Providing counties with help and science-based information is the core of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s mission.

And now they’ve made it easier for Georgians to access instant information when office hours are over.

Extension is helping Georgians virtually through its newly redesigned website www.extension.uga.edu. The site provides the state’s citizens with multiple ways to get their questions answered — through websites, publications and easily accessible contact information for county agents.

UGA Extension is currently transitioning to the new tier-structure plan, and the new website is one essential way it’s helping provide continued support across the state.

“Our aim with this new plan was to do all we can to ensure Georgians have access to the education and information they need from us,” said Beverly Sparks, associate dean for Extension with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

New budget reality

“It was clear with our new budget reality we had to redesign how that education was delivered.”

UGA Extension is the public service and outreach branch of the UGA Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences.

For more than 100 years, it has delivered research-based education from the university to agricultural producers, families and, through Georgia 4-H, children.

“It’s great to have one entry point to UGA Cooperative Extension,” said Elizabeth Andress, interim director of Extension for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“The new events feature will allow citizens to see the abundance of what is available for them.”

The website’s topic pages are an access port to information located across both colleges’ sites. Users can find links, publications, videos, news articles and other information related to the topic they are interested in.

Information about related events, research, academics and youth programs are listed on each page. Every page features a link to contact local county Extension agents, so users can find someone to talk to if needed.

“We’ve heard from our clientele and our employees that the new website is more user-friendly and gives them access to information from across the college,” Sparks said.

UGA Extension has 585 CAES publications housed on the new website, with additional links to hundreds of FACS publications about food preparation and preservation, families and finances.

While the most popular agriculture publications are often related to home gardening — especially fruit and vegetable production — topics range from livestock and poultry production to insect and disease management in crops.

Gardeners are becoming increasingly interested in drought-tolerant landscaping and native plants.

For the past several months, the most viewed publication has been "Native Plants for Georgia Part I: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines." It includes descriptions and photos of hundreds of plants. “Part II: Ferns” is also popular. “Part III: Wildflowers” will be published this fall.

A central feature of the website is a listing of public Extension events, which will also be highlighted on relevant topic pages. Events allow Georgians to meet face-to-face with Extension agents and specialists across the state to learn more about an area of interest.

For more information on UGA Extension and to try out the new website, visit www.extension.uga.edu.