George Washington Carver Day

 

VernelleOn an unseasonably warm day in February about 200 high and middle school youth experienced the life of George Washington Carver. On February 15, 2018, University of Maryland Extension, Baltimore County 4-H Educators Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins and Dwayne Murphy led the day with the help of many supporting partners.  The morning was set aside for high school youth to simulate key points from Carver’s career. Students from Benjamin Franklin High School and George Washington Carver High School were in attendance for the morning session.

Pasture

Coming off of buses, students were excited to be in a beautiful open space of pastures, grass, barns at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, fondly known as the Ag Center. This facility was used on this day as a learning space filled with hands-on activities, animals, books, teachers, scientists, and volunteers. The groups were divided and some went to the Horse Arena to learn from University of Maryland Extension Soil Nutrient Management Advisor Erika Crowl as she shared Agri-science concepts about the dairy industry. Erika began by teaching the students that Extension is the community education portion of the Land-Grant Universities like University of Maryland.  She then related the Extension concept to George Washington Carver’s work with the traveling Jesup Agricultural Wagon. This wagon was known as a “movable school” used for teaching and sharing knowledge from the local University with the community to improve farms.

Two dairy calves greeted the youth at the entrance of the arena – just like what may have been seen in the 1800’s when Carver was traveling to farms. In Erika’s session, students learned about the components of milk and what products can be made from cows. They also got to make butter using real cream and conducted a taste test of the final product.  Interestingly, Carver has been credited for making a milk type product from peanuts and as a substitute for cow’s milk.

Romney Cheviot Mix Sheep
Rosie the Romney Cheviot mix sheep helped students lean more about where their wool actually comes from.

Next, the youth went to the Romney Cheviot Mix sheep that live at the Ag Center to learn about other products that Carver would have helped farmers produce. This included a discussion about the importance and uses for wool. They also learned about animal behavior and how to take care of sheep. From the sheep they went on to a session presented by University of Maryland Extension Plant Pathologist, Andy Kness who talked about what he does as an Agricultural Agent. Much like Carver, Andy is our “Plant Doctor” as George Washington Carver was also fondly called. The students got to play a plant vs. pathogen simulation game and learned all about how plant cells work to fight against bacteria.  Andy discussed the impact of disease on plants and how it affects other parts of the food chain.

As the group moved from the Arena to the Exhibit Barn, students stopped and saw the week old chicks that are also in residence at the Ag Center.  This provided a valuable teachable moment about life cycle as well as proper growing conditions of animals.

Baby chicks
Newly born chicks offer an opportunity to see the cycle of life.

These are all concepts that would have been discussed on the Jesup Wagon in Carver’s day.  Inside the Exhibit Barn the Baltimore County Library conducted a discussion about the life of George Washington Carver and the many books written about him. In addition, to his work in the sciences, Carver was a gifted artist and studied art at Simpson College in Iowa in 1890. It was through this experience of drawing and painting botanical samples that he was encouraged to enroll in the Botany program at the Iowa State Agricultural College. The youth enjoyed examples of his artwork.  As a memorial to his artistic life and belief in reusing materials, the participants made flowers from recycled comic books. This craft was chosen to represent and remember the fact that Carver always work a flower in the lapel of his jacket.

As the students moved into the main room of the Ag Center’s main building, they had many stations to choose from to learn more about agricultural science and George Washington Carver’s contributions to society. One of the stations featured real cotton still on the plant. At this station students learned about King Cotton and how the Boll Weevil devastated the crop in the 1800’s.  Carver actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and taught several methods to prevent  soil depletion. The youth got to see microscopic samples of various fibers from cotton to wool to synthetics to learn about their different properties. Leading this station was Alex Smith, a volunteer for the day from Tree Baltimore.

There was also a station headed by Alexa Smarr, University of Maryland Extension Horticulturist and Master Gardener Coordinator.  She taught students about the nutritional benefits of eating insects for a low cost high yield form of protein. Students had the opportunity to try from a number of different kinds of insects including such as pizza flavored crickets, mango silkworms, basil mealworms, and others. Over 250 insects were eaten during the event. As a plant doctor Carver worked to help plants that were infested with various kinds of insects. He also worked to help people find food sources that were affordable and nutritious.

