Hamilton County Extension Highlights

Here is a brief listing of the outcomes of our programs in Hamilton County.

Hamilton County Extension Highlights

Green Industry Outreach: 

Tri-State Green Industry Conference (GIC)

Multiple vendors and educators came together for the Tri-State GIC on February 7, 2013.   The GIC is a collaborative effort between OSU Extension, Hamilton and Clermont Counties; Purdue Extension, Dearborn County; and the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association (CFGA).   A total of 27 educational sessions involving 28 speakers provided up-to-date research based information in the areas of Annuals & Perennials, Greenhouse & Nursery Management, Tree & Shrub Care, Turfgrass Management, Green Infrastructure and General Pest & Disease Management.   Participants earned 356 Ohio Pesticide recertification credits as well as CEUs for ISA Certified Arborists and Landscape Architects.   The Trade Show featured 19 vendors and attracted 418 participants.  A survey was conducted and 91% of the participants answered "yes" to the question:  "I believe new knowledge gained from the Tri-State GIC will save me and/or my company money and/or my company money."  The survey showed that the average amount of money that "new knowledge gained" will save each participant was $2,283; the total amount of money that "new knowledge gained knowledge gained" will save all participants was $894,936.

Southwest Ohio BYGLive! Diagnostic Walk Abouts

This was the 16th year for these monthly hands-on training programs, conducted from April through October at various horticulturally significant sites throughout Greater Cincinnati.  The training is aimed at helping horticulture professionals avoid making costly mistakes including unwarranted pesticide applications by becoming more proficient in diagnosing plant pests, diseases, and physiological problems.  There were 7 Walk-Abouts held in 2013 with 298 participants and 22 teaching hours.  Participants earned ONLA CEUs, ISA CEUs and Landscape Architect CEUs.

Enhancing Awareness of Non-Native Invasive Pests

Emerald ash borer (EAB) kills all species of North American ash trees (a single genus); the beetle is killing trees in Hamilton County and across the state.  Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) kills trees in 13 genera and is potentially the most destructive tree-killer to have ever arrived in North America.  While EAB cannot be eradicated, ALB has been targeted for eradication; however, early detection is essential to eradication success in terms of time needed and money required.  An ALB infestation was discovered in 2011 in Clermont County, which adjoins Hamilton County to the east.  These non-native pests have been joined in Ohio by other tree-killers including Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) and Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), a fungal disease spread by a bark beetle.  In 2013, Hamilton County personnel provided outreach training on ALB, EAB, HWA, and TCD including 28 programs on ALB that reached 2,081 participants during 52.75 teaching hours.  Additionally, a magazine article on ALB and EAB titled, "A Tale of Two Beetles," was published in the online Canadian Groundskeeper, November, 2013: [ http://www.canadiangroundskeeper.com/ ].

ALB expertise by Hamilton County was further recognized by the award of an $85,000 Farm Bill grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) for "Developing and Teaching Standardized Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Early Detection Certification Training Programs."  There were a total of 550 grant proposals received and 398 grants awarded.  Our grant was submitted under Goal 5:  Conduct Outreach & Education.  There were 6 "Cooperator Types" under this goal and a total of $3,964,631 was awarded to 52 proposals for an average of $76,242 per award.  Our Cooperator Type was "Academia" in Goal 5; there were 16 awards totally $672,069 under this cooperator type with an average of $42,000 per award.  Our funding award represented 13% of the total funds awarded under this cooperator type.

Consumer Horticulture Outreach

In 2013, there were 78 active Master Gardener Volunteers and 25 Master Gardener Volunteer Interns, while 20 new applicants completed their 50 hours of training.  The Master Gardener Volunteers contributed more than 3800 volunteer hours and earned over 950 continuing education hours.

OSU Extension, Hamilton County personnel also provided educational material to homeowners on the impacts of plant pests and diseases (e.g. ALB, TCD, and EAB) on long term storm water management.  Extension personnel developed educational material to be provided to homeowners on tree facts and their importance on storm water management.   As a result of these and other efforts, OSU Extension, Hamilton County was paid $40,000 under the terms of a contract with the MSD in 2013.

Preparing Youth for Success

To expand and better the 4-H Youth Development program, Volunteer Training and Advisor training programs reached eight new volunteers.  These volunteers are now working with youth and establishing sound programming in Shooting Sports, the fastest growing program in Hamilton County.

Through Livestock Quality Assurance, Judging, and Skill-A-Thons, 183 youth experienced friendly competition, success in completing projects, and a better knowledge of skills necessary for success:  interviewing skills, speaking in public, demonstrating knowledge, and working as a team.

