- (Public Value) UCANR: Promoting healthy people and communities
- Author: Steven M. Worker
New Extension Peer Reviewed Curriculum
Through an innovative collaboration with the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Polymers, Minnesota, California, and New York 4-H Cooperative Extension educators partnered to develop and pilot youth-driven curricula
Focusing on the use and impacts of plastics and sustainability.
The overarching focus is introducing youth to the prevalence and impact of plastics in everyday life. Experiential activities help youth learn that plastics are versatile materials that come in different shapes, sizes, and exhibit different material properties. Youth learn that there are many advantages of using plastic as they can be lightweight alternatives that can save on fuel and energy. Youth also learn that there are many disadvantages to using plastics, including extracting costs and environmental impacts and a long post-life impact. Youth learn that while some plastics may be recycled and reprocessed, not all plastic makes its way to the recycling bin.
The curricula also introduce youth to the new ways scientists and engineers are working to create, use, and recycle plastics so we can use plastics for their many advantages and lessen their effects on our environment. Some plastics are now designed to biodegrade without polluting the environment and others are created using renewable resources to lessen the dependence on traditional, oil-based plastics.
Sustainable polymers must address the needs of consumers
without damaging our environment, health, or economy.
The curricula were designed to build foundational skills of science and engineering: observation, asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, and communicating. The curricula are intended for delivery in out-of-school time facilitated by an educator (trained volunteers or program staff). Three curricula are available:
- Grades K-2: Focusing on introducing youth to science and engineering as they explore properties of materials and discover how objects are designed with material properties.
- Grades 3-5: Focusing on concepts of: materials; plastics; reduce, use, recycle; and the work of scientists and engineers. Get the curriculum here
- Grades 6-8: Focusing on the prevalence and impact of plastics in everyday life. Youth then become change agents as they discover and work on a plastic sustainability issue that affects their community.
For more information, please contact Steven M. Worker, PhD, 4-H Youth Development Advisor serving Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, email@example.com
4-H families have been working hard sewing cotton masks for nurses, essential workers, and friends and family!
Now that home sewn fabric masks are required in Sonoma County, and N95 masks are reserved for first responders, we are busy sewing up a storm. It has been a challenge with fabric stores closed for regular shopping so it is a good thing that sewists (sewing artists) tend to have extra supplies on hand!
The count thus far is 277 masks sewn by 7 families and that is just the start! They were donated to hospitals, nurses, mental health workers, medical offices, Senior Center, to essential workers that must stay on the job and some to friends and other families in need.
Way to go 4-Hers, learning and helping is a beautiful thing!
A big thank you to Xobon Magazine for posting instructions:
Questions? Contact Diana Hampton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden Hills 4-H club volunteer project leader, Jemetha Cosgrove, and her two children, aged 12 and 7, repurposed their 3D printing equipment – part of a 4-H AgTech project – to make face shields to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 13, they've made around 120 and are donating them to medical and other essential workers in the North Bay.
They are using a Prusa MK3 printer. Prusa popularized the home face shield 3D printing movement from its headquarters in Europe and it has continued to spread around the world. Their shield design and others are being widely used by health care workers during the pandemic. The Cosgroves have been printing a design approved for use in hospitals by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Each print takes about 2.5 hours and can take longer or shorter depending on the shield design. They are also printing bias tape makers, used to make mask ties, to support the cloth mask sewing efforts. They invite others who own 3D printers to join the effort.
Those interested in making masks can connect on the Facebook page:
Making a Difference Sonoma County.