Summertime comes with longer days, days that are often filled with activity. For almost 15,000 club-based 4-Hers
All 4-H projects require a public exposition or display. This display caps off months of intense learning experiences. Depending on the fair, exhibits can include everything from livestock to cooking to clothing construction to robotics.
County fairs and 4-H have had a close relationship for decades, bringing youth into closer contact with the communities that support them. If you go to a local fair, try to stop by some exhibits. Do ask the 4-H members about their projects, whether you know a little or a lot about the topic. Your interest encourages their learning and hard work.
Livestock projects are often one of the most visible parts of the fair. This year we will have over 30,000 individual project exhibits in animal science projects. At the fair, you will see 4-H members washing, feeding, leading and showing their projects. Consider attending an auction of the animals from market animal projects. The auctions can be fun to watch, and 4-H members often save their earnings for college or career preparation.
We hope you are able to join us at a fair this year. Enjoy the experience, from the fair food to meeting friends old and new!
4-H Youth Development Director
University of Idaho Extension
Did You Know?
16 Idaho 4-H youth are traveling to the National Shooting Sports Competition June 25-28, representing 3 UI Extension districts. 11 youth are attending from the Central District, 3 from the Northern District and 2 from the Eastern District. Youth are competing in archery, shotgun, rifle and hunting.
On a cold and windy day in early May, the Careywood Eager Beavers 4-H Club set out to honor their former forestry 4-H leader with a strong performance at the Idaho State Forestry Contest. Their dedication paid off resulting in first place finishes for the senior and junior teams and third place for the rookie team.
“The seniors told me that they wanted to do well this year to honor their former 4-H leader, Janet Benoit, who was a 4-H forestry leader for 20 years and passed away about a month ago,” said Suzanne Sawyer, 4-H program coordinator with University of Idaho Extension, Bonner County. “They wanted to do well for her and they did it.”
Along with the overall team finishes, the Eager Beavers also saw senior team members Daniel Spencer and Erik Hicks place first and second, respectively, in the individual competition. Magnolia Fry won the individual title in the junior division for the Eager Beavers, followed by teammate Ian Hicks in second place.
The forestry contest began in 1982 with 35 participants and has grown to more than 600 youth in this year’s competition. Participants rotate through 10 stations and are tested on their knowledge of log scaling, timber cruising, tree and plant identification, map reading, compass reading and pacing, tool identification, soil and water quality, tree health, silviculture and noxious weeds.
The Eager Beavers spent the past six months preparing for the competition by studying 4-H forestry curriculum and the state contest curriculum. When volunteer leader Janet Benoit became too ill to oversee the teams, Brian Hicks stepped in to ensure that the youth were prepared for the competition.
“I went and visited Janet just a few weeks before she passed away and that’s what she was mostly worried about, someone’s got to get those kids to the Idaho State Forestry Contest,” Sawyer said. “Brian stepped in and took over and the kids did amazingly well. I just wish Janet could have seen it.”
Benoit served as the 4-H forestry leader for 20 years and led leathercraft and handwork from our heritage projects for 36 years. She was also a Master Forest Steward with UI Extension.
“Janet had 40 acres of forested land, so most meetings were held on her land where she was harvesting timber and replanting,” Sawyer said. “The kids got to see an active forest that was being managed for sustainable harvest.”
Sawyer has seen a direct correlation of 4-H members participating in the forestry program and then pursuing careers in the field.
“A lot of these kids go on to pursue careers in forestry,” Sawyer said. “Some of Janet’s former students are now working for the US Forest Service, some are working for the Idaho Department of Lands and some of those former 4-Hers are now coming back to staff the event.”
Benoit’s legacy will continue to thrive as the Eager Beavers set their sights on a trip to the national forestry competition in 2019.
Marie Mellick, a former Worley 4-H Club member, hopes to return to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe after earning a degree from the University of Idaho to provide more opportunities for youth interested in 4-H.
Developing STEM Education
While some may think of cows and pigs at the county fair when they think of 4-H, what they don’t know is that those projects are rooted in a firm science foundation. In fact, from its founding in 1902, 4-H has incorporated science education into its curriculum.
Read more about UI Extension plans to increase access to STEM programs.