Well, here we are again: A New Year is upon us and nearly all of us resolve (at least mentally) to improve this or stop that and frankly, most of us probably fail to keep them before the year’s end. So I decided this year that instead of resolving to lose weight, get more exercise, eat healthier, etc., I’d resolve to learn more about one of our County’s programs each month, so that I can share it with others and perhaps help them (and possibly even me!) gain a new interest. So here we go for January 2024 and we are going to take a closer look at Denton County AgriLife. We have so much to be grateful for in Denton County and I am especially grateful for all the work our AgriLife team has done this past year as it reached tens of thousands of residents, ranging from youth to seniors and lots of folks in between! Denton County definitely is a suburban county, but much still remains of its agricultural roots and history. And in fact, the interest in AgriLife also is growing!
In 2023, our local AgriLife team experienced incredible growth in programs and outreach among our residents thanks to members, volunteers, and staff. Our ten 4-H clubs include 302 members and 65 volunteers who help the young members exhibit cattle, lambs, rabbits, and chickens as well as assist with food nutrition, STEM projects and performance arts.
Master adult volunteers in several schools reached 9,996 youth through programs at schools ranging from agriculture and horticulture to food and nutrition, doing their best to live by the motto “To make best better.” The AgriLife Agriculture and Natural Resources team held a conference for small and new landowners that drew 111 individuals, helping them with agriculture property tax evaluation, fencing, insurance, and more. With the exploding population in Denton County, we find hundreds of these new residents eager to learn about the best use of their acreage.
And for those whose homes are more traditionally set in a municipality, Better Living for Texans worked with the “Thrive” program in Lewisville, Lewisville Library, and the Town of Little Elm Library to help 39 individuals make positive changes in their overall health. An 8-week “Walk & Talk” program had 95 graduates from Thrive, Lewisville Library, and Brentwood Elementary. And speaking of walking, at Lake Dallas Elementary School, 850 students walked 8,250 miles – an amount that equals walking about 10 times across the State of Texas.
In the “Learn, Grow, Eat & Go” program, 94 students learned about gardening and harvesting and have a better understanding about horticulture and where our foods come from. In working with the “North Texas Area on Aging”, 30 seniors learned to change habits and increase their activity levels to improve their strength. Six Master Wellness volunteers worked with 750 residents on nutrition; 287 Master Gardener volunteers recorded over 33,000 hours of service; and 213 Master Naturalists volunteered 28,000 hours.
An estimated 19,000 residents across Denton County were reached through these programs. As part of the annual spring and fall outreach, Denton ISD School Days at Clear Creek engaged 4,401 second and fourth grade students where volunteers taught them about fossils, pelts, snakes, and bees and led them on nature hikes.
As you can see, our Denton County AgriLife program is phenomenal at outreach and provides the types of programs residents of any age and background can enjoy. To view an engaging video about many of these programs, click here:
Here’s to an even busier 2024. What program(s) would YOU like to try?
Contact Commissioner Dianne Edmondson by email at Dianne.Edmondson@dentoncounty.gov or phone her at 972-434-3960. You can also stop by her office in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900, in Flower Mound.