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40 Under 40 Spotlight: Eric Gray advocates for inclusive adventure sports

Eric Gray (BSED ’04), executive director of Catalyst Sports, is committed to service and adventure. Eric and his team of dedicated volunteers break down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing adventure sports in their communities.

For his personal, professional and philanthropic achievements, Eric ranked among UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. The program celebrates young alumni leading the pack in their industries and communities.

Discover how Catalyst Sports creates an inclusive environment for people with disabilities: 

How did Eric Gray become involved in Catalyst Sports?

Eric Gray received a degree in recreation and leisure studies from the Mary Frances Early College of Education. From a young age, he had a passion for improving the world around him.

At the age of 10, Gray received treatment for childhood cancer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Twenty-five years later, he returned to Children’s as a recreation therapist to give back and share his experiences to those facing similar circumstances. He also worked for the National Ability Center, where he taught people with disabilities how to ski, snowboard, canoe, climb, horseback, and cycle.

Removing barriers and creating access for people with disabilities is at the heart of Eric Gray’s work.

What is Catalyst Sports?

Catalyst Sports is a chapter based, nonprofit organization which gives people with physical disabilities access to adventures within a supportive community. Adventure sports like climbing and cycling empower people with disabilities to discover their strength.

“The Catalyst Sports family has helped me in my recovery, helped me heal and grow, test my physical and mental boundaries and has introduced me to new groups of people who love life and embrace challenges. I can’t thank you enough,” said Michael Breed, an active member of Catalyst Sports.

How can you support the mission to make sports more inclusive?

Private support is essential to Catalyst Sports’ success. The nonprofit relies on contributions from the community to ensure a more inclusive tomorrow. Donations support opportunities for training, certification, scholarships, recruitment, and purchasing new equipment.

National Nonprofit Day Spotlight: Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Services

August 17 is National Nonprofit Day, an opportunity to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the positive impact of nonprofits.

Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Services is an alumni-operated nonprofit based in Savannah, Georgia that serves runaway, homeless and at-risk youth aged 11 to 21. Since 1984, it has improved the lives of more than 6,500 young people. We spoke with Julie Wade (AB ’97, JD ’00), a dedicated alumna and executive director of Park Place Outreach, to learn how her nonprofit is making a difference.

What is Park Place Outreach’s mission?

Park Place Outreach is committed to leading and serving. The nonprofit strives to provide services to at-risk youth and their families, increase their functional level and reunify families whenever possible.

What resources does Park Place Outreach offer?

Park Place Outreach is proud to provide programs and services to at-risk youth and their families in the Savannah area. Since Wade’s appointment as executive director of Park place Outreach, she has initiated programs that raise awareness for homeless youth and advocate for safe, affordable housing.

“These are good kids in bad situations with no place to call home. With our help, we can change their legacy,” said Julie.

Park Place Outreach offers four main programs which include:

  • The Transitional Living Program (also designated as a Child Caring Institution by the state) provides temporary shelter to run away and homeless youth, victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking, and other youth in crisis.
  • The Street Outreach Program works to prevent the exploitation of youth living on the streets or in unsafe living conditions. The program’s mobile unit engages with homeless youth or those who are at-risk for homelessness or human trafficking to deliver care packages containing food and hygiene materials, as well information on safety and local resources.
  • Family Preservation for Teens works with teens and their families to receive case management services, support services and placement prevention services to help teens remain safely in their homes to sustain and maintain family stability.
  • Rapid Re-Housing Services mitigate homelessness by helping families and individuals find and stay in housing.

How has Park Place Outreach grown over the years?

Park Place Outreach made the 2021 Bulldog 100, a list of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. Julie Wade and her team at Park Place Outreach are curious and innovative, tenaciously searching for better answers and more impactful solutions.

Julie Wade

Julie Wade, executive director of Park Place Outreach.

Park Place Outreach expanded into a new facility with increased living and working spaces for their programs. The newly remodeled youth emergency shelter allows team members to provide a safe environment for vulnerable youth in the Savannah community. The nonprofit has also grown environmentally conscious, having recently received a LEEDs Green Building certification.

What led Julie Wade to Park Place Outreach?

Julie Wade demonstrates the value of a degree from the birthplace of higher education. After graduating from the UGA School of Law, Julie clerked for a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, practiced law at various firms and served on the Board of Education for Savannah/Chatham Public Schools. Julie joined Park Place Outreach in 2017, applying her legal background to child advocacy.

Julie has been honored by the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 for leading the pack in the nonprofit industry. She is dedicated to creating better communities around the world and empowering the next breed of Bulldogs to continue that tradition.

“Together we can make this a better world. Park Place Outreach is in the business of changing lives, giving hope and improving odds by ensuring that youth have access to safety, guidance and caring adults.”

How can Bulldogs support Park Place Outreach?

Park Place Outreach relies on charitable donations to provide programs and ensure a safer tomorrow. Julie and her team invite you to join them on their mission to protect those most at-risk in our communities, the children.

Where commitment meets community: Randy Tanner (BBA ‘79) invests in Atlanta’s next generation

As a young insurance professional in Atlanta, Randy Tanner (BBA ’79) easily found volunteer opportunities within his industry. But the UGA grad wanted to get more involved in supporting his greater Atlanta community, so he researched new opportunities. His search led him to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta – where, 30 years later, he serves on the board of directors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization that facilitates one-on-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Through over 235 chapters across the United States, more than 2 million children have been served in the past decade. Another UGA grad, Artis Stevens (AB ’97), became the organization’s president and CEO in January.

In the three decades since first hearing about Big Brothers Big Sisters, Tanner has served as a “big brother” to two “little brothers.” In 1991, he was matched with Cody. After Cody’s family left Atlanta, Tanner then matched with Adam. When Cody moved back to Atlanta, Tanner maintained relationships with both Adam and Cody—as part of the program and as they became adults.

Randy Tanner (BBA ’79) and his ‘little brother’ Adam Meacham at a Big Brothers Big Sisters legacy gala.

The ‘Rolls Royce of mentoring’

Tanner calls Big Brothers Big Sisters’ model “the Rolls Royce of mentoring.” Potential volunteers participate in an orientation process to introduce them to the program. Once a volunteer commits to at least one year of mentoring, the organization matches them with a child and the child’s family.

As Tanner embarked on the journey to become a mentor, he weaved his mentee into his life. From sharing a meal to throwing a football at the park, the flexibility of the program allowed Tanner to invest in mentoring relationships while operating Tanner, Ballew & Maloof, Inc., an independent insurance agency he founded in 1993.

“My responsibility was to get together with them regularly and have a good time,” Tanner said. “I was a part of their lives and let them see my life, ask me questions, and talk about their plans.”

The Big Brothers Big Sisters experience also allowed Tanner to engage in the Atlanta community as he desired when he was first seeking a new volunteer experience.

“In Atlanta, we have such a vibrant nonprofit community,” Tanner said. “There are a lot of good things being done, and the need is great with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

More than a mentor

Mentoring led Tanner to serve Big Brothers Big Sisters beyond being a big brother. After serving as an ambassador and then a board member, the local board elected him as chair in December 2020.

In this role, Tanner directs fundraising efforts and raises awareness for the organization as it facilitates mentoring relationships with approximately 1,100 children in metro Atlanta. He also gets a front row seat to the organization’s mentoring success stories.

Last fall, Tanner received the 2020 V. Thomas Murray Founder’s Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta in recognition of his commitment to the community.

“The award allowed me to reflect and experience a great deal of gratitude for all that I’ve learned during the process and from being a big brother,” Tanner said.

A lifelong commitment

Tanner retired from Tanner, Ballew and Maloof last month, so he plans to dedicate some of his extra time to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Just as Tanner maintained connections with his little brothers, he plans to stay connected with the nonprofit.

To Tanner, commitment means learning how and why you can give back to the community. His ‘how’ has been mentorship, and his ‘why’ has been relationships.

“It’s primarily about having compassion for people and wanting to help those who are in a tougher station of life than you,” Tanner said. “I’m committed to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I anticipate staying involved for life.”


WHERE COMMITMENT MEETS COMMUNITY

Whether life takes them to new cities or to the neighborhoods where they grew up, Georgia Bulldogs do more than get jobs – they elevate their communities. Bulldogs lead nonprofits, effect change and create opportunities for others. Wherever people are suffering, wherever communities are looking for effective leaders and whenever the world cries out for better solutions, Bulldogs are there to answer the call to service. It’s more than our passion. It’s our commitment.

Caroline Odom, an intern with UGA’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations, brings you a spring blog series that celebrates Bulldogs who embrace that commitment to helping others in their communities thrive.

Want to read about other Bulldogs impacting their communities?

Hannah Jones (AB ’12) helps Haitian communities with nonprofit Light from Light

Hannah Jones (AB ’12) planned to teach after graduating from UGA with a degree in French. However, her time as an executive board member with UGA Miracle, a student-run philanthropic organization, opened her eyes to the world of nonprofits and helped her decide to use her career to do social good.  

Hannah had been in the nonprofit space for seven years before becoming the executive director of Light from Light in 2019, a role in which both her French major and background in the nonprofit sector are fully utilized. Hannah had made a trip to Haiti in 2016 with her husband Tram Jones (BBA ’10), an internal medicine physician, and saw an opportunity to improve lives through the outpatient clinic Lespwa Timoun (“Hope for Children” in Haitian Creole). The couple fell in love with the clinic and with Haiti and made the move after Hannah was appointed executive director.  

Light from Light is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting health care, nourishing children, empowering local leaders and strengthening infrastructure in Haitian communities. The seeds of this work were planted in 1987 when Haitian priest Rev. Fritz Valdema and Episcopalian church volunteer TJ Johnston discovered that they had a common call to alleviate suffering for the poor. Light from Light continues this important work today; last year alone, the organization provided 1,293 infants and children life-sustaining care through an intensive nutrition program at the Lewspa Timoun clinic.  

Light from Light serves Haitian communities, especially women and children.

“Women and children are the heart and soul of the clinic,” Hannah said. “We provide care to everybody, but women and children are the pillars of our work.  Especially when food imports/exports have been affected due to COVID-19 and, thus, the price of food has nearly doubled, the ripple effects of the virus are most felt in the communities where we work. We see an increased number of cases of malnutrition on a daily basis.”  

In Haiti, and more specifically in the communities where Lespwa Timoun works, Hannah said “63 percent of mothers have lost at least one child and nearly 20 percent of children die before their fifth birthday.” These statistics display the harrowing reality of Haitian children and families. But miracles happen within the clinic. Through the malnutrition program, Jones and her husband watch children recover and rebuild their health.  

“The world isn’t fair. You see that so clearly in Haiti. By moving to Haiti, we wanted to step outside of our comfort zones to help make the world a better place,” Jones said. “What can we do to make the world a more just place for people?”  

Lespwa Timoun employs approximately 50 staff members and 12 community health workers. The clinic is completely Haitian-led; Hannah and Tram are the first Americans to be there full time. 

Mobile clinics, which are the core of Tram’s work in Haiti, are provided twice a month to mountain communities. He directs all of Light from Light’s medical efforts and leads mobile health work in some of the most rural and underserved communities in Haiti.  

Building trust within the communities in which Light from Light works can be difficult. For Hannah and Tram, it took about eight months for people to accept that they were in Haiti to stay.   

At a meeting in September 2020, a community health worker told Tram, “I don’t think of you as a foreigner anymore. You’re Haitian.” It was a beautiful moment for the couple who now feel embraced by the local community.  

“In order to be effective in our roles, you have to be able to walk in both worlds comfortably. You have to be okay in the U.S. and you have to be okay in the rural mountains of Haiti,” Hannah said.  

Light from Light seeks to improve health care offerings to children in Haitian communities.

With the trust they have built over time, Light from Light uses its resources and community health workers to train and educate mothers on identifying the warning signs of malnutrition—especially as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic take hold. Today, about half of the children that the clinic sees are malnourished, and food prices have nearly doubled. 

Starting this fall, UGA students can participate in Light from Light’s mission as well. The nonprofit established its first collegiate chapter to engage more young people in its mission and to spread awareness about the work that it’s doing in Haiti. Light from Light College will help students to recognize and educate themselves about their personal health needs in order to understand the health needs of women and children in Haiti. 

“My experiences in Athens as a student were formational for me,” Hannah said. “Getting real-world experience with nonprofits as a student was what ignited my career trajectory. I can only hope that I might have a similar impact on students who get involved with Light from Light College. 

To learn more about Light from Light, email em.thgilmorfthgil@ofni or follow Light from Light on social media.

 

Women of UGA Leadership Council members rise to the occasion

Three members of the Women of UGA Leadership Council saw a need in their communities or workplaces during the current COVID-19 pandemic and chose to respond in big ways. We hope their stories inspire others to seek the opportunities to offer encouragement and assistance in their own communities and circles of influence. Find out more about Women of UGA.

The Power of a Picture: Caitlin Murphy Zygmont (ABJ ’02) and Devon Moore Targer (BBA ’96)

A small gesture can make a great impact. Realizing the power of a simple smile, two University of Georgia alumnae set out to boost morale in their neighborhood and making a difference in their community.

When Caitlin Murphy Zygmont (ABJ ’02) and Devon Moore Tarter (BBA ’96) became next-door neighbors, they became friends too. Both began to search for a way to help when the pandemic arose, while keeping themselves and their children safe. Caitlin reach out to Devon when she came across The Front Steps Project, in which photographer travel to people’s homes to photography them on their front steps, from a distance, to raise money for charity. They raised more than $9,000 for The Giving Kitchen and Table & Aid. To date, the pair has safely photographed and edited more than 170 family portraits!

Caitlin

Devon (left) and Caitlin (right)

Caring for the Caregivers: Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00)

While many support efforts are focused on the front-line workers in hospitals, we know that caregivers and family members within Assisted or Independent Living communities around Metro Atlanta also find themselves on the front lines. Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00) saw a need in those groups, so she and her staff at Mindful Transitions designed and volunteer in support groups to aid the unique needs of caregivers affected by separation from loved ones due to social distancing measures. Participants for the groups include resident caregivers (often spouses) living within the community as well as loved ones who live outside of the community. The groups are being conducted online via Google Meet and are each limited to ten participants.

In the Caregiver Support Group, Mindful Transitions staff facilitates supportive discussion of the unique challenges of being a caregiver right now. The group allows the participants to meet with other community members who are also seeking support and growth as they navigate this new frontier. This group is designed to support caregivers who are providing care both in their homes and those who, because of social distancing, currently provide care from afar. The group focuses on supporting the experience of members, helping them understand they are not alone, and providing tools for healthy coping.

Mindful Transitions Logo

The team at Mindful Transitions is also offering volunteer support group services to staff and professional caregivers in congregate living environments like Assisted Living, Independent Living, and Skilled Nursing. These Professional Caregiver Support Groups are for professional staff who care for older adults as an effort to help them cope with the extreme stress levels and grief associated with caring for the daily needs of older adults, while they manage taking care of themselves and their own families. The group focuses on supporting the experience of members, helping them understand that they are not alone, and providing tools for healthy coping.

If you know someone who is interested in joining these confidential groups, please contact Janie at moc.snoitisnartlufdnim@sidramj or (802) 777-8232. These services are provided at no charge.

Mindful Transition Volunteer Project Team

Janie Mardis, LCSW-Coordinating the Volunteer Project
Maria Walker, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-BSW ’91)
Denise Greenberger, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-BSW ’83, MSW ’85)
Irit Lantzman, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-MSW ’08)
Amy McWilliams, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-MSW ’04)

Being a Guide During Uncertain Times: Quanza Griffin (ABJ ’01)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently has 4,367 staff members dedicating time to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of them stepped up to work nonstop on these goals, including Quanza Griffin (ABJ ’01), a member of the 2018 UGA 40 Under 40 class.

Quanza and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Quanza and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Quanza is a public health advisor with 20 years of public health experience at the federal and state level, and put that to use when she answered the call and to deploy to the CDC Emergency Operations Center as the lead operations coordinator for the Community Intervention Task Force (CITF). The CITF creates guidance documents to help public and private sectors ensure they are able to operate and adapt during the pandemic. Quanza put in long hours during this time, working more than 16 hours a day for seven days a week to ensure the task force had the necessary staff, budget, systems, and policies in place to meet key deadlines.

“As the lead operations coordinator, my goal was to provide excellent customer service to the hundreds of staff on the task force. Many of our scientists worked on developing guidance documents that sometimes required a very short turn-around to be shared with CDC and other federal leaders,” said Quanza. “My goal was to make their jobs less stressful by focusing on other important functions needed to keep the team operating.”

Quanza managed a team of 10 people with a variety of roles. Daily activities included leadership decisions related to function and operations of the task force, development of policies and spend plans, forecasting, and last, but probably most important, keeping office space exciting with snacks and fun.

“There would be times we would be in deep conversations and hear a random, silly noise coming from someone’s computer as they played with noise makers. As anyone could imagine, there were some tense days and nights, but we found ways to keep the atmosphere light and fun. Before my deployment ended, many of the team sent great pictures of their fur babies and children. Keeping a nice ambiance amongst our task force helped us get the work done.”

Quanza says the most challenging part of being deployed was the time away from her kids, Kylah (age 6) and Christopher (age 4). “I had to sacrifice a lot of quality time with them to focus on the response. I am thankful for supportive family who stepped up and helped out during this time,” she said.

Quanza and her kids

Quanza and her kids

During Public Service Recognition Week (May 3-9), Quanza was nominated by fellow public health professional for outstanding contributions to public service and the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She received an HHS virtual Star Card Award.

Quanza is not alone in her dedication to the health and safety of the American public, as there are thousands of CDC staff working nonstop in response to this pandemic. The Bulldog community is thankful to everyone who is helping to make our world healthier and safer. Learn more about staying safe and healthy on the CDC’s coronavirus website. Follow the CDC on social media Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Keep up-to-date with UGA Alumni and ways you can help during this time on our COVID-19 news and resources page.

Alumni chapter rallies support for local food bank

The Forsyth County Chapter recently hosted a virtual Dawg Day of Service in support of The Place of Forsyth, which provides financial assistance, clothing, food and more to those in need. UGA alumni helped to stock their food pantry in May with emergency supplies during the pandemic. Normally, Dawg Days of Service are in-person events, but instead of waiting until public gatherings can be held again, the chapter decided to re-organize the event using food drop-offs and online orders.

Hear more about the event from Katie Hildreth, UGA Forsyth County Alumni Chapter board member:

Leading up to its day of service in May, Forsyth County Chapter leaders posted regularly on social media to raise awareness for the initiative and emailed local alumni and friends. The work paid off, and on May 16 more than 450 items were donated with another 100 on the way from Amazon, all attributed to 40 Forsyth County alumni who answered the call.

The Place was specifically in need of 100 boxes of Hamburger Helper. Through the chapter’s food drive alone, The Place collected 120 boxes, putting it well ahead of its original goal.

Donated food and a chalk image of Hairy Dawg.

Food on its way to The Place of Forsyth.

May is usually when alumni chapters across the country hold Dawg Days of Service, events that rally alumni to give back to their community. Due to COVID-19, in-person Dawg Day of Service events were postponed. Kudos to Katie and the rest of the Forsyth County Chapter board for re-imagining a safe way to continue supporting the needs of an important nonprofit organization in the area. Learn more about getting involved with the Bulldog community on our COVID-19 resources page.

Since March, The Place of Forsyth has served more than 1,000 families with more than 3,000 bags of staple and kid-friendly foods, providing more than 23,000 meals total. Visit their website to learn more about The Place of Forsyth.

2020 Alumni Awards recipients unveiled

Update as of April 1: Due to the ongoing public health concerns surrounding public gatherings, the 2020 Alumni Awards Luncheon is canceled. We look forward to sharing content in the coming weeks to virtually celebrate this year’s honorees.

The Alumni Association will celebrate individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a deep commitment to bettering the university during its 83rd annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on April 24.

This year’s honorees include:

Lynda Bradbury Courts

The Honorable Johnny Isakson

Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes Family

Peter Shedd

Sanford and Barbara Orkin

Christina Swoope Carrere

2020 Alumni Merit Awards

The Alumni Merit Award, which is given to those who bring recognition and honor back to the University of Georgia through outstanding leadership and service, will be presented to Lynda Bradbury Courts and the Honorable Johnny Isakson.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Lynda Bradbury Courts (AB ’63) has supported and served the university for decades in a multitude of ways. Perhaps most notably, she served as the chair for the University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees from 2004 to 2005.

After graduating from UGA, Sen. Johnny Isakson (BBA ’66) had a multi-decade career of public service to the state and the university. He holds the distinction of being the only Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

2020 Family of the Year Award

The Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes family will receive the Family of the Year Award, which is presented to a family that demonstrates loyalty to UGA.

Dr. Hamilton Holmes Sr. (BS ’63) helped pave the way for future generations of students as the first African American male to attend UGA. The Holmes family has continued his legacy of opening doors and making campus more inclusive through their great support of UGA over the years.

2020 Faculty Service Award

Peter Shedd is receiving the Faculty Service Award. First presented in 1969, the award recognizes current or former UGA faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in service to the university.

Peter Shedd (BBA ’74, JD ’77) has shown boundless commitment to the university and its students and faculty. He is an emeritus professor of legal studies at Terry College of Business. He was named the 1993 CASE Georgia Professor of the Year. He previously served as the associate dean of business, executive assistant to the president, interim VP for instruction and director of Terry College’s full-time MBA program. He has written numerous articles and two leading textbooks in the areas of the legal and regulatory environments of business and business law.

2020 Friend of UGA Award

Sanford and Barbara Orkin will be honored with the 2020 Friend of UGA Award, which is given to any non-alumnus or organization that has demonstrated outstanding loyalty and support to the University of Georgia and the UGA community.

Sanford (H ’19) and his late wife Barbara, who passed away in Nov. 2019, have demonstrated unyielding commitment to supporting the endeavors of UGA’s students, faculty and staff. They have provided tremendous financial support across the university including the Terry College of Business, the Mary Frances Early College of Education, College of Public Health, UGA Athletics, Carl Vinson Institute and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

2020 Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award will be presented to Christina Swoope Carrere. This award is given to those who attended UGA in the past 10 years, have embodied the Pillars of the Arch—wisdom, justice and moderation–and provided notable service to the university.

Christina Swoope Carrere (BS ’11) was the first African American female drum major of the Redcoat Marching Band and is the immediate past president of the board of directors for the Redcoat Band Alumni Association. She was also in UGA’s 40 Under 40 class of 2016. She currently serves as the senior Medicare program examiner for the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the Alumni Awards program, or view a list of previous award recipients.

 

Chickens in Backyard

Backyard Flock Tips on National Egg Day

June 3 is National Egg Day according to an ever-growing list of “holiday websites” on the internet. Whether or not it’s officially backed by organizations like the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association or the American Egg Board, we’re going to take it as an opportunity to share a few “backyard flock tips” from the UGA Cooperative Extension. These tips are A+ for anyone interested in raising backyard chickens or seeking to increase the egg production of their current flock.

Background

Many people keep poultry for egg production. Interest in homegrown products has made locally produced eggs more popular and consumers are more quality conscious than ever before. Escalating costs for poultry feed, though, can increase the costs of egg production for both small and large producers. Therefore, it’s important that the quality of “homegrown” eggs is maintained and egg spoilage is minimized.

Sanitation is an important factor in maintaining egg quality. The exterior of the egg shell is usually clean and sterile when the egg is first laid. From the time the egg is laid, however, it is exposed to microorganisms, which can penetrate the shell and contaminate the egg. This can lower egg quality or even loss of the egg as an edible product.

Thank you to Anne Anglin, an Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator with UGA Extension in Carroll County, for sharing a few things to consider for those of you who are raising poultry for egg production.

6 Considerations to Maintain Egg Quality

Keep nests clean.

Maintaining clean nesting material will reduce microbial exposure when the egg is first laid. Replace nesting material as needed. Clean material will also encourage the hen to use the nest rather than laying the egg on dirt or in weeds.

Collect eggs frequently.

Eggs should be collected at least daily and preferably twice a day to prevent breakage and possible contamination from fecal material and dirt. The longer the eggs are left in the hen house or pen, the more likely they are to be broken and exposed to bacteria.

Wash eggs.

Washing the eggs after collection can also improve egg quality if done properly. Water temperature for washing is very important. Eggs should be washed in water that is warmer than the eggs. Warm eggs washed in cool water will contract and draw bacteria into the egg. Temperatures ranging from 100 to 120 degrees F. are recommended. Wash water can become contaminated if used too long, therefore, the wash water should be changed as dirt and fecal material build up in the solution.

Dry eggs.

Once the eggs are washed, they should be dried as soon as possible. Moisture fosters bacterial growth and a method of microbial entrance through the egg shell. A clean dry cloth or air drying can be used as methods of drying eggs.

Use clean packaging materials.

If egg flats or cartons are used for storage, these materials should be clean and free of contaminated matter such as egg yolk and albumen (the egg white – yep, I had to Google that).

Store in appropriate conditions.

After washing and drying, eggs should be stored within appropriate temperature and humidity conditions. The appropriate temperature is 45-55 degrees F. and relative humidity between 60-80 %.

If you follow these principles for egg handling, you’ll assuredly improve the quality of eggs that your backyard flock provides you. Interested in learning more? Check out UGA Extension’s “Management Guide for Backyard Flock” or contact Claudia Dunkley, a public service associate located on UGA’s Tifton campus who specializes in poultry science.

National Poultry Day: Why Did the Chicken…

chickens

… cross the road, roll in the mud and cross the road again? [Because he was a dirty double-crosser!]

Buh-dum-chuh.

Every day is a good day for a cheesy ‘chicken crossed the road’ joke, right? Not just National Agriculture Week (last week) or Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week (this week) or National Poultry Day (today). Every day is also a great opportunity to recognize the impact that agriculture has on our state’s economy and on the lives of people around the world who depend on that industry.

So today, we wanted to highlight two leaders of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) who know the true value UGA brings to the poultry industry.

Sam Pardue

Dean Sam Pardue
University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

CAES Dean Samuel L. Pardue penned a column last week that notes the role UGA plays in in the poultry industry:

“If Georgia were a country, we would be the seventh largest poultry-producing country in the world. Much of that $22.9 billion industry is located within 60 miles of Athens. Along with our close partners at the USDA Poultry Research Center and our counterparts in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, we want to make Athens, Georgia, the epicenter of poultry science for the world. We are working hard to raise funds to build new facilities that will allow us to grow our research programs, develop new educational opportunities for our students, and provide a transparent center for the public to come and learn more about how their food is safely and sustainably provided.”

If you’re interested, check out the rest of his column, which mentions other ways UGA is top Dawg, if you will, in agriculture.

Todd Applegate

Todd Applegate, head of CAES’s Department of Poultry Science, and other researchers are addressing critical poultry industry problems on a daily basis, such as antibiotic use, intestinal health, rearing challenges, disease prevention, farm management and more.

“In Georgia, an estimated 138,000 jobs are linked directly or indirectly to poultry production,” he says. “In short, ensuring the health and well-being of our birds in Georgia is critical to the economy of our state. There’s a much bigger need for multidisciplinary solutions to technical problems, which are getting more complicated to solve. There’s no other place in the world that has nearly 70 scientists focusing on poultry. I’m proud of the range of things that we do in an industry that’s constantly evolving.”

Hungry to learn more (no pun intended) about his team’s efforts? Visit UGA’s Great Commitments website.

Everyone knows a Georgia Bulldog is relentless. We never give up when the going gets tough, whether it’s in the lab, on the field or in the classroom. And we certainly don’t give up when there are opportunities to improve the lives of people across our state and the world. As a pioneering American research university with a land- and sea-grant mission, we are committed to solving problems and serving communities—especially when it comes to the poultry industry, which employs and feeds millions of people around the world each year. (And did you know you can provide funding for the Poultry Science Department and help in these efforts, too? Even $25 or $50 can go a long way!)

Okay, one more chicken joke before I go?

How do comedians like their eggs? [Funny side up!]

(I promise our research in poultry science is far more impressive than my chicken jokes.)