Photo credit: UF
There are two kinds of people in the world- those that think bugs are really cool and those that run screaming from anything that slightly resembles an insect. If you or a family member are the former, then prepare to be excited! We are happy to announce that there will be a new competitive event coming to Florida 4-H. It is being developed by a team of specialists, volunteers and youth who are passionate about the exciting world of entomology. The Florida 4-H Insectathon will be held January 20th, 2018 in Gainesville, FL and will include the following events:
- Insect Collection Contest
- Honey Bee Essay Contest
- Insect Art Contest
- Entomology Identification and Skill-a-thon Contest
- Educational tours for both contest participants and their family members
This event will help youth master skills such as how to use a dichotomous key, how to make observations, record keeping skills, pinning skills, and communication skills- it may even aspire some youth to pursue a career related to entomology! To help volunteers, parents and youth get started, the experts will be teaching a workshop here in the Panhandle on Saturday, May 6th, from 10AM-2PM. Registration is open March 1st through April 28th via 4HOnline. Participants will receive hands-on experience collecting, identifying and pinning insects, as well as a startup kit of resources to share with other youth in your county. Counties are encouraged to send a team of youth and adults to this workshop. Lunch will be provided, so there is a small fee of $15.00/person.
If you have a passion for nature and would like to inspire the next generation, consider sharing your expertise as a 4-H entomology project or resource leader. For more information, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Other Resources of Interest:
4-H Leader and Librarian, Renae Roundtree, found a way to teach not only STEM, but help youth develop a life-long passion for reading.
Books, DVD’s, audio books, magazines and…LEGO’s? Yes, all of these can be found at the Washington County Public Library along with enthusiastic 4-H Club Leader, Renae Rountree. Renae, Director of the WCPL, partnered with Washington County 4-H three years ago to “LEGO My Library” and start the Brick Bratz 4-H Club that meets twice a month at the library.
The secret to this club’s success (that always has a waiting list) is Renae’s commitment to providing a fun, educational experience where kids are free to explore, question, succeed, fail and try again. Using the LEGO StoryStarter program, youth listen to a task that gets them and their partner started on an adventure of writing a comic-style story.
The StoryStarter kit includes LEGO pieces with five small panels and a computer based program. Working with a partner, youth illustrate their story with LEGOs, panel by panel, then take pictures of each panel and upload them to their laptop. They add dialogue and background scenes to finish their story. It’s so much fun, the kids don’t even realize they’re practicing skills like communication, teamwork, decision making and conflict resolution.
Rebecca Lee, a Brick Bratz 4-H Club member for three years, said “I like Lego club because it’s very fun to create our own stories and make the Legos move. Ms. Renae makes us laugh too!” Rebecca and her brother, Sam, “…always look forward to club days and are excited to share their creations with me and their father,” says their mom, Terri.
Youth practice creativity while building sets that serve as the backdrop for their robots to act out scenes from their favorite books.
Why does Renae volunteer her time with 4-H? She wants to give kids access to new and exciting ways to learn and grow that appeal to their sense of curiosity. Her enthusiasm for learning and sharing is infectious, and her club members are thriving with her guidance and direction!
Thanks to volunteers like Renae Rountree, 4-H is growing in Washington County! If you would like to provide the spark to ignite a youth’s interest in a field or hobby that you are passionate about, consider becoming involved in your local 4-H program. 4-H offers a variety of roles to fit your schedule and interests. If you’d like more information on how to get involved as a 4-H volunteer, contact your local 4-H agent or visit http://florida4h.org.
4-H Day at the Capitol provides youth an opportunity to use their voice and practice good citizenship while
educating representatives and senators about the 4-H Program. 4-H members are highly encouraged to make an appointment with their congressmen or a congressional aide to talk about how the Florida 4-H Program has impacted their lives. During the day, participants will hear from public officials, participate in educational workshops, and see their congressmen in action. This year’s event is planned for Thursday, March 23rd.
Registration for this event is open through March 1st via 4HOnline. You may have participated in this event in the past, but this year, there are several important changes that will make your experience a little different (and hopefully even better).
