued support has meant to Georgia 4-H. Thank you!


Outstanding Extension program

The June winner of the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Hall County Forage Field Day coordinated by Michael Wheeler with Hall County Cooperative Extension.

The Hall County Forage Field Day was a joint effort between Hall County Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission/Hall County Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Attendees received a packet of information containing an UGA weed identification book, forage stand assessment forms, a UGA forage species booklet, a rain gauge and information about soil and water conservation.

The program was delivered on the farm through a calibration demonstration, pasture walk and discussion about the components of a pasture assessment. Two PowerPoint presentations on stockpiling forage for the winter and understanding hay quality were also shared.

Sprayer calibration is key to properly dosage and application of herbicides to a field. Sixty seven percent of the attendees reported they did not know how to calibrate their sprayer prior to the field day. After the field day, all of the participants were able to say they know how to calibrate a sprayer and can operate one on their own. One hundred percent of the attendees said they would be able to show someone how to calibrate a sprayer because of what they learned at the field day. Being innovative with agricultural production is critical in today's economic climate. Gaining an understanding of alternative feeding systems that save time and money is a way cattlemen can accomplish this.

The information presented from Dennis Hancock, UGA Extension forage specialist, and Philip Brown, NRCS grazing lands specialist, was well received. One hundred percent of the attendees said they learned something new they could use on their farm and the presentations reinforced what they already knew.


Personnel actions since May 1, 2014

New Hires

  • Ben Hill County – Amanda Rineair, County Secretary, 5/8/2014
  • Colquitt County – Amber Arrington, Public Serv Rep, 6/1/2014
  • Dekalb County – Brittany Harrison, CEPA, 5/8/2014
  • Jones County – Sharon McKenzie, County Secretary, 6/2/2014
  • Rockdale County – Jessalyn Hiers, Public Serv, 6/1/2014
  • Ware County – Heather Pittman, County Secretary, 6/19/2014


  • Bulloch County – Wesley Harris, Public Serv Asst, 5/31/2014
  • Chattooga County Susan Locklear, County Extension Associate, 5/2/2014
  • Colquitt County Matthew Roberts, Public Serv Rep, 5/9/2014
  • Coweta County – Rachel Fautsch, Public Serv Rep, 6/13/2014
  • Forsyth County – Emily Chow, County Extension Associate, 6/6/2014
  • Pulaski County – Julie Moore, CEPA, 6/11/2014
  • Quitman County – Ruchelle Priester, County Extension Associate, 5/29/2014
  • Terrell County – Pamela Gonzalez, County Secretary, 5/14/2014
  • Ware County – Levan Lee, County Secretary, 5/31/2014
  • Wayne County – Terri English, County Extension Assoc, 5/31/2014
  • Whitfield County – Barry Schlageter, County Secretary, 5/19/2014
  • Whitfield County – Nicole Densmore, County Extension Assoc, 5/31/2014