Tag Archives: 4-H

National 4-H STEM update

4-H National Youth Science Day is right around the corner! Make sure you have finalized your plan for how your 4-H’ers will be participating in this year’s 4-H NYSD experiment, Motion Commotion, to learn about physics, speed, and safety.

We want to hear what you are doing, so please register your event as soon as possible. This not only helps you to receive valuable support and resources from the 4-H NYSD Community, it also helps National 4-H Council report back to sponsors on the success of NYSD. The more registered events and youth we have, the more funding we are able to get making the experiments better and more affordable for you!

National Youth Maker Summit – Nov. 6-9

Do you have youth who like to invent, build, or experiment? Do they ever catch themselves wondering how something can be improved? Have they ever taken something apart just to see how it works? The Maker National Youth Summit is for the creative and curious young minds of the next generation of innovators. Participants make what they can with a variety of materials from a range of fields, utilizing their resourcefulness and creativity.

National 4-H Curriculum and Learning – September 2015 update

National 4-H Curriculum focuses on positive youth development education through 4-H’s three primary mission mandates: science, healthy living, and citizenship. While curriculum and learning products are created by the land-grant universities, 4-H National Headquarters leads efforts related to quality standards, the peer review process, and evaluation strategies, and National 4-H Council leads efforts related to marketing and sales.

National 4-H Week Materials Available

This year’s National 4-H Week theme is “4-H GROWS Here,” and you can download flyers, posters and more now on the new 4-H Marketing Online Resource Center. Use these advertising materials to promote your program for National 4-H Week and beyond. For any questions please email Sarah Hunt at shunt@4-H.org.

4-H Science Professional Development Resources

There are many great 4-H Science professional development resources to help train 4-H educators and volunteers including recordings from the VEAR eConference. The VEAR eConference was developed to highlight the work of four programs that conducted pilot projects on the Volunteer Engagement and Activation Resources toolkit that was developed for 4-H educators. Four programs focused on models for corporate, workplace, teen, and episodic volunteerism in 4-H. These pilot programs agreed to participate in a process evaluation as they adapted the contents of the toolkit for use for their specific audience.

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Positive youth development in Senegal

Students from the primary school gardening with students from Virginia Tech, ENSA, and ISFAR; 4-H school garden project.

Students from the primary school gardening with students from Virginia Tech, ENSA, and ISFAR.

By Ozzie Abaye, Bineta Guesse, Kathleen Jamison, and Tom Archibald in collaboration with ENSA, ISFAR, ANCAR, and Peace Corps-Senegal

About 4-H

4-H, the youth development branch of U.S.D.A. and Cooperative Extension, provides programming that invests in young people to evolve as independent, contributing and caring members of society. 4-H provides a positive foundation for youth by cultivating the essential elements of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. Most of the 4-H programs are designed to engage, excite and integrate young people in the field of agriculture while offering opportunities for them to address larger global issues related to food security and environmental, social, and political needs. The 4-H curriculum and supporting programs fuse the social, cultural, and agricultural aspects of a community through hands-on experiential learning activities. Continue reading

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4-H Program Introduces youth to green energy

Jerry (Dan) Swafford

Dan Swafford, 4-H project associate, right, demonstrates green energy to high school students.

Since the beginning of the past school year, a 4-H program operating out the state 4-H office at Virginia Tech has been working to introduce Virginia high school agriculture students to the basic concepts of green energy.

4-H project Associate Dan Swafford has been traveling the state presenting  programs dealing with green energy to high school agriculture students. Swafford, a retired high school agriculture teacher, uses hands-on activities to educate students about various green energy sources such as solar, wind and bio-mass. Swafford also explains to the students the importance that coal and natural gas play in our state’s energy mix. During its first year this program has reached almost 1,000 high school students.

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Students participate in first-ever Teen Excellence in Leadership Institute

On Nov. 7, 2014, 23 teens involved in 4-H and FFA programs around Virginia gathered at the 4-H conference center in Front Royal for the first-ever Teen Excellence in Leadership Institute multi-event experience. Each of the 23 students were nominated by either their high school agriculture teachers or a 4-H extension agent in order to participate in the program. TELI’s purpose is to bring teens together through leadership development in order to recognize and address global issues facing communities in the commonwealth while working in a collaborative environment.

Student leaders who participated in the TELI multi-event experience

Student leaders who participated in the TELI multi-event experience.

The November meeting was the first of three opportunities that the students had to interact and engage with each other both as a whole group and then in the smaller teams that they would work with to address community leadership needs in Virginia. Students also worked to develop personalized action plans for engaged leadership while learning about advocacy and outreach. Goals and objectives were set for the students so that it was understood what they would be working towards throughout the experience. The youth also participated in a presentation about communication and media and how that would come into play during their projects. Prior to arriving to the conference, each student took StrengthQuest and KAI which was then discussed and put into practice throughout the weekend. Continue reading

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Virginia Farm to School Conference a success

The recent Virginia Farm to School Conference was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was a great success! This conference was a result of a USDA Farm to School conference grant that was awarded to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, The Department of Education, and others worked with VDACS to organize and host the conference, which had over 160 participants. Dean Jewel Hairston, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, and Todd Haymore were some of the distinguished speakers.

What was most compelling was the role local Extension clearly plays in the work of the Virginia Farm to School Program. Not only were there several agents and specialists in attendance, but Extension agents were routinely recognized in many of the breakout sessions led by schools, farmers, and non-profit organizations. Over and over again, ANR, 4-H, and FCS agents were specifically acknowledged for their role in supporting either the “farm” or “school” aspects of this state-wide programming: youth garden education, nutrition education, food safety, food procurement/distribution, and food diversion were just some examples of program work the speakers and groups recognized.

For more information, check out this brief news article that highlights some of the event and Extension’s role.

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Henrico 4-H team repeats as LifeSmarts state champions, will compete nationally

A Henrico County 4-H team will compete in the national LifeSmarts consumer education competition for the second consecutive year after winning the state championship in Glen Allen.

Pictured left to right are team member George Evans, assistant coach Sheila Hyde, team members Emily Royster and Stephen Baker, coach Karie Dawkins, assistant coach Kathleen Cantwell, team member Curtis Cantwell and team captain Joshua Hyde.

Pictured left to right are team member George Evans, assistant coach Sheila Hyde, team members Emily Royster and Stephen Baker, coach Karie Dawkins, assistant coach Kathleen Cantwell, team member Curtis Cantwell and team captain Joshua Hyde.

The 4-H team — called WYSIWYG, an abbreviation for “What You See Is What You Get” — consists of students Joshua Hyde, Stephen Baker, Curtis Cantwell, George Evans and Emily Royster. Karie Dawkins coaches the squad, with assistance from Kathleen Cantwell and Sheila Hyde.

WYSIWYG earned its second state title after scoring better than five other teams in the Virginia LifeSmarts Competition, held March 9 at the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Virginia Housing Center in Glen Allen. The team will represent the state in the National LifeSmarts Championship, scheduled for April 17-20, 2015, in Seattle. It will be the fifth team from Henrico’s 4-H program to compete nationally since 1995.

A program of the National Consumers League, LifeSmarts is a consumer education competition that challenges students in ninth through 12th grades with questions about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Henrico 4-H is a comprehensive youth development program that offers hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of 4-H agents and trained adult or teen volunteers. Program offerings include recreational camps and a variety of contests and clubs.


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Hokie BugFest flashback

On Oct. 11, the Inn at Virginia Tech buzzed, hummed, and chirped as thousands of children and adults flocked to the fourth annual Hokie BugFest. This year’s event featured a lineup of entomology exhibits, live arthropods, a flea circus, a bug-themed haunted house, and glow-in-the-dark millipedes. New this year was a bee-dancing contest, where contestants imitated the “waggle” dance that honey bees perform. The HokieBird kicked off the contest by doing a demo.

Hokie Bugfest was held at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Bugs are displayed for people who are interested in learning about insects, beetles, and spiders up-close.

Visitors strolling through Latham Ballroom learned about household pests (such as bed bugs and termites), forest pests (such as gypsy moth and hemlock woolly adelgid), and mosquito pests (such as those that cause malaria and other diseases). A giant apiculture exhibit (sponsored by the New River Valley Beekeepers Association) demonstrated the art of beekeeping and taught visitors about the importance of pollinators in our environment.

Older kids tested their wits by playing Bug Jeopardy and quizzing the Wizard of Entomology. Younger ones enjoyed a wide variety of arts and crafts, including face painting and making bug masks. Many earned a junior entomologist certificate by visiting eight exhibits.

Continue reading

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2014 Korea Master Gardener International Conference

Cooking Demo with South Korean MGs

The Gyeonggi-do Agriculture Research and Extension Services served as the host site for an International Master Gardener Conference from Sept. 23-27. The conference involved more than 200 attendees from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States. While the majority of attendees were Master Gardeners from South Korea, 25 attendees represented several states from the U.S. Our conference host and liaison was Lee Wonsuk, a research scientist at GARES. He was the key organizer for the conference and was assisted by leaders from the Korean Master Gardener Association.

4-H Monument at GARESCooperative Extension was introduced in Korea in the late 1940s through the 4-H program. As a matter of fact, a monument in front of the research center pays tribute to the introduction of 4-H to their country. In more recent history, two Extension Master Gardener programs have been established and are actively working to meet the consumer horticulture needs in two South Korean provinces: Gyeonggi and Jeju Island.

The opening ceremony of the conference included a welcome from the Governor of Gyeonggi Province. The conference included several keynote sessions with concurrent breakouts as well. Our very own Debbie Dillion, ANR Extension Agent in Horticulture from Culpeper, gave a presentation on Building and Maintaining an Effective Master Gardener Program during one of the concurrent sessions.

While we were there, we were able to visit several community gardens throughout the city as well as the private gardens of two South Korean Master Gardeners. The hospitality was unsurpassed by anyone’s standards. Our hosts were absolutely gracious the entire time we were there and their attention to every detail was impeccable. The cultural experience was irreplaceable. It was interesting to note that despite some language and cultural differences, the opportunities, barriers, and challenges faced by their Extension Master Gardener program are very similar to what we experience here in the United States. Likewise, the Extension Master Gardener program is alive and growing there the same as it is here. Agriculture, and specifically horticulture, truly is a universal and equalizing art and discipline.

— Dave Close
Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Specialist

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Video shows demonstration garden from Virginia Cooperative Extension – Amelia County

Take a look at the progress of our Extension demonstration garden throughout 2014, some of challenges we encountered, and the outcome at the end of the summer. We used the garden for a variety of educational workshops and activities for youth and adults.

You can contact the Amelia County Extension office at 804-561-2481. The video was produced by Laura Siegle, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Amelia County.

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Jamison represents Virginia 4-H at Maker Faire

Kathleen Jamison, 4-H Youth Development specialist, received an invitation from the White House to attend the first-ever White House Maker Faire on June 18, 2014. At the Faire, the president hosted makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future by using cutting-edge tools and techniques to bring their ideas to life. Kathleen represented 4-H along with Lisa Lauxman, National 4-H Youth director, and Jim Kahler, National 4-H program leader.

Kathleen Jamison speaks with former 4-H member Michael Snyder about his 3D printer, which will be the first manufacturing devise to be used in space.

Kathleen Jamison speaks with former 4-H member Michael Snyder about his 3D printer, which will be the first manufacturing devise to be used in space.

While at the Faire, she met Michael Snyder, director of R&F for Made In Space and a former 4-H member. Snyder displayed a 3D printer that will enable astronauts to make parts and tools on-demand, and this summer will be the first manufacturing device to ever be used in space. Snyder told Jamison that he would not be where he is today if it were not for 4-H.

“He was enthusiastic and obviously accomplished,” said Jamison. “And he put the brilliance of his work into practical application for the benefit of science and our country… so typical of a lifelong 4-Her.”

In addition to 4-H, Virginia Tech was also represented at the Faire by Nicholas F. Polys, affiliate professor for the Department of Computer Science who had a booth. Jamison used the event as a way to network with makers, corporate directors and policymakers, including a young man from Alabama who she said would be a great inspirational speaker for teens at 4-H Congress next year.

“In Virginia 4-H, we’re serious about investing in our children. Not only will they make and invent our future, they have the power to reclaim our ‘Made in America’ heritage,” said Jamison.

— Sara Lepley, communications and marketing intern

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