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March is UT Extension month

Unicoi County will be one of 95 counties across the state taking part in Extension Month throughout the remainder of March.
According to a press release issued from University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the month will be used with various events across the state to help bring exposure to each UT Extension office and to help commemorate the 105-year-old program.
“It is often said, unfortunately, that UT Extension is one of Tennessee’s best kept secrets,” said Ty Petty, Unicoi County Extension Agent. “So we’re trying to change that and we want to make sure people realize that we are here and offering services to all the local citizens and that we provide an important service to the community.
“Our mission is to bring research-based information from the University of Tennessee to the people of Unicoi County. Although we work through the state and university, we think of ourselves as Unicoi County employees and we’re here to serve the people.”
The UT Extension office in Unicoi County offers programs in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development and family and consumer science, Petty said. The Unicoi County 4-H program also has nearly 800 students, from students grades fourth through 12th.
The local extension also has a master beef producer class going on now with 135 people enrolled from four counties, including Unicoi.
“Extension means ‘reaching out,’ and University of Tennessee Extension extends the university’s teaching and research missions to deliver research-based information and education to all the state’s citizens through youth and adult programs in every county,” said Tim Cross, dean of UT Extension.
Members of the community will be invited to take part in an open house on March 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Extension office inside the Unicoi County courthouse.
Along with refreshments during the event, individuals will have an opportunity to view pieces from the Unicoi County 4-H GPS team. The team brought home state championship honors during a recent competition, according to Petty.
Another item up for discussion, Petty said, will be the Appalachian Trail Virtual Walk. The event begins in May and lasts through June and teams of four to eight people will have a chance to sign-up.
“We work together with the YMCA and Senior Center,” Petty said. “It is an activity we like to use to promote going out and enjoying the outside. While you don’t have to walk the Appalachian Trail, your group just keeps up with their miles walked each day and it’ll be placed on a map.”
Rachel Bradshaw, new Unicoi County Extension Agent, will be meeting with community members after recently joining the local Extension office as the Family and Consumer Science Agent.