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My 4-H experience helped me in the college application process

Capriana in her bee suit

College applications and college scholarships all are looking for a good essay, an interesting story and a catchy topic. As a 4-Her who was has been...

Capriana in her bee suit
Capriana in her bee suit

Capriana in her bee suit, surrounded by bees

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 10:22 AM
  • Author: Capriana Jiang
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

Volunteers move 4-H forward

Events like the Youth Summits are planned by youth and adult volunteers.

We are able to continually move our 4-H program forward because of the work of 4-H volunteers. Youth and adult volunteers serve on club, county,...

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 5:54 PM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

4-H learning model helps two lost children survive

The joyful reunion of two 4-H children, Leia and Caroline Carrico, with their parents after spending 44 hours lost in the Humboldt County wilderness in early March has raised awareness about the benefits to youth involved in the UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program.

Established more than 100 years ago, UC Cooperative Extension launched 4-H to teach children research-based agriculture and rural living skills. Over time, it has evolved dramatically, reaching children in urban centers, inner cities, suburbs as well as rural communities with leadership opportunities, life skills, nutrition education and other information to help them grow into resilient adults.

The Carrico children, ages 5 and 8, had participated in a 4-H outdoor training training program. They lived in a rural area and were well acquainted with the redwood forest surrounding their home. Recalling lessons they learned, the sisters stayed in place when they realized they were lost – a key survival skill, said Yana Valachovic, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. There were more things they learned from 4-H project leader Justin Lehnert's teaching that helped them survive unscathed.

“Justin told them to leave signs. Searchers found granola bar wrappers and deep boot marks. They knew that they should shelter in a dry place,” Valachovic said. “They knew to keep positive and how to find safe drinking water without endangering themselves by drinking from a creek.”

Justin Lehnert, left, is a volunteer with the UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Program.

The 4-H program in Humboldt County has been inundated with calls for a curriculum that can be used elsewhere to teach these valuable skills. The UC 4-H Youth Development advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, Dorina Espinoza, is working with Lehnert to develop a project sheet so the survival skills used by the Carrico sisters can be made available in 4-H and other settings to young people throughout the U.S.

The sisters' odyssey and its happy conclusion shows the hoped-for result of the research-based 4-H learning model, Espinoza said.

“The sisters are smart girls,” Espinoza said “They attribute their application of survival skills to family camping trips, movies about people who get lost and 4-H adventures. 4-H reinforced new or existing skills. We know kids learn with multiple exposures. 4-H is a hands-on approach to learning that other settings don't offer.”

In 4-H, children choose “projects” they are interested in. The projects are led by adult volunteers from the community.

“What's different about 4-H is we have adult volunteers who develop partnerships with youth. They partner in learning, leadership and decision making,” Espinoza said. “That's a beautiful part of 4-H.”

Lehnert is a 4-H parent and volunteer who operates a business in Humboldt centered on enjoying the outdoors.

“Justin brings years of personal and professional experience, having completed a Wilderness First Responder Course of the National Outdoor Leadership School. He studied outdoor recreation at Feather River College and has been an outdoor recreation enthusiast for years,” Espinoza said. “We are so very grateful to Justin for sharing his expertise with our 4-H community.”

Californians can find UC Cooperative Extension 4-H projects near them at http://4h.ucanr.edu.

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 8:32 AM
Tags: 4-H (15), Dorina Espinoza (1), Yana Valachovic (2)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

April is National Volunteer Month: UC ANR honors its volunteers

The UC 4-H Youth Development Program, UC Master Gardeners, UC Master Food Preservers and the California Naturalists are parts of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) that rely on the generous contributions of time and talent by thousands of volunteers.

During National Volunteer Month, UC ANR honors people who help us deliver our research-based information and educational experiences to residents throughout the state.

The UC 4-H Youth Development program has 6,557 youth volunteers and 14,068 adult volunteers.

4-H volunteers serve in many roles, such as club and project leaders, sharing research-based information in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; agriculture; healthy living; civic engagement and leadership. Their compassion, skills and knowledge are improving the lives of California youth and preparing them for success in adulthood marked by health and well-being, economic stability and civic engagement.

“We would like to thank our volunteers for their dedication, passion for the program and youth, and most of all for giving their time to help develop the next generation of true leaders,” said Shannon Horrillo, director of the Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program. “Our volunteers are the inspiration our state's youth need to thrive.”

Many State Field Day volunteers help plan and run all of the contests. These are just a few.

The UC Master Gardener Program has trained 30,983 volunteers and currently has 6,116 active volunteers who serve as agents of change in their communities, connecting people to research-based information and sharing skills to help them grow food, protect the environment and meaningfully connect with nature. 

UC Master Gardener volunteers staff telephone and email “hotlines,” where residents can get answers to their gardening questions. Many UC Master Gardener programs around the state manage demonstration gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms for presentations and hands-on workshops. UC Master Gardener volunteers can also be found throughout communities at farmers markets, libraries, and garden centers providing answers to questions about home gardening. These efforts have wide ranging impacts, helping people conserve water, reduce green waste, manage pests safely, grow food abundantly, and more. 

“We are so grateful for our volunteers' generosity, commitment and passion to providing the public with information they can use to maintain their gardens that protect and support a healthier environment,” said Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener statewide director.

UC Master Gardener volunteers can be found throughout communities at farmers markets, libraries, and garden centers providing answers to questions about home gardening.

In 17 counties across California, 400 certified UC Master Food Preservers provide food preservation education to the public, ensuring a safe food supply, increasing food security and reducing food waste.

“Currently, a third of the world's food is wasted. Our Master Food Preserver volunteers make a difference at the household level in reducing food waste,” said Katie Panarella, director UC ANR's nutrition, family and consumer sciences program and policy. “To maintain public safety and avoid foodborne illness, the program teaches techniques for freezing, canning, drying and fermenting food safely.”

Master Food Preserver volunteer Barbara Mattice, left, helps Master Food Preserver coordinator Sue Mosbacher conduct a food preservation class.

The California Naturalist program certifies volunteers to serve as informed stewards of California natural resources, docents of public lands, and citizen scientists gathering data about the natural world and wildlife. After completing 40 hours of training in ecology, geology, wildlife conservation, energy, environmental issues and other topics, most of the certified naturalists serve as volunteers with land conservancies, museums, gardens and organizations that deliver workforce education to young adults at the urban core. See the complete list of partners here. Since its inception in 2010, the program has certified 2,855 Naturalists.

“We have a diversity of groups who partner with UC ANR to offer this training program to their existing, new, or potential volunteers,” said Sabrina Drill, interim director of the California Naturalist Program. “The volunteers share the wonders of California's unique ecology by interpreting at parks and nature centers, and taking part in the study and stewardship of the state's natural resources.”

California Naturalist volunteers share their passion for the natural world with Californians.
Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 4:37 PM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Yard & Garden

4-H Runs on the Power of Volunteers

For some people, volunteering is about giving. For 4-H volunteers it is a way of living

Dear 4-H Volunteer, Thank you! Thank you for your dedication, courage and your conviction, for bringing your sense of adventure to share and...

Posted on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 1:02 PM
  • Author: Gemma Miner
Tags: Gemma Miner (1), thank you (2), volunteers (6)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

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