State 4-H students learn about alternative energy
4-H Youth Development programs provide young people first-hand experience in using alternative energy, conserving energy and learning how to limit humanity’s impact on our environment.
Every action made by humans impacts the world around us. Environmental Science is all about exploring the world around us and discovering what it has to offer. Through the study of our environment, youth learn about the interconnection of humans and nature as well as develop a respect and appreciation for natural resources.
As the United States strives to become energy independent, we broaden our exploration of alternative and green energies. Within 4-H, youth have opportunities to explore wind energy, solar energy, biofuels and so much more.
Iowa State University Extension has some great ideas that 4-H youth can use. It is all about the environment in these projects; whether it’s plants, animals, habitats, environmental issues, saving energy, renewable resources or recycling. There are many topics and many ways for youth to make a difference.
For instance, they can become active in the community, school, club and home. By getting involved they can develop an interest and understanding of environmental sciences and sustainable practices and technologies. Project members develop problem solving and logical reasoning skills, then apply them to environmental issues. Club members improve communication and teamwork skills by working the way scientists and engineers do — in teams.
The Iowa State program demonstrates how science relates to the real world, people’s lives and the environment we all depend on. Youth gain experience in problem solving and decision-making using science process skills and develop knowledge and skills related to environmental stewardship. Here is the program outline with more of a Nevada focus:
Starting Out Basic / Level 1
• Choose an environmental focus (bugs, trees, birds, desert, energy, recycling).
• Observe life cycles of insects or other animals or plants that interest you.
• Learn about energy cycles.
• Create a collection (leaves, seeds, insects, plants).
• Learn the proper way to mount collections and identify what it contains.
• Interview a local environmentalist.
• Find out about Nevada’s renewable and
non-renewable energy sources.
Learning More Intermediate / Level 2
• Learn about different tree species and critters on your vacation. Record location, name of species, and type of climate.
• Learn about tree diseases.
• Volunteer at an ecology event in your community. • Study an environmental issue (acid rain, global
climate change or soil erosion).
• Compare the costs and benefits of renewable
• Learn how to set up an apiary
Expanding Horizons Advanced / Level 3
• Conduct an Environment quiz bowl for your club
• Organize a community service learning project to weatherize homes.
• Join the Community Collective Rain, Hail & Snow (CoCoRaHs) Network to monitor the weather
• Monitor water quality in your community with the NDEP Snapshot Day program.
• Investigate the potential of various energy sources to power Nevada homes.
• Job shadow and interview a forester, entomologist or botanist.
• Enter a research project in a science or technology fair.