Another favorite station was the storm water runoff simulation.  Youth working with University of Maryland Extension Watershed Restoration Specialist Kelsey Brooks learned how the various layers beneath the ground are affected by both water and pollutants. A hands-on experiment was conducted by all the youth that went through this enlightening station. George Washington Carver was a steward of the land and was instrumental in educating southern farmers on the practice of crop rotation. He was especially known for teaching about rotating the cotton crops with peanut plants to aid restoring nitrogen to the soil.

Bees and pollinationThere was a beekeeper station that was taught by MARC volunteer Devra Kitterman, who shared about honey making, pollination and the value of bees in agriculture.  She had honey bee boxes on site and shared how bees play a part in the larger ecosystem.

Additionally, there was also a soybean station set up for students to explore.  At this station they learned in a “shell game” style activity that soybeans have become a major crop in the food system and is found in many common soybeans in everything with Wes Jamison MARCfood items. Wes Jamison, Gayle Ensor and Mimi Colson Leaning from Maryland Agricultural Resource Council volunteered at this station. They also shared information about how Carver conducted research on the soybean plant and created dozens of new uses for the plant including plastics for cars, foods, home products and plant based gasoline.  They also offered samples of Wow Butter, a peanut butter substitute made from soybeans butter.

Christine Allred, a 4-H Educator from St. Mary’s County shared about beans, their anatomy and growth. Youth had a chance to do their own discoveries with beans using iodine to bring out the characteristics of the beans. This experiment illustrated American Landscape Instituteto students how Carver’s work to prove that beans are a good source of starchy nutrition. Martha Pindale from American Landscape Institute was also on hand to share information about Landscaping and Horticulture as a viable career path for anyone interested in following in the footsteps of Carver.

Last but not least was food preservation. George Washington Carver also did work in the area of home economics and safe food preservation. To simulate this area of his research, youth made their own strawberry preserves. Dr. Shauna Henley, Family and Consumer Science Educator for University of Maryland Extension taught the youth many aspects of food safety and preservation of food.  She taught almost 200 people how to safely make jam using fresh strawberries and research based canning techniques.

 

The high school youth at George Washington Carver were student mentors in the afternoon sessions with middle schoolers helping out in the various stations. They gave hands-on support to our educators and help make the afternoon run more smoothly. Just as Carver himself, who took his experiments and teaching on the road to farmers with the “Jesup wagon” the students that helped to bring agricultural education and the life of Carver to youth from around the area came out away from their school to share their new found knowledge.

Baltimore County 4-H… “It’s not just cows and cooking.”

By Jennifer Coroneos

I grew up in 4-H, my parents grew up in 4-H, and even my grandparents were in 4-H and were active 4-H volunteers for almost 70 years. Needless to say, I am a third generation 4-her. While growing up, I would hear stories of how things used to be when my parents were in 4-H. It is always interesting to hear how things have changed since they were kids. Over the years many parts of 4-H have changed and developed as time goes on. Change is good though, over the years 4-H has expanded to cover new areas and increased programs.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. First, let me share with you a brief history of 4-H. (If you read my blog post last month and just want to know my thoughts on the way 4-H has expanded just skip to the section called “Good Part” now.)

HISTORY OF 4-H

In the late 1800’s, researchers discovered that adults in the farming community did not readily accept new agricultural developments on university campuses, but found that young people were open to new thinking and would experiment with new ideas and share their experiences with adults. In this way, rural youth programs introduced new agriculture technology to communities. Building community clubs to help solve agricultural challenges was the first step toward children learning about the industries in their community. A. B. Graham started a youth program in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902, which is considered the birth of 4-H in the United States. The first club was called “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Growing Club.” T.A. Erickson of Douglas County, Minnesota, started local agricultural afterschool clubs and fairs that same year. Jessie Field Shambaugh then developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and by 1912 they were called 4-H clubs.

The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 created the Cooperative Extension System at USDA and nationalized 4-H. By 1924, 4- H clubs were formed, and the clover emblem was adopted. The Cooperative Extension System is a partnership of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 109 land-grant universities, and more than 3,000 county offices across the nation.

So what does all that mean? Well, 4-H was originally designed as a way for kids who grew up on farms to get agriculture information from the universities to share with their parents. This concept of 4-H, an information tunnel from universities to families is still the key component of the 4-H program. However, today, 4-H has expanded to include many more project areas outside of agriculture.

THE GOOD PART!

I wrote a blog last month about our 4-H afterschool programs here in Baltimore County. Hopefully, you read it, if not I encourage you to do so. Anyway, like I already said 4-H has changed over the year especially in Baltimore County.  Now, don’t think of “change” with a negative connotation while you read this; rather think it of it as a positive.  Things have to change to keep up with times. That being said our traditional community clubs are still a critical part of the 4-H program. Our clubs meet about once or twice a month and are located all around the county. Clubs are a great way to get involved in the 4-H program and allow you to participate in County and State Fair, Champion Chow (a cooking competition), Public Speaking Contest, and so much more. However, our traditional clubs might not work for everyone’s busy schedules. Not to mention our traditional clubs have to compete with school and rec sports teams, video games, TV, the stigma that “4-H is just about agriculture”, and so much more.

That being said, How does 4-H stay relevant? Well, that’s why 4-H has had to develop and change over the years. 4-H can no longer be just about “Cows and Cooking” anymore. 4-H offers so much more. There are summer camps, after school programs, weekend workshops just to name a few. Baltimore County 4-H even partners with PAL centers and local Libraries to set up activities and workshops so that more 4-H curriculum can be taught to even more youth. That’s the other thing; there is so much 4-H curriculum out there, and it’s all homeschool certified. It allows parents, teachers, club leaders, and really anyone to bring 4-H into their homes. The curriculum covers every topic from aerospace to veterinarian science. I am telling you any subject you want 4-H has something for it. (A little secret we have lots of these curriculum books at our office, some are for sale so stop by and look)

In regards to 4-H, there is one last point I want to make. The 4-H Pledge, we say it before every meeting, at the start of workshops, and even every day at the onset of camp. “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”  Nowhere in this pledge does it say anything about agriculture, cooking, or fair. The 4-H program is about teaching youth “To Make The Best Better.” Our program creates leaders who go out into their communities, their country, and their world to be a catalyst for change.

4-H is so much bigger than just a single 4-H program/event. It is the combination of programs and events that shape our 4-Hers into the wonderful, well-rounded, inclusive and world changing humans they are.

Yes, 4-H has changed with the times, but it has also stayed true to roots.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet…

WHY SHOULD YOUR CHILD BE IN 4-H?

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States with over 6 million participants!! The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program provides a supportive setting for young people to reach their fullest potential. Children learn beneficial cognitive and life skills through community-focused, research-based, experiential educational programs. Participation is open to all youth ages 5-18. The Clover Program is open to youth ages 5-7 years, and the 4-H Program serves 8-18-year-old participants. 4-H has an over 100-year tradition of voluntary action through strong public-private partnerships at federal, state, and community levels. Local volunteer leaders and youth practitioners partner with county Extension staff from the University of Maryland to provide direct leadership and educational support to young people in urban, suburban, and rural communities. 4-H is more than just fun. 4-H can help your child grow in leadership, new skills, citizenship, friendship, and self-esteem! 4-H projects help children learn about things like animals, plants, science and nature. But, that’s not all! The project work and being part of a 4-H Club also helps a child learn life skills. Members learn to look at all sides of a problem or task, and they learn to decide on the best solution. 4-H helps reinforce what children learn in the classroom. 4-H uses more informal, hands-on teaching methods and enables children to excel in new areas and take new roles in a group.

I know my 4-H experience has molded me into the woman I am today. 4-H has opened so many doors I never would have even thought existed and it continues to guide my future.

The Fine Art of Keeping Records in 4-H

One of the hallmarks of 4-H is the many life lessons the youth acquire through their projects. A unique experience is that of record keeping. All 4-H’ers if they want to compete in the fair have to keep records of spending on their project, what they communicated to others about their project, learning while doing their project, helping someone else through their project, overcoming a challenge and where they showed their project. It is all collected in what is known as a 4-H Record Book.

