4-H teaches kids environmental awareness at inaugural camp

Jul 7, 2015

Twenty-five schoolchildren learned what it means to be “sustainable” at the inaugural 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, reported Michael Dukes in the Imperial Valley Press.

The environmental impact of humans is something children need to be aware of, said Shanna Abatti, UC ANR 4-H Youth Development Program representative. The camp was designed to provide new or different perspectives on how to save water, recycle, use renewable energy and understand the benefits of buying local food.

Preparation for the camp began last July, the article said. Abatti called upon 15 4-H high schoolers to help run and coordinate activities. 

“Being the first year, it was a lot of work," said recent Central Union High School graduate and camp council president Natalie Gonzalez. "The camp was originally (designed) for Utah, so we had to change a lot of the games to fit the Valley and what we have here, the weather we have here, the crops that we grow."

The first day centered on recycling, composting, and how waste effects planet earth. The campers did activities on landfills and took home worm composting bins. Day 2 focused on air, with campers learning about air quality and the impact of pollutants. The campers finished the day by harvesting fresh vegetables at the research center. Day 3 the campers learned about food packaging, food origins, and the importance of buying local or regional food. The campers visited a local dairy. Day 4 was focused on energy, with activities involving wind turbines and a solar oven. The campers took part in an (indoor) "camp out" and glow-in-the-dark nature walk. The camp ended with a session on water. Campers tried out water quality testing and took a virtual tour of wetlands. Each of the campers had perfect attendance.

The camp was made possible by support from the Vesper Society.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist