Master gardeners, 4-H members and volunteers assisted Janet Wasko Myers, Madison County’s OSU Extension agent, in supporting the Madison County Commissioners’ proclamation on Monday to acknowledge the celebration for the centennial of the extension service.
Extension, more correctly, Cooperative Extension, came into being through the Smith-Lever Act, which was passed May 8, 1914 — 100 years ago this week.
The authors of the legislation were U.S. Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia and U.S. Rep. A. F. Lever of South Carolina. They wrote it “to expand the vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America by bringing the research-based knowledge of the land grant universities to people where they live and work.”
Through county extension, the 4-H clubs throughout offer nearly endless learning opportunities to boys and girls from Cloverbuds on up through the senior year of high school.
Susanna Lauer is one of the latter as she is “aging out” of the program. During her time in 4-H, she has performed many projects and taken on assignments such as junior fair board member and 4-H camp counselor. The latter she counts as one of her fondest 4-H experiences.
Matt Edgington calls his 4-H experiences “a way of life.” He credits the program for taking away his shyness and giving him confidence to speak in front of a group of people.
The Nichols family — Amy and children, Hunter and Reagan — embrace 4-H and are dedicated sheep and swine show persons.
Amy is the newly-elected senior fair board secretary and loves the 4-H lifestyle, she said.
“It’s the best thing for kids,” Nichols said.
Lester Barnhart serves on the advisory council and is a certified instructor in shooting sports. If it propels a projectile, from arrow to buckshot, Barnhart can teach a person how to do it correctly and safely.
Extension also supports the master gardener program. Teresa Woodard and Linda Granger, master gardeners themselves, enjoy teaching others about the joys of gardening, planting trees and conducting clean-ups of county streams. They encourage young students to dig in the dirt and plant things. They are sponsoring a flower bed contest for the myriad of 4-H clubs to plant and compete for prizes.
But the big prize is the beautification of the fairgrounds for its 125-year celebration in July.
Julie Fox, OSU extension central regional director and associate professor, was on hand for the proclamation’s signing and was impressed by the county’s diversity, she said.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.