4-H Youth

Respecting Our Roots with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

A partnership between UConn and local tribes led to the development of Meechooôk Farm and other programs that strengthen the tribal community, their land-base, and self-sufficiency. Learn more about the project by reading this article.

Financial support for this work was provided by the USDA NIFA Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP Awards 2017-41580-26950 and 2022-41580-37944).

 

Fall Updates from Extension

The changing seasons are a reliable time marker, and this fall, UConn Extension is experiencing our own transitions. It’s an exciting time as new educators join the team and continue implementing our statewide programs. Catch up on our latest updates: s.uconn.edu/fall-news

UConn Beef Cattle to Be Sold at Middlesex Livestock Auction

EDIT:

Today’s sale of UConn Beef Cattle at the Middlesex Livestock Auction has been changed to next Monday, October 31, 2022. A select number of cows will still be sold at today’s auction (starting at 7PM) and a number of young stock will be for sale on the 31st.  More details can be found at s.uconn.edu/beef-auction.

UConn beef cattle will be sold at the Middlesex Livestock Auction (488 Cherry Hill Road, Middlefield, CT 06455) on Monday October 24, 2022. Sale animals are available for public viewing at the Cattle Resource Unit on Horsebarn Hill Road in Storrs, CT Monday through Friday between 11 AM and 3 PM. All animals will receive a rabies vaccine prior to the sale date. Final weights will be posted before the sale date. Please contact Mary Margaret Cole, Executive Program Director, UConn Livestock Units at mary_margaret.smith@uconn.edu with any questions. Please visit https://animalscience.cahnr.uconn.edu/about-us/newsletter/join/ to join the email list if you would like to receive a digital copy of the animal sale list.

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Adventures in Agriculture with Mashantucket Youth and 4-H

Mashantucket youth in front of the hydroponic greenhouse
Adventures in Agriculture youth participants at the hydroponic greenhouse.

As a part of the symbiotic partnership between the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN) and UConn Extension and supported by USDA NIFA’s Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP), tribal youth engage in outreach opportunities designed to educate students about the origin of food and fiber. Programming during summer 2022 included a series of STEM activity kits and field-trip experiences that promoted engagement with agricultural sciences in production settings.

A total of 250 ‘Adventures in Agriculture’ activity kits were distributed to the MPTN Department of Education & Recreation to be completed within

Youth participating in a ruminant digestion activity with their UConn 4-H Adventures in Agriculture program.
Youth participating in a ruminant digestion activity with their UConn 4-H Adventures in Agriculture program.

the Parks and Recreation camp program or to be taken home to assemble with household members. Five unique kit sets focused on entomology and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), wool production, aquaculture, animal identification and record keeping, and plant development. In addition to the materials and instructional videos necessary to complete the activities, kits were accompanied with Farming Connection Cards that discussed real-life applications and agricultural principles.

In early August, 29 MTPN youth gathered at Meechooôk Farm to engage in a UConn 4-H ruminant digestion simulation activity that involved the use of spaghetti, pop rocks, and soda. Students learned about the diet and eating behavior of cattle as well as the inner workings of their compartmented stomach. MPTN Department of Agriculture Director Jeremy Whipple and Meechooôk Farm Manager Cassius Spears, Sr. led an educational tour around the farm that involved a visit with the pigs and cattle and a peek inside the hydroponic high tunnels, where food is grown to support the tribal community.

group of youth walking across UConn Storrs campus
Youth touring the UConn Storrs campus

Joined by UConn Extension faculty and staff persons, 15 youth and five chaperones from MPTN visited the UConn Storrs campus to learn about opportunities in higher education. The group participated in a tour led by Lodewick Visitors Center student staff that featured a trip to UConn’s Native American Cultural Center. The group also visited the horses and heifers, ate lunch at a dining hall, and were able to partake in tours of the floriculture greenhouses and the Kellogg Dairy Center. Before heading back to the MPTN Community Center, the group enjoyed ice cream from the UConn Dairy Bar.

Exposing youth to food and fiber systems with Extension outreach has the potential to spark a lifelong interest in learning and in agriculture while encouraging youth to contribute to their community. This programming aims to inspire future agriculturalists and informed decision makers as we work together towards a more sustainable future.

Financial support for this work was provided by the USDA NIFA Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP Award 2017-41580-26950). Learn more about the program at https://s.uconn.edu/mptn.

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion through anti-racist approaches
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

Article and photos by Sara Tomis

10 Ways to Volunteer with UConn 4-H

UConn 4-H Legends soccer group
The UConn 4-H Legends.

No matter how much time you have, volunteering with UConn 4-H makes a difference by helping youth explore and discover the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. There are lots of ways to get involved! Please note, your volunteer experience and/or opportunities may be happening virtually or in-person. Contact UConn 4-H for more information and apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus.

Help youth lead a club

  • Assist a youth club leader with organizing meetings, speakers, and other logistics.
  • Assist and/or mentor a 4-H volunteer who is serving as a project leader.

Teach a skill

  • Organize a club, or share your skills by teaching a club meeting workshop, devoted to your area of specialty.

Judge projects

  • Serve as a judge for 4-H exhibits, competitions or performances, providing encouragement and suggestions for improvement.

Plan or help at an event

  • Volunteer at a county/state special event; from set-up or clean-up to serving food or taking registrations, there are a lot of ways to get involved.

Serve on an advisory board/committee

  • Sit on a local advisory or county governing board to help determine program priorities.

Help with a specific 4-H project

  • Advise a 4-H member in their project work: help youth identify and set goals, create and implement a plan, and reflect on what they learned and would do differently next time.

Assist with program delivery

  • Volunteer at an after school program, a summer program, camp program event or club meeting.

Volunteer on a fair organizing committee

  • Volunteer at a local fair – be inspired by the talents and creativity of the next generation while promoting the country’s largest positive youth development organization!
  • Work in the food booth or help in the 4-H exhibit hall or at the 4-H show ring.

Utilize your professional skills

  • Share your technical skills and knowledge to develop subject matter for curriculum/project sheets.
  • Utilize your professional skills to assist with with creating marketing tools, graphic art, word documents, webpages, videos, online training modules, etc.
  • Intern at your local Extension office with the 4-H program, a great resume builder.

Share your experiences

  • Share your hobby/passion – inspire a young person as a guest speaker or short-term instructor.
  • Share your career path – invite a 4-H’er to shadow you for the day.
  • Share your educational path/give a testimonial – how did you get to where you are? (If you are a college student – how did you choose your school, what are you pursuing, what are you aspiring to do?)

Apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn Extension. 4-H has access to research-based, age-appropriate information needed to help youth reach their full potential through UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). The mission of 4-H is to assist all youth ages five through 18 in acquiring knowledge, developing leadership and life skills while forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of their families and communities.

UConn 4-H uses the thriving model in our Extension youth development programs, and these align with all the strategic initiatives in CAHNR. These include climate adaptation and resilience; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; enhancing health and well-being; ensuring sustainable agriculture and food systems; and fostering sustainable landscapes at the urban-rural interface. Learn more at s.uconn.edu/4-H.

Help Wanted: Become a UConn 4-H Volunteer

UConn 4-H is Accepting Volunteer Applications

student in garden
A youth member at Auerfarm.

UConn 4-H provides youth with life-changing experiences from flying rockets into space with NASA to organizing national conferences for other youth, and everything in between. These experiences are possible because of thousands of adult mentors and volunteers who work throughout the state and guide youth to reach their potential.

Volunteer opportunities include club leaders, county fair advisors, mentors, project leaders, project evaluators, advisory committee members, and workshop presenters. 

If you enjoy working with children, have a willingness to share your time and talents with young people in the community, like to have fun, learn new skills, and make a difference, then being a 4-H volunteer is for you.

“UConn 4-H is the best organization ever for my daughters and me. Both, they, and I, learned and grew with the involvement in 4-H. It has provided me with the ability to give back to other young folks up in coming in 4-H. The Trice girls swear by 4-H,” says Ken Trice, a UConn 4-H volunteer from Tolland County.

4-H volunteers play a significant role in helping youth reach their potential. Volunteers help youth learn leadership, civic engagement and life skills through projects and activities. Hobbies or interests such as photography, animals, plants, fishing, drama, community service, computers and technology, woodworking, fashion design, arts and crafts, robotics, or something else can be shared with youth through the 4-H program.

“UConn 4-H helped me develop a set of skills like; teamwork, problem solving, public speaking, dependability, leadership which I use every day in my career,” says Rachael Manzer, a nationally awarded educator, and UConn 4-H alumni and volunteer.

Volunteer training and recognition is conducted at local, state, and regional levels. New 4-H volunteers participate in a general orientation with UConn Extension. Meetings are held throughout the state several times each year to help new leaders and volunteers. 

“4-H has been one of the most important aspects of my life and has shaped me as a person in more ways than I could ever imagine. Through this organization, I have been educated on necessary life skills, the significance of helping my community, and the key elements of leadership, just to name a few. But, most of all, 4-H has taught me the utter importance of responsibility,” says Ava, age 15, a UConn 4-H member from Fairfield County.

Just as we recognize the efforts of youth, the UConn 4-H Program recognizes and acknowledges its volunteers for their efforts at the local, state, and national level. The biggest reward is watching the transformation in youth and seeing them grow into engaged adults making a positive contribution. Apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn Extension. 4-H has access to research-based, age-appropriate information needed to help youth reach their full potential through UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). The mission of 4-H is to assist all youth ages five through 18 in acquiring knowledge, developing leadership and life skills while forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of their families and communities.

UConn 4-H uses the thriving model in our Extension youth development programs, and these align with all the strategic initiatives in CAHNR. These include climate adaptation and resilience; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; enhancing health and well-being; ensuring sustainable agriculture and food systems; and fostering sustainable landscapes at the urban-rural interface. Learn more at s.uconn.edu/4-H.

Youth Genetic Engineering Curriculum Available

cover of genetic engineering curriculum book
Education Professionals and 4-H Leaders: Use our genetic engineering curriculum (both formal and informal) for assistance in your classroom or with your 4-H club. Full curriculum downloads are available at s.uconn.edu/genetic-engineering-curriculum
These can also be used in other educational settings, learn more and explore the toolkit at s.uconn.edu/genetic-engineering-curriculum.
This work is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Professional Development for Secondary Teachers and Education Professionals Program Grant #2019-68010-29122 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.