March is Extension Month in Tennessee. Extension is a national educational program supported by USDA through the nation’s land-grant universities and administered with funding from state and local governments. In Hamilton County, both University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension provide programming to the citizens of Hamilton County. There are programs for youth and adults in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth Development. Extension agents provide educational programming throughout the year.
Members of the Extension support staff include Amanda Sanders, Marilyn Cotton and Dee Clark. They work with each program area to advance the work of Extension. When calling or coming into the office one of them is usually the first contact.
In the area of Agriculture, participants may seek out information about becoming a UT Master Gardener, take a class, participate in lunch and learn sessions, have soil tested, insect identified, disease of plant identified, or get recommendations for a home garden, yard or farm. Agent Tom Stebbins and Program Assistant Katie Bishop are a source for all things related to agriculture.
Agents June Puett and Janice Hartman, Area Specialist Anne Olson and Program Assistants Mary Cranmore-Vickery, Leslee Collins and Kristen Ramey provide education in the areas of Family and Consumer Sciences. Those areas include family, food, home, health, and money. Participants can find ways to choose healthier foods, learn cooking skills, gain knowledge about moving more and stretching your food dollars through programming sessions in Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Want information on food preservation like canning and freezing? Extension has classes and publications available. Dealing with chronic conditions? There are online classes like Matter of Balance and Tai Chi. Programs vary throughout the year.
4-H Youth Development in Tennessee is open to all 4th – 12th grade youth. Agents Maria Sabin and Nancy Rucker focus on programming related to workforce preparation including public speaking, decision making, teamwork, communications, healthy lifestyles, citizenship and leadership. There are clubs in schools, community clubs and project groups, along with youth competing on judging teams. Opportunities are also available for camping, service learning and trips on the state, regional and national levels. New additions include wildlife, robotics and horticulture programs.
"Extension brings research-based information of both UT and TSU to the local community," said Nancy Rucker, Extension agent and county director. "There is no better team of agents, program assistants and support staff than in Hamilton County. Get to know what your Extension office can do for you. We are excited about Extension Month. Extension programs are open to all residents of Hamilton County."
Check out the Extension Month Photo Contest and learn more about programming by visiting the county website hamilton.tennessee.edu or call the office, 855-6113. Extension – Real. Life. Solutions.