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Wildflower Seed Bombs: For those who garden AND those who don’t!

Two youth make wildflower seed bombs.

Wildflower seed bombs are a great indoor or outdoor project with unlimited potential for learning.

Wildflower seed bombs are the perfect project for kids itching to get outside.  Even if you don’t have a green thumb or you don’t have outdoor space or the weather isn’t cooperating, you can make seed bombs that will help beautify roadsides, vacant areas and neighborhoods.

Give Them a Toss!

These little beauties don’t get their name from any explosive properties but from the fun you have “launching” them around your yard or neighborhood. As you toss them into places that  aren’t frequently mowed, you beautify your neighborhood and provide an invaluable food sources for native Florida pollinators like bees, wasps, butterflies, and more.

Even though you may be more fond of some pollinators than others, there’s no doubt we need them all. Their pollination services are critical to fruit development in many of our fruiting crops. So if you like squash, cucumbers, melons, almonds and so much more, here’s what you can do to help:

Gather Your Materials

  • Air-dry clay
  • Wildflower seeds
  • Potting Soil

Make Your Seed Bombs

  1. Pinch off a small amount of air-dry clay – enough to make a ball about the size of a bouncy ball or about 1″ diameter.
  2. Work equal parts seeds and soil into the clay and form it into a ball.
    Amounts really are up to you. More seeds = more flowers.
    But, too much soil will keep the ball from holding it’s shape. If this happens, add more clay and either have a bigger bomb, or divide it into two smaller bombs.
  3. Store them in a cool dry place and let them dry out completely in an air-tight container until you’re ready to spread some wildflower cheer.
  4. Now for the fun part!  Toss them where you want flowers to grow.

Things to Consider…

  • The air-dry clay acts as a binder only. It’s natural, non-toxic, and when wet, it will soften and allow the seeds to grow.
  • Before storing in an airtight container, allow your seed bombs out to dry completely.  Even a little moisture will allow the seeds to sprout.
  • Be careful when throwing your seed bombs.
    1. Don’t hit people, animals, or other anything else with them – just the ground.
    2. Throw them where areas don’t get mowed very much.  Some people throw them out along roadways or in abandoned lots. If these places are mowed regularly, they won’t last long if they even get to bloom.
    3. Get permission if you’re throwing them in public places.

Resources

Gardening is just one of the many Florida 4-H programs.  To see what programs are available in your county, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office, or contact your 4-H Agent about starting a gardening program in your county.

4-H Chick Chain Registration OPEN!

baby chick in grassRegistration opens today for the 2019 4-H Chick Chain project!  This project teaches youth how to raise baby chicks to laying age using science-based best practices.  At the end of the project, youth compete in a showmanship and skill-a-thon contest to test their knowledge and also exhibit their birds for judging and awards.

HOW DOES THE 4-H CHICK CHAIN PROJECT WORK?
Purchase or hatch your own chicks during the month of March.  The number you choose to purchase or hatch is up to you, but we recommend that you begin with at least three chicks.

Chicks must be from the following breeds:

Child holding baby chicks in his hands.

Chicken breeds have unique needs and personalities. Do some research before you choose your breed.

  • Australorp
  • Barred Rock
  • Brahma
  • Jersey Giant
  • Leghorn
  • Orpington
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Silky
  • Welsummer
  • Wyandotte

There is an orientation webinar and a hands-on workshop to get you ready for the show.  Your 4-H Agent or project volunteer can also make a home visit to check up on your progress.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?
4-H Chick Chain is open to all youth ages 5-18 who are enrolled or enroll as new members in 4-H.  Enroll now.
Registration opens March 1 and closes March 31 in 4honline.
Families can share a project, but each youth should be individually registered.
Members who participated in the 2018 4-H Chick Chain project can register as a returning production project.

REGISTRATION FEES:

  • 2019 New Project:  $20
  • 2018 Returning Production Project:  $10

To learn all about the project, read the 2019 4-H Chick Chain Youth Project Guide.

If you’re an adult with a love of poultry that you’d like to share with others, consider becoming a 4-H poultry project leader.  Our poultry programs include 4-H Embryology in the Classroom, 4-H Chick Chain, and 4-H livestock clubs.  Visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers to find out more.  To learn more about 4-H in your county, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

Still have questions about 4-H Chick Chain?  Contact project chair – Julie P. Dillard – juliepd@ufl.edu or call 850.638.6180.  

youth display their awards

Best of Breed winners from the 2018 4-H Chick Chain.

Bring a Little Zen to Volunteers and Youth with 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs

Bring a Little Zen to Volunteers and Youth with 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs

Making lotions and bath scrubs, practicing relaxation and doing yoga…doesn’t this sound like a great 4-H club program?  Discover 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs are a great way to learn about homemade body products while learning relaxation techniques.  Youth create a day at the spa by making lotions, soaps, scrubs and lip balms while learning methods to relax like tennis ball massages, creating a happy list, doing yoga and creating a zen garden. An added bonus is homemade products are a fraction of the cost of purchasing and make great gifts for friends and family.