This Sunday we had a great turnout for our annual record book training which took place at the 4-H office. Led by Jennifer Coroneos, a 4-H program assistant, 4-H alumna and award-winning record book holder. The goal was to help families navigate their way through doing a project summary or a full record book on this past year’s projects. 4-H’ers brought their receipts on feed for animals, paint for paintings, etc. Additionally many brought laptops, photos from events, ribbons they won and calendars they kept throughout the year. Some brought rough drafts of their 4-H story or started it at the workshop.

Everyone left with a lot more completed then when they came and a better understanding of what is needed to make a successful record book. All of the work the 4-H youth did at the training will be submitted by February 1, 2017, to the Baltimore County 4-H office and judged alongside all of the other 4-H’ers in this county. The prizes for this will be announced at the Achievement Night event on March 19, 2017, at Oregon Ridge in the Sequoia Room at 3 pm.

The youth are divided up into three groups, clovers, juniors/intermediates and seniors. Each of these groups have different requirements based on the level they were at in the past calendar year (2016).

Clovers can turn in a Clover Memory Book that includes:

  • Cover
  • Page 1  Introduction page.  Include a picture of yourself.  Below the picture, print the following information — name, birth date, address, and 4-H club.
  • Page 2 Table of Contents. List what you have in your memory book in the order it appears while paging through the book (this may be subject, items, programs, etc.).
    This helps the reader to move through the book as you would through a story.
    There is nothing required in this book except those keepsakes/items you want to keep.

    Suggestions: 
    1. Pictures, Post Cards, Drawings
    2. Cards, Invitations, Personal Letters
    3. Favors, Club Programs, Souvenirs
    4. Awards, Certificates, Honors
    5. Poems, Stories, Jokes, etc., (written by you to tell about your project, or other 4-H activities)
    6. other items you would like us to see that you have done

    The ONLY requirement is that the book closes smoothly without any significant lumps or bulges. This eliminates many 3-dimensional items.

A complete record book for Juniors and Intermediates includes the following:

Your Record Book Check List

  • Record Book Score Card (Office will supply)
  • Judging Project Record Sheet (Office will supply)
  • Title Page (you create)
  • Table of Contents (you create)
  • Judging Summary Form (on website)
  • Summary Record (on website)
  • 4-H Story (you create)
  • Project Pictures (maximum of 6 pages)
  • Project Record(s) (on website)

Each senior portfolio should include a:

  • Senior Portfolio Score Card (Office will add)
  • Judging Project Record Sheet (Office will add)
  • Judging Summary Form (on website)
  • Title Page (you create)
  • Resume (you create)
  • Essay (you create)
    This year’s theme is “What three adjectives best describe 4-H and describe how they relate to your 4-H experience.”
  • Project Pictures (maximum of 6 pages)
  • Project Record(s) (on website)

For more information on completing a record book go to https://extension.umd.edu/baltimore-county/record-book-ideas

 

Ashley Treadwell

The first in a series of Baltimore County 4-Hers reflecting on where 4-H has taken them.

Ashley TreadwellThe first in a series of Baltimore County 4-Hers reflecting on where 4-H has taken them.

By Ashley Treadwell

This fall I will become a Cyclone, joining my fellow classmates and start a new chapter of my life at Iowa State University. There, I will meet new friends and hopefully learn a lot about the agricultural industry. I plan on majoring in Agricultural Education and hope to double major that with International Ag. I have been in 4-H for the past six years and have learned so much and made many friends within that time. I am thankful for all those who have helped me. They have encouraged me to do my best to do by doing and for that I am grateful. Without 4-H I would not be as good of a public speaker as I am or know as much about the Livestock Industries. For younger 4-Hers, I encourage you to do some research of 4-H competitions and trips the state and national 4-H hold. Those experiences will last a lifetime and not only will you have a blast but you will learn so much that you will think that you can’t learn anymore. I wish that I could have found out about some of the competitions and trips before my senior year of high school. The more you do, the more experience you gain, making you a more well- rounded person on the whole. I am thankful for my 4-H career and am excited for my last year in 4-H.

ashley showing ashley with a game ashley bone Ashley public speaking

4-H from the Perspective of a Home School Mom, Lesson Plan to 4-H Fair.

danielles goat
One of the goats that are shown in Wills Fair, County Fair, State Fair, Hereford Jr Farm Fair and others.

Hi, I am Jennifer Ryndak a home school mom and the mother of a Baltimore County 4-Her. Our family has been in 4-H for 4 years. We are in the Dairy Goat Club and the Liberty 4-H Club. My husband is one of the leaders of the Dairy Goat Club.  

At the beginning of each academic year, my daughter, currently 6th grade homeschooler, and I first look at the curriculum for the year to see what 4-H events, projects, contests, and service and leadership opportunities fit in with what we will cover throughout the year in English, Math, Science, History, Art and Computer classes. Then we plan our year with all of those items in mind.

Last year, my daughter participated in the Ag Science series workshop on Soil Science, which was geared more towards the middle school age. She was in 5th grade at the time. Through her participation in this workshop she was exposed to several hands on activities, which included taking soil samples and testing them to find out their Ph, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium levels. She learned several different methods for seeing what types of soil were in our area, particularly the soil texture triangle graph. This year my daughter has soil science as part of her 6th grade science curriculum, and because of her experience with 4-H she is already familiar with its real-life applications.

Throughout the year my daughter works on her project record book in the areas of art, crafts, sewing, growing vegetables, goats, rabbits, and many more. As part of the project each 4-Her creates a record book of all their activities and projects from the year they complete. While doing this my daughter creates an income and expense account of each project. This helps to keep her math skills sharp while she learns to maintain real-life records. Last year, for example, she made $600 by participating in many summer fairs showing her goats and indoor exhibits, a visible practical application of the math skills she has been learning.

We use the personal narrative aspect of the record book in her English class and the photo record section to fine-tune her photography, photo editing, typing, and computer skills. By participating in several 4-H clubs she creates an educational presentation on various animal science topics like goat anatomy and digestion. She has also held several leadership roles in her club by running for the offices, such as secretary and vice president.

In her history class this year she is studying about Africa. She plans to create an African mask which she will show at the fairs. Attending a meeting and hearing about the adventures of several Baltimore County 4-Hers experiences as they traveled to Tanzania as part of the International 4-H program created a bigger picture that the continent of Africa does impact us.

This month she also participated in National 4-H Science Experiment Day in which she built and launched a rocket. This tied in nicely with the physics she is learning in her science class. The youth worked with the principals of aerodynamics by adjusting the wings and changing the force of the air pressure.

Each year her academic growth and development can be seen through her participation in 4-H programming, which enhances her homeschooling experience and brings the classroom to the real-life at a young age.

By: Jennifer Ryndak

danielle skirts
A skirt that was created for a home economics class at home that was shown in the county and state fairs to compete for prizes.

 

soils science
Ag Science Class in Soil Science. 4-H youth are collecting several soil samples from the pastures to see the content of it and learn about the texture of the soil.

 

Winter Workshop creating a stain glass piece for an art project for school and an indoor exhibit at the fair.
Winter Workshop creating a stain glass piece for an art project for school and an indoor exhibit at the fair.

 

Rockets to the Rescue, National Youth Science Day
Rockets to the Rescue, National Youth Science Day.

 

Traveled To Tanzania

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On July 19, five 4Hers from Maryland (including me) and two 4Hers from Wisconsin and Montana left BWI airport to travel to Tanzania, a country on the East coast of Africa and right below Kenya. While in Tanzania, we met remarkable people, learned some Swahili from Tanzanian 4Hers in Tanga and visited many 4H clubs within the community and in schools. The Tanzanian 4H program has helped 4Hers tremendously by giving them the skills to run a successful business, like sewing, embroidery or farming, which could mean the difference between living a healthy lifestyle, with a full stomach and a roof over their head, and an unhealthy lifestyle, with an empty stomach and vulnerability to the elements. Tanzania 4H not only brings communities together and rise them up economically, it also helped bring us together with other 4Hers from Tanzania, Norway and Finland and forge great friendships between us with different nationalities.

