Tag Archives: 4-H

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.

Congratulations!

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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.

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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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Franklin County Livestock show Aug. 8-9

Virginia Cooperative Extension, with the assistance of the Franklin County 4-H Adventure Farm Livestock Club and numerous sponsors, is proud to offer an Open Youth Livestock show in 2014 for youth ages 5 to 19. The objective is to offer a successful show while providing club members and outside youth with a meaningful learning experience. The club has opened the show to surrounding counties to enhance the show and provide an opportunity for regional interaction.

The show will be held Friday, August 8 through Saturday, August 9, at the Franklin County Parks and Recreation on Sontag Road in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Youth will have the opportunity to show dairy and beef heifers and steers, sheep, and goats. Children ages 5 to 8 will be allowed to show in the Cloverbud age show, but must be accompanied in the ring by an adult.  

If you need any assistance or have questions, contact Cynthia Martel at the Virginia Cooperative Extension-Franklin County Office at 540-483-5161. Please encourage friends and family to attend the show and youth to participate. This show is open to all youth regardless of enrollment in 4-H or FFA. This is an opportunity to get youth to show animals and see the benefit of joining a local 4-H Livestock Club or FFA Chapter.

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From the Dean — July 2014

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the halfway point of the summer, it’s a good time to highlight some of the great summer programs and activities involving many CALS faculty, staff, and students. Thirty-five CALS undergraduates are among the 356 students attending the second Virginia Tech Summer Academy. Some of the courses are taught by CALS instructors.

Transfer student orientation took place June 23-26 for the 136 transfer students joining the college this fall, and orientation for about 500 new first-year students starts July 7.

There have also been a number of opportunities for youth on campus this summer. More than 500 4-H members were on campus June 16-19 for State 4-H Congress. The 2014 theme was “Celebrating the Past, Making It Last.” Caleb Elder, a contestant on “The Voice,” performed at the 4-H Congress luncheon celebrating Extension’s centennial. The following week, almost 2,000 FFA members were here for the State FFA Convention. Beginning June 29 and lasting for about a month, an additional 100 high school students will be on campus for the Governor’s School for Agriculture.

Continue reading

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