Tag Archives: animal science

New 4-H snapshots available – and not just about animals

In a previous Spotlight article, I let you know about some new Michigan 4-H Youth Development animal science snapshot sheets available online. The fact sheets give an overview of a 4-H project in a “snapshot” or brief summary.

The first series of snapshots focused on dog, goat, poultry and rabbit projects. You may have been disappointed when you didn’t see your favorite animal project featured. Now, 4-H offers more animal snapshots. You can now find dairy cattle, swine, sheep, and horse and pony snapshots on the 4-H website. Try saying “sheep and swine snapshots” quickly, many times!

In addition, 4-H offers new snapshots focusing on other 4-H projects besides animal projects. Now, you can find snapshots on photography and horticulture as well.

The fact sheets let 4-H’ers know what to expect if they choose to get involved in a specific 4-H project. They also offer lists of curricula and resources.

Katie VanderKolk, Michigan State University Extension animal science educator, says the snapshots have been “overwhelmingly successful.”

Katie said, “County staff are using them in mainly two different ways: for recruitment of new members in specific project areas for new families and as a tool to help current volunteers gauge what they are doing in their club and build awareness of the resources and opportunities in that project area.”

Veronica Bolhuis, MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute 4-H program coordinator in Kalamazoo County, believes the snapshots are a great resource for both leaders and participants. She uses them when talking to potential participants and volunteers.

“It gives them a quick reference to the bigger picture. I love that they include 4-H resources on both the state and national side along with other resources. New families or new volunteers can be easily overwhelmed with the amount of information presented to them. This is a quick and easy tool to pull out for them and it doesn’t seem so overwhelming then,” Veronica said.

She also uses them as talking points when speaking with community members and other stakeholders.

Veronica said, “Sometimes people think, ‘Well, they’re just growing a garden – so what?’ When we can show the science, life skills, leadership and communication behind the project, then people are more engaged in why it is important to teach these skills.”

Find all of the 4-H project snapshot sheets online at 4h.msue.msu.edu/resources/michigan_4_h_project_snapshot_sheets


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New 4-H animal science snapshots now available online

A series of 4-H animal science snapshot sheets are available online, ready for use by staff members, volunteers, 4-H’ers or future 4-H’ers interested in getting involved in specific 4-H animal science projects.

 The fact sheets let youth know what to expect from being involved in a 4-H animal project. They cover “the big picture” from starting out in the project to learning more as they progress further in the project to expanding their horizons as they become more knowledgeable about their animals. The snapshots give ideas for using the animal projects to focus on science, communication, citizenship and leadership, and life skills. They list ways that youth can get further involved in the projects. Finally, the snapshots list related curricula and resources.

 Katie VanderKolk, Michigan State University Extension animal science educator, hopes that the snapshots will be a resource for county staff people to use to give potential 4-H members a glimpse into the opportunities that 4-H animal science projects have to offer to youth. Additionally, she believes 4-H volunteers can use them as a resource for curriculum and other information to share with members of their clubs or groups.

 “The snapshots are based on the Iowa State University project Hot Sheets. Michigan’s snapshots are enhanced by relating animal science projects with specific science and life skill development ideas as well as additional curriculum and resources that are available for youth and volunteers to utilize,” said Katie.

 View the 4-H snapshots by clicking on each URL given:

4-H Dog Project (4H1610): http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/resources/4_h_dog_project_snapshot_sheet_4h1610

 4-H Goat Project (4H1611): http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/resources/4_h_goat_project_snapshot_sheet_4h1611

 4-H Poultry Project (4H1612): http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/resources/4_h_poultry_project_snapshot_sheet_4h1612

 4-H Rabbit Project (4H1613): http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/resources/4_h_rabbit_project_snapshot_sheet_4h1613

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New 4-H rabbit member guide now available

I love it when we can engage our Michigan State University Extension volunteers in not only delivering programs but also providing input into program development. They not only take ownership for the outcomes, but they also learn what goes into creating quality, science-based curricula.

 This was the case in our newly revised 4-H Rabbit Fitting and Showing Member Guide (4H1268) that’s now available from the MSU Extension Bookstore.

4-H Rabbit Fitting and Showing Member Guide

 The volunteers who comprise the Michigan 4-H Rabbit Fitting and Showing Curriculum sub-committee put a monumental effort into the manual, and their hard work and dedication paid off. This should be a popular curriculum in Michigan and beyond, as I’m told there is no other manual like it. I could take the rest of this column to list their names, as well as the MSUE staff members who contributed to the guide, but instead I’ll encourage you to pick up a copy from the MSU Extension Bookstore. The retail price is $5, but MSUE staff can purchase it at the county rate of $4.

 This informative source is a helpful tool to guide 4-H members through both fitting (choosing and preparing a rabbit for show) and exhibiting rabbits. Full-color photographs take 4-H’ers through the proper steps of handling, posing and examining their rabbits for show purposes. The guide also focuses on the members themselves: their appearance and attitude, sportsmanship and leadership.

 And of course, it uses a hands-on inquiry-based approach that is the hallmark of 4-H experiences and curriculum.

 Katie VanderKolk, MSU Extension animal science educator, says, “We are glad to offer an updated curriculum to enhance youth knowledge and skills in the rabbit showmanship area.”

 Read more here.

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MSU Extension specialist’s evening college class featured in CASE magazine

Raising chickens in the backyard is becoming a popular activity. And as you can guess, people who are attempting the venture are in need of some professional guidance. Michigan State University Extension specialist Darrin Karcher recently taught a class on raising backyard poultry at the MSUAA’s (MSU Alumni Association’s) Lifelong Education Evening College. The Evening College offers personal enrichment courses to MSU alumni and members of the community. The September 2011 issue of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Currents magazine featured the class in the article “Backyard Egg-stravaganza.” CASE is an international association of educational institutions.

 More than 30 people took the course that included three weeknight lectures and a field trip to the MSU Poultry Research and Teaching Center. The class was one of the most popular of the semester.

 Last year, Darrin received the Poultry Science Association’s Early Achievement Award for Extension. He co-authored the MSU Extension bulletin E3136, “Suggestions for Ordinances Allowing Backyard Poultry” along with Paul Wylie, retired Extension educator, and R.M. “Mick” Fulton, avian pathologist with the MSU Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. You can download the bulletin as a free PDF at the MSU Extension Bookstore: http://bookstore.msue.msu.edu/.

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My Horse University is tops in distance learning

Congratulations to Christine Skelly, Karen Vignare, and Gwyn Heyboer for their leadership of My Horse University (MHU)! Their program and its partner, eXtension HorseQuest, led by Kathleen Anderson, University of Nebraska, were recently named winner of the 2009 Shirley Davis Award for Excellence in Synchronous Distance Learning. Christine is an associate professor of animal science and Karen and Gwyn are distance learning professionals in MSU Global.

MHU is a national online horse management program for horse enthusiasts. Founded by the MSU Department of Animal Science, MSU Extension and MSU Global, this program offers equine education courses and research-based information resources for horse owners and equine professionals that can be tailored to help them improve their understanding of horses and enhance their horse management practices. eXtension HorseQuest is an interactive learning environment delivering research-based knowledge from land-grant universities across America. Visitors can get online answers to their equine-related questions, locate horse events in their area, watch instructional videos, take short courses and participate in webcasts with equine experts across the nation. MHU and HorseQuest are complementary programs in which users seeking general horse information from HorseQuest may benefit from content developed for MHU, and if they are interested in designed courses and certificate programs in horse management, they are directed to MHU. Likewise, MHU links their clients back to HorseQuest for information that may go beyond the courses they are taking. In addition to Dr. Skelly’s leadership, MSU has contributed content by Karen Waite, Camie Heleski, Brian Nielsen, John Shelle, Judy Marteniuk, and Hal Schott to the program.

The Shirley Davis Award for Excellence in Synchronous Distance Learning, given by the National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN), recognizes individuals and institutions that provide superior distance learning opportunities via the Web or video conferencing of a superior nature in the areas of innovation, interactivity, production quality and administrative issues. The award will be presented June 23 at the NUTN annual conference on distance education in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The conference, “Quality in Motion,” will focus on the challenges to distance learning and technology in a troubled economy. Participants at the NUTN conference represent more than 60 higher education institutions across the country that focus on distance education and the technologies that support education.

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