Report to the People
NC State Extension in Currituck recently addressed the Board of Commissioners to share impacts from the 2015 program year. Extension in Currituck is an arm of NC State University which exists to bring University research to the local community. Extension offers educational programs primarily in the areas of Agriculture, 4-H and Youth Development and Foods and Nutrition.
Volunteers and program participants highlighted some of the work that was accomplished during the course of the year. In 2015 Currituck County Cooperative Extension staff utilized a network of advisors and volunteers to assess needs and deliver impactful, research based programming designed to improve the quality of life for Currituck County citizens.
Currituck County Cooperative Extension Staff delivered 167 educational programs and provided face-to-face education and assistance to 14,920 citizens. Currituck Extension volunteers donated 8074 hours of service and expanded the reach of programming by over 8600 contacts. The total estimated value of volunteer contributions was $178,758. Fundraising, grants and community contributions for program enhancement in 2015 increased by over 25% to $136,460. Staff produced 151 news articles and 13 educational videos in 2015.
Major initiatives identified as critical by advisory leaders and a local needs assessment included a focus on healthy eating, physical activity and chronic disease reduction; family financial management; youth and community development; profitable and sustainable agriculture; and urban and consumer horticulture.
The impact agricultural programs and visits had on Currituck in 2015 included everything from farms to landscapes. The County Extension’s Agricultural Program has provided:
- Pesticide re-certification classes with a total of 174 credit hours earned, preserving an estimated $675,990 in wages.
- Variety trials, test plots and education conducted through the Northeast Ag Expo Team resulted in net income gains over $360,000.
- Pesticide disposal efforts resulted in a reduction of 389 pounds of unwanted pesticides and the recycling of 4600 pounds of pesticide containers.
- Eleven new Extension Master Gardener Volunteers were certified while 61 met the requirements for and received their re-certification.
- The 2015 Flower and Garden Show reached well over 800 visitors from Currituck, surrounding counties and southeastern Virginia.
- Extension Master Gardener Volunteers donated over 3300 hours in 2015, the equivalent value of one and a half additional full time staff members serving our community through Extension programs
Family and consumer science programming in 2015 focused on health and nutrition, food safety, volunteerism and senior adult issues. Highlights of the Family and Consumer Science Program include:
- Nutrition and Health programs successfully helped participants increase their physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption resulting in medical cost and lost productivity savings estimated at $209,260.
- Extension staff and volunteers assisted 123 Medicare beneficiaries during open enrollment and saved these clients a total of $121,010.86.
- Nutrition classes reached low income families representing 92 individuals helping them stretch their food dollars and improve their nutrition.
The Currituck County 4-H program offered many inquiry based and real life learning opportunities for youth in 2015. Programs in 4-H focused on teen leadership, equine education and supporting the public schools through science, technology, engineering and math educational programming and curricula. Highlights of the Currituck 4-H Program include:
- Summer 4-H Day Camp Programs in partnership with the public schools reached nearly 100 youth with science, technology, engineering and math education utilizing a hands-on, robotics curriculum.
- The 4-H Backpacks for Kids program raised over $14,000 in private donations which supported the delivery of over 160 weekend meals each week to school children that are considered food insecure.
- Two hundred 2nd grade students in Currituck County participated in the 4-H Embryology school enrichment program which increased school attendance, participation, grades and behavior, according to participating teachers.
- Three hundred and nine elementary students participated in the interactive exhibit, “Speedway to Healthy” to learn about proper nutrition and activity as well as the dangers of obesity.
Extension in Currituck also oversees the operation of the Currituck County Rural Center (CCRC). The prime season for rentals at the CCRC runs from March to May and September to November. During the 2015 season, 50% of available weekend dates were rented for an income of just over $7000. Other events conducted by Cooperative Extension and partners included one day retreats, summer movie nights, 4-H horse camps, dig into agriculture day, the Currituck Heritage Festival, and instructional equine clinics.
Recreational users, both those with horses and without are increasing steadily. Playgrounds, fishing ponds and trails are the most popular amenities for non-horse users, while equine enthusiasts rave about the well kept rings and barns.
Currituck Cooperative Extension continues to offer a diverse program focused on improving the lives, land and economy of all Currituck citizens. For more information about Extension programs visit the website at currituck.ces.ncsu.edu or call the office at 252-232-2261.