Extension marks 100 years of service

The purpose is community education.

Started 100 years ago with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, the Cooperative Extension Service continues to be a strong influence in Greene County and across the United States despite a common misconception about its purpose.

Ohio State University Extension, Greene County and Extension offices across the United States are observing the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson signing of the Smith-Lever Act on May 8, 1914, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service.

The federal law requires cooperation between county, state and federal governments to meet the needs of each county.

A common misconception is that the Cooperative Extension Service only serves rural audiences and is based only in rural counties, said Rebecca Supinger, the extension educator in charge of 4-H Youth Development for Ohio State University Extension, Greene County.

“The Extension is available for all people. We are committed to our county and helping the people in the county improve their lives and families,” Supinger said, adding that it is financed with federal, state and county dollars.

It’s all about community education, providing not only 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture and Natural Resources but also Community Development and Family and Consumer Sciences, she said.

It is an educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation’s land-grant universities, which includes Ohio State University.

The universities extend research-based knowledge through the county extension offices to the public

The overall focus is “healthy people, healthy finances and healthy relationships,” Supinger said.

Currently the Greene County Extension has two federal nutrition grants reaching families with limited resources. Its Family and Consumer Sciences teaches individuals about not only food and nutrition but also money management and home preservation.

The 4-H program, which requires members to show and raise livestock and belong to a community club, has after-school programs, in-school programs, military youth programs and an international 4-H program. Greene County currently has more than 800 youth in 43 clubs.

Cloverbuds is a noncompetitive program for ages 5-8, and CARTEENS is conducted in partnership with the Greene County Juvenile Court.

“First time youth traffic offenders are sentenced to participate in this program conducted by 4-H staff, youth and volunteers and the Ohio State Highway Patrol,” she said.”

Other active Extension programs in Greene County include Master Gardener Volunteer, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist and 4-H in the Classroom, where teachers hatch chicks.

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