Upcoming Events



Right Bite Cooking Class Offers Healthier Options

Are you taking the right bites out of your food choices?

We all want to make healthier food choices, but sometimes the information can be hard to understand and there are competing opinions as to what is the healthier food choice.

Attend the Right Bite Cooking Class at the St. Clair County Extension Office and maybe some of those food choice decisions will be easier – once you learn to navigate through the food aisles. The four classes include ideas on:

  • Portion Control
  • Reading the Nutrition Label
  • Choosing the Right Fat: Controlling Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
  • Carbohydrate and Fiber: Friend or Foe?
  • Seven Ways to Control Your Blood Pressure

 

Learn how to read the nutrition labels based on your health concerns

Throughout the four classes, we will incorporate some ways to look at food related information and how to make the best decision for you and your family –  based on your health concerns and lifestyle.There will be some food preparation and food tasting.

The dates for the Wednesday classes are: March 7, 14, 21, and 28 – from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

Contact the St. Clair County ACES Office at 1815 Cogswell Avenue, Suite 103/B04 or phone: (205) 338-9416 to register. You can also contact Human Sciences Extension Agent Donna Shanklin at drs0009@auburn.edu  or 256-200-2997 for more information. Ms. Shanklin will facilitate the classes.

St. Clair Co Extension Office: Scale Back AL Weigh-In Site

Scale Back AL Logo

The St. Clair County Extension Office is a Scale Back Alabama Weigh-In Site once again. The Scale Back Alabama program officially kicks off on January 9th and the St. Clair County Extension office is an official weigh-in site again this year. Participants are welcome to stop by the Extension Office during weigh-in week, January 22nd-28th, anytime during business hours (8 a.m.—12 p.m. & 12:30—4:30 p.m.) for an official weigh-in. Weigh-out week is April 2nd—8th and the final event and cash prize drawings is on April 17th.

To be eligible for team prizes, each team member must lose at least 10 pounds during the 9-week competition, as recorded by a coordinator at an official Scale Back Alabama weigh-in site. Winning teams are determined by a random drawing from all eligible teams. The first 3 teams drawn win $1,000 per team member, or a total of $2,000 for the entire team. The second 3 teams drawn win $500 per team member, or a total of $1,000 for the entire team. The final 3 teams drawn win $250 per team member, or a total of $500 for the entire team.

All individuals who lose at least 10 pounds, as recorded by a coordinator at an official Scale Back Alabama weigh-in site, are eligible for an individual prize, regardless of their team’s achievement. However, individuals that are drawn for a team prize are not eligible to win the individual prizes.

From the pool of eligible participants, 40 individuals drawn win one of 40 achievement prizes of $100 per person.

For more information about the Scale Back Alabama program, please visit the website, www.scalebackalabama.com or contact Lee Ann Clark, County Extension Coordinator, at the St. Clair County Extension Office, at 205-338-9416 or email clarkla@aces.edu.

Stay Informed with the Extension Newsletter

Image of Printed Extension Newsletters

The Extension Newsletter is published bi-monthly. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email Lee Ann Clark, County Extension Coordinator, or call our the St. Clair County Extension Office at (205) 338-9416.

Current Issues

January/February, 2018 Extension Newsletter

 

2017 Past Issues

November/December, 2017 Extension Newsletter

September/October, 2017 Extension Newsletter

July/August, 2017 Extension Newsletter

May/June, 2017 Extension Newsletter

March/April, 2017 Extension Newsletter

January/February, 2017 Extension Newsletter

2016 Past Issues

November/December, 2016 Extension Newsletter

September/October, 2016 Extension Newsletter

July/August, 2016 Extension Newsletter

May/June, 2016 Extension Newsletter

March/April, 2016 Extension Newsletter

January/February, 2016 Extension Newsletter

Outreach Support for St. Clair County Veteran Community

St. Clair County Extension Veterans Outreach Agent Assistant
St. Clair County Extension Veterans Outreach Agent Assistant, Wayne Johnson

Outreach Support for St. Clair County Veteran Community

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s St. Clair County office has received continued funding to support a grassroots outreach program for the county’s veterans.

Lee Ann Clark, St. Clair County Extension coordinator, says the funding, which was secured through the St. Clair County Commission, has enabled her office to continue providing outreach support to the veteran community.

“For more than a century, Cooperative Extension has been about providing effective, face-to-face outreach to people where they live and work,” Clark says. “And for this reason, we think we are especially well-suited to serve our county’s veterans, especially those in critical need of assistance.”

Clark’s sentiments are shared by St. Clair County Commission Chairman Paul Manning, a strong supporter of the program.

The effort has also earned the full support of Alabama Extension Director Gary Lemme.

“The partnership between St. Clair County, the state of Alabama, and Alabama Extension, which is directed to assisting active military, National Guard and veteran families, reflects our combined commitment to those who provided our nation’s defense,” Lemme said. “Helping the families of these heroes access Veterans Affairs benefits that they have earned and providing resources to help them cope with the unique stresses of deployment and returning to home life will benefit not only those directly involved but also the entire community.

Veterans Outreach for St. Clair County will be the duties of Wayne Johnson, newly hired to lead these efforts.

“There is a critical need to connect veterans within communities, especially in small communities, to resources that can improve their financial well-being and their employment prospects. In many cases, it can be as simple as putting money in their pockets to tie them over as they make their transition back to civilian life,” Johnson said.

The challenges of transitioning to civilian life often prove even more daunting, if not insurmountable, for those veterans suffering from serious combat-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Among those veterans, timely effective outreach can mean the difference between successful transition to civilian life and one plagued by chronic unemployment, debt and, in many cases, substance abuse.

One of the main goals of the St. Clair Extension outreach effort is to reach these veterans with critical assistance before these patterns of behavior become self-destructive.

“My vision is to get out into the community and find veterans and widows of veterans that we don’t know about. I want to make them aware of the benefits that are available to them and hopes to make all veterans more aware of the numerous services and benefits available to them,” Johnson said.

“I plan to visit all the nursing homes,” he said. “Also, I not only want to talk to the elderly and middle-age veterans, but I also want to reach out to younger veterans.”

Considering the number of veterans in St. Clair County alone — some 7300 — an outreach program that presents veterans with viable treatment options potentially could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This unclaimed assistance not only would benefit the returning veterans but also the local economies where they live and work.

Any questions concerning this program or if you are a Veteran in need of assistance, please contact Wayne Johnson, Veterans Outreach Agent Assistant. He can be reached at the St. Clair County Extension Office by calling (205) 338-9416 or email wjj0006@auburn.edu.

Agri-Tourism in Alabama

zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, beans in the foreground, people buying and selling under umbrellas in soft focus in the background

Agri-tourism can take many forms. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets offer farm-fresh produce and interaction with growers. Farms may open to the public for wildlife watching and hunting. Ag tours, on farm bed-and-breakfasts, and dude ranches give tourists the fresh air, open space, and relaxation of country life.

U-pick operations, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, hay mazes, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting, ag heritage museums, festivals, and fairs all attract visitors.

Find your Agri-Tourism destination today!

Alabama Master Naturalist Program

egret standing on driftwood in a wetland area

The Alabama Master Naturalist program is a new statewide program whose goal is to help promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Alabama’s natural world among Alabama’s citizens and visitors. In addition, the AMN program will also develop a statewide corps of well-informed volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

Learn more about how you can participate today!

The “Ins and Outs” of Mole Control

Scalopus Aquaticus - CC Kenneth Catania, Vanderbilt University

Moles are a common occurrence in Alabama lawns and gardens. While not a pest in the traditional sense of the word, moles are more of a nuisance. With long galleries through which they travel, moles can cause more aesthetic damage rather than physical damage to turfgrass, ornamentals, and vegetables.

Moles, Scalopus aquaticus, are a common animal in most areas around our state. Most people associate moles with rodents, likening them to rats, gophers and voles. In actuality, moles are a closer cousin to the carnivorous shrew than the omnivorous rodent. It is quite common for the vole and the mole to be confused, one being a tunnel digger that eats only insects and the other being a path clearer that primarily eats roots and stems of unsuspecting plants. An easy way to differentiate between the two is to remember this- Moles are meat eaters (both start with the letter m) and voles are vegetarians (both start with the letter V). When compared side by side, the two animals are not easily confused. The vole looks like a small mouse with tiny ears and stubbed tail while the mole has a long snout and large webbed feet.

The “damage” from moles is actually nothing more than tunnels being dug in your lawn or garden. Most often, moles prefer moist cool soils to dig in, primarily due to this is also the habitat that grubs and other insects dwell. Those tunnels can become a problem if they wash out when it rains or if you turn your ankle in them while walking the dog at night (I speak from experience on that one…). While some complain that these small animals are destroying their lawns, I encourage the homeowner to step back and think of the big picture. These meat eating animals are voracious predators, often eating 100% of their body weight each day! That is 3-4 ounces of root eating grubs and insects every day, taking away some of the major pests that affect lawn health. So while you deal with the tunnels and mole hills in the lawn, these critters are hard at work protecting your plants from harmful pests. If you are like most of my clients and tend not to look at the world as “glass half full”, then there are certainly a few techniques that you can consider.

A common question from clients when they call about mole control is “What can I spray to kill them?” There really is no chemical that you can apply to your lawn that will eliminate the mole situation, but there are chemicals that can be applied to your lawn that will take away their food source, thus sending them to a nearby pasture (or neighbor’s yard) to look for something to eat. Any insecticide, granular or liquid, that is labeled for use on lawns to control grubs and other insects can be used. Many of these insecticides require adequate water to activate the ingredients, so read the directions carefully before applying. While there are no chemicals that you can spray for the moles, there are a select few toxicants or baits that can be utilized to control these animals. Effectiveness is difficult to judge and getting a mole to accept the bait can be a problem.

The more effective, though time consuming, technique is using lethal control methods (traps). There are three primary trapping systems for eliminating moles; harpoon style, scissor-jawed, or choker designs. All are common, effective and deliver a quick and out of sight dispatching of the animal. The methods of preparing the site for use of these traps are generally the same. Stomp down all tunnels that are present in the lawn. Watch throughout the day or the next morning for those paths that have been re-excavated, showing you the active travel tunnels. Set the trap over the active tunnels and ensure that the device can function properly. Once set, the only thing to do is wait. Once the mole travels down the path and trips the trap, remove the trap and stomp the tunnel down. Watch for more tunnels to appear to know if you have had success or if there is more than one mole present. Generally, with the exception females and young sharing tunnels, moles are considered solitary animals. So, if you have success and dispatch one of the animals, there is a good chance that you can move on to other areas of the lawn.

While there are several techniques that are available for controlling moles, using a combination of techniques may provide more results. Some methods may prove to be more successful that others depending on the environment that the moles live in.

For more information on controlling moles in the lawn and garden, please contact the St. Clair County Extension Office at 205-338-9416.

Hunter McBrayer
Urban Regional Extension Agent