Back-to-school budgeting made simple with advice from WVU Extension Service experts

Morgantown, W.Va.— Back-to-school time can be exciting for parents and students alike. With so many things to prepare for, shopping for school items might seem overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be, according to West Virginia University Extension Service experts.

David Roberts, WVU Extension agent for Lincoln and Boone counties, says it all starts with planning ahead.

“Gone are the days when all a student needed were a couple of notebooks and number two pencils,” said Roberts. “Fortunately, families can still take simple, yet effective steps to cut costs and be prepared for the school year.”

Start with a list.

“Most schools offer a ‘school supply shopping list’ for items students are expected to arrive with on the first day—but what those lists don’t say is that every item must be brand new,” said Roberts. “Assessing what you already have can help prevent getting caught up in the back-to-school rush and making expensive last-minute purchases.”

Roberts recommends families look at the suggested school supply shopping list and assess the supplies they already have on hand. Sometimes this means recycling gently used folders, backpacks and other items from older siblings or gathering pens, pencils and paper from the home office space.

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WVU Extension Service offers flood recovery tips for gardeners and farmers

Morgantown, W.Va. – Floods have far reaching effects that extend past the immediate damage and danger that high water presents at the crest stage. In addition to the clean-up efforts afterwards, there are agricultural considerations for the home gardener and farmer with livestock.

The West Virginia University Extension Service has resources available and residents affected by flooding can get in touch with their local WVU Extension Service office for additional information about how to handle their land, plants and animals after a flood event.

Flooded fields are a concern for producers if they’re used for hay or pasture. If the field is used for pasture, it should be cut to 2- to 4-inch stubble and allowed to decompose after a flood. Once the grass has regrown to 8 to 10 inches and the damaged forage has fully decomposed, livestock may return to the pasture to graze.

In the case of harvested hay, do not feed any bales that have come in contact with flood waters, including inline wrapped bales that aren’t sealed on the ends and unwrapped bales. Individually plastic-wrapped bales may be safe to feed, but closely inspect bales for punctures or separation in the plastic layers. If either is present, discard the bale.

Soil and sediment is generally moved with flood debris, so exposed livestock should be vaccinated for clostridial diseases, including tetanus. Livestock that were not exposed to flooded areas during the event, but will be placed on a pasture that was previously flooded should also be vaccinated prior to being placed there. All age classes of livestock should be vaccinated. Consult a local veterinarian should questions arise regarding animal health.

Gardeners wondering if their produce is safe to eat after a flood should exercise extreme caution if any of their garden comes into contact with flood water. According to WVU Extension experts, the safest answer is no — discarding all produce that was touched by flood water eliminates any and all risks and is the only surefire way to ensure they, and their families, don’t become ill from eating these items.

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West Virginia 4-H hosts 4th annual Rush Run 5K in memory of Monongalia County 4-H’er

Morgantown, W.Va.—Registration is now open for the 4th Annual Rush Run 5K run/walk, held Friday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m. at Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater at the Wharf District in Morgantown.

Organized by Monongalia County 4-H Teen Leaders, a program of West Virginia University Extension Service’s 4-H unit, the race was created in memory of West Virginia 4-H’er Sydney Rush, who died following a tragic car accident in September 2013.

A dedicated 4-H member, Rush attended Clay-Batelle High School where she was a member of the state championship cheerleading squad, Young Life youth group and a state track champion. 

According to Monongalia County 4-H Teen Leader Angie Inskeep, the event is a way to honor and remember Sydney by uniting in celebration of two things she loved—running and West Virginia 4-H.

“Our 4-H members and campers miss Sydney so much, and this event has served as a positive way to take the time and remember her,” said Fint-Clark. “We are able to provide 4-H camp scholarships in Sydney’s memory because of the great support we receive from community members, organizations and businesses that come together and support the race. We are grateful for those who support the run/walk and we are looking forward to the race this year.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Sydney Rush Monongalia County 4-H Teen Leader Memorial Fund, which helps provide four camp scholarships to Monongalia County youths each year. As of 2017, the Monongalia County Sydney Rush Teen Leader Memorial Scholarship is endowed and youth camp scholarships are fully funded.

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WVU Extension Service hosts kids markets during National Farmers Market week

Morgantown, W.Va.— West Virginia youths at select schools, day care centers and community events can shop for fresh produce through the West Virginia University Extension Service Kids Koupons program during National Farmers Market Week, celebrated Aug. 6 to 12. 

Thanks to a grant from the Eye Foundation of America, the school-based farmers market voucher program offers kids buying power by providing them with “kids koupons” to spend on fruits and vegetables available at school farmers markets.

According to WVU Extension Service public health specialist Kristin McCartney, the program is a way to expose kids to new, healthy options often unavailable to them at home.

“Children develop food preferences by observing adult role models consuming healthy foods, which aren’t always the most affordable or accessible,” said McCartney. “When there aren’t any fruits and vegetables in the home, there is less of a chance kids will choose them later in life— but we’re trying to change that.”

Several of the farmers markets will be held during National Farmers Market Week, an annual celebration sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture that highlights the role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system.

The Kids Koupons program addresses recent research from the ongoing Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System that ranks West Virginia as fourth in the nation for number of adults that eat less than one fruit or vegetable daily, a major risk factor for high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the Mountain State.

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