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Lee County 4-H Agriculture/Horticulture Programs

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

According to the Sanford Area Growth Alliance website

  • Agriculture & Agribusiness provides 13% of employment in Lee County
  • 10% of North Carolina’s Agriculture is done here in Lee, Moore, and Richmond Counties
  • Agriculture is the #1 industry in North Carolina
  • Agriculture & Agribusiness contributed over $30 million in economic impact to Lee, Moore and Richmond Counties in 2012

Whether farming, nursery, or agro-tourism this is a place for our youth in the future and this is not your grandfather’s farm. Below you will find a sampling of how we can join forces in this newly virtual world. Some of these were developed for in-person programming and some are virtual. With combined creativity we can support your classroom as restrictions are ever changing.

High School Soil to Seed – From the food we eat, to the water we drink, to the places where we live and play, soil erosion and sedimentation profoundly affects our everyday lives. The loss of soil from our landscapes and its deposition into our waterways, reduce the ability of the land to be productive in supporting plant growth and the capacity of the water to nurture aquatic habitats, host recreation and have municipal usefulness. Erosion is a natural occurrence, shaping sand dunes, creating river deltas, or carving out enormous rock features like the Grand Canyon.

This curriculum focuses on the accelerated processes of erosion and sedimentation that transpire as a direct result of agricultural and construction development activities. It is through abuse that our waters and soils are becoming increasingly compromised. With careful management of the soil, however, we can preserve water quality and keep our soil in place for future generations. Soil to Seed is designed to cultivate high school aged-youth in understanding the principles of erosion and sediment control. Using the 4-H Experiential Learning Model, youth delve into hands-on lessons, working together to solve problems and share reflections on what they learned. The curriculum begins with the fundamental mechanics behind erosion and sedimentation, then teaches students how to assess physical spaces for evidence of these processes and eventually builds their knowledge base of how to manage and control soil loss and deposition. Students strengthen their connections to these concepts through the process of doing, reflecting, and then applying what they know to other situations in their life. Each lesson is crafted to build in life skills that can be used in any context, fostering critical thinking, teamwork, record keeping, collaboration, and communication.

This curriculum is a collaborative project that drew directly from the research of NC State University’s Soil Erosion, Sediment and Turbidity Control program within the Department of Soil Science in partnership with North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program. Throughout the country, each state has a Cooperative Extension organization that brims with knowledgeable people that can provide educators content support and resources. Soil to Seed will take educators and students on a journey to explore a world that is just a step beyond the boundaries of a building. By understanding erosion and its impact on water quality, we can grow another generation that is engaged about important environmental challenges and deeply motivated to practice strategies that steward our soil and water.

Moo-ving Milk from Farm to Fridge – K-2 grade

Plants: Helping Me Helping You with Sprouting Leaders – We work with a key group of youth who will then deliver the classes to their peers. There will be 3 or 4 virtual classes: Class 1: Presentation about Green Mindfulness. Actual plant care of baby Mother Of Millions plants to be shared with participants, program expectations, technology used/available, etc… Class’s 2 & 3: Benefits of plants in the home & classroom houseplant selection – site & care requirements, poisonous plants vs non-poisonous plant choices Woven all through these classes will be the 4-H hands-on instruction on public speaking, how to create and deliver presentations and other leadership development aspects Community Service Learning objectives The final mature plant(s) will belong to each student to give away (or keep) as a “pay it forward” to share the benefits of the plant itself as well as what they learned.

3rd Grade Soil Solutions – Soil Solutions brims with hands-on science lessons that utilize the local school landscape to connect students to the world of soils and plants in an inviting and relevant way. Students will discover the soil beneath their
feet, watch as a basil seed germinates before their eyes, and nibble on nutritious and delicious salad greens they have grown themselves. Activities are structured to foster wonder and curiosity and encourage ways to turn student questions into investigations. The teacher’s role becomes one of a collaborator and a partner in inquiry with their students.

Aligned to meet North Carolina’s third-grade science standard course of study in plant and soils, the curriculum draws from current research and knowledge in crops, horticulture, and soil sciences. Each lesson includes background information for teachers, questions to focus student thinking, and activities that emphasize observation and problem solving. Using the 4-H Experiential Learning Model as a framework, the curriculum seeks to further life skills like communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and more, by engaging students to learn by doing, sharing their experience with each other, reflecting on their results and generalizing and applying what they know to new situations. The goal of Soil Solutions is offer a contextual framework that enables students and teachers to dig deep and uncover the stories of soils and plants. Students will begin to hold a greater appreciation and respect for the natural world, gain confidence in their abilities to solve problems and above all have a lifelong interest and enthusiasm for exploring and learning.

Citizen Science – Citizen Science is a form of participatory Scientific research that uses volunteers of all ages, professions, backgrounds, and skills to engage non-scientists in a variety of tasks, but most commonly data collection. Examples of data collected by citizen science programs include water quality parameters, sightings of birds or invasive species, and reports of phenological events including first observed flower blooms and the arrival of migrating species.

Participants/volunteers will increase their knowledge of the scientific process; gain a deeper understanding of natural phenomena and issues of local importance; strengthen their attitude toward the natural environment, and participate (through their data collection) in making science-based recommendations. The data collected in this Citizen Science Project will be the amount and type of pollinator visits to three distinct landscape styles. The pollinators focused on in this survey will be divided into three categories. 1. Bees and Wasps 2. Butterflies and Moths 3. Birds. The data will be used to determine how the designated areas affect pollinator type and density. This is important because pollinators and the job they perform are vital to our continued existence. From the food we consume to the flowers we enjoy, pollinators play an essential role. In North Carolina, bee pollination accounts for about $120 million in commercial fruit and vegetable yields annually. It is important to know how changing landscapes affect the livelihood and survival of pollinators, and in turn, our own survival.

Soil & Water Conservation

Pollinator Garden Tours

Project Learning Tree – Project Learning Tree uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase students’ understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. Since 1976, PLT has reached 138 million students and trained 765,000 educators to help students learn how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. Project Learning Tree helps develop students’ awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, builds their skills and ability to make informed decisions, and encourages them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it. From its beginnings in 1976, PLT has exemplified high-quality environmental education. Project Learning Tree® (PLT) is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Down on the Farm  – A virtual, self-paced curriculum developed specifically for at-home programming when in-person summer camps became impossible. A fun learning experience to allow youth to learn about animals even if you aren’t raised on a farm. Youth will learn about where their food and byproducts come from. Youth will learn also about the companion animals that you can find in houses that aren’t on the farm.

Virtual Farm Tours – Invite Mitch Williams, our Agriculture and Livestock agent, to host virtual tours of area farms.

Plant Geeks Unite  – A virtual North Carolina 4-H Plant Science Adventure is a self-paced curriculum developed specifically for at-home programming when in-person summer camps became impossible. In this self-guided exploration for 8-12 year-olds, we will dig into soils, marvel and grow plants with wild abandon and say hello to creeping, crawling, diving, and flying friends and so much more.

Explore Outdoors  – A virtual self-paced curriculum developed specifically for at-home programming when in-person summer camps became impossible. Explore Outdoors is a fun way to learn about the environment right in your own nature patch – farm, suburbs, or city – it all counts! You can meet scientists and add your discoveries to a real environmental science database!

No soil, Just Water – 4-H Curriculum was developed by the Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. A&T State University as a pilot program associated with a Agri-Science initiative across the state. Lee County 4-H may be able to provide materials depending on demand. Graphing and observation opportunities post lesson. This lesson is approximately 1 hour and by the end, the youth will have a completed, seeded planter and instructions for aftercare. Read More>>

METHODOLOGY AND EVALUATION

All 4-H Curriculum employs the experiential learning model, encouraging self-discovery, reflection, and application to other areas in life. Evaluations are important for impact reporting and most 4-H curriculum have brief but required pre and post-tests to measure results.

experiential chart

TRAINING

These curricula have varied training requirements.

STANDARDS

See each individual curriculum descriptions or request more details regarding standards if you are interested.