Make your own Luxurious Bath Salts

Ladies making homemade beauty products.

Naval Support Activity-Panama City staff learning how to making calm bags.

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt ( scented or plain)
  • Use 3-5 drops fragrance oil designed for soaps or diluted essential oil for plain Epsom salt
  • Mix ingredients
  • Spoon the mixture into storage containers (wide mouth jars, bowls or zip style bags work well)
  • Label your container with ingredients and direction for use – Pinterest has several cute label designs

Caution:  Essential oils are very strong and can be a skin irritant if applied directly to your skin. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends diluting essential oils with a carrier oil:  use 1 teaspoon of  coconut, almond, olive, sunflower or jojoba oil with 2 – 12 drops of the desired essential oil. Then, mix 3-5 drops of the diluted oil to your bath salt mixture.  Bath salts are generally safe for most when used properly, but you should talk to your doctor before using bath salts if you have medical conditions such as skin diseases, heart disease or diabetes.

How to Use Your Bath Salts:  Fill your tub halfway with warm to hot water, and pour in about 1/2 cup (120 g) of bath salts. For a stronger concentration, you can always add more. If you prefer showers, take a handful and rub over desired area. Bath salts are great to exfoliate by removing dead skin cells leaving the skin smooth and fresh.  Tired achy feet or hands?   No problem!  Add salts to warm water in a dishpan, and immerse your feet or hands and soak away the pain.

Two women preparing homemade beauty products.

NSA-PC staff learning the 4-H Spa & Relaxation Curricula they will use in their 4-H programs.  

For more information on 4-H and other programs like this, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H.  

Are you an adult looking for ways to coach, teach and mentor youth?  Contact the 4-H Agent in your county and enroll as a volunteer in 4-H Online.  Volunteering not only strengthens the 4-H club, but also shows young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, compassion, responsibility and resiliency – skills that will help them succeed in life.

Resource:

Discover 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs curriculum 

2019 4-H Chick Chain Project

baby chick in grassWell’s FRM was one of my favorite places to go with my dad when I was a little girl…especially when baby chicks arrived.  With spring right around the corner, local feed stores will be getting shipments of baby chicks soon.  Have you thought about raising baby chicks but are unsure how to?  Then join us in the 4-H Chick Chain project!

4-H Chick Chain teaches youth how to raise baby chicks to laying age using science-based best practices.  At the end of the project, youth compete in a showmanship and skill-a-thon contest to test their knowledge and also exhibit their birds for judging and awards.

HOW DOES THE 4-H CHICK CHAIN PROJECT WORK?
You’ll purchase or hatch your own chicks during the month of March 2019.  The number you choose to purchase or hatch is up to you, but we recommend that you begin with at least three chicks.

Chicks must be from the following breeds:

Child holding baby chicks in his hands.

Chicken breeds have unique needs and personalities. Do some research before you choose your breed.

  • Australorp
  • Barred Rock
  • Brahma
  • Jersey Giant
  • Leghorn
  • Orpington
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Silky
  • Welsummer
  • Wyandotte

The 4-H Chick Chain is designed to take you step-by-step through the process of raising your birds to healthy laying age.

There is an orientation webinar and a hands-on workshop to get you ready for the show you’ll attend during the summer.  Your 4-H Agent or project volunteer can also make a home visit to check up on your progress.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?
4-H Chick Chain is open to all youth ages 5-18 who are enrolled or enroll as new members in 4-H.  Enroll now.
Registration opens March 1 and closes March 31 in 4honline.
Families can share a project, but each youth should be individually registered.
Members who participated in the 2018 4-H Chick Chain project can register as a returning production project.

REGISTRATION FEES:

  • 2019 New Project:  $20
  • 2018 Returning Production Project:  $10

To learn all about the project, read the 2019 4-H Chick Chain Youth Project Guide.

If you’re an adult with a love of poultry that you’d like to share with others, consider becoming a 4-H poultry project leader.  Our programs include 4-H Embryology in the Classroom, 4-H Chick Chain, and 4-H livestock clubs.  Visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers to find out more.  To learn more about 4-H in your county, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

Still have questions about 4-H Chick Chain?  Contact project chair – Julie P. Dillard – juliepd@ufl.edu or call 850.638.6180.  

youth display their awards

Best of Breed winners from the 2018 4-H Chick Chain.

Say CHEESE! Exploring Dairy Science

Youth in a cheese making workshop

Can making mozzarella cheese really help you find your future career?

As an Extension Agent, I’ve attended numerous 4-H events through the years. Recently, I co-taught workshop at the National Youth Summit on Agri-Science at the National 4-H Center.  Along with 4-H Dairy & Poultry Science Specialist, Chris Decubellis, FCS Agent, Jill Breslawski, and Dairy Regional Special Agent, Coleen Larson, we instructed 53 teens from 23 states in our two workshops!

Careers and Cheese…There’s a Connection!

Teens were introduced to agri-science during the keynote address by Mr. Ted McKinney, the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs. Summit sessions included introductions to career options and agri-science hands-on workshops.  The questions and levels of interest were refreshing. I was most impressed with a young lady who expressed hesitation about attending the summit – she thought it would be solely farm-based topics.  After she participated in our Exploring Dairy Science workshop (incorporating a presentation on a wide variety of careers available in the Dairy Science field and a hands-on activity making mozzarella cheese), she inquired about my career.  As we discussed the vast realm of degrees one could hold to work as an Extension Agent and the wide variety of jobs available in Extension, she then shared she had found some direction for her future study in college when she entered as a college freshman in the fall of 2020.

Look Past the Title

Witnessing teens discover fields of study that meet their interests is the best reward!  These type of 4-H youth opportunities help teens in so many ways.  I encourage all 4-Hers to look past an event title, explore the event opportunities and keep an open mind. It could be a life changing experience!

For more information on 4-H in your county as well as state and national level events, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.  Learn more about the Florida 4-H Dairy project.

This  article was written by Marie Arick, UF/IFAS Extension Liberty County, County Extension Director & Family/Consumer Sciences Agent.

Let the Hunt Begin:  Hunter Safety and 4-H Shooting Sports

While this year’s hunting season is winding up, it’s never too early to think about getting ready for next year.  Whether it’s deer, squirrel, ducks, dove or turkey, there are important hunting rules and guidelines both youth and adults must follow.  Organizations like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and your local UF/IFAS Extension Office provide programs to keep you on target each hunting season!

Youth with shotgun on shooting range.

Safety is a key element of any shooting sport.

SAFETY FIRST
Each hunter must take some version of the Hunters Safety Education course.  Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, and 16 years or older, must pass a hunter safety course before a hunting license can be purchased.  There are four options to complete this requirement:

  1. Traditional Course and Skills Day
    – Face-to-face instructor led course
    – Hands-on skill day – register here
  2. Online Course and Skills Day (two part process)
    – Complete one of the online courses
    – Hands on skill day – register here
  3.  Florida Virtual School Outdoor Education
    – FREE to Florida students in grades 9-12 or ages 12-18
    – Apply here
    – Earn 0.5 credit for high school
  4. Firearms Safety Certification and Online Course
    – Adults only
    – Must have completed previous firearms training
    – Must complete one of the online classes in Option 2
    – Follow procedures outlined in the Application for Hunter Safety Certification

If you’re using the Hunter Safety Mentoring Exemption and hunting under the supervision of a qualified hunter, you are exempt from this requirement.  

Map of Florida showing hunting zones

Our district covers Zone D – Escambia to Gadsden/Wakulla & Zone C – Leon & Jefferson.  Map courtesy of FWC.

Find Your Zone
Hunters should strive to be good stewards of Florida’s resources to keep this sport a tradition for generations to come. Take the time to determine what hunting zone you live in.  Your zone determines your hunting season – meaning the appropriate time you can collect specific game in that area.  You can find the Florida Hunting Zones Map here:  http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/zone-map/.  Next,  check the annually updated hunting season dates and bag limits related to your zone to stay in compliance with FWC regulations:  http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates.

4-H Shooting Sports
Find your local UF/IFAS Extension Office and determine if there is a 4-H Shooting Sports program in your county.  Participation in a 4-H Shooting Sport program provides year-round opportunities for youth to not only practice their discipline but also to explore other disciplines in a safe, inclusive, environment with 4-H volunteers/mentors!

Group of 4-H youth on shooting range.

4-H grows important life skills like responsibility, goal setting and teamwork in youth through shooting sports.

4-H Shooting Sports includes air rifle, small bore rifle, archery, shotgun, muzzleloading and hunting and develops important life skills in a safe and educational environment.  Shooting sports day camps are popular during the summer, so ask you 4-H Agent if one will be scheduled for you county.

Attention Volunteers!
Would you like to become become 4-H Level 1 Certified to coach and teach youth shooting sports?  If you are already enrolled as a 4-H volunteer, log in to your profile and register for the February 16th hands-on training in shotgun and archery.  You’ll also complete five online learning modules as part of your training.  If you’re new to 4-H, enroll at florida.4honline.com, and let your county 4-H Agent know that you are interested in teaching shooting sports.

Explore the links below to see how you and your youth can get involved in 4-H and stay up to date on the hunting regulations for your area: