Pike County Nutritional Sciences Field Day, The Story of the Strawberry

By: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor and Field Specialist of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings, Pike County ranks 88 out of 88 counties. The rankings are based on obesity rates, health behaviors, healthy food access and other socio-ecological determinants of health. Pike County also ranks low in terms of students who complete post-secondary education training. Many of Pike County’s health problems mirror those of the larger Appalachian region and are attributed to socio-ecological determinants such as lack of healthy food access, food preparation skills, lack of awareness of nutrition science, traditional preferences for high calorie foods, food insecurity and poverty.

OSU Extension in Pike County and OSU South Centers developed and coordinated the Nutritional Sciences Field Day: The Story of the Strawberry to address some of the aforementioned challenges. The program was offered at OSU South Centers on May 25 to local high school agriculture and vocational, family and consumer science, and other science classes. The program objectives were to provide experiences and opportunities to increase awareness and interest in health science, food science, biotech, and ag science, basic and applied nutrition science and physiology and finally food production, local food resources. The students learned about opportunities from industry and academic leaders in various food and health sectors such as dieticians, biotech engineers, OSU faculty, and food processing. Students also participated in various hands on activities and discussion related to nutrition.

Around 60 students and teachers from 3 Pike County Schools attended the program. Before they had left, each student was asked to complete a program evaluation rating their awareness and interest on various topics before versus after program (results attached). Students were also asked what they had learned. Following the field day, students were more aware of the role that genetics play in play in fruit quality and nutrition, the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables, and the nutritional benefits of small fruits. Students were also more interested in careers in agriculture, health and food sciences, and also more interested in buying local fruit.

When asked what they had learned, several remarked that they had learned much about research, strawberry properties, nutrition, and careers.


Two awards received during the annual Extension Conference

1st place- Epsilon Sigma Phi Team Teaching Award for More Than One Program Area- Recognizes Team Teaching that involved faculty and staff from more than one Extension program area including Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Youth Development. The OSU South Centers team received the award during the annual meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi held on the Ohio State University campus.

Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Team Award- The award recognizes significant contribution to state Extension program planning and delivery.  Epsilon Sigma Phi is a professional organization dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System, supporting the Extension profession, and developing the Extension professional.  Awards are presented annually to Extension professionals dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System and developing the Extension profession and professional.

Both awards recognized team members:

Brad Bergefurd
Dennis DeCamp
Jeff Fisher
Gary Gao
Carol Hamilton
Thom Harker
Tammy Jones
Chelsea Peckny
Dan Remley
Karima Samadi
Vinayak Shedekar
Ryan Slaughter