Cooperative Extension introduces new 4-H agent

Stanly County Cooperative Extension has welcomed its newest addition to the team — 4-H agent Mandy Smith-Thompson.

4-H is the Cooperative Extension program specifically for young people ages 5-18.

Mandy-Smith Thompson

She grew up and resides in Oakboro. She has a background in environmental education and 15 years experience in public service where she worked with youth of all ages.

She is a N.C. certified environmental educator and has a B.S. in zoology from N.C. State University and a graduate certificate in environmental studies from UNC-Wilmington.

Before joining Cooperative Extension, she served as the City of Concord’s environmental educator, teaching children and adults about conserving and protecting public water, preventing pollution and reducing waste.

She conducted in-school programming, coordinated field trips, built a network of professional partnerships across the state and organized professional development for coworkers and teachers. She helped found the Concord Wildlife Alliance and was named Environmental Educators of North Carolina’s Outstanding Practitioner in 2019.

In her new role as Stanly County’s 4-H agent, she will build community partnerships and recruit and train adult volunteers in order to coordinate youth-focused learning opportunities aimed at expanding and strengthening the Stanly County 4-H program.

“Growing up in Stanly County as a kid with a creative side who was interested in wildlife, I didn’t always see myself represented in 4-H, but the truth is everybody belongs in 4-H,” she said. “It’s a widely-held belief that 4-H only focuses on agriculture, but in reality it’s a place where young people are supported in exploring their own, unique interests. Whether they’re into robotics or livestock or geology or something else entirely, 4-H’ers are exposed to new experiences that have the power to change their lives. I love that this role allows me to witness that, and I look forward to working with and enriching the lives of our young people.”

A 4-H information event will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2. Participants will be able to meet her and learn about 4-H club opportunities for young people as well as volunteer opportunities for adults.

Register to attend and find out more details at ces.stanly.ncsu.edu.