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Impact Statement: 'Agricultural Water Use Education Program'

Statement Details

Brief Title
Agricultural Water Use Education Program

Title
Agricultural Water Use Education Program

Author
Collins, Douglas

Year
2017

Geographic Scope
Multi-County

County
Dougherty

Unit/Department/Group
Southwest District

Summary
Most people do not understand or appreciate the importance of water to agriculture. The agent presented a program on water use to 750 elementary school students. The students demonstrated a marked increase in knowledge of agricultural water use after the program.

Situation
The agent was asked to be a presenter at the Water Festival. The Water Festival is an event sponsored by the Albany State University Water Planning & Policy Center and Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful that is aimed at teaching elementary school students in the Southwest Georgia area about various aspects of water and water conservation. Students rotate around to various stations during the day. The agent was asked to talk to the students about agricultural water use during his sessions. The agent realized in his first years presenting at the Water Festival that the overwhelming majority of students did not have a farm background and had little knowledge of how water is used in agriculture. Many do not even know what agriculture is. Furthermore, they did not know the source of their drinking water. This lack of knowledge of the importance of water in agriculture carries over to the general population. This often creates resentment of irrigation in the general population during a drought when watering restrictions are imposed and household wells go dry. Homeowners frequently water improperly, wasting water and failing to use the water that they apply to the best advantage of their lawns and other landscape and garden plants. There are shallow rooted plants in the landscape that may die during periods of dry weather before other plants in the landscape show signs of drought stress.

Response
The agent created a PowerPoint presentation to complement his talk on agricultural water use. He created a game based on the information presented to motivate the students to learn the information and to reinforce the knowledge presented while playing the game. The game was played using a quiz bowl competition-type buzzer system. Students competed in teams. Questions were presented to students in multiple choice form. The first student to signal was given the opportunity to answer the question. In his talk, the agent told the students about the ways that water is used in agriculture, the different types of irrigation systems and the advantages and disadvantages of each type, water conserving innovations in irrigation, and from where we obtain our water. The agent advised homeowners on proper lawn watering methods during site visits, office visits, and telephone calls.

Impact
750 students participated in the agent's presentation this year. It was obvious that the students had increased their knowledge by the end of the presentation simply form seeing that they could answer questions during the game that they could not before being presented the information. In a prior year, pre- and post-test covering information presented were given to 599 students during the Water Festival. Scores were an average of 42.7% higher on the post-tests than they were on the pre-tests. In one-on-one consultations, homeowners were educated on how to best irrigate lawns and other landscape plants in order to encourage deep grass roots, prevent disease, and optimize the survival of plants.

State Issue
Sustainability, Conservation, and the Environment

Program Function(s)

  • Extension

Program Area(s)

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • 4-H Youth

Topic(s)

  • Agricultural, Natural Resources, and the Environment
  • Agronomic Crops
  • General ANR
  • Horticulture

Keyword(s)

  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Livestock
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Agricultural Literacy
  • Irrigation

Funding Source(s)

  • State Appropriated Funds

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)
  • Wise , Mallory Ann Maslak
  • Spelts , Anne Raybun Dozier
Non-CAES Collaborator(s)
  • Albany State University Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center
  • Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful