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Coca-Cola 4-H20 Replenish Project

Georgia 4-H Participation (as of June 2010 & counting)

Total Participants Reached:  49,313
Total Gallons of Water Saved: 2,303,808


Background Information

In late June 2009, Georgia 4-H was named one of only four states in the country to receive the Coca-Cola Foundation 4-H20: Replenish Project Grant from National 4-H Council (www.4-H.org/4-H20). Georgia has moved forward with its plan to involve ten counties and all five 4-H centers in this statewide water conservation program.

Grant Recipients Announced
Congratulations to the following counties which will receive up to $1000 to support their water conservation project. All projects will be completed by summer of 2010.

Ben Hill County - Turning on the tap and letting the water flow endlessly is something kids do without thinking. Fresh water is a small percent of all water on earth and the amount of fresh water available shrinks every year.  Since Georgia has recently experienced a drought, the Ben Hill County 4-H Club feels that addressing this issue with youth is of utmost importance.  A Children’s Water Festival conducted by Ben Hill County 4-H will help kids become aware of the need for water conservation through hands-on activities that help conserve water.   The Water Festival event will be planned by the Ben Hill County 4-H Teen Council and partner with the Boys & Girls Club, Fitzgerald Utilities, and the UGA Extension Water Specialist.  This will give youth hands on water conservation information that they will want to share and implement with family members at home.  Conservation efforts will be tracked through a follow-up survey.      

Harris County - Harris County 4-H is currently using Science, Engineering and Technology (S.E.T.) lessons for 6th grade students in the classroom. Two lessons focus on water conservation and can be further developed to incorporate water saving assessment and a plastic bottle recycling project. Students will learn to appreciate our water resource and gain the knowledge to share it with others. They will be asked to put water saving tips into practice in their homes with the assistance of their family. As for the recycling project, presently the Recreation Department fields do not have recycling bins. They sell plastic bottle drinks and people bring them in. This project can change that by providing plastic bottle recycle bins. These bins will not be ordinary recycle bins. The bins will have printed information on them to exhibit knowledge about water conservation. Harris County 4-H will work with county agencies to construct ways to get water conservation to residents. This will be through the Water Department, Recreation Department and school system.

Heard County - Heard County 4-H will hold a water conservation symposium for the public. At this symposium we will distribute printed materials from UGA extension that not only promotes water conservation but also gives tips and pointers on how to save water. We have a 4-H’er that will give a demonstration on how to make a rain barrel. She earned first place at District Project Achievement for her efforts in this category   (which her family now uses at their home!) Also, there will be a power point presentation on xeriscaping by our FACS agent and some master gardeners from our area would be on hand to answer questions. In addition to Master Gardeners being present we will also have the Director from the Heard County Water Authority and members from Georgia Water Wise Council there to field questions. Approximately six weeks in advance we would put an article advertising this project in the local newspapers and send public service announcements to the       area radio stations. Once volunteers have agreed to have their water usage tracked through our local water authority, we would distribute water saving kits purchased from the Georgia Water Wise Council. Some of our local 4-H’ers would be present to explain how these are used. We would also distribute rain barrels to these volunteers. At the end of the trial period we would compare amount of   water usage from before conservation methods were used to usage after conservation methods were put into practice. 

Lamar County - In a September 2007 news release issued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Carol A. Couch, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division stated that the drought of 2007 had reached historic proportions.  Although at this point, all of Georgia except the Lanier and Hartwell basins are now out of drought, it is still imperative that opportunities in water education are provided to teach the public about critical water issues. The Lamar County 4-H Program will implement the “Water Ambassador” project to sixth and seventh grade 4-H’ers in an after-school setting.  The “Water Ambassador” project will include a series of water education lessons that will teach students about the importance of water and to encourage students to become conscientious stewards of water resources.  Approximately 30 sixth and seventh grade 4-H’ers will participate in seven monthly hands-on science-based lessons on topics covering:  (1) water quality; (2) watersheds; (3) the hydrologic cycle; (4) point and non-point source pollution; (5) wetlands; (6) filtration and (7) conservation.  In addition to this instruction, the 4-H’ers will participate in water-related service learning activities, a water-themed poster contest and contribute to the planning and implementation of a county water festival during Earth Week 2010. 

Lumpkin/Dawson Counties - This project is designed around the middle school student and their ability to adopt new habits.  Sixth grade students in Dawson and Lumpkin Counties would learn about water conservation and apply what they learn at home.  During monthly 4-H meetings, students learn about water saving tips.  Club leaders would be challenged to involve families, neighbors and fellow students to use these water saving tips.  They would report their activities and results in the following month.  In April, 2010, leaders would be invited on a field trip to Wahsega 4-H Center for a water learning day.  This would involve upwards to 100 students from each county. Wahsega 4-H Center environmental education instructors would provide hands-on sessions about proper water conservation methods and the importance to protect water resources.  In addition students and parents would be invited to participate in water clean up projects offered in the counties. Periodic news releases about the project’s progress would be provided to local newspapers.

Mitchell County - Water is one of our greatest natural resources.  In the past several years, Georgia has been in a critical state as far as water has been concerned.  The youth of our great state should understand the many different ways they can conserve water.  We must always be prepared to deal with another drought. 4-H’ers from across Southwest Georgia will participate in a 3-day 4-H20 Day Camp.  The participants will learn about water conservation, the drought, and water’s contribution to fun, food and transportation in Georgia.  Delivery methods will include classroom lectures, hands-on activities and tours.  The objectives are to learn water basics and how to conserve, to learn about pollution and to understand the drought and solutions as well as understand the importance of water to agriculture and to incorporate H20 into fun learning activities. 

Muscogee County - Given the proximity of Columbus to the Chattahoochee River and urban issues with storm water run off, Columbus 4-H would like to partner with Columbus Water Works and Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center to improve the existing rain garden at Oxbow and provide educational programming to the general public. In addition, we would like to improve the Founder’s Garden located in Uptown Columbus through drip irrigation and installing drought tolerant plantings to reduce the amount of water currently needed for irrigation. By promoting water conservation practices within the community, we hope to reduce water consumption in the home as well as the landscape. Storm water runoff currently is discharged directly into the river system without being treated. This practice places a strain on the ecosystem and adds pollutants to the water source of many communities in the state. The rain gardens project will allow us to divert some of the discharge water into an environment where natural filtration will occur. By improving the rain gardens already in existence, we hope to educate the public through displays and educational materials as to the importance of water conservation and management. We will conduct an Open House event where volunteers, 4-H youth and Extension faculty will offer guided tours and educational programming to the public on water conservation issues. By partnering with the water utility and Oxbow Meadows to improve existing rain gardens the grant dollars can be stretched and the message of the educational piece will reach a greater portion of the population.

Spalding County - Spalding County 4-H will implement a Water Field Day at Tyus Park with assistance from Spalding County 4-H, Spalding County Schools and City of Griffin Stormwater Department.  Knowledge of water conservation is severely lacking in many of our students in Georgia schools.  They are out of touch with nature and therefore have little understand of how importance clean water and a healthy environment are.  This program utilizes Wyomia Tyus park's access to both a pond and running stream as well as a nature trail. Volunteers from the community help to guide and teach the students of the facts about water and why it is so important to take good care of the water we have.  Through the lessons we discuss pollution, erosion, water treatment and the many ways we can clean up and protect our local water systems.  With this grant we hope to expand this program to include more students as well as inform the local community of our effort and desire to have a water conservation and education program.

Whitfield County - A mix of flowering perennials, ornamental grasses, and two specimen trees will be arranged in a rain garden design approximately 15 feet wide by 40 feet long at Albert Rollins Park, near the Magic Carpet Kingdom play area.  The rain garden will act as a buffer between the parking lot and nearby Tar Creek, slowing and filtering storm water runoff into the creek. A representative from Dalton Public Works will prepare the soil for the rain garden in November of 2009, digging it out and adding layers of sand, topsoil and mulch. Whitfield County 4-H will then assist with the installation by planting the vegetative layer that will filter the runoff as it moves through the rain garden.  In addition, water quality tests will be made at Tar Creek next to the rain garden, to measure the impact of the rain garden over time.  Monthly readings of temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity and turbidity will be taken, starting in September 2009 to get a baseline before the garden is installed and entered into the Georgia EPD Adopt-a-stream database.  In November 2009, the first demonstration will be made at the developing rain garden to show how one is installed and then in February 2010 a second demonstration is planned to show the completed project.  A representative from Dalton Utilities will share with 4-H’ers the impacts of storm water runoff and participate in their demonstrations, sharing a storm water management display for them to use. 

Additional Resources
Please check out these excellent resources to support water conservation projects involving rain gardens, rain harvesting sites, and water conservation demonstration areas. Also, consider creating videos, art, or powerpoints to share success stories and promote water conservation with others. Other ideas may be obtained from viewing www.4-H.org/4-H20.

Why participate?
State climatologists have stated that the drought is over in Georgia...for now. The truth is we must always be prepared to deal with another drought, and the best way to accomplish this is by establishing a culture of conservation. By "centering" water conservation in the lives of youth, we are better preparing our young citizens to deal with water issues in the future and to become excellent stewards of our most important resource. Georgia 4-H has had the environment and natural resources at its core since its inception over 100 years ago. Today, this important issue also incorporates our three state and national issues: SET (science, engineering, and technology), citizenship, and healthy living.

Grant Requirements
We are offering ten mini-grants of $1000 each to Georgia counties to implement a water conservation project at the local level. Specific requirements of the grant are:

  • develop, implement, and complete a water conservation project between
    August 2009 and July 2010
  • include a public demonstration of water conservation issues and solutions
  • engage volunteers in water conservation
  • establish or enhance a partnership with a local water utility
  • track the number of youth and adults who participate in the project
  • track the gallons of water saved and upload results to www.4-H.org/4-H20
  • provide monthly progress updates
  • document the process through video and/or photos

State Contact

Melanie Biersmith
Extension 4-H Specialist
350 Rock Eagle Road
Eatonton, GA 31024
PH: 706.484.2894
FAX: 706.484.2888


The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An equal opportunity/affirmative action organization committed to a diverse work force.