Through Toyota 4-H2O grant, Michigan 4-H Youth Development continues to educate kids experientially

For the fourth year, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has received a Toyota 4-H2O grant. The $65,000 grant is divided between two areas: $50,000 goes to continue the yearlong 4-H2O projects in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties along with a cluster of counties in northeastern Michigan. The remaining $15,000 supports the 2011 4-H National Youth Science Day activities that will take place throughout the state Oct. 1–8.

Oakland County puts the Toyota 4-H2O grant money to work with “I pledge my hands to larger service,” a campaign focused on involving elementary through high school-aged youth in water issues and water-related cleanup efforts. Youth also learn about water issues hands-on when they attend the 4-H2O Eco-Challenge summer weeklong camp at Indian Springs Metropark in August.

In Washtenaw County, the Huron River Watershed Council partners with MSU Extension to teach students about community-based water resources such as the Huron, Detroit, Ottawa-Stony and Raisin watersheds. The kids test the quality of the water and learn how their daily actions can have an effect on that quality.

In Wayne County, the grant allows students in the Detroit area schools to continue to engage in the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) “School Ship” cruises. Students study curriculum in the classroom that prepares them for the cruise. On the boat, students visit stations that involve them in learning about life on board.

Through Toyota 4-H2O, the Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give students in northeastern Michigan a chance to participate in shipboard learning experiences. Students will conduct water quality tests from Lake Huron, the Ocqueoc River and the Trout River. MSU Extension staff members prepare teachers who in turn teach the students.

The grant allows kids the opportunity to learn science using a hands-on approach and relate what they learn to real-world experiences. It also gives them a taste of career options that they previously may not have known existed.

This is just another great example of how we are effectively carrying out our I Know MI Numbers science literacy initiative, providing science education in a non-formal setting using an experiential, learn-by-doing method and sharing it with teachers in formal school settings.

The Toyota 4-H20 Project is funded by a grant from Toyota to National 4-H Council and the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

To read more about 4-H Youth Development and the Toyota 4-H2O grant, click here.

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