Spring is typically a busy time of year for the Extension office, particularly in my main role as Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent. Between client inquiries, soil and water tests, educational programs, site visits, and training, we stay busy. Since our long-time 4-H leader Jodi Coon left us in early 2020, I have also been leading our 4-H Club here in Lincoln County. Due to the challenges of programming under COVID restrictions, there has been very little in-person 4-H programming in the last year. Fortunately, we are seeing restrictions lift and as a result, have been able to start back with our traditional events. UGA Extension’s Northeast District was the only district to hold an in-person, face-to-face Cloverleaf District Project Achievement (DPA) competition this spring!

Cloverleaf DPA is where students choose an area of interest, research their topic, write a speech, prepare a poster, and present their findings to judges at the district competition. DPA helps 4-H’ers develop skills in leadership, creativity, research, public speaking, record keeping, and more. Cloverleaf DPA is open to 5th and 6th graders in Lincoln County, and Junior/Senior DPA is open to 7th through 12th graders.  On May 8th, 2021, ten counties (Lincoln included) met at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, GA to compete in Project Achievement. There was a total of 144 individuals present, 88 of whom were competitors. Lincoln County took four 5th grade students to compete this year. Two of our students, Chloe Lowes and Anna McFadden competed in the Horse category, presenting on “English vs Western Tack” and “Horse Breeds and Colors” respectively. Chloe and Anna tied for third place.  Haley Keown presented on “Robots” in the Robotics category and came in 3rd, and Sade McGahee was 3rd in Dog Care and Training with her presentation “Great Danes”. These students attended 5 after-school workshops to prepare for Project Achievement and we are proud of their hard work and success!

It takes an army for our students to compete and be successful at things like DPA. Lincoln County Extension would like to extend a sincere thank you to our sponsors: Commercial Insurance Services, Inc; J&T Service Center Inc; H&H Industrial Maintenance; Farmer State Bank; Rayle Electric Membership Corp; Lee Builders, Inc; AG Georgia Farm Credit; Lincoln County Farm Bureau; F&M Bank; Jeff & Sheri Easter; R&W Auto Parts; Wilkes Telephone/Relyant Communications; Raiford Convenience, LLC. The financial support of our sponsors allows all of our DPA students to compete at no cost to them- our 4-H office covers all of the associated fees. Further thanks are due to all parents, teachers, school staff, and transportation staff for their collaborative efforts in making DPA such a huge success.

Despite the challenges of programming during COVID restrictions, we have maintained monthly club meetings in-school for 5th grade, bi-monthly club meetings for middle and high school, and started a monthly homeschooling club as well! We are hopeful that this next budget cycle will lead to funding for a full-time 4-H staff member to lead and expand our 4-H specialty clubs in years to come. Please join us in congratulating our 4-H’ers on their success at the 2021 Northeast District Cloverleaf DPA.

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