In February, a weekly online/virtual “lunch & learn” series began. The eight-week series included the following sessions: Be Active Your Way, Make Half Your Plate Fruits & Vegetables, Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains, Dairy: Switch to Skim or 1% Milk, Vary Your Protein Food Choices, Fats, Sugars, & Sodium, Food Safety, and Shopping on a Budget.
The LSU AgCenter and the Healthy Communities Coalition are excited that there are two new parklettes for the people of West Feliciana. One in Turner Subdivision in Solitude now houses picnic tables, benches, a shade structure, and a slide structure. At the West Feliciana Community Center in Independence, you will find a basketball court and goal, benches, picnic tables, a shade structure, a playground structure, and BBQ grills.
Back in 2017, West Feliciana was one of three parishes chosen for the Centers for Disease Control Prevention High Obesity Program. The West Feliciana LSU AgCenter office received the grant funding for two years because of the high prevalence of obesity at that time. Forums and coalition meetings were held in St. Francisville and Solitude. Discussions about the health needs of the parish followed. It was determined by the coalition members they wanted more opportunity and access for physical activity via parklettes or green space.
Parish-owned land in the form of a cul-de-sac in Turner Subdivision and land adjacent to the West Feliciana Community Center was offered by the West Feliciana Parish Government. The coalition worked on their vision for both Solitude and Independence and developed a plan. CDC approved the projects for both sites and equipment was ordered. Due to changes in staffing not to mention the grant ending, the equipment remained in boxes until July 2019.
With the help of the new Parks & Rec Director, Jason Kinchen, and coalition members, Sara Wilson- Rogers and Nicole Carter Harris, the projects were restarted. But, just as the projects were gaining speed, COVID-19 happened. Slowly but surely, the projects resumed. It was because of the tireless dedication and work ethic of the Parks & Rec staff I can share such good news. Without the help of Parks & Rec, the equipment might still be in boxes.Special thanks to the Parks & Rec staff: Jason Kinchen, David Cummings, Charlie Dixon, Herman Dixon, Scott Pittman, Robert Stevens, Mark Bryant, Casey Cleveland, John Norflin, Lorie Grezaffi, and Erin S. Hoffman and coalition members, Sara Wilson-Rogers and Nicole Carter Harris for their efforts in making these projects in West Feliciana possible!
Following COVID restrictions, West Feliciana Parish 4-H and the Feliciana Livestock Club hosted a “Show and Go” Parish Livestock Show. 80 4-H and livestock club members from East and West Feliciana Parishes competed showing seven different species of animals. Approximately 200 animals were exhibited. 4-H’ers also competed at the District and State Livestock Shows where they brought home many awards. Caylen Delaney placed in the Top Ten in Poultry Premier Exhibitor and Owen Brouillette won the State Swine Premier Exhibitor Contest.
Our Shooting Sports Shotgun and Archery Teams participated in the EBR Invitational, Ascension District Invitational, and Southern Regionals. The Archery Team is made of 12 4-H’ers while the Shotgun Team is comprised of 19 4-H’ers. Congratulations to the Archery Team for bringing back wins from every competition. 11 of the 12 youth competing at Southern Regionals qualified for State in April! Senior, Wyatt Barbe, will also be competing at State for a chance to earn a spot on the National Team. Two of our Shotgun members qualified to compete at State. They shot against 200 youth at Southern Regionals.
The Junior Leaders participated in the local Christmas Lights Display. They also recently finished two service-learning projects. The Junior Leaders sent Christmas cards to both veterans at home and to those in the armed forces that have been deployed. In February, they wrote Valentine cards to our residents at the nursing home in Saint Francisville. The club has also been planning a Pet Show Fundraiser.
The Sewing Club has been very active. The youth are constructing various projects to show off at their contest day. Besides learning to sew their own clothing, they are also acquiring important life skills.Our Horse Club has been busy gearing up for show season.
The first quarter of 2021 has been extremely busy.There continues to be an increase in gardening in West Feliciana. Our office was not able to host the annual horticulture seminars due to COVID-19 but home visits, newspaper articles, phone calls, and emails continued to prevail.Despite the stay-at-home order, the Feliciana Master Gardeners continued to volunteer throughout the parish. They will also be sponsoring the 4-H Garden Contest.
33 residents were recertified for their private pesticide applicators card through LDAF.