4-H Youth Conservation Council impresses Senate committees with environmental research

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is helping educate and guide the next generation of leaders, and groups like the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) are leading the way.

Members of this group recently had the honor of speaking in front of two state Senate committees on the impact of invasive plant species on Michigan industries and ways to control invasive plants. The M4-HYCC research presentation was warmly received by the Senate panels, which lauded the group for their good information and solid answers to all of the committees’ questions.

The Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes committee was particularly fond of the group’s unique idea to encourage landowners to have goats and sheep graze land infested by invasive species, as the animals would eat the plants including the root systems.

The presentation was the culmination of one year of hard work conducted by the young M4-HYCC members as well as coordinator Andrea Grix, program leader Judy Ratkos and 4-H educators Darren Bagley and Insa Raymond.

Special thanks and appreciation also to the 4-H volunteers who work tirelessly to support this 4-H program: Jenny Curtis, Paula Ramelis and LeRoy Mikolowski, and the M4-HYCC’s partners in government, Bob Wilson, Senate majority policy advisor, Tom Occhipinti, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality environmental education coordinator, and Sue Tangora, who works on invasive species issues for the Department of Natural Resources and served as a key contact as the group crafted its research.

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