Beyond exquisite beauty and Southern charm, North Carolina has extraordinary resources, educational opportunities for adults and children in each of its 100 counties. NC State Cooperative Extension offices offer effective modern-day solutions through science-based methods. Do you wonder how to make the most of your garden space, or why three tomato plants compared to acres of crops aren’t thriving? If you are seeking to own goats and sheep and needing help planning logistics, or starting a beekeeping endeavor, NC State Cooperative Extension is just one phone call away!
From Wilmington to Cherokee
“We are a hands-on resource,” Bryan Hartman, the Agriculture, and Natural Resources Agent for N.C. Cooperative Extension of Stokes County shares. “The best part of what we do is meeting individuals and seeing the problem first-hand. We never thought we’d need a virtual experience; yet, changes due to Covid-19 have boosted our ability to teach hundreds of people how to grow food, raise livestock, or help anyone with small gardens to large farms and everyone in-between. North Carolinians can take a course in New Hanover County in Wilmington and Cherokee County in Murphy on the same day without worrying about mobility issues. As agents, we provide science-based knowledge, equivalent to real-life Google, to help build self-confidence and change someone’s life. As a non-profit that receives funding through taxpayer dollars, it’s empowering to hear, “’I did what you told me, and it worked!’”
Community Involvement Through Hobbies
Through a passion for horticulture or agriculture, you may be surprised to find out just how many people in your community have the same interest. NC Cooperative Extension offers the connection. Free classes, including time to engage in hands-on, practical experience, or join a monthly group, provide an opportunity for you to gain educational insight while meeting locals. Stephanie Thomas writes, “It began with a phone call into the Cooperative Extension three years ago, inquiring about our ailing nectarine trees. The agent came to our home, gave us great advice and a concrete plan to go forward. Before he left, I had a packet of information to read about pruning, pests, and overall good tree health. Since then, I became an active participant in two Extension groups, while my children attend their high-interest, no-cost camps. It’s the best of both worlds. Through advice and education, all generations are learning great methods to grow and raise food. I’m always excited to see familiar faces and talk about housing, predators, and best practices in raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. ‘Extension’ is a service to give us the advice and tools to be successful!”
North Carolina 4-H
With seven-plus million participants, 4-H is the largest youth organization in the State. It represents in its emblem the symbols of head, heart, hands, and health. Devised to provide an opportunity to build leadership, citizenship, and life skills, today’s 4-H explores subjects from photography to computers, to building rockets, and raising animals. Through the NC State Cooperative Extension Service partnership, 4-H delivers educational and technological opportunities for ages five through eighteen.
Tip: Continue to check the www.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/4-h-youth-development/ website for summer opportunities and to sign up for upcoming events. All North Carolina 4-H camps are open to the public.
Bookmark the Website
Wouldn’t you like to know what is happening in your community? The NC State Cooperative Extension website, www.ces.ncsu.edu/, can keep you well informed. You’ll find artisans’ and farmer’s markets, opportunities to take classes, informational articles, and what’s trending, such as the art of propagation, planting calendars, and nutritional feeding management of small farm animals. There’s something for everyone!
*Lisa Doss is an NC State Extension Master Gardener Volunteer and a State Certified Beekeeper.