Base Program Areas
ACES educational efforts are aligned along six umbrella areas of emphasis (base programs). Base programs encompass both ongoing subject matter-based program efforts and the wealth of ACES programming designed to address local, regional, and state issues of immediate concern. County program initiatives represent programs unique to a specific county. Base program areas are:
- Forestry and Natural Resources
- Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs
- Family and Individual Well-Being
- Community and Economic Development
- 4-H and Youth Development
Extension helps Alabama’s farmers create and maintain healthy, profitable, and environmentally sustainable operations. Regional Research and Extension Center in the Tennessee Valley, the Black Belt, the Wiregrass, the Gulf Coast, Sand Mountain, and Chilton areas address the specific needs of each region. Home gardening and urban horticulture are also major Extension priorities.
Forestry and Natural Resources
Alabama is rich in natural resources. Almost two-thirds of the state is covered in forests, and Alabama water resources are the envy of the nation. Forestry, fisheries, and wildlife bring billions of dollars into the state’s economy and greatly enhance quality of life. Extension is committed to helping people safeguard and develop these resources for recreational, environmental, and business enterprises.
Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs
Two-thirds of Alabamians live in urban areas, and the Extension mission of taking the university to the people includes urban as well as rural citizens. Programs include but are not limited to; nutrition, health and wellness, environmental education, small ruminants, urban community and minority economic development, resource management, youth development, and nontraditional agriculture. Eight Urban Extension Centers and two satellite offices help bring Extension education to the state’s city dwellers.
Family and Individual Well-Being
One of Extension’s key roles is helping families and individuals improve their quality of life through food safety, proper nutrition, parenting, family financial management, and community health. Flagship programs include the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), begun in Alabama more than 30 years ago and since adopted by all other states, and the federally mandated Nutrition Education Program (NEP), which focuses on education food stamp recipients.
Community and Economic Development
Extension plays a leading role in revitalizing Alabama communities, especially where declining farm populations have resulted in such problems as dwindling revenue bases and outh flight. Extension programs focus on economic and leadership development, environmental quality and community health, and public policy and strategic planning. The goal is to help strengthen the capacity of communities to solve their own problems. Extension’s role is listener, connector and catalyst.
Community development is
- Building local leadership that is engaged, inclusive and connected
- Engaging citizens to identify and address community problems
- Developing local structures for stakeholder engagement and citizen participation
- Identifying assets and opportunities and making plans to take advantage
- Strengthening vital community institutions (schools, churches, civic groups)
- Informing and educating citizens
- Creating a community mindset of pride and optimism
- Building the foundation for economic development
Economic development is
- Business recruitment and attraction
- Business retention and expansion
- Entrepreneurship and small business development
- Commercial and retail development
- Tourism and retiree attraction
4-H and Youth Development
Alabama’s 4-H program offers young people opportunities to develop their interests and expand their awareness of our world. Extension educators, volunteers, and the young people themselves, work together to provide a wide range of hands-on, minds-on experiences that develop each individual’s four H’s: head, heart, hands, and health.