Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tours offered for first time at fair

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in the Wise County Messenger

Every year school groups flock to the Wise County Youth Fair so students can see farm animals up-close. In the past, teachers were left to herd their students up and down the barn aisles alone, but this year, tour guides will greet the big, yellow buses.
4-H Program Assistant Andrea Calabretta organized the program and trained 4-H, FFA and FCCLA members to guide tours.
“They’ll talk about fun facts and the jobs these animals have after they leave the fair ground,” she said. “It’s a backstage pass to the fair grounds.”
Groups will see the animals in the barns, and they’ll also walk through the Women’s Building where the 4-H and FCCLA baking, craft and photography entries are displayed.
“It’s a great way for the youth to explain what they do,” she said. “They get to say this is why I do it, and it’s great for younger youth to get excited about it and want to be that kid who is showing that pig or that brought in that cake.”
Calabretta, who also owns her own agriculture education business, has organized tours for several fairs, and she brought that expertise to this project.
The tours are designed for daycare through fifth grade students, but Calabretta said any group is welcome to participate. Tour guides have been trained so that they know something about every animal and project on the grounds.
Tours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, except Wednesday, and each tour lasts about 45 minutes.
Teachers can call the Extension Service office at (940) 627-3341 to sign up for a tour.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sports and Athletic Field Management Seminar in Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls– In addition to their regular care, turf fields will need special attention to fully recuperate from last year’s drought. A seminar that covers those special needs plus turf grass varieties, insects, weeds and best management practices will be held on Wednesday, April 4 at the Multi Purpose Events Center in Wichita Falls. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at 9 a.m. The fee is $30 and the deadline to register is 5 p.m. on Monday, April 2.

Dr. James McAfee, Associate Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist will present the program. Dr. McAfee develops educational material and programs to help home owners, golf course superintendents, sports field managers and all other turfgrass managers produce quality turf. His main emphasis is to develop turf management programs that require fewer inputs of fertilizer, pesticides and water; evaluate new turfgrass varieties for use in home lawns, golf courses and sports fields.

There will be three continuing education units offered with this program for licensed Texas private and commercial pesticide applicators.

Texas Agrilife Extension Service agent in Wichita County Fred M. Hall noted that “school and golf course managers as well as commercial lawn service operators will find this program is geared especially for them– lots of good science and practical application”. 

For more information contact the office at 940-627-3341

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leaders of Tomorrow

FFA & 4-H: Developing Youth Today to Be Leaders of Tomorrow
(This is the real purpose of 4-H/FFA Livestock Projects)

One purpose of the FFA and 4-H animal projects is to teach young people how to feed, fit and show their animals. The more important purpose is to provide an opportunity for personal growth and development of the young person. This statement has been used for years to justify the livestock projects.

The Josephson Institute of Ethics, as a part of its nationwide CHARACTER COUNTS! effort, has  developed a curriculum called “Exercising Character.” This curriculum identifies six core values that may help to better describe the value of FFA and 4-H livestock projects. The curriculum also presents the idea that people develop and strengthen character by practicing certain behaviors, just as muscles are built through exercise.

Therefore, the purpose of the FFA and 4-H livestock program is to provide opportunities for young people to develop character. The character traits identified and some practices (exercises) that may build character follow:

Trustworthiness includes honesty, promise keeping and loyalty.
  • feeds and waters the animals daily (promise keeping)
  •  adheres to possession deadlines (honesty)
  •  adheres to withdrawal time on drugs and de-wormers
  •  uses only approved drugs

Respect includes courtesy and proper treatment of people and things.
  • handles and treats animals humanely
  • cares for animals properly
  • listens to and follows advice of advisors
  • recognizes that the animal project is dependent on the youth to provide daily feed and water

Responsibility includes the pursuit of excellence, accountability and perseverance.
  • feeds and waters the animal daily (even on the busy, difficult days)
  • goes beyond providing the daily needs of the animal in giving additional time and attention to produce a winner
  • adheres to deadlines for entry form and for arrival for livestock shows.
  • never gives up in the show ring (perseverance)

Fairness involves consistently applying rules and standards appropriate for different age
groups and ability levels.
  • feeds only approved livestock rations
  • uses only approved drugs
  • accepts winning or losing with grace
  • follows recommended procedure in the show ring
  • follows recommended procedures for fitting and grooming an animal

Caring promotes the well-being of people and things in a youth’s world. It denotes action
and not just feeling.
  • feeds and waters animal daily
  • provides clean barn/stall for animal
  • treats animal humanely at all times

Citizenship includes making the home, community and country a better place to live for
themselves and others.
  • accepts instruction
  • wins and losing with grace
  • helps others at stock shows
  • teaches younger members
  • treats animals humanely
  • ensures that meat is safe for consumption

The opportunities for exercising character listed above are not intended to be complete but to express the idea that the FFA and 4-H livestock projects offer numerous ways for young people to build character. It is the responsibility of adults to ensure that all exercises are building positive character traits for youth. While recognizing that a young child must have some help to halter break a calf or to shear a lamb, the idea is for parents and advisors to insist that the child does all he or she is capable of doing.