Even though most of our trip was focused on 4H, we were able to go on a safari and see many gorgeous animals like, giraffes, zebra, lions, elephants and impalas. Our trip to Tanzania was filled with learning, friendship and adventure and I hope to go back to Tanzania again and see how much 4H has grown itself as well as the communities it is in.

By Cara Bollinger, member of the 4-H Sparks Club in Baltimore County

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50 Years of the Baltimore County 4-H Fair

Baltimore County 4-HFrom July 10th through July 12, 2014, Baltimore County 4-H celebrated its 50th Anniversary of the 4-H Fair. The Baltimore County 4-H Fair was first held in 1964 at the Eudowood Plaza Shopping Center near Towson, Maryland. Carolyn Sellman, the Liberty club leader shares that “the Fair was the vision of 4-H Extension Agent Normal Smith and 4-H Leaders who saw it as an opportunity for the 4-H youth of Baltimore County to showcase their non-animal project work as well as livestock exhibits”. In 1965, a Fair Board was formed to plan and organize the event. Mr. William Langlotz of Hereford Maryland, served at the first Fair Board President.

A few of our 4-H community members remember the first Baltimore County 4-H Fair. Janice Coroneos, a 4-H All Star says, “it took place at the Eudowood Shopping Center with only indoor exhibits.” Wilma Muir, a 4-H supporter mentioned, “I remember playing the music for the fashion show at the first 4-H fair. It worked out very well being that it was the first Baltimore County Fair Fashion Show.” Those in attendance at both the first Baltimore County 4-H Fair and the 50th Anniversary fair agree that there have been changes since the first Baltimore County 4-H fair. In the early years, 4-H livestock were housed in open air barns on the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Later, these barns were replaced by an indoor arena now known as the Cow Palace.

Some other changes have happened over time to increase opportunities for young people. For example, 4-H members are now able to raise and show animals without actually owning the animal. During the first 4-H fair, “kids would not be able to have the experience to raise the animal if they did not own them”, Fana Wolff, a 4-H All-Stars member explained. Wilma Muir, said, “one thing that changed was that every 4-H club did a skit at the first Baltimore County 4-H fair.” Janice Coroneos also shared, that “the biggest change was that we moved to the Timonium Fairgrounds and had more space to have more animals.” Carolyn Sellman shared some of the history of the move to the fairgrounds.

After the first successful 4-H Fair, the event was moved to the Maryland State Fairgrounds and showcased the 4-Her’s non-animal and livestock exhibits and competitions. The Fair has continued to be held at the fairgrounds to this day.

Regardless of these changes, some things did stay the same. Fana Wolff mentioned that there is still the option to have an exhibit at the fair, while Janice Coroneos mentioned that the friendships stayed the same.

At the 2014 Baltimore County 4-H Fair, families and visitors were treated to the opportunity to observe exhibits including alpaca, cat, dog, beef, dairy, goat, horse, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine. Saturday’s Battle of the Beasts was a delightful showcase of Alpaca, sheep, and goats maneuvering through an obstacle course. In the Cow Palace’s Center Stage, Agro Land was an exciting center of activities for children to learn about food products. The Cow Palace also held displays of 4-H youth’s project work including clothing, woodworking, ag products, photography, floral design, and more! The 2014 Fair included numerous special events the public could participate in including a Picnic Super, Cake Auction, Bingo, Food truck Gathering, Dog Agility Demo, Livestock Sale and Pancake Breakfast.

Although the first Baltimore County 4-H Fair attendants have fond memories from the first 4-H fair, they did enjoy many things from this year’s fair. Fana shared “my favorite thing from this year was the Craft exhibit. I like to see the creative and interesting things people came up with.” Janice Coroneos expressed that her favorite thing from this year was a flower designer class at the exhibit. She shared “it was great that the children got a chance to use their imagination.” Wilma Muir mentioned that her favorite thing this year was the Alumni exhibit. All in all, there were many great memories made at both the first Baltimore County 4-H fair and the 50th Anniversary 4-H fair. There is no doubt that more wonderful memories will be made in the future!

Authored by Faradia Kernizan

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