Local 4-H Youth Lead Projects to Make a Positive Impact in Wisconsin

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Maria, Emily, Morgan and Brice at the 2022 National 4-H Ag Summit

In a rapidly changing world where the supply chain and global food production face new challenges, it is critical that we nurture the next generation of agriculture industry leaders. These young champions will be the ones who will fuel the discovery of new solutions and solve big challenges in human health, agriculture and food. A team of young local innovators, including Maria Lee (Ozaukee County), Emily Stumpf (Outagamie County), Brice Thiel (Wood County), and Morgan Waski (Green County), recently had the chance to hone and to test his skills at the National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience.

The three-day summit, held in Bethesda, Md., last March, immersed Morgan, Brice, Emily and Maria in a variety of agroscience topics relevant to agriculture today, including soil health, animal biosecurity, agribusiness, precision agriculture and agvocacy. “The participants, made up of young people from across the country, had the opportunity to hone their skills in workshops led by a number of industry leaders and mentors.

As part of the Summit, young people participated in the 4-H Lead to Change experience, where teams of young people were challenged to solve an agriculture-related problem in their community. Together, the teams developed a plan and then pitched their ideas, live, to mentors in the agriculture industry. A total of 12 teams across the country have been selected to receive a $2,000 grant to help put their projects into action.

Lead the Change, Bugging Out with WI 4-H from the Wisconsin delegation, focuses on pollinator education and the importance of creating and maintaining habitats for native pollinators. After attending a session at the National 4-H Ag Summit, the team was inspired to learn more about the pollinator population in Wisconsin. The team focused on pollinators because declining native pollinator populations affect almost every facet of agriculture. From the food on our table and animal feed to the air we breathe, they are all affected if we don’t have a thriving pollinator population.

To address this challenge, the team partnered with UW-Madison Extension’s Horticulture Program and Wisconsin’s 4-H Virtual Learning Community to offer hands-on learning kits with a learning session Virtual. The kit includes the Pollinator Activity Pack provides all the materials for the following activities: for a pollinator pod, insect hotel, paper folding, materials and workbook, bee identification guide flag in color, Wisconsin celebrates pollinator week, drawstring bag and logo sticker, pollinator scavenger. hunt map, steps to mimic the bee dance and instructions for accessing the statewide BioBlitz via the iNaturalist smartphone app, and access to a virtual learning session on Thursday, June 20 National Week pollinators. The cost is $15 per package plus shipping. For ordering information, please visit https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/pollinator-week. Additionally, the team plans to breed monarch butterflies and document their growth and the importance of pollinators with a weeks-long social media series. The team plans to continue working on the pollinator project as part of a growing effort with other youth members, University of Wisconsin extension staff, and other interested community partners.

About 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, trains confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for the careers of tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the United States through experiences that build essential life skills. 4-H is our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA youth development program and serves every county and parish in the United States through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local extension offices. Globally, 4-H works with independent programs to empower one million young people in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their community; twice as likely to make healthier choices; twice as likely to be civically active; and twice as likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4-H at 4-H.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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