Suwannee Democrat


February 19, 2014

UF/IFAS Extension 2014 Program Plans for Suwannee County

Live Oak —

By Mary Sowerby

UF Regional Dairy Extension

The year 2014 is well underway as are many programs being planned at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/Suwannee County Extension Office. We would like to share some of our “resolution” programming for 2014, starting with our youth.

Each agent allocates from five to nearly 100 percent of their time to youth development programs. 4-H Agent Brian Estevez leads the charge in helping youth “Make their best better” (the 4-H motto). Every agent is involved in one or more summer camps (open to all students from 8 to 18) and/or the Fall Harvest Festival. Brian cooks up a new “From Farm to Table” camp every year and has resolved to surprise campers with another fun learning adventure in agri- or aqua-culture this year. 

Horticultural agent Carolyn Saft has been amazing students the past couple of years with her creative “Bug Camps”. In 2014 she has resolved to change species and hold a “Doggie Day Camp” instead. If your children love dogs, they will love this week of camp. 

Prior years’ Trash to Treasure Camp instructor Katherine Allen (Family and Consumer Sciences Agent) has resolved to teach students smart “be your own boss” business tactics this year in Entrepreneurship Camp. It should be an amazing adventure. 

Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Cathy Rogers is specializing her ever popular sewing camps this year into a “Quilt in a Week” Camp. This should be a real treat for her students as Cathy shares her talent for beautiful quilt making. 

B-cubed (Bovine Buzzer Battle/Dairy Quiz Bowl) Camp will take on two new aspects this year: 1) it will become a full day and night camp and 2) it will be open to students statewide. Regional Specialized Dairy Agent Mary Sowerby plans to focus on nutrition: from field crops, to ration formulation, to digestive tracts, to nutritional diseases this summer as students prepare for the State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest. Any student from novice to experienced Quiz Bowl participant who likes cows and science is welcome.

Agricultural Agent Elena Toro, along with Brian Estevez, coordinate the Annual Fall Harvest Experience for area fourth graders held at the Suwannee Valley Ag Extension Center farm. One or more new crops will be featured this year along with pumpkins, squash and gourds, and amazing mazes through corn, sorghum or who knows what this year. 

4-H events happen year around from the delicious Holiday Bake-off which takes place in December, to the Suwannee County Fair spring events, to Farm and Meats Judging, to County Council and Club meetings, to early school release day programs to summer residential camp at Camp Cherry Lake, to Statewide Legislature and Congress and much more.  Brian Estevez strives to make each experience special and fun for the youth.

Extension programs are not just for youth although every agent has resolved to provide quality and impactful programs for them. But the same holds for adults in the community. Cathy Rogers has resolved to help community members change their lifestyles to reduce debt and save for emergencies, retirement and personal goals. 

Both Katherine Allen and Cathy Rogers are striving to improve the health of Suwannee County citizens through nutrition and diabetes programs. Katherine has also resolved to continue working to enliven downtown Live Oak, and help keep us healthy through Serv-Safe restaurant employee training programs.  

Carolyn Saft has new programs planned which will be held at Heritage Park this year on trees, birds, wild flowers, home gardening and many other topics. Elena Toro and Mary Sowerby have both resolved to assist Suwannee agricultural producers to maximize production and profit with ongoing specialized programs.

The year 2014 holds great promise for the UF/IFAS Extension programs we conduct to make a positive impact on your life or your children’s. They are open to all members of the community. We hope you will participate and if you have questions or suggestions, call us (386-362-2771) or stop by our office which is beside the Agricultural Coliseum, next door to Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center. You can also check our website ( for our program calendar and other great educational resources for “Solutions for Your Life.”

Extension programs are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.  


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Did your student take advantage of local summer activities?

Yes, through 4-H or another club.
Yes, through Parks & Recreation.
Yes, summer food service program.
No, they didn’t.
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