This year, there will not be planned workshops for you to register for, but the 4-H Day at the Capitol Guidebook does include suggestions for educational tours and sites in Tallahassee that your club may want to take advantage of. Your registration includes a 4-H polo and lunch. Please wear dress pants, a skirt or khakis with your polo (no jeans or shorts). You want to look professional for your meetings with elected officials!
One of the primary goals of this event is for 4-Hers to have an opportunity to connect with their representative and/or senator to educate them about the 4-H program. Learning how to do this is a valuable citizenship skill. Please refer to the guidebook for detailed information and frequently asked questions. Here are a few tips to help you set up your appointments and prepare for your visit:
- Identify your State Representative and Senator
- Call the Capitol Office and request an appointment- Contact the Capitol office the first week of March to request an appointment. The secretary will ask you to call back closer to March 23, 2017 to confirm an appointment time.
- Learn about your Elected Officials
- Make a Plan for your Visit and Practice – During the months the Florida Legislature is in session, legislators work long hours and have limited time. Most likely you will only have 3-5 minutes for your meeting, so you need be prepared. Refer to the guide for some tips on preparing for your meeting. Decide what member(s) of your club or council will speak and practice!
- Call to Confirm your Appointment- Call your legislators’ Capitol Office again the week before 4-H Day at the Capitol to confirm your appointment with your legislator (or their aide of the legislator is not available)
Do you have an interest in government and citizenship? If so, consider enrolling in 4-H as either a member or volunteer. We have several programs to help youth learn about how our government works and how they can be an involved, caring and compassionate citizen. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit some of these links:
The term “Backyard Chickens” is one many people use today. The idea of having a pet help you make breakfast is growing in popularity. I am often questioned as to which breed of chicken is the best breed. When asked, I always reply, “What do you want the chicken to do?” The reason I ask is because The American Poultry Association recognizes 65 different breeds of chickens. Each breed can meet a different need. Many people will blurt out, “I want eggs!” Well, do you care what color eggs? Do you care how often you get eggs? Does the size of the egg matter? Each breed is different and there are pros and cons to each breed. Some of the more popular breeds that you can find at your local feed store during upcoming “Chick Days” are described below:
- Rhode Island Red: This is a breed that is a large-bodied bird that lays a large to extra-large brown egg. These hens are very personable and can have a great personality. This breed can become a pet in no time.
- White Leghorn: This particular bird will lay a large white egg on a very regular basis. The Leghorn is not friendly and is often referred to as “flighty”. Leghorns will not, as a general rule, become pets. They will lay you an egg almost daily, but will run from you when it’s time to collect those eggs.
- (Buff) Orpington: Usually sold in the color buff, additionally available in other colors. This is a large-bodied friendly bird. Orpingtons can become fast friends and will serve as a dual-purpose member of your flock. This means that they are great egg layers, and will also serve as a good meat bird if the desire or need arises.
- Sex-link varieties: With this breed, you will not get a breed, but they have great production. Sometimes called Red Star, or Black Star, the chicks show a difference when day old chicks. It will be easy to determine between the two. If chicks are not your thing, you can always purchase young hens that are just starting to lay.
Many people are not ready to wait five to six months to get their beloved eggs from their new pets. If that is the case, you can always check with your local extension office to inquire if a local 4-H member might have some young hens for sale. On September 30th, 4-H members from across the panhandle will have a “Chick Chain” show and Auction. Save the date and get the best breed for you!
If you have children between the ages of 5-18 (as of September 1st, 2016) and you are interested in starting a backyard flock, you may want to sign up for the 4-H Chick Chain. This program teaches youth how to raise, care for, and show chickens. Registration is open February 1st-24th via 4HOnline. Youth will receive 12, day-old pullets on March 29th. Throughout the spring and summer, youth will learn the ins and outs of poultry farming, and how to market their eggs and hens for profit. They will keep business and health records, learn about bio-security, and gain poise, confidence, and communication skills while showing their hens in the fall. For more information, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or read about last year’s program.
4-H Poultry Project
4-H Embryology Project
4-H Chick Chain
Care of Baby Chicks
Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Intestinal Parasites in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Prevention and Control of Fowl Pox in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Small Flock Poultry Nutrition
Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks