Mineral County 4-H leaders learn how to teach ag

Special to the News Tribune
4-H Teen Leaders trained in Agricultural Science activities at the new Annette S. Boggs Educational Center at WVU Jackson’s Mill. The youths are now prepared to teach programs locally with 4-H clubs, schools groups and community programs. Pictured are: (front, l-r) Hannah Breen (WVU 4-H Extension camping instructor), Blake Kalvhun, Grandin Lewis, Natalie Kyle, Lara Bittinger, Helen McCarty, Aiden Riggleman, and Cooper Cox, (second row) JT Rice, Elijah Hesse, Blake Kitzmiller, Jacob Cox, Megan Weaver, Phoebe Weaver, Lilly Crites, Morgan Cowgill, Gracie Moncrief, Barbara Williams and Candra DelSignore, (third row) Grayson Lambka, Delmer Pugh, Elijah Cummings, James Williams, Wyatt Royal, Will Barb and Audrey Williams.

JACKSON’S MILL - 4-H members participated in a leadership camp that included outdoor activities, as well as a training to prepare them to teach agriculture programs with local youths during the 2021-2022 4-H program year.

Mineral County 4-H Teen Leader Weekend was held at WVU Jackson’s Mill in August.

“Over the years we have trained 4-H members in middle and high school to teach a variety of topics such as 4-H Health ambassadors, tobacco prevention, environmental science, and hands-on STEM activities,” says WVU Extension agent Margaret Miltenberger. “The next few years we have decided to focus on agriculture science.”

The training was conducted by Stacey Huffman, WVU Mineral County Extension agriculture agent, in the new Annette S. Boggs Educational Center at WVU Jackson’s Mill. The training began with an apple activity to demonstrate that 1/32 of the Earth has the appropriate physical conditions for successful agriculture activities.

“We asked the 4-Hers to draw conclusions based on this and to respect the Earth as a complex environment in which humans have important responsibilities,” says Huffman. “Then they were trained in teaching hands-on activities about seed germination, the process of making butter, soil layers, and strawberry DNA.” Following the hands-on training they practiced teaching in small groups.

“Older youths are ready for this challenge and the youth audiences they will teach are very receptive to learning from them,” says Miltenberger. The opportunity helps youths develop independence and mastery, two of the cornerstones of the 4-H essential elements model for positive youth development.

4-H Teen Leaders teach in teams of two or three with small groups of youths in third through sixth grades. This sets the stage for success and building confidence in themselves and competence in teaching the material. “It is amazing to see the transformation in an eigth grade student from the time they are trained and after they have taught four or five programs,” says Miltenberger.

The 4-H Teen Leaders are looking forward to teaching these hands-on agriculture science activities with 4-H clubs, school classrooms, and community youth groups throughout the 2021-2022 4-H program year.

Scholarships for the leadership camp were provided through the Doris Jean and Richard Keller 4-H fund with the WVU Foundation. Supplies and materials for the science activities were funded through a grant with the local Community Trust Foundation (CTF).  CTF is committed to building stronger communities in Allegany, Garrett, and Mineral counties.

Enrollment for 4-H opens Oct. 1. To learn more about local 4-H clubs and how to register through 4h.zsuite.org contact the WVU Mineral County Extension Service at 304-788-3621 or email m.miltenberger@mail.wvu.edu.

WVU Extension Service 4-H programs are open to all youths.