Escambia County Extension Office Hosts Grand Opening, Festival on May 2

CANTONMENT, Fla. — UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County will hold an open house, building dedication and Master Gardener Spring Festival on May 2.

Festivities begin at 8 a.m. with festival activities. At 9 a.m. Extension hosts the dedication of the new Langley Bell 4-H Center at 3730 Stefani Road, Cantonment, Florida.

“Escambia County 4-H has a bright future ahead with new facilities, new 4-H staff and funding to carry it to preeminence nationwide.  Our goal and mission is to grow this program throughout the county and create positive 4-H youth development opportunities,” said Pamela Allen, UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County director.  “There is a definite excitement among the youth, volunteers, staff and community supporters.  Our prospects to make a difference in the lives of youth are endless.”

 

Residents, Escambia County commissioners, 4-H youth, and Escambia County Extension staff will enjoy tours of the new building, highlighting areas for hands-on learning for all Escambia County children, ages 8 to 18.  The original donation of 400 acres was given in 1943 by Minnie and Langley Bell. The property had been overcut for timber and was waiting to be reborn for a 4-H center ripe with enthusiasm and educational programs that promoted agriculture, silviculture and natural resource conservation.

The property was given to Escambia County 4-H in a trust with the Board of County Commissioners serving as trustees. 4-H is the youth development program of U F/ IFAS Extension. . This partnership has worked for over 72 years and continues with the completion of the facility on 9 ½ and Stefani Road in Cantonment next to the UF/IFAS Extension building.

The original 4-H property was sold in 2012 to Navy Federal Credit Union, which created a new opportunity for 4-H facilities. Funds from the sale were used to purchase 108 acres in Molino where the new 4-H Animal Science and Outdoor Center is being developed

“Escambia County 4-H traditions have a strong foundation with the many successes of the past and will no doubt be carried forward with our new Langley Bell 4-H Center and the new 4-H property in Molino.  A new generation of 4-Hers will now be served in a way that is unparalleled in facilities, financial support and community involvement,” said Brian Bell, president of the Escambia County 4-H Foundation and also the grandson of the original donors of the property, Minnie and Langley Bell. “My grandparents, Uncle Bill (Langley Bell, Jr.), and my father would be ecstatic to see how 4-H has used that initial donation of land to further its mission and serve so many more youth in this community.”

The Master Gardener Spring Festival will include a variety of activities and goods, including growing plants from seeds, propagation methods, plant sale, plant clinic, exotic vegetables and fruits, Day Lily bulb sale, refreshments sale, demonstration garden tours and tractor display.

For more information, call UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County at 850-475-5230, or visit Escambia.ifas.ufl.edu.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufle.edu

 

Source: Pamela Allen, 850-475-5230, pha@ufl.edu