Advancing Employment and Income Opportunities

Camp counselors from both Clermont and Hamilton Counties, 18 Jr. Leaders from Hamilton County, and 183 4-H members were tasked with developing work force prep skills which included leadership, communication, teamwork, independence, follow through, and completion.  These skills ultimately will be ones that these youth will “fall back” on for future success in college, jobs, and family life.

Strengthening Families

The National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program reached students in more than 100 Ohio schools, due in part to support and promotion from OSU Extension.  Over 8,000 student guides were shipped at teacher requests, equipping students to be financially stable and successful as young adults.

Adult Money Management Education

Financial despair continues to climb in Hamilton County, with over 8,900 bankruptcy cases and 6,714 foreclosure filings in 2009.  “Nearly one in every three Ohio mortgage holders is ‘under water’ or has negative equity in their home”(Rothstein, 2010).  Empowering our lowest income residents to succeed through new money management skills is the goal of Money Talk$.  This six-hour program was offered three times, and  67 people participated.  Attendees established financial goals, organized financial records, and gained knowledge and improved money-management skills and practices in budgeting, managing credit and recordkeeping.  Participants also indicated that they had a plan to deal with debt, they had determined possible money-stretching strategies, and they had increased awareness of resources to help with personal management, including banks and credit unions.  

Greater Cincinnati Saves Campaign

 In order to enable financial stability and asset building for families in Hamilton County, OSU Extension leads the Greater Cincinnati Saves Campaign, a subset of America Saves. This is a social campaign focused on saving, building wealth and becoming more financially stable.  In 12 years of existence, America Saves has enrolled over 300,000 savers, who have pledged to save nearly $35 million.  Saves is available to all greater Cincinnati citizens, and it is especially targeted to low  income families and youth.  Savers receive ongoing support, motivation, and encouragement via email, Facebook, and twitter.  The Greater Cincinnati Saves coalition is made up of thirteen organizations, including the IRS, United Way, and local financial institutions.

Money: Making, Saving, and Spending for Teens

Through a partnership with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, teens in nine library branches learned personal finance skills like goal setting, budgeting, banking, smart credit use, avoiding scams, and the importance of staying in school. 

Food Preservation Education 

Food Preservation Education was presented to Hamilton County residents through 10 hands-on workshops. Participants learned how to safely preserve food products through canning, freezing, pickling, and fermenting using the most recent research from the USDA.


Hamilton County is one of 18 Ohio counties, funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide community nutrition education through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP targets low-income youth and low-income families with young children. EFNEP assists participants in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behavior necessary to achieve nutritionally sound diets; contributes to the participant's personal development; and improves the total family diet and nutritional well-being. The programs are delivered as a series of lessons taught by paraprofessionals and volunteers, many of whom are indigenous to the target population.

•A total of 262 adults and 1355 youth were reached by our EFNEP program in Hamilton County, Ohio in 2013. 26% were African American, 34% were White, 23% were Latino, .and 17% reported other or mixed race.

•EFNEP graduated 262 low income adults with children.  Families had an average of 4 children, representing 1143 individuals reached.  Each adult participant received an average of 7.4 lessons on how to select more nutritional foods and gain skills in food preparation, and food safety. Adults also learn better methods to manage their food budgets and related resources such as Food Stamps.

•Evaluations showed 80% of participants showed improvement in one or more food resource management practices; 95% showed improvement in one or more nutrition practices; 74% showed improvement in one or more food safety practices; and 41.8% showed positive change in physical activity.

•EFENP Youth programs reached over 400 children in the Summer Food Service Program, partnering with community organizations throughout Hamilton and Butler Counties. More than 1,350 total youth were reached in school enrichment, after school, day camps, and summer lunch site programs with six week nutrition and food safety programs.

While working with children K-2nd grade, 90% children improved 1 or more knowledge or skill(s), 69% children improve 2 or more knowledge or skill(s), and 44% children improve 3 or more knowledge or skill(s) necessary to choose foods consistent with Federal Dietary Guideline recommendations.

17% - 58% of the students improved their knowledge of identifying food in food groups and 12% were able to identify healthier snacks than 6 weeks earlier.

With 3rd – 5th graders 56% of students are eating more fruits and vegetables, 29% are choosing healthier snacks and 15% of the students are now eating their breakfast daily. 60% of the students now ask for their favorite fruit and or vegetable and have them available within reach at home.  29% of the families have switched to lower fat milk. Physical activity has increased by 21% for some of the students.  Hand washing and food safety practices have improved by over 40%.


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Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration; Associate Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Director, Ohio State University Extension; and Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership.

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