It should be pointed out that the tasks of daily feeding and watering contribute to the strengthening of at least four of the six core values. It is important also to recognize that the size of the animal does not have any effect on the value of the project for the young people to develop character. Therefore, a child may learn the same things and have the same opportunity to exercise character with a rabbit as with a steer project.

FFA Creed and the 4-H Pledge
Let’s take a minute to review the 4-H Pledge and the FFA Creed. You will notice similar themes to the work all of us do in these programs.

The 4-H Pledge
To make the best better
I pledge
My head to clearer thinking
My heart to greater loyalty
My hands to larger service and
My health to better living
For my club, my community, my country, and my world.

The FFA Creed
I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds--
achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of
better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us
from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural
pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of
agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which even in hours of
discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability
to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in
the ability of progressive agriculturalists to serve our own public interest in producing and
marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life
abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so-- for others as well as myself; in
less need of charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing
square with those whose happiness depends on me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our
national life and that I can exert and influence in my home and community which will
stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

Exhibiting livestock allows all of us to work together as a team to develop each other for a
better tomorrow. In the midst of competition through exhibition, remember the real
winners are the youth in the FFA and 4-H programs.

Time to Break out the Dance Shoes!!!

Walk Across Texas Update

Fourteen teams from across Wise County are working to improve their quality of life by participating in the Walk Across Texas program.  Walk Across Texas is an eight week, fun and fitness program for teams of eight people.  The teams have a friendly competition to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, spinning, treadmill, swimming or other physical activities.  The purpose of the program is to have every person who participates to take home a healthy habit - walking for fitness.
            Several teams are getting off to a great start.  A map will be on display at the Wise County Office with the teams’ walking shoes depicting how far they have walked from Decatur.  You are invited to stop by the Wise County Extension Office at 206 S. State Street in Decatur to check out our Texas map.
            Hats off to Walk Across Texas team captains. They have the responsibility of turning in registration forms and updating mileage each week. We appreciate your efforts and enthusiasm. Listed below are participating teams and team captains: Super Walkers- Dana Wood; Outlets- Anna Wallace;  Slidell HS- Kimberly Dunlap; Hubba Bubba- Belinda Sherman; Kilowatts- Bill Hood; Young at Heart- Amy White; Transformers Wise Electric- Karen Culpepper;  Volts Wise Electric- Jerry Brooks; City of Bridgeport- Judi Conger; Wise County 4-H Council- Morgan Barnes; POW (Paradise Over the Hill Walkers)- Kay Stephens; Old Dogs-Don Covington; Soul Steppers- Tanya Davis; Amazing Walkers-Dixie Range.         
Many participants are walking for the “health of it” in order to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes; but some of you may be walking in order to lose weight. Remember, it is not too late to form a team of eight and begin a healthy habit!  Call (940)627-3341.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Be Prepared for the Unexpected During a Tornado

It’s tornado season and hopefully Wise County residents will not be involved in a tornado this year. However, it is always smart to be prepared for the unexpected by preparing a home tornado plan.
Pick a place in your home as a shelter, and practice having family members go there during drill sessions. A storm cellar, center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest level of your home is best. Take your pets and your emergency kit with you.
            There are several emergency supplies that should be included in a portable kit:     
·                      flashlight, portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries, and a cell phone
·                      first-aid kit
·                      at least three gallons of water per person
·                      protective clothing, bedding, and sturdy shoes
·                      emergency food, cooking equipment, can opener
·                      special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
·                 written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so
·                      cash and credit cards
·                      emergency kit for your pets
            Develop an emergency family communication plan. Select an out-of-town friend or relative for everyone to check in with if family members are in different locations during a disaster.  Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
It is also a good idea to visit with neighbors to determine how you can work together during an emergency. Also be aware of tornado warning sirens in your community and if you can hear them from your home and work.
For more information concerning preparing for the unexpected during a tornado call Texas AgriLife Extension, Wise County at 940/627-3341.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kick Off!!!

Time to get moving!! Today starts the 8 week program for Walk Across Texas! For more information please contact the extension office for details!