Lyons: Extension’s key role

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

Those who work in the Alabama Cooperative Extension System don’t often toot their own horns. But maybe they should.

Extension has a tremendous impact statewide and on the local level as well.

The Alabama Cooperative System funds 5.7 full-time equivalent employees in Pike County.

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These positions deliver educational programs throughout the year. Programs are developed statewide and delivered locally in each county.

Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator, said, annually, 700 students learn the importance of forest management and environmental stewardship through Pike County’s Forest in the Classroom program.

“Forty-four Pike County residents learned how to better manage and stock their ponds through an Extension pond management workshop,” Lyons said. “In the area of economic and community development, 25 business leaders have joined the Pike County Business Development Committee, spearheaded by the Pike County Extension office and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.”

Lyons said, through a partnership of Extension and the Pike County Emergency Management Agency, the community is learning how to prepare for disasters through a newly created disaster preparedness program, which includes a youth program.

“In 2012 and 2013, taxpayers took advantage of free tax preparation services offered at the Pike County Extension office,” Lyons said. “This service was offered in partnership with Troy University. And, through the Reality Check program, more than 700 youth in Pike County have learned about the realities of budgeting, investing, entrepreneurship, personal finances, debt, savings, wealth building and job hunting.”

In the areas of 4-H and youth development, 565 junior and senior youth participated in a College and Career Fair Day where they learned about job offerings and careers from industries throughout the county, Lyons said.

“Through the Skins n’ Skulls program in 2013, more than 500 youth learned about wildlife species native to Alabama,” he said. “Youth studied examples of skulls and learned to recognize tracks of wildlife and about camouflage and warning coloration.”

Lyons said the impact of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in Pike County is far reaching.

“When people think of Extension, they usually think about 4-H but Extension is much greater than that,” he said.

The Pike County Extension office in Troy has a wealth of information available in handouts on a wide variety of subjects. Extension agents and volunteers are available to answer questions on a variety of topics.

For more information about the services of the Pike County Extension office, call 334-566-0985.