Workforce Development Program Held in Hayneville

Dozens of Lowndes County residents participated in a Small Business Workshop on Thursday, December 13, 2018.  The program, hosted by BancorpSouth and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Auburn and Tuskegee University offices, targeted entrepreneurs.

John Lyon, Community President BancorpSouth, speaks to attendees about business banking fundamentals.

11th and 12th grade students from Central and Calhoun High Schools learned about the basics of financial management for small businesses and business banking fundamentals.

Regional Extension Agent Kevin Burkett, who specialize in Commercial Horticulture and Farm and Agribusiness Management, discussed some of the start-up situations facing small business owners.

Lyons said of the program, “I hope that the attendees learned that there are a wide array of products and services that are tailored to meet the needs of small business owners (as well as businesses of all sizes), so the most important thing to remember is to develop a good relationship with a banker of their choice who will help guide them through the process of choosing the right products and services for their specific needs.”

Regional Extension Agent Kevin Burkett shares information about managing small businesses.

4-H Arts and Crafts Fun at Ft. Deposit Elementary School

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.

REA  Sallie Lide Hooker teaches the  “Be SAFE” program at Central Elementary School Nov. 5, 2018.

“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.


Color Me Healthy

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.

REA Christina LeVert, far right, shows students a fresh pineapple.

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.




Lowndes County 4-H is Growing!

The Lowndes County 4-H program is expanding and will be in a school near you soon!  Currently, we are working with youth creating raised beds, computer coding, money management, health& nutrition programs, and we are preparing to teach anti-bullying programs. We also have youth learning about animal science and row crop production.

Youth are participating in computer coding as part of 4-H club activities in Lowndes County!
Lowndes county students in several schools are building raised beds and growing fresh vegetables as part of 4-H programs that combine science and fun! 
Lowndes County 4-H Youth Advisory Committee Members


Darja Maye shows her steer during competition at the Alabama National Fair in Montgomery, Alabama.
Christy Daniel shows her steer during competition at the Alabama National Fair


To learn more about 4-H and       share this information with         others, please click on this           printable flyer:

      4-H Fall Flyer 2018

ACES Supports Head Start’s Fall Extravaganza!

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Lowndes County Offices supported the Fall Extravaganza held by the Lowndes County Board of Education’s Head Start Program on Saturday, October 20,2018. The event was held at the Russell Baseball Field from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


“We enjoyed sharing information with parents about the many programs that our Regional Extension Agents teach our Lowndes County Head Start students. Our Agents are trained in areas of health, nutrition, anti-bullying lessons, and conflict resolution”, said Tana Shealey, County Extension Coordinator for Lowndes County.

During the event, Shealey talked with parents who have youth preparing to enter the job market.

“We want to make sure that our teens have information about such things as selecting the correct  attire for job interviews, the proper demeanor of a job candidate, and that they learn what information to include on a resume”, Shealey stated. Shealey and teenagers who attended the program participated in mock interviews to give high school seniors an idea of what they might experience during a job interview.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has several regional agents specializing in workforce development who are available to offer training with school and civic groups about job readiness.

For more information, call the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.

Cooking Safely for Large Groups

Is Your Food Safe?

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.


Lowndes County Extension Office Fall Newsletter 2018

Fall is upon us, and as we look forward to cooler temperatures, great football, and wonderful meals with family and friends, we hope that you will invite the Alabama Cooperative Extension System into your wonderful world!

You can do so by participating in our many programs, and reading our Fall Newsletter here: Lowndes County Extension Newsletter Fall 2018

Gardening Excitement Grows in Lowndes County Schools!

Two classes of 7th graders in Lowndes County are taking what they are learning in science class into their school’s courtyard by preparing raised beds for fall gardening.

In the pictures below, students relay supplies to the building site, learn to measure wood for the raised beds, work together putting the beds together, fill the beds with soil, and add fertilizer. Plants will go in on another date after students learn more about what they will need to do to help their fall crops grow.

UREA Roosevelt Robinson

Alabama Cooperative Extension System Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson and  Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey are working with youth helping them make a connection between the science of horticulture and the hands-on gratification of growing fresh vegetables in their own surroundings.

Robinson, whose area of study includes Home Grounds, Home Gardens, and Home Pests, believes this ongoing project is beneficial to youth who might not have gardens at their homes.

Robinson stated, “School gardening has some amazing developmental benefits for today’s youth that help them to learn and grow. From engaging the senses, to encouraging healthy eating, a well thought out school garden has the potential to enhance motor skills, provide opportunities to introduce math and science concepts, even foster responsibility and teach patience. If your school doesn’t have a garden, then you should consider building one.  School gardens can have a positive effect on the mind, body, and spirit.”

Over the next few weeks, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Lowndes County team will be visiting area schools sharing the latest research on home gardening and creating raised beds. The Lowndes County Extension office is also working with residents in maintaining  raised bed gardens in public housing areas in Mosses and Ft. Deposit; there are plans for creating learning gardens at other locations throughout Lowndes County.

Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey

Shealey said, “We are so excited about the support that we are receiving from the Lowndes County Commission, the Lowndes County Board of Education, area business owners and residents. We are very thankful for the support that our teachers and school administrators are showing towards our youth.”

Much of the work being done in Lowndes County’s public schools is made possible by a federal grant aimed at providing fresh fruits and vegetables to residents, support from the Lowndes County Commission, and donated plants and supplies from a Hayneville hardware store, J.T. Bell Home Improvement Co.



Sharing 4-H Fun at Back To School Event!

The Alabama Cooperative Extension Office in Lowndes County enjoyed spending time with residents at the Back to School event held by the Lowndes County Board of Education on August 25,2018 in Hayneville, Alabama.

Youth participated in a 4-H fishing contest conducted by 4-H Agent Shari Lowery. Winners received bird feeders and information about 4-H wildlife appreciation programs. Every visitor at our tent received jump ropes (to remind us to be active) and water bottles as part of the Body Quest program that encourages us to drink more water!


(left)Shari Lowery, 4-H Agent for Lowndes County and (right) Tana Shealey,Lowndes County Extension Coordinator