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4-H Goes Wild at Sunbelt Ag Expo

4-H Goes Wild at Sunbelt Ag Expo

4-H Exhibit at Sunbelt Ag Expo.Photo Credit: Rachel Pienta, UF/IFAS Wakulla County

Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA is “North America’s Premier Farm Show”®.  Held the third week in October, land grant universities from across the southeast set up interactive exhibits about the research and programs they provide related to agriculture and natural resources.  In addition, there are thousands of industry vendors with exhibits, demonstrations and give-aways.  The UF/IFAS Extension building is no exception.  This year’s theme was “wildlife” and our building featured five interactive exhibits from 4-H, Family and Consumer Sciences, Natural Resources, Horticulture and Agriculture.  Our 4-H exhibit featured some of our most popular 4-H programs related to wildlife: shooting sports, entomology, forestry, and outdoor skills such as kayaking, grilling and orienteering.  Extension faculty and specialists manned the building, and were available to answer questions and passed out free bottles of Florida fruit juices and packets of Florida peanuts.  If you missed this year’s exhibit, you can experience it at the North Florida Fair, November 7-17th in Tallahassee, FL.  Our exhibit (along with the other program areas) will be located in the UF/IFAS Building.

Lots of photo opportunities at Sunbelt Ag Expo! Photo Credit: Rachel Pienta, UF/IFAS Wakulla County

If you have knowledge or skills related to our wildlife project areas, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer!  Our wildlife programs are in high demand and we always need volunteers willing to share their passion for our environment with the next generation of Florida’s citizens.  For more information, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office or visit our website.

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

Exploring New Activities with 4-H Club and Camp

When Chase Weston arrived at a meeting of the Panacea 4-H Explorers Club for the first time, he was not sure he wanted to be there. Chase’s normal activities of choice included reading and playing video games. He rarely played with other children and did not usually enjoy playing outdoors.

The Panacea 4-H Explorers Club meets weekly and offers youth the opportunity to sample activities ranging from painting and cooking to outdoor skills. Members march in parades and volunteer together at community events.

Getting Active With Archery

Chase receives archery instruction from Club Leader Trena Gooding.

From that first day attending an Explorers Club meeting, during his time with 4-H, the once very reserved and quiet boy has undergone a dramatic transformation. This summer, Chase had the opportunity to participate in a two day archery summer camp. On the first day, he did not want to participate and asked to go home. On the second day he started to warm up to archery and by the end of the day he did not want the camp to end!

Club Leader Rhonda Lundy said, “I have seen a drastic change in Chase through his participation in 4-H. He is definitely trying things outside his comfort zone and his parents couldn’t be happier.”  Chase accepted the opportunity to attend Camp Timpoochee with support from a 4-H state scholarship. During his week at camp, Chase enjoyed activities like dance class and kayaking. He was able to continue with his newfound love for archery during residential camp.

 

 

 

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

A boy laying in a hammock at camp.

Chase enjoys free time in a hammock at Camp Timpoochee.

While he has stepped outside his comfort zone and tried many new activities during the week, Chase declared his favorite thing at Camp Timpoochee was enjoying the view from the vantage point from one of the many hammocks strung between trees throughout camp.

Links to Resources

For more information on how your family can participate in 4-H, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what programs are offered in your area.

Benefits of Summer Camp

Camp Choices with 4-H

Youth Development Outcomes of Camp Experiences

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: