4-H

Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Urban 4-H

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Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Urban 4-H

UConn Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time (11-month), non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, primarily based at the Fairfield County Extension Office in Bethel, CT. Extension Educators are community-based faculty who make a difference in communities by connecting community needs with university resources. Position level/rank will be commensurate with experience working with Extension. The successful candidate shall create an active 4-H youth development program with a focus on STEM, food, and agricultural literacy.

More information and application instructions are available at s.uconn.edu/urban4-hposition

#jobs #uconn #youthdevelopment #4h #agriculture #food

Supporting Families and Communities

Joyce Ann Hyde Foundation Sustains Food Donations

4-H is a family tradition for the Hyde’s of New London County. Brothers Harlan and Brandon Hyde were both active as youth, and now their children are members. They represent the slogan that 4-H grows true leaders—Brandon ’01 (CAHNR) has served on the alumni board for CAHNR and Harlan is an active 4-H volunteer.

“I have a fix-it personality, and we can’t fix COVID,” Harlan says. “Bonnie Burr, the assistant director for Extension called me in April about Operation Community Impact and the yogurt and sour cream delivery, and we started finding homes for it with the local food pantries. This project really changed my outlook on COVID. We were doing something for people and making a small contribution.”

Joyce Ann HydeThe Hyde’s started the Joyce Ann Hyde Food for Families Fund, a non-profit foundation, in honor of their late mother. The Foundation raises funds to support agriculture and community members in need.

“We’ve committed 100% of the funds from our non-profit to the purchase of food for the community,”

Brandon says. “There are three prongs to our non-profit. Our family has ties to agriculture and 4-H, and we want to be able to help feed families in need while directly supporting agriculture. It’s one of the goals in the mission of our non-profit. The third prong is using 4-H members to distribute the food, so they understand what it takes to give back.”

The Joyce Ann Hyde Foundation supported four milk deliveries and 10 produce deliveries to 27 food pantries in New London County to date. Over 30 families and 50 4-H youth members volunteer to move dairy and produce from central drop-off locations to the various food pantries. Brewster’s Orchards in Griswold donated apples and pears and the Foundation coordinated the logistics and distribution. Volunteers distributed the 7,500 pounds or produce throughout the fall of 2020. The Foundation purchased and distributed cheese in February. Sponsors donate refrigerated trucks and other logistics.

“We have an opportunity to impress on 4-Hers the givers heart,” Harlan says. “It’s also important to us that the whole thing started with farmers dumping milk, being limited to what they could ship to market—we want to increase demand. We buy fruit that might not be sold at market, and increase demand for those products, and we get the 4-H members involved in community service. We’re taking a holistic approach from farm to food pantry to table.”

“I’m really proud of the impact on the thousands of people we’re serving from all the food pantries,” Brandon says. “Just the three largest pantries in our network serve over 1,000 people.”

The Joyce Ann Hyde Foundation is growing the next generation of true leaders from the New London County 4-H program and positively impacting families and farm businesses throughout the county. The pandemic has upended the lives of thousands, and together we can help those in need and strengthen our communities.

Article by Stacey Stearns

Highlights of Extension Report

Committed to a Sustainable Future

Highlights of Extension report cover with blue bars and photos of agriculture, health, and sustainabilityConnecticut has faced challenges related to sustainable landscapes, food and agriculture, health, and the climate for generations. As problems are solved, new issues arise. Our educators faced the unprecedented challenges of 2020 and pivoted programs to offer life transfor­mative education despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Programming moved to virtual environ­ments through online certificate programs, virtual field days, WebEx meetings, and YouTube videos. Our educators created and released 318 new videos on YouTube. These videos reached 305,200 people and had 39,501 viewers that watched 1,200 hours of Extension instruction.

One of every nine Connecticut residents struggled with food insecurity before COVID-19. For many individuals and families, challenges surrounding food inse­curity increased when the pandemic arrived and continued throughout 2020. The stress associated with food insecurity challenges one of the most basic human needs and deepens income and health disparities.

UConn Extension programs addressed the food insecurity challenges that our community members are facing due to COVID-19. Educators coordinated dairy foods donations to help address food inse­curity challenges—facilitating the donation of over 160,000 pounds of dairy products statewide.

Extension works collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders to find solutions that improve our communities. We serve thousands of people every year. Our work is in every town and city of the state and the broader impacts make Connecticut a better place to live for all of us.

The human, environmental, and agricul­tural issues that we face change. The needs of our residents’ change. Our commitment to providing life transformative education remains steadfast.

Read the report at s.uconn.edu/extensionhighlights.

4-H Biotechnology Project Area Survey

4-H cloverAre you interested in biotechnology? UConn 4-H is pursuing grant funding in STEM programming about biotechnology and gene editing with career focus in agriculture and food sciences. 

Programming would include hands-on biotechnology activities along with the opportunity to educate others through the creation of a digital game on biotechnology/gene editing for high school age youth. Topics could include the use of biotechnology to create solutions to problems we face, for example developing insulin for patients with diabetes or addressing issues like citrus greening that prevent oranges from being harvested. We are seeking your input on the level of interest around Connecticut on expanding program opportunities in this area. Please take a moment to complete the survey at http://bit.ly/4Hbiotech the survey will close on Tuesday, April 13th. 

Carol LeBlanc: 50-Years of Service to the UConn 4-H Program

4-H cloverA volunteer is defined as someone that donates their time to participate in a cause or program. UConn 4-H is the Extension youth development program and has thousands of volunteers across Connecticut that help us provide programming to over 18,000 youth, annually. Since 1970, Carol LeBlanc has been a UConn 4-H Volunteer with the Snoopy’s Pal 4-H Dog Club, located in Suffield.

The Hartford County 4-H program recognized Carol for her 50 years of service on Saturday, November 7th, with a socially distanced presentation in front of the 4-H Club followed by a county-wide virtual recognition ceremony on Sunday, November 8th.

She is deeply committed to implementing the motto of 4-H which is to “Make the Best Better”.  Carol continues to adapt her club programming to accommodate all youth, to provide new opportunities for youth to learn and develop their dog skills and self-confidence, as well as to ensure that youth are maximizing and enjoying their 4-H experiences.

“Carol is dedicated to the providing opportunities for 4-H youth to expand their knowledge of dog training and management” says Jennifer Cushman, UConn Extension 4-H Educator in Hartford County. “Carol’s leadership extends beyond the county level to various New England 4-H Programs. She has also served as an adult Advisor to the county 4-H Fair Officers who plan and implement the annual 4-H Fair and as a member of the Hartford County 4-H Advisory Committee.”

“Carol, on behalf of the numerous 4-H youth who have been able to learn from you, their parents and your fellow volunteers, congratulations on your 50 years of service, and thank you,” Cushman says.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn CAHNR Extension. 4-H is a community of over six million young people across America who are learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), leadership, citizenship, and life skills through their 4-H project work. 4-H provides youth with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills including civic engagement and healthy living. Learn more about becoming a volunteer or enrolling your child in the UConn 4-H program at http://4-H.uconn.edu/.

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
  • 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.

Stephen Gustafson Names Northeast 4-H Volunteer of the Year

Steve Gustafson playing soccerCongratulations to Stephen Gustafson, Tolland County 4-H Volunteer, who has been selected by National 4-H Council to receive the Northeast Volunteer of the Year award for 2020. Steve helped create and is the leader of the Paca Pals 4-H club. The Paca Pals are an alpaca club. The club meets at the Round Hill alpaca farm monthly. At the meetings the youth conduct a business meeting, learn about alpaca care and showmanship, and plan their yearly calendar. Their calendar is youth driven and is for activities, competitions and community outreach. Steve empowers the club members to take on meaningful leadership roles in the club and their community. He works equally well with youth members and adult stakeholders. Steve looks for opportunities beyond the farm where the youth can learn and grow.

Off the alpaca farm, Steve found a place for the youth to learn and grow in the Tolland Agriculture Center (TAC) 4-H Children’s Garden. The garden was established in 2002 and has been maintained by the 4-H club program for many years. A neighbor on the TAC property is the Creative Living Community of Connecticut (CLCC) Greenhouse and vocational program. The CLCC greenhouse sits right next to the 4-H Children’s garden. The work of CLCC, to create opportunities for people with and without disabilities to work and learn together, is a wonderful match with the work of 4-H. The garden and greenhouse being neighbors has enabled the CLCC farmers to work outside in the garden in the summer with the 4-H program. Steve has been instrumental in fostering this partnership. He is able to coordinate between the two groups because of his volunteer work with both. The 4-H youth and CLCC farmers are both learning valuable vocation and life skills. The UConn 4-H Program is honored to announce this well-deserved recognition for Steve.

