MARIANNA, Fla. – UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County welcomes Carly Barnes Montuani as the 4-H Youth Development Program agent. She brings more than a decade of experience in youth development, communication and administration to the position. She joined the team in September. 4-H is a national practical, non-formal educational program for youth. Florida 4-H is the youth development program of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, which is part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
“I am excited to add Carly to the team of extension agents that serve Jackson County citizens,” said Doug Mayo, County Extension Director. “She has great ideas on ways to help volunteers and community partners create positive learning activities to help our youth learn by doing to gain skills they will utilize for the rest of their lives.
“Whether it comes from showing cattle, public speaking, starting a business enterprise, finding a meaningful career, or becoming the future leaders of our community, 4-H has made a difference for generations of people in Jackson County. I look forward to the success Carly will have working with our local people to fulfill the 4-H motto: To Make the Best Better.”
Montuani is a native of Greenwood, Fla., and graduated from Malone High School and Chipola College before attending the University of Florida, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s in agricultural education and communication. She worked in agriculture, health, and youth development from Miami to Los Angeles, and across the state of Florida since moving away from Jackson County in 2008.
“It is an honor to come back to the Jackson County community, and work with stakeholders, community partners and volunteers who were mentors to me when I was a 4-H and FFA member,” said Montuani. “It is my sincere hope to celebrate the successes of the 4-H program throughout the years and expand its program offerings to showcase the diverse opportunities for youth involvement and enrichment.”
Montuani’s work experience includes serving as the assistant director and administrator for the University of Florida Diabetes Institute, managing a global team of 400+ biotechnology expert contributors for the Council for Biotechnology Information’s public issues education program GMOAnswers.com, and liaising with farmers in Northwest Florida on behalf of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Agricultural Water Policy. She has been involved in the agricultural community as a member of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation and Florida Cattlemen’s Association, and as a former state FFA officer with the Florida FFA Association.
“We are thrilled to have Carly Barnes Montuani join our UF/IFAS Extension Team. Her prior experience and expertise will be an incredible asset to our organization, and I am looking forward to helping her re-build a strong and diverse 4-H program in Jackson County,” said Dr. Heather Kent, regional specialized extension agent for the 4-H Youth Development Program in the northwest district for UF/IFAS Extension, and former Jackson County 4-H Extension Agent
Jackson County offers diverse opportunities for youth enrichment for ages 5-18, including animal sciences, gardening, culinary arts, sewing, entrepreneurship, public speaking, and archery. Montuani invites interested parents, students and volunteers to connect with her office to find ways to connect and get involved.
“I don’t know of any organization that has a scope of mission as broad as 4-H,” said Montuani. “If you are an adult who has life experience, a skill, or knowledge to share, there is a place for you in 4-H. If you are a parent or a child looking for enrichment opportunities and life skills development, there is a place for you in 4-H. It’s my pleasure to facilitate growing a network of people interested in helping our youth to reach their fullest potential.”
Contact the UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County 4-H Youth Development Program at 850-482-9620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.