Extension to host grassroots meeting June 6

Published 11:15 am Friday, May 26, 2023

Getting feedback from county residents is key to the educational process that the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) offers in Lowndes County.

Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey said one of the ways they collect that feedback is through a grassroots meeting.

“Every year, ACES holds at least one face-to-face meeting to get stakeholders’ ideas and comments on our programs,” Shealey said. “We want residents, business owners, elected officials, educators, and public service employees from every community to participate. If they can’t attend the luncheon, we will drop off paper surveys to residents’ homes and churches.”

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The Lowndes County Extension Grassroots Meeting will be held June 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge located at 9022 Highway 80 in Tyler. 

Shealey said during the meeting, residents will talk with the agents who teach classes and workshops, and attendees will each complete an anonymous survey regarding the four main program areas that ACES teaches including – agriculture and forestry, human sciences, 4-H youth development, and community engagement/development.

“We constantly seek input from stakeholders. I think almost everybody gets one of our emails or flyers about something we are doing. This meeting is a huge part of data collection for planning our service to our stakeholders,” Shealey said.

4-H Regional Extension Agent Beth Fair schedules youth programs in Lowndes County. “Grassroot meetings allow the citizens the opportunity to voice their concerns and give their input on topics that benefit the community. Meetings such as these are not only important but necessary,” said Fair. 

Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson said the grassroot process is a perfect example of the use of people-powered change.

“Our grassroots process is an inspiring act of community participation utilized to mobilize and empower everyday people affected by an issue in their community to come together and take action to advocate for change. Extension’s grassroots process is a great collective action resource for getting an idea from conception to implementation, and back for improvements,” Robinson said.

Lynn Dickenson teaches Forestry and Natural Resources in Lowndes County. 

“I rely heavily on those survey results and meetings to ensure I am providing the programming that the citizens of Lowndes County need and want,” Dickenson said.                                                                 

Home Grounds, Home Gardens and Home Pests Regional Extension Agent Mallory Kelly agrees and said, “The grassroots meeting is important for Alabama Extension Agents to connect with locals in each specific county and get feedback and input on what they see are the educational needs of the county to improve the lives of those around them. In Alabama Extension, we have so many resources from our universities, we want to define what information is best and most needed for each county.”

Shealey noted that the two Extension groups serving the county, Tuskegee University Extension Program and Alabama Cooperative Extension System of Alabama A&M and Auburn University, collaborate on most programs.

Georg Hunter, ANR Coordinator for the Tuskegee University Extension Program added that having yearly meetings helps grow the Extension reach. 

“Information obtained from the grassroots meetings serve as a guide to assist us in developing extension programs to better deliver research-based information to our stakeholders,” said Hunter.

Lunch will be provided; therefore, attendees must register by calling (334) 548-2315. Registration is required by 4:00 p.m. June 1. For more information about this event, and Extension programming, please contact Tana Shealey at (334) 548.2315 or (334) 419-5681.