4-H in Sprague

Sprague LibraryOne of UConn 4-H’s partners is the Sprague Public Library. “I cannot say enough about the programs 4-H offers libraries,” says Elizabeth Bezanson, the Sprague Public Library Director. “The 4-H educators are always extremely personable and well prepared for any number of participants or age group. Activities are engaging for our participants and, particularly in our town, expose kids to science-related concepts they may not otherwise encounter on their own.”

“The Sprague Public Library invested in our own Ozobots and we were obviously excited when Ozobots were part of the 4-H program offering because the staff learned quite a bit about facilitating an Ozobot program.”

Ozobots are tiny robots that incorporate physical and digital aspects to teach youth how to code, and is one of many programs 4-H has to teach science, technology, engineering, and math skills.

“It was a great kickoff to our regular Ozobot programs. I think this speaks to the 4-H curriculum; it is trendy, current, and relatable. From a library standpoint, it is always a blessing to have a quality program that centers around a particular story or book that comes to us fully prepared and ready to go. Partnering with UConn 4-H is a win-win for us!

Article by Pamela Gray

UVM 4-H Summer Online Programs

boy with iPad

4-H staff in Vermont are offering programs on a variety of topics where youth can meet new friends and try new activities.

CLOVERBUDS CONNECT CHALLENGE

Cloverbud Connects Challenges are issued each Friday and are geared toward youth in grades K-2 (Flyer, PDF). Cloverbuds watch a video that demonstrates an activity and then we challenge you to do the same! Try that activity and record yourself in action and share it back! We’re using a password protected system called Flipgrid, only open to those who want in! So don’t delay! The first challenge is out and the second one is lined up and ready to go! Check out this video to learn more! If you’re interested in participating, email kimberly.griffin@uvm.edu to sign up and get an access code! 

POTIONS, SPELLS, & MAGICAL KINGDOMS CAMP

July 20, 21, 22, 23, 10:00am-11:00am, Afternoon check in from 3:30pm-4:30pm

Step into the world of the mystical from your own home as we learn about creating magic out of the ordinary. Send invisible messages, build an imaginary realm, and wave wands with fellow wizards. Daily adventures, games, and challenges await! For ages 8-13.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Allison Smith at 802-651-8343 or 800-571-0668 by June 26, 2020 so we may assist you.

Registration Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/potions_spells

ANIMAL SCOOPS

July 8 (dairy), 15 (Pets), 22 (Horses), 29 (Goats), August 5 (Poultry) from 9:00-10:00am

Join us for 4 interactive and enjoyable animal topic sessions. Included activities: Trivia, videos and recipes. Join us to share what you know and learn something new. Appropriate for ages 8-18. Check out this flyer to learn more!

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Wendy Sorrell by June 24, 2020, so we may assist you.

Pre-registration is required. Just click on the following link by the Tuesday, before each session and the link to join the Zoom meeting will be emailed to you. 

GARDENING: EATING WHAT WE GROW

July 7th, July 21st, August 4th, August 18th from 10:00-11:00am

Join these fun interactive sessions to explore what plants eat, how to grow and harvest them, soil science, sunshine, recipes, and more! Appropriate for ages 8-18.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Liz Kenton so we may assist you.

Register here.

DESIGN YOUR DREAM FARM

July 28th and 30th, August 4th and 6th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Decide what kind of farm you would like, learn about considerations for land use, and make a plan for your dream farm.  Learning will take place through games, exploration of a soil survey tool, and some individual activities.  A presentation of farm designs will be the culminating event.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Rose Garritano at 802-651-8343 or 800-571-0668 by July 7, 2020 so we may assist you.

Registration here

SUMMER OF SCIENCE

Enjoy a summer filled with science! Join us Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 pm at our weekly virtual science cafe where you will meet a scientist, learn about their work, and get to ask questions. Open to youth entering grades 7-12 in the Fall; runs June 24 – August 12. See the attached flyer with the schedule of topics. (Flyer, PDF)

For links to register to this event, head to our Announcements page. Registration links are listed under each date and topic.

UConn 4-H Computer Science Pathways

Bridging the Gap Between Scientists and Communities

4-H clover4-H knows talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Building youth equity and closing opportunity gaps by connecting youth curriculum, lesson plans, technology and training is the focus of the UConn CAHNR Extension Computer Science (CS) Pathways program.

Computer science and technology are not just transforming jobs and economies in cities, they are equally important to rural communities and within the agriculture sector. UConn 4-H received the 2019-2020 Growing a Computer Science Pathway – Launchers for America’s Youth grant presented by National 4-H Council as part of a $6 million grant from Google.org. 4-H and Google are bringing computer science education to the 4-H system with the goal of creating equitable access to these life-changing skills for kids and teens everywhere. 4-H works wherever the youth are with a focus on rural youth and populations that traditionally have limited access to computer science education.

In Connecticut, whether through a military program developing a lighting system for a henhouse, a small town community club using e-textiles in a sewing project or an urban afterschool program using code to make robots run more efficiently, the 4-H approach is flexible to help students see the range of ways computer science can connect the things they care about. Computer science skills, like analytical thinking, resilience and creativity, are some of the most sought-after skills in today’s job market.

The 4-H Computer Science Pathways Program represents an opportunity for young people of all backgrounds to create, not just consume technology, while also fulfilling a critical workforce need. UConn 4-H brings over 100 years of transformational educational experiences that build successful youth-adult partnerships in our communities. The UConn 4-H Computer Science Pathways Program is using the grant to continue building on our success delivering computer science education to communities in four primary ways:

1. Creating mobile learning libraries and laboratories

Also known as mobile labs, these are self-contained traveling classrooms used to teach new skills and ways of thinking that bring all of our young people access to opportunity and help them innovate. We teach youth technical computer science skills such as coding, and essential life skills including computational thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. The mobile labs have digital and unplugged activities. Digital activities do not require internet access. “Unplugged” activities are used on their own or as part of other programs, including the healthy living program, civic engagement program or STEM programs. Educators and 4-H club leaders receive essential and support training with the mobile labs.

2. Providing comprehensive, statewide, professional development

Teens as Teachers: Teens learn the fundamentals of teaching diverse audiences. These skills benefit many subject areas, not just computer science. Youth-Adult Partnerships: This training teaches the fundamentals of youth-adult partnerships and strategies for success. These partnerships were part of the original design of 4-H programs and are a core value today.

Growing Computer Science Pathways: This face-to-face training teaches the fundamental theories of computer science program delivery and introduces the lesson plans, curriculum and supplies needed.

Growing Computer Science Pathways Digital and Unplugged: Hands-on learning.

Principles for effectively delivering digital and unplugged activities for youth of all ages is provided in this training  Unplugged activities teach computational thinking, problem solving and the basics of coding without needing digital technology.

3. Creating and facilitating teen mentoring, teen-led programming and youth-adult partnerships

We teach volunteer and teen training programs. In these workshops participants learn the importance of, and strategies for, giving youth authentic and meaningful engagement opportunities. These opportunities, in programs, and in their communities, help youth find their voice. Youth see that they can exert influence and develop decision-making authority.

4. Leveraging the National 4-H Council’s and Google’s computer science expertise and resources

Community educators receive the skills and resources they need to deliver cutting-edge computer science programming through this collaboration. Youth computer science programming from 4-H fits community’s needs, while fostering leadership, confidence, and life skills.

There is a tremendous need for young people to create technology, not just consume it. By bringing our organizations together, we are combining the reach and expertise of the nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H, with the power of Google’s computer science educational programs and volunteers.

Visit 4-H.uconn.edu for more information on the Computer Science Pathways Program.

Article by Maryann Fusco-Rollins

Extension in Our Communities

map of UConn Extension program in Connecticut communities using 2019 data

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. Find your community on our map of Extension programs (based on 2019 data) and see how active we are in your city or town. Learn more about our Extension programs.