About 200 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade stopped by our 4-H Arts and Crafts table during a health fair at Ft. Deposit Elementary School on November 8, 2018.
While waiting to see the doctors and nurses as part of “Kid Check”, students spent time with Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey making colorful holiday crafts.
Shealey said, “4-H is all about learning, being creative, and having fun! We had fun making holiday wreaths, ornaments, and friendship bracelets. Every child who stopped by our table got a chance to express himself or herself artistically. They all made something to take home to inspire more creativity over the holidays.”
If you are interested in having your students or child join the 4-H fun, contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315 to learn more about all that 4-H has to offer!
Regional Extension Agent (REA) Sallie Lide Hooker writes a word on the board of a 5th grade class at Central Elementary.
“SAFE. What does this word mean to you?” she asked.
The students seated around her eagerly share their ideas of what SAFE means. Agent Hooker listens to each students’ idea, guiding them to the realization that they are focusing on being good listeners and allowing people to express themselves without being interrupted or judged. Then, Hooker spells out what the acronym SAFE means in relation to the “Be SAFE” program taught through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).
“Be SAFE” means cultivating Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments. The program focuses on preventing bullying and harassing behavior by teaching youth positive ways to manage emotions and to be understanding of other people’s feelings.
Regional Extension Agent Hooker, who teaches the program to students in Lowndes and surrounding counties, says she believes the anti bullying message resonates well with youth, “Because they are eager to learn about bullying since the majority reached are currently being bullied, or are closely associated with individuals who are being bullied.”
Agent Hooker not only hopes to help students understand what bullying means, but she also hopes that by learning about bullying, students will do better to avoid becoming bullies.
She stated,”Our goal is to teach that bullying is totally unacceptable behavior and should not be tolerated. We want youth to easily recognize bullying behavior and become an “up stander” instead of a bystander. We encourage students to let a trusted adult know about the behavior as part of “reporting”, not tattling, snitching, or squealing etc. They are also learning that reporting may save a life.
For more information about the “Be SAFE” program, and and other research based educational programs offered by the Alabama Cooperative System, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Agent Christina LeVert recently visited a Lowndes County classroom and presented a piece of fruit that a few of the kindergartners had never seen – except in a can. She showed them a fresh pineapple.
“One student said the fresh pineapple reminded him of the cartoon character Sponge Bob’s house,” LeVert laughed.
The demonstration was part of an educational program titled “Color Me Healthy”. This free program is offered at no costs to schools and reflects the health and nutrition research conducted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Most recently, LeVert taught the the course to Fort Deposit Elementary School students. Lessons are divided into six visits per class. LeVert said she enjoys working with youngsters, “They are very eager learners and willing to try new foods.”
“Color Me Healthy” focuses on teaching youth about how eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial, the importance of covers portion control, and the students learn about healthy exercise options.
LeVert hopes to inspire youth, “I want them to be adventurous and try new fruits and vegetables, and hopefully, they will eat them more often.”
To schedule a “Color Me Healthy” course for your school, or to learn more about this program, contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315.
Regional Extension Agent Janice Hall walked among a packed room asking participants important questions about food safety that we often think we can answer correctly.
“How long can you safely store cooked beef in a refrigerator?” Hall asked.
All around the room, dozens of seasoned chefs and backyard-grill masters offered answers. Among them, a gentleman who said he is “in his 70’s but doesn’t look it” gave the correct answer.
This is just one example of Hall’s Socratic Method of teaching. She doesn’t just present and hope that attendees are paying attention; she walks among the group and asks questions about how to safely prepare, store, and serve food in their kitchens, at churches and in restaurants.
Hall said,”According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 3,000 deaths are caused by food-borne illnesses (food poisoning) in the United States each year, and the majority are caused by the mishandling of food.”
As a regional Extension agent who specializes in the food quality, safety, and preparation, Hall is very passionate about making sure that food safety goes well beyond the superficial.
Hall noted CDC research which points out that, “In recent years, there have been a number of food borne illness outbreaks to occur from meals prepared at home and brought to various functions and events. Some of those outbreaks have resulted in death. Cooking for Crowds is a training design to teach consumers safe food handling skills to put into place when preparing foods”.
Today’s event was held at the Senior Center in Hayneville and attracted residents from Hayneville, Fort Deposit, and Letohatchee who cook food at home and take it to schools, churches, civic group meetings, street fairs and festivals. Agent Hall teaches classes such as these throughout the region.
For more information on this topic, or to schedule a FREE training for your group, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.
Be SAFE focuses on the education and prevention of bullying, bias, harassment and other hurtful behaviors for ages 11-14 (6th – 9th graders). It also engages youth in conversations and activities that can help them become more empathetic, self-aware, and able to manage distressing emotions.
Through this 3-5 lesson program, the overall goals of Be SAFE are to:
Promote social and emotional learning and development
Address and reduce bullying
Prevent bullying behaviors by tapping the wisdom and assets of youth and adults
Develop positive relationships with peers and adults.
If you would like more information on this program, please contact:
Recently, Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson taught residents about planting and caring for a bounty of vegetables and fruit planted in raised bed gardens. Robinson also designed and helped install the raised beds in each residential area. This is a continuation of an effort started in Lowndes County about two years ago.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in partnership with the South Central Alabama Regional Housing Authority, is working with residents in maintaining raised bed community gardens from which community members may harvest fruit and vegetables year round. The gardens are open to the residents of the Mosses Public Housing Area and Ft. Deposit Public Housing Area and are cared for at no cost to them.
Housing Manager, Joy Kelly is proud of the effort, “I think that this is great for the tenants because there is a need for them to get fresh vegetables from a close location. Usually our community members must travel at least 10 to 15 miles to buy fresh produce.”
Recently residents planted collard greens, cabbages, tomatoes, bell peppers, okra, eggplants, and cantaloupe in raised beds at both the Mosses and Ft. Deposit public housing areas.
Creating and maintaining these community gardens is part of the ALProHealth initiative through which the Alabama Cooperative Extension System strives to engage Alabamians in long-term, healthy nutritional practices.
The goal of AlProHealth is to implement evidence or practice-based strategies in promoting healthy lifestyles in Alabama counties with adult obesity rates of greater than 40 percent (The identified counties are: Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Chambers, Coosa, Crenshaw, Cullman, Escambia, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox).
For more information about these community gardens in Mosses and Ft. Deposit, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System partnered with the Hayneville Senior Center and offered free classes to residents who hoped to learn how to prepare foods that complement living with diabetes and hypertension.
Regional Extension Agent Christina Levert, whose area of study is human nutrition, diet, and health, shared some simple and economical ways to prepare healthy home cooked meals and snacks.
The hour long classes were offered in July and August.
Levert prepared health treats that participants to sampled, and she gaves participants copies of healthy recipes to try at home.
“The Right Bite Diabetes Classes show people affected by diabetes how to enjoy healthy food while controlling their diabetes. It provides excellent information that will help anyone preparing food to better control diabetes, high blood pressure or any other chronic disease. It is also great information for anyone wanting to learn more about healthier eating,” Levert said.
Levert sets the classes up in a way that makes it easy for seniors to learn and have fun. “Each class will cover a different topic. Topics include portion control, choosing fats, label reading and choosing carbohydrates,” Levert said.
For more information about the Rite Bite program and to schedule classes, please contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315.