Here in Hernando County, UF/IFAS Extension has begun combining new technologies with the reach of social media to educate residents on a wide variety of topics and to diagnose lawn and garden problems. Since the beginning of the recent COVID-19 crisis, our agents have utilized Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube for teaching classes on a wide range of topics- from how to care for your lawn to growing strawberries, and even manatees and native Florida lizards. These classes have proven to be popular with both our regular class attendees and many new followers, some from other counties or even other states!
Unfortunately, not everyone in our community is aware of these classes or is able to access them from home because of a lack of computer hardware and internet access. In an effort to ‘fill the gap’ in our underserved and minority communities, our office has created table tent cards for the Hernando County Library computers to promote our free classes.
From a report to the Gates Foundation U.S. Library Program:
Public libraries are providing access to computers and the Internet for many low-income families, regardless of the economic status of the neighborhoods they live in- and they provide the only access for some, especially the low-income people in low-income neighborhoods. Nearly 20% of the very poor are using library computers, and many of those indicate they do not have other access, even if their children do.
This type of outreach is important for those who do not have a home computer or internet and also make use of the library’s services. Our upcoming class webpage (https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hernando/upcoming-events/), is fed from our Facebook Events page and includes details on how someone can view our free classes. We are hoping this will be a help to underserved communities in Hernando County and our classes can be a benefit to a more diverse audience.
UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County is a free service that provides solutions for your life. Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, or national origin.