Tag Archives: 4h

Honey bees are all the buzz for this group of SCIT youth

On Monday, May 9, 25 youth from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT) participated in the Honey Bee Challenge hosted at the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant. Betty Jo Krosnicki, MSU Extension children and youth educator, and Kristi Schreiber, 4-H program coordinator in Isabella County, organized this event that teaches 4-H youth about the importance of honey bees in food production in order to feed the world.

Youth learned about the process of honey bee pollination and the many foods that we grow that depend on them such as apples, oranges and strawberries. They also learned about the importance of beekeeping and research positions that will ensure we have bees to keep pollinating our food crops in the future. Participants even had the opportunity to build their own battery-powered honey bees. They took home new backpacks filled with information, with seeds to encourage planting flowers that are great sources of pollen and nectar for bees. Each also received a stick of honey.

In Michigan, one of the deliverables for this grant is to train at least 20 4-H teen leaders to lead the Honey Bee Challenge in their local communities. The activity can be scheduled during camps, after-school programs, 4-H club meetings or even during school. With the activity this year, Betty Jo and her team will reach about 1,500 youth participants March through July in Michigan. She has worked with teen leaders throughout the state to train them to lead the activity. Most of the teen leaders for this project received training in March during the Teens as Teachers workshop at Kettunen Center. This is a great opportunity for teens to build their confidence and leadership skills.

Nationally, the Honey Bee Challenge is a program that is a part of the 2016 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, sponsored by National 4-H Council and Monsanto. Betty Jo has managed the grant project for the past 3 years, directing the Fish Farm Challenge the first year and the Windmill Challenge the second. The program reaches 10,000 youth in states with a strong agricultural industry. Its purpose is to help young people develop the professional skills needed to feed a growing world population. It ties in relevant concepts such as aquaculture and environmental stewardship with a hands-on activity that makes learning fun and encourages young people to pursue a career in agriculture and technical fields. This initiative seeks to engage the next generation of farmers, scientists and innovators that will be able to address the needs of an exponentially growing world population.

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Filed under 4-H, Uncategorized

Fun camp inspires interest in forestry

Michigan 4-H youth spent two days exploring ideas and taking part in hands-on activities related to forestry at the Michigan 4-H Forestry Fun Day Camp held July 6-7 at the Ogemaw County Fairgrounds in West Branch, Michigan.

The camp was open to young people ages 10‒15 interested in learning about all aspects of forestry. Ten participants attended representing Iosco, Ogemaw and Roscommon counties.

Besides providing hands-on experiences in forestry, the camp taught participants science and math skills related to forest management and even gave them the opportunity to explore forestry-related careers. Campers learned to identify trees, insects and diseases as well as mastered how to take forest measurements and operate a compass. Participants worked in teams to create a mini-forest management plan to present to the Michigan State University Extension District 4 Council members.

MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Forestry, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, the Marlane and Tim Searfoss family, and the Ogemaw County Fair Board collaborated to make the camp possible.

The leadership team involved included Extension educators Nicholas Baumgart, Julie Crick, Tracy D’Augustino, Tom Long and Dorothy Munn; MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator Peggy Zettle; Iosco Conservation District forester Andrew Beebe and Ogemaw Conservation District forester Lora Freer.

Each camper participating in the Forestry Fun Day Camp will be awarded a Silver Forestry Digital Badge. The badge will be linked to Michigan Educational Standards and can be used by youth when applying for summer jobs and scholarships, and on college applications indicating their areas of interest and willingness to continue to learn, grow and develop when not in school. Read more about digital badges in this MSU Extension news article: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/digital_badging_a_bright_new_way_for_students_to_showcase_their_skills_andl

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4-H’ers celebrate Michigan 4-H at Comerica Park

4-H’ers from across the state came together at Comerica Park for a fun-filled day on May 8. They received T-shirts and discounted tickets to a Tigers baseball game against the Kansas City Royals. In addition, the team recognized the group on the scoreboard.

4-H'ers at the Detroit Tigers Game

Altogether, 437 4-H’ers including family and staff attended the game. The event gave 4-H members an opportunity to meet other youth from across the state. Additionally, a bingo game played during the baseball game provided an opportunity for prizes. The large group showed off their 4-H pride in their T-shirts, which promoted both 4-H and the Detroit Tigers. The event created an excellent opportunity to introduce a huge audience to Michigan 4-H.

4-H'ers in their Detroit Tigers shirts

Glenda Weiss, Wayne County 4-H program coordinator who planned the event, said that it also offered an opportunity to “publicize 4-H from across the state as 4-H’ers show their county and club spirit by wearing their 4-H shirts to the event.”

Congratulations on a successful event and a great partnership with the Tigers!

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4-H’ers learn about leadership and national issues in Washington DC

While some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues and I were at the Public Issues Leadership Development conference April 12‒15, two 4-H’ers also traveled to Washington, D.C. to represent Michigan 4-H at the National 4-H Conference. with Jackelyn Martin, Extension educator. As founding members of the newly launched Michigan State 4-H Youth Leadership Council, Erin Washburn and Davis Fettes, both of Branch County, stepped outside of their comfort zones, met peers from across the U.S., honed their leadership skills and presented a youth perspective to a federal agency.

Youth at the conference are assigned to “roundtable” groups, designed to help members understand the issues that a specific federal agency is tackling and to allow them to give their youth-specific perspective to the issues. Both Michigan youth presented to the Smithsonian Waterways group to help provide their perspectives to the issue: “Through a youth perspective, we hope to increase understanding, take action, and make a difference in our own communities by offering tools and resources to formal and informal educators” around water conservation education. Participating in a diverse group composed of youth from across the U.S., the Michigan youth worked to understand perspectives of youth from parts of the country challenged by drought ‒ perspectives that they might otherwise only distantly understand from news reports.

Erin said, “(National 4-H Conference was an) eye-opener to what it’s really like across the nation. Connecting with others and coming together on one topic in two days, it was an experience that changed my view of things.”

When not busy preparing their presentation, youth listened to motivational speakers, attended workshops and met with U.S. senators and representatives on Capitol Hill. This was an exciting opportunity for our Michigan 4-H’ers to get real hands-on experience and encourage them to take leadership in their community.

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Students learn about good government at 4-H Capitol Experience

More than 80 teens from across the state experienced and explored various aspects of policy, civic engagement and leadership at the annual 4-H Capitol Experience, March 22-25. High school students gathered in Lansing to begin learning from and interacting with state senators and representatives, chaperones and other youth participants.

Over the four-day event, youth participated in a nine-hour Michigan legislative simulation, which required teens to research and propose Senate and House bills, conduct House and Senate leadership position elections, participate in legislative committee meetings, debate and vote on bills, and see their bills signed into law by an acting governor.

In addition to the structured simulation, participants observed actual House and Senate sessions, and visited community and state agencies, lobbyists and legislative aides.

Involvement in Michigan 4-H and Capitol Experience helps foster skills of leadership and involvement in youth. These experiences can be very beneficial in the development of this age group, said Darren Bagley, Michigan State University Extension educator.

“Youth learn how to make the world a better place,” Darren said. “Youth have a unique perspective on the world, they see the world in a way no other group can—they’re free from the cynicism of many adults, and they can use that positivity to make a difference in the world.”

4-H Capitol Experience provides youth with tools, experience and guidance to prepare teens for college and the working world. Objectives of this event include helping youth increase communication, teamwork, citizenship, leadership and skills to help them transition to college and life as an adult; allowing teens to expand career and personal interests while discovering how to be actively involved in influencing policy decisions; and providing youth tools to explore policy issues that may affect individuals and communities.

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National Association of Extension 4-H Agents to honor MSU Extension program leader

Sheila Urban Smith

Sheila Urban Smith

Sheila Urban Smith, a program leader in Michigan 4-H with Michigan State University Extension, recently received word that she would be honored with a Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA). The NAE4-HA is a professional organization that, according to its website, is “dedicated to promoting, strengthening, enhancing and advocating for the 4-H youth development profession.”

An individual can be nominated for the prestigious Meritorious Service Award only if he or she has served 15 years or more in Extension 4-H youth programs and has been a member of the association for the four years before being nominated. Additionally, nominees must have demonstrated innovative youth programming and leadership in the NAE4-HA at the state, regional or national level.

According to Sheila, “This is incredibly exciting since I’m being recognized by colleagues.”

She is referring to Jennifer Weichel, Christine Heverly and Kristy Oosterhouse, who spearheaded the nomination.

The award will be presented to Sheila at the NAE4-HA 2015 Annual Conference in October in Portland, Oregon. Congratulations, Sheila!

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments

Senior educator earns Charles Eastin Award

Yesterday, the Agriculture Council of America awarded our very own Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University Extension senior educator from Barry County, the Charles Eastin Award for involvement in agriculture advocacy. Dennis received the award at the Celebration of Agriculture Dinner held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on National Ag Day.

The Charles Eastin Award highlights individuals who advocate for agriculture awareness, as well as accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. It is named after Charles “Charlie” Eastin, whose “passion and dedication will continue to inspire those who work on behalf of promoting a greater understanding between rural and urban folk” according to the National Ag Day website.

Dennis was surprised to learn that he had been nominated for this award, and he is very proud of the work that led him to receive it.

“I have leveraged partnerships between MSU Extension, Farm Bureau, 4-H and FFA in my community to help teach kids and adults about agriculture and food production. I would not have been able to achieve this without the strong support of volunteers and kids in each of these organizations. They are what keeps my passion ignited,” he said.

Rachelle Lehman from the Barry County Farm Bureau nominated him, citing his willingness to communicate with the public about agriculture through educational efforts at the fair, Ag Awareness Day and online informative videos. For example, the videos he produced with the Hastings FFA students reached thousands of viewers, spreading research-based facts about agriculture to new and expanding audiences.

Our work advocating for agriculture awareness is never done, and it’s individuals like Dennis who inspire us to do more. Congratulations, Dennis!

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