by bestevez | Aug 18, 2022
Did you get to do any grilling this summer? Many of our 4-Hers did! Over 100 youth from throughout the Florida panhandle participated in 4-H summer day camps that taught them food and fire safety, safe grilling, and proper cooking skills.
Day camps offered unique experiences to youth on grilling techniques all summer and helped youth prepare for our District Competition. On July 30, 2022, 28 youth from eight counties participated in the Northwest District Tailgating Contest at the Washington County Ag Center in Chipley, Florida. Youth participated in competitions in beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp divisions and were judged on their food and fire safety skills around the grill and the taste of their chosen protein. In all, $3,200 was awarded to panhandle youth for placing 1st-4th in their competitions.
Now the top two youth in each protein category will compete at the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest in Gainesville on October 1, 2022. They will compete against youth from across Florida for an opportunity to win college scholarships. For the state contest, the first-place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second-place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship.
Join us as we cheer on the following NW District 4-H participants as they represent us at the Florida 4-H State Tailgating Contest:
2022 Seafood Category Winners
2022 Beef Category Winners
- Aubrie D.-Escambia County
- Aidden Y.-Walton County
- Pork Division
- Brooke H.-Escambia County
- Cate B.-Okaloosa County
- Chicken Division
- Vanessa E.-Wakulla County
- Jamison S.-Jackson County
- Shrimp Division
- Addie M.-Escambia County
2022 Pork Category Winners
- Mason K.-Escambia County
2022 Chicken Category Winners
If you are interested in furthering your grilling skills, please check out the Florida 4-H Tailgate Series of EDIS documents. If you would like more information on the Tailgating Contest to prepare for next year, check out our brand new handbook! Finally, the top two winners in each protein category are sharing their award-winning recipes in this free, downloadable eBook!
by pmdavis | Jul 1, 2022
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us!
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.
by Julie Pigott Dillard | Jun 10, 2022
With temperatures already posting in the 90s this month, it’s a good idea to make sure your backyard chickens are ready for the coming summer heat. Poultry can become heat stressed when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stress affects egg production as well as size, shell quality, and hatchability. It also affects appetite and growth in younger birds.
Add ice cubes to your chickens water to cool them down.
To minimize heat stress in your backyard flock, there are several things you can do.
- Make sure your coop is well ventilated for cross air movement. Trim vegetation and limbs that might block air flow. You can also add a fan to help move air throughout the coop.
- Locate your coop in a shaded area surrounded by grass. Grass reduces light reflection into the coop.
- Provide cool water in shaded locations for your birds. Ice cubes and frozen water bottles can help cool water down. Feed consumption will likely decrease during this time but shouldn’t give you alarm.
- Provide occasional frozen treats like watermelon and peas. Fill a container with fruit or vegetables, add water, and freeze. The chickens will peck at it as it thaws.
- Misters, shallow wading pools, and dust baths can help chickens cool down.
Chickens pant to dissipate heat from their bodies.
Chickens don’t sweat. Instead, they dissipate heat from their wattles, legs, under the wings and through panting. Watch out for signs of heat stress that might include
- heavy panting
- wings held out from the body
- lethargic, sluggish behavior
- pale combs and wattles.
To learn more about keeping your backyard chickens healthy during the summer, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.
by Niki Crawson | May 20, 2022
Summer is right around the corner. As much as we all love the sunshine feeling on our face and body, too much of a good thing can be harmful! It is always important to remember our family’s well-being, take responsibility for our personal safety, and make healthy decisions, even while having a fun time. Here are some short sun safety reminders to make your summer a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your family members!
Plan Your Day Around the Clock
The sun shares its most harmful rays in the middle of the day so plan this time for indoor use. The sun’s rays are most harmful between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so make outdoor time in the early morning or early evening when it is less intense. This also keeps your food at safer temperatures as well so your ice (or you) won’t melt as fast.
Protect Your Body
Look for SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.
One of the easiest defenses against the sun is sometimes one of the most forgotten, sunscreen! Be sure to lather up in sunscreen BEFORE you go outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends liberally applying a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher, as these formulas will block UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outside. Once outside, continue to apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming. Not sure what kind of sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB rays? Look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these ingredients will do the job. Remember to coat your ears, neck, tops of feet, etc.
Remember to grab your sunglasses too! Your eyeballs are just as sensitive as your skin so blocking UVA and UBA rays from your eyes are important to. Fashionable sunglasses are great if you are into that but being able to protect your eyes is the goal.
Remember to keep your pets cool too!
Most everyone enjoys getting outside this time of year to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the beautiful day. In fact, it’s true that some amount of sunlight is healthy for your body and mind. However, as we know all too well sometimes, too much exposure can be detrimental and lead to sunburn, heat exhaustion and more. Thus, it is a good idea to find balance by setting a time limit on sun exposure, if possible. If time slips past you because you and your family are having too much fun, set an alarm as a friendly reminder. Make this your “shade time” for a water break, game of cards, or a brief nap. Be sure to always have an umbrella or tent on hand in case no shade is available.
It is very easy to get dehydrated in the summertime. Drink water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you get hot and thirsty. Drink water to maintain your hydration before it is depleted. This will help avoid those nasty summer headaches and tummy aches. Taking your pet with you? Don’t forget Fido’s water bowl too!
UV Bead Activity
Looking for a really cool lesson to teach your children about the risk factors associated with sun exposure and UV rays? Check out this 4-H activity 4-H + Me = Health: Sun Safety from Minnesota Extension Service’s Exploring Your Body, Helper’s Guide. In this activity, children can make their own beaded bracelets that change colors when exposed to UV light. This is a great way for children to understand UV light, cloud coverage, sunscreen SPFs and more!
UV Beads with no sun exposure.
4-H has plenty of educational programming, both outdoors and indoors, to keep your children engaged this summer! From gardening to robots, archery to grilling, 4-H has something for everyone. If you are looking for fun, educational activities during the summer while maintaining a safe environment for your child, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org
UV Beads with sun exposure.
by aschortinghouse | May 13, 2022
Youth from across north Florida gathered to compete at the 2022 Area
2022 Area North High Point Division Winners bridle bags.
North Horse Show in Clay County. Area shows take place throughout the state and serve as a qualifying show for the state show which takes place this summer. This is not just another horse show though, these 4-H Area shows are unique in that these shows are just one part of the larger project these youth are involved in. At the beginning of each year, youth declare which horses they will be working with. They are then responsible for working with their horses to learn more about equine sciences and to prepare for the various show and project opportunities such as workshops and shows. At the 2022 Area show, youth had the opportunity to participate in various disciplines including western, hunter, speed, and ranch divisions. Youth were eligible to earn ribbons, high points, and versatility awards. What youth are achieving inside the arena is second to that of what is being developed in our youth outside the arena.
Outside the Arena
2022 Area North Horse Show Sportsmanship award winner.
2022 Area North Volunteer of the Year.
In addition to the competition in the arena, youth and volunteers are recognized for their efforts outside the arena with various awards such as the sportsmanship and volunteer of the year awards. Horse projects and shows offer youth a chance to develop life skills, while loosing themselves in the magic of a horse. Horses demand responsibility, decision making, communication, among many other life skills. While some youth will be recognized for their success with ribbons, all of our youth are building skills that will carry them throughout their lifetimes. All of this though is not possible without the support and tireless effort put in by our volunteers. Thank you to all of our volunteers who made this even possible and congratulations to our 2022 volunteer of the year!
Congratulations to all the youth who competed and qualified for the State 4-H Horse Show later this year. To see a full list of qualifiers, click here. If you want to learn more about how you can get involved!
by pmdavis | Apr 22, 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.
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)
What to do:
- Cut strips of newspaper or regular paper about 4” wide.
- Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty container and roll fairly tight.
- Scoot paper down so the paper will reach the half way point and when folded. It should overlap the open end of the container.
- Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the container, starting where the paper meets the on the outside.
- Push the bottom of the container against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
- Pull the container out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds.
- 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.
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.