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Celebrate with Safety in Mind!

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us!

youth in front of charcoal grill

Youth learning to grill during 4-H tailgate program

Many of us will be celebrating with picnics, cookouts, and family get-togethers. One of my colleagues in Clay County, Samantha Murray, did a great article about preventing food poisoning while celebrating. Our youth have also been attending grilling summer camp programs and learning many of these tips plus lots more. The youth have learned about how to use a grill safely, how to prepare food safely and prevent cross-contamination or food-borne illness, and the nutritional benefits of animal protein in diets. Our district will have its annual competition to advance to the state-level competition on July 30 at the Washington County Extension Office, in Chipley, Florida.

I just wanted to take a moment to recap the tips Samantha gave to keep all of us safe and healthy while celebrating.

  • Keep raw meats in a separate cooler than ready-to-eat items or beverages.
  • Foods with mayonnaise are less acidic creating a better environment for bacterial growth
  • Chicken and ground beef needs to be cooked to 165°F
  • Wash hands if soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of contaminating food.
  • Use different tongs or spatulas for cooked and uncooked meat or wash them after being in contact with raw meat.
  • It is recommended to refrigerate leftovers within two hours unless it’s really hot, then the window shrinks to about an hour.

Other items you may want to think about.

  • Keep beverages in a separate cooler from other foods, people will be going in and out of beverage coolers much more keeping the temperature higher and allowing bacterial growth.
  • Cook cuts of pork, beef, or shrimp to 145°F
  • Don’t sit charcoal grills on plastic tables and make sure the area is free from debris that can catch fire, including limbs or tents overhead.
  • Clean up after yourself leaving only footprints in the area you were in!
  • Enjoy time with friends and family safely!

For more information about educational programs, check out our webpage or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.

Senior Spotlight Taylor Yoder

girl holding calf

Taylor Yoder

Taylor Yoder is the daughter of David and Robin Yoder of Altha, FL. Taylor is a senior and has been homeschooled along with her 3 sisters. Her plan after graduating is to attend Chipola College and then pursue an ag business degree.

Taylor has been a member of the Jackson County 4-H club since 2017. Some of the events she has been a part of include Chopped Challenge, Holiday bake-offs, arts and crafts contest though the Panhandle Youth Expo, and is an active member of the livestock club. As a member of the livestock club, Taylor has participated in numerous judging contests across the Southeast. Her team was the third-place team in the 2022 state 4-H contest. In addition, she was the overall high individual in this contest.

In addition to these activities, Taylor helped start and holds a leadership role in the Jackson County Junior Cattleman’s Association, she has been a two-time state voting delegate for Jackson County 4-H, and is a board member for the Junior Florida Simmental Association.

Taylor is most passionate about cattle breeding, showing, and judging. Taylor had the reserve grand champion steer at the North Florida Fair in 2021 and exhibited the grand champion steer at this fair in 2022. She has also participated in the PYE steer show since 2017 and had the reserve champion steer in 2021. She has also won best county raised steer three times.

The thing that means the most to Taylor from being a part of 4-H is that it has prepared her to be able to face a challenge with confidence. Her time showing, judging, and giving reasons has helped to instill this confidence in her. These activities have created a love for cattle and has helped shape what her future will involve. Lifelong friendships and connections across the state have also played a huge role in her desire to pursue future endeavors in the cattle industry.

This story prepared by Patti Peacock, Jackson County 4-H

Senior Spotlight Dylan Ziglar

image of jackson County Senior

Jackson County 4-H Senior Dylan Ziglar

Dylan Conner Ziglar joined 4H Jackson County Livestock Club in 2012. Dylan has had opportunities to participate in poultry judging, meat judging and livestock judging earning many awards and ribbons. Dylan has participated in the Chick Chain project, State Poultry Judging Competition earning 2nd place high individual in 2019 and a spot on the Florida Team at the National Egg Poultry Conference with the Florida Team placing 6th in the country and was on the Florida National Livestock Skillathon Team. He has earned multiple individual and team awards in meat, poultry and livestock judging competitions in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Dylan has also been a member of Marianna High School FFA participating in FFA poultry and meats judging competitions. He is a volunteer at Evangel Church in the audio/visual department. Dylan is a member of the Jackson County Junior Cattleman’s Association in Florida and currently serves as the secretary. In 2021 he was a vital member of the Jr Cattleman’s Quiz bowl Team placing first in the Cattleman’s convention Quiz bowl competition.

Dylan is a vital part of his family farm, The Lazy Acres Family Farm, in Marianna and is the operation manager of the swine operation and assists his parents in other farm chores and work. Following high school, Dylan plans to enroll at Florida Panhandle Technical College and pursue a certification as an electrician. Dylan’s dream is to one day be an entrepreneur/business owner.

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.

Article Submitted by Doug Mayo and Patti Peacock


Happy Earth Day 2022

Happy Earth Day Everyone! 4-H has a wonderful recycling project for you to do with little ones as an activity for Earth Day. The exciting part is that you will most likely have the materials around your house!

The activity is the creation of a recycled paper pot. This is a great way to start seeds inside to watch them grow. Then, you can transfer the pot and all into the ground when the plant is bigger.

image of recycled newspaper pot

Great way to start seeds and recycle

Of course, you can buy special seed trays. You can recycle old nursery trays and pots if you clean them properly with a mild solution of bleach and water and rinsed well. You can also use disposable cups, or you can sow seeds in old deli trays, rotisserie chicken containers, milk jugs, almost anything that will hold a couple inches of soil.

However, the 4-H paper pot is another fun recycling project that is easy to do. These are biodegradable pots that will last about 6 weeks before they disintegrate. This project is an easy seed starting activity for all ages! It’s a great way to teach responsibility, record keeping, teamwork, and care for living things. Plus, you can save money and resources by making your own paper pots to start your seeds.

For this project, you will need

  • Newspaper or other paper cut into strips (not glossy inserts)
  • A Container, bottle, can or jar that can be wrapped in paper (not glass)
  • Soil
  • Seeds 

What to do:

  1.  Cut strips of newspaper or regular paper about 4” wide.
  2.  Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty container and roll fairly tight.
  3.  Scoot paper down so the paper will reach the half way point and when folded. It should overlap the open end of the container.
  4.  Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the container, starting where the paper meets the on the outside.
  5. Push the bottom of the container against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
  6. Pull the container out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds.
  7.  When the seedling is ready to transplant, simply drop the entire pot into the ground.

The newspaper will biodegrade in your garden or pot. Your plant will never be uprooted and continue to grow undisturbed. When planted make sure the paper is not sticking out of the ground. If the paper is above ground it will wick water away from the plant.

4-H garden

Photo of succulent garden at entry of NSA-PC Youth Center Created by 4-H Garden Club

You can print a PDF version of the instructions for this activity.
Other great gardening resources include:
Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide 
Florida Planting Calendar by Region 
Florida AG in the Classroom 
Junior Master Gardener Program 
If you have a green thumb, consider becoming a 4-H gardening volunteer! 4-H needs caring adults like you to share their knowledge and passion for gardening with the next generation. Through the 4-H gardening project or other environmental focused programs.To get involved, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H. We hope you will consider making the best better with 4-H. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, IFAS, FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PROGRAM, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.

April Month of Military Children

April Month of Military Child

Purple Up! April 15th or 20th

We would like to encourage you to help us celebrate our military youth and honor these young heroes. When we think of honoring our military, we often think of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Did you know there is also a time identified to honor our youngest heroes, military children?  Since 1986, April has been designated Month of the Military Child. Join us in April as we celebrate our military-dependent children.

Strength, sacrifice, and perseverance are words commonly thought of for our military members serving our country.  These same attributes are found in our military youth. They send care packages to their military family members and others when they are away from home. They take on new tasks when members of their families are deployed. They grow up with a sense of community and service to country because of what their family members do to make sure we have our freedom. They grow up fast because a parent is away taking care of our country.

The goal is for our military youth to see the support of their communities. If you know a military youth then here are some ideas to help you celebrate them.

  • Give them a shout out on social media! Wearing purple to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. If you don’t have or own a purple shirt wear a purple ribbon, tie, headband etc. Why purple?Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.
  • Use Hash tags of #PurpleUp, #FL4H, #MOMC for your support photos.
  • Just show your support and let our youth know we care about them!
  • Thank them for sharing their family member with our country.
  • Touch base with them when you know a family member is deployed giving them someone to confide in and seek help from or just listen to their concerns and discuss their worries.
  • Tell them you’re proud of them. Sometimes they just need to hear that they’re doing a great job for their family.
  • Help them get involved in organizations that help them find their talents.
  • Help them research colleges or trade schools they may be interested in applying to.
  • Take them out for a special adventure and spend time with the family.


All of these things helps your local youth feel supported. It also allows us to honor military children and their families for their commitment and sacrifice in our communities and not feel so alone. Even if you don’t know a military child you can wear purple and take a photo to share on our local media sites indicating they are cared about! Please Purple UP!

4-H is one of the nation’s most diverse organizations and includes people from all economic, racial, social, political, and geographic categories. There are no barriers to participation by any young person. Participants are given the opportunity to engage in activities that hold their personal interest, while being guided by adult volunteers.  

Remember to Purple Up! April 15th, 20th or day of your choosing!