Tag Archive: Learning

Engineering and Agriculture = Fun, Learning and Teambuilding

Youth had only 2 hours to design a bridge that would support a semi load of vegetables.

When you hear the word agriculture, it probably evokes words like “farming, livestock or dirt” and maybe even the smell of manure.  For people who work in the agriculture industry, it reminds them of words like “hard work, long days, sweat” and the smell of money.  But did you know that science and technology- especially engineering- play an ever increasing role in supplying our nation (and world) with a safe and affordable food supply?

Thanks to generous support from HughesNet, 4-Hers across Florida have been learning just how much the agriculture industry needs technology.  This week, 4-Hers from Jackson, Liberty, Gadsden and Leon counties participated in an engineering day camp.  Each day, they learned how civil engineers design the infrastructure needed for farmers to get their food from the farm to tables across the state and nation.  The program concluded with an engineering challenge at the North Florida Fairgrounds in Tallahassee.

Youth were judged on their innovation, creativity and teamwork- all essential skills for engineers who solve today’s problems!

Youth had two hours to design, build and test a bridge that would hold a large semi-truck of produce.  The results were inspiring!  Teams were judged on their creative use of materials, innovative design, teamwork and communication skills.  They also completed a skill-a-thon to showcase their knowledge of bridge design.  This challenge was practice for the contest that will be held in November during 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair.  To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

North Florida Fair STEM Contest info

4-H Science and Technology Projects


Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/28/engineering-and-agriculture-fun-learning-and-teambuilding/

Bust Boredom and Extend Learning through Summer

4-H summer programs allow youth to explore a variety of topics- from animal science to robotics! Photo credit: Heather Kent, UF IFAS Extension

With the end of the school year approaching, many parents are puzzling over what to do with their children during the 8-10 weeks of summer vacation.  Fortunately, 4-H has the solution to bust summertime boredom and extend learning while exploring a variety of topics- such as sewing, gardening, culinary arts or even robotics and engineering.  4-H camps are different from most other camping programs because they are framed around the essential elements of positive youth development and are intentionally structured to promote the development of life and workforce skills such as communication, decision-making and appreciation of differences.  4-H camps are staffed by caring teen and adult volunteers who have been screened, oriented and trained according to federal and state law, and incorporate best practices for risk management to insure a physically and emotionally safe environment.  The connection of 4-H to land grant universities like the University of Florida also means that camp curriculum is based on the best knowledge available about any given project utilizing inquiry and learn-by-doing methods.

Below you can find a list of day camps that will be offered throughout the Florida panhandle. Counties also offer week long overnight camps at Camp Timpoochee or Camp Cherry Lake.  In addition to camp, 4-H offers overnight leadership experiences for middle school and high school youth, such as Intermediate State (June 2-4th), 4-H Legislature (June 26-30th), and 4-H University (July 31-August 3rd).  Click on the county links below for more information or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.


  • Tailgating Grilling Workshop, June 5-9, 1pm – 5pm
  • Bots by the Bay, July 5-7, AF youth (active duty, guard, reserve or retired) age 13-15, 8am-6pm
  • Bots by the Bay, July 10-14, AF youth (active duty, guard, reserve or retired) age 16-18, 8am-6pm


  • Beginner Sewing Day Camp, June 13-15, 9AM -3PM
  • Breakfast Day Camp, June 21-22; 9AM-3PM
  • Tailgate Day Camp- July 5-9, 9AM-3PM
  • Intermediate Sewing Day Camp- July 18 and 20, 9AM-3PM
  • CSI Day Camp- July 17 and 19th, 9AM-3PM


  • Sew Fun, Sew Easy, June 26-30th, 8AM-5PM
  • Marvels of Engineering, July 25-28th, 8AM-5PM
  • Farm to Table: the Youth Experience, July 6th– 8AM-5PM
  • Youth Poultry Clinic- July 8th, 8AM-5PM


  • Poultry Perfection- June 2nd, 9:30AM-2PM
  • Cloverbud Crazy Art Day Camp- June 8th– 8AM-2PM
  • Tailgating Grilling Workshop- June 27-29th, 8AM-3PM
  • Animal Science Field Day- July 11th, 8AM-4PM
  • Junk Drawer Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27, 9AM-3PM


  • Poultry Perfection- June 2nd, 9:30AM-2PM
  • Tailgating Day Camp- June 5-7th, 8AM-12PM
  • Equine Clinic- June 13th, 9AM-3PM
  • Livestock Nutrition Workshop- June 29th, 9AM-2PM
  • Poultry Day Camp- July 7th– 9AM-3PM
  • Goat Workshop- July 13st- 9AM-3PM
  • Livestock Skillathon Camp- July 17th-19th, 8:30AM-11:30AM
  • Robotics Camp- July 25th-27th– 9AM-3PM


  • Wildlife Day Camp- July 10-15th
  • Cloverbud Camp- July 18-21st
  • 8-9 year old camp- June 5-9th
  • Cooking 101- August 2-4th
  • Reading Makes Cents- June 14-16th


  • Farm your Backyard Camp- June 27th-30th, 9AM-4PM
  • Sewing for All Skill Levels (FULL- call to be placed on the waiting list)
  • Junk Drawer Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27th, 9AM-4PM
  • Wildlife Explorers Camp- July 10-14th (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • Tailgate Grilling Camp- June 27-29th– (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • #Adulting- June 15, June 22, July 6, July 13th– 9AM-4PM
  • Poultry Day Camp- July 7tth 9AM-5PM (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • Gardening for Cloverbuds (5-7 year olds)- July 14th, 8:30AM-12PM


  • Tailgate Grilling Workshop, June 27, 28 & 29
  • Entomology Day Camp- July 11-12th
  • Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27th
  • 21st Century 4-H Day Camps- a variety of topics taught over the summer for youth enrolled in the 21st Century Learning programs at Tolar and Hosford schools


  • Cooking Camp- June 12-14th, 9AM-3PM
  • Gourmet Cooking Camp with Mr. John- June 15th-16th, 9AM-3PM
  • 101 Sewing Camp- July 10-12, 8AM-5PM
  • All About Animals- July 24-26th, 8AM-2PM
  • Insect Camp- July 19-21, 9AM-3PM


  • Tailgator Day Camp- July 10-12th, 8:30AM-4PM
  • Sew Fantastic Day Camp- July 6th
  • Cloverbud Chefs Extreme Cuisine- June 7-8
  • 4-H Extreme Cuisine- June 27th– 29th; 8:30AM-4PM
  • Ag-Ventures, July 18-19th, 8:30AM-4PM
  • Build a Bot Day Camp- July 25-27th, 9AM-4PM


  • Poultry Perfection Workshop- June 2; 9:30 am-2 pm
  • Tailgate Grilling Workshop, June 27, 28 & 29, 8 am-Noon
  • Beef Research Center Workshop- July 11; 8 am-2pm

Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/17/bust-boredom-and-extend-learning-through-summer/

From Learning to Leading: Jerrett Kandzer, a True Leader

4-H Alumnus Jerrett Kandzer with his agent, Niki Crawson.

As a 4-H Agent, one remembers many of their “firsts” on the job, i.e., their first day, their first fair, their first 4-H club meetings, etc.  For me in Holmes County 4-H, I was hired in the midst of a reorganization phase within the program.  I clearly remember meeting Jerrett Kandzer one of my first days on the job in 2007, a reserved yet quick-to-smile farm boy who seemed to be doing a good job of holding in the excitement of asking me 101 questions as his new 4-H Agent. He, along with his sister and parents, met with me to discuss re-establishing a 4-H archery club in our county.  Excited to have volunteers and youth interested in starting an archery club again, I couldn’t wait to get started.  That very next week, we all set a date for our first club meeting.  Jerrett and I still laugh today about the day of our first club meeting when we had to count me, the 4-H Agent, as the fifth member in attendance so that we did not have to cancel our first club meeting!  However, thanks to Jerrett’s perseverance and leadership as a youth nine years ago when starting the Dead Centers 4-H Archery Club in Holmes County, we now have over 65 4-H members in our archery program alone!  So, when getting ready to ask Jerrett how he believes 4-H has impacted him, I hesitate.  Thinking back over the past nine years, I am finding it difficult to think whether Jerrett has been impacted more so by 4-H or if 4-H has been impacted more so because of Jerrett.   For a 4-H Agent to have the pleasure to ponder such a wonderful conundrum means that 4-H is truly growing inspiring leaders!

According to Jerrett, he joined 4-H as a means to find extracurricular activities that fit not only his after school schedule around his farm life but also to find an outlet that fit him personally.  As he put it, “I was looking for somewhere I fit in.  I wasn’t an athlete in school.  I was raised on a farm.  So, I thought 4-H was cool.”  After joining 2007, Jerrett began to help rebuild and cultivate a sense of belonging for the next seven years in Holmes County 4-H.  With his giving spirit, contagious enthusiasm, and natural sense of urgency to make actions count, he truly inspired everyone he met to get involved and make the best better.

Jerrett’s passion for learning, leadership, and youth continues as he is applying his 4-H-acquired life skills in his life journey.  Currently, he is a junior at the University of Florida in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, with a graduation date of Spring 2018.  He attributes his good leadership and time management skills to his deep involvement with 4-H.  Always wanting to do much more than time allows, Jerrett said 4-H taught him to prioritize and schedule his time efficiently.  In fact, In between college classes, studying, squeezing in fast visits back home, and working with CRU on campus, Jerrett still devotes time to 4-H as a volunteer with Alachua County 4-H.  When asked why he felt compelled to volunteer at this time in his life, Jerrett replied with his easy grin,

“Ms. Niki, there are not many ways to serve your community as a poor college kid.  Overall, I’d say being a 4-H volunteer is an easy and safe way to give back to kids and the community.”

When asked about what he enjoys the most about 4-H, Jerrett immediately replied,  “Working with kids.  Helping youth learn by doing through hands on experiences is a good vessel for them to mature with positive adult role models around to assist them.  4-H is not about winning like other youth programs are about.  It’s about growing through maturity, not competition.”

Jerrett is a Holmes County 4-H alumni, a true 4-H leader.  He is a present day 4-H example of the definition John Quincy Adams once gave a leader, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  So it’s little surprise that this 4-H alumni has no intentions of ending his green journey after college.  Jerrett’s career plans include putting his 4-H life skills, farm experience, and University of Florida education to perfect use as a future UF/IFAS Extension Agriculture Agent.  We look forward to Jerrett’s return to the Extension Service one day soon.

Are you a 4-H Alumni interested in “paying it forward” to inspire the next generation?  We would love to talk to you about the different ways you can help us grow 4-H in your community!  Contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.


Author: Niki Crawson – ncrawson@ufl.edu

Niki Crawson is the Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.

Niki Crawson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/19/from-learning-to-leading-jerrett-kandzer-a-true-leader/

4-H Summer in the Panhandle: Learning and Fun!


Youth learn how to grow and prepare vegetables during a gardening day camp in Escambia County.

Each summer, 4-H programs across the Florida panhandle offer a wide array of residential and day camps for youth ages 5-18. Summer residential and day camps are a great way for youth to be introduced to all that 4-H has to offer. Many camps explore specific 4-H projects, or topics, such as culinary arts, sewing, livestock or robotics, while others offer a smorgasbord of 4-H activities.

These camps differ from typical summer programs in that they are framed around the essential elements of positive youth development. 4-H is focused on developing life skills through educational programs that promote competence, confidence, connection, character, and compassion. The connection of 4-H to land grant universities like the University of Florida also means that camp curriculum is based on the best knowledge available about any given project, and taught by caring adults using learn-by-doing methods.

This summer youth are in no shortage of camps to satisfy their desire to learn while having fun. Below you can find a list of day camps that will be offered throughout the panhandle. Hurry and register your youth for the time of their life, spaces often fill quickly. Most counties also offer week long overnight camps at Camp Timpoochee or Camp Cherry Lake.

Contact the 4-H agent near you for more information and to register for any of these camps. Click on the county links below for more information. Register now and let the fun begin!

Calhoun County

July 6, 13, 20, 27 – Kids in the Kitchen, $ 10; Piping & Fondant Cake Decorating for Kids, $ 35 (or $ 35 for both camps)

Escambia County 

June 2Garden to Plate Day Camp – $ 5, 8am-2pm (age 9-16) – Get in the kitchen with Chef David Bearl as he leads us in an interactive learning experience about cooking and activities that promote healthy lifestyles and Florida agriculture as they discuss gardening techniques and food safety.

June 17-19Dairy Day Camp – $ 5, 8am-2pm each day – Join us for three days of exploring the world of dairy. From care and biology to how to use the products of dairy cows, this camp will introduce you to the dairy industry while you make new friends and enjoy dairy related activities.

June 29Water Conservation Day Camp- $ 5, 8am-2pm – join Master Gardeners and Extension faculty in an exploration of the importance of water to our planet, how nature works to conserve it, and how we can do our part (prepare to get wet!).

July 15Community Awareness and Service Day Camp – $ 5, 8am-2pm –We will take trash items like plastic bags and jugs that you collect and reuse them to make useful items for people in need. This camp will focus on overuse and its environmental and social consequences.

July 21Search and Rescue Day Camp – $ 5, 8am – 2pm – Klaas Kids will join us for a day camp of fun and safety training. Youth will learn the process of search and rescue including how K9 units track and find lost children, and strategies youth can use for preventing crimes against them as well as what to do if they are lost in various settings.

Gadsden County

June 8 – 12 Clothing Adventures – $ 70, 8-5 – Youth will discover the science & technology behind fabrics, fabric care, fabric construction, and create projects.

June 15-19 Quirky Culinary Capers – $ 70, 8-5 – Youth will explore the magic of food science, prepare nutritious snacks, and learn how to improve their health for optimum living.

July 20-24 – It’s Alive: Junk Drawer Robotics – $ 70, 8-5 – Youth will engage in robotic design, use, construction, and control as they work in teams to make it come alive with everyday items. Wednesday, July 22 is challenged day in Tallahassee.

Jackson County

July 7 – Painting with a 4-H Twist Day Camp – $ 35, 5:00-9:00 – a local artist will walk youth step by step to the completion of a masterpiece to take home

July 20-22 – Junk Drawer Robotics – $ 80, 9:00 – 5:00 – learn how to make robots out of everyday household products. On the last day of camp there will be a Robotics contest with surrounding counties and will be held at the North Florida Fairground.

July 28-29 – SEW Much Fun- $ 45, 8:00-12:30 – designed for novice sewers with no previous experience. All materials are provided by the 4-H Department

August 6 – Cloverbud Explorations: The World of Rabbits and Poultry – $ 20, 8:30-11 (age 5-7) – learn how to select, properly care for, identify and enjoy a poultry or rabbit project

Jefferson County

June 22-26– Outdoor Recreation Day Camp – $ 35, 8:30-4:30 (age 10-15) – camp includes activities in: Forestry, Conservation, Wildlife, Archery, Air Rifles, and Sporting Clays

June 29 – July 2- Go Green in 2015 – $ 35, Mon. – Wed. 8-12, Thurs. 8-3 (age 5-7) – Story Time, Crafts, Fishing, Organized Recreation, Cooking, Swimming

July 8 – 12 – Go Green in 2015 – $ 35, Mon.-Thurs 8-4, Friday 8-12 (age 8-9) – Garden Project, Organized Recreation, Cooking, Swimming, Fishing

Leon County

June 22-26 – 4-H Wildlife camp – $ 80, 8-5 (age 10-18) – This outdoor nature camp will provide its participants with a basic understanding of environmental stewardship, wildlife, safety, and fun in an outdoor setting. Fun educational sessions covering National STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives will be taught by qualified instructors in aquatics, forestry, conservation, shooting sports, and orienteering.

June 30-July 2 – 4-H Outdoor cooking Camp – $ 80, 9-4 (age 9-13) – Youth will learn the safety and art of cooking over fire, and will go on a farm field trip.

July 13-17 – 4-H Previous Attendees Sewing Camp – $ 35, 8:30-12 (age 8-18) – This sewing camp is for previous 4-H sewing camp attendees or those with sewing experience. Refer to flier for required materials needed for camp.

Liberty County

June 8-11- 21st Century at W.R. Tolar School

June 15-17 – Exploring 4-H – $ 20, 9-4 (age 8-12) Sewing, Archery, Animals, Cooking, Bugs

June 29, July 1-3  – 21st Century at Hosford School

July 7- Rabbit Day Camp – $ 5, 9-4 (age 5-18)

July 20-22-  Robotics Day Camp – $ 20, 9-4 (age 8-13)

Santa Rosa County

June 15-19 – 4-H Cooking Camp (age 8-12)- $ 100, 7:30-2 – Youth will learn to cook a variety of dishes and bring home a few yummy dishes! Baking, measuring, safety tips, food planning, grocery shopping, reading labels, frying, nutritional education, grilling, canning, bread-making and more will be on the agenda.

June 22-26 – Discovering 4-H Day Camp – $ 100, 7:30-4 – These days will expose youth all the projects Santa Rosa County 4-H has to offer. Monday: Trip to Bear Lake for wildlife and natural resources hike. Tuesday: Farm tour. Wednesday: Navarre Marine Ecology and Butterfly house. Thursday: Archery and garden tour. Friday: Nutrition, peanuts, beekeeping.

Wakulla County 

June 15-17 – 4-H Sewing and Crafts Camp – $ 35, 8:30-4:30 – “learning sewing and artistic crafts, one stich at a time.” The camp will focus on basic sewing and crafting skills.

June 24-26 – 4-H Cooking Day Camp – $ 35, 8:30-4:30 – “a chef in the garden, a scientist in the kitchen.” The campers will learn how to cook simple, healthy, meals, while exploring where food comes from, and how, scientifically, it can be transformed into delicious meals through cooking.

Walton County 

June 11 – Silly Science Cloverbuds (age 5-7) – $ 15, 8:30-12:30 – will feature fun science experiments

June 15-18 – 4-H Growing Roots – $ 30, 8:30-4:00 – feature a little bit of everything, like health & fitness, finances, Agriculture, beekeeping

July 13-16 – Seaside Robotics – $ 40, 8:30-4:00 – features not only assembly but programming

July 20-23 – X-Treme Cuisine – $ 30, 8:30-4:00 – will teach healthy snack and meal preparation, cooking, and basic kitchen safety




Author: Jenny Savely – jsavely@ufl.edu


Jenny Savely

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/06/05/4-h-summer-in-the-panhandle-learning-and-fun/

Learning from the Floods

Learning from the Floods

Just over a year ago, southwest Alabama and northwest Florida experienced a devastating storm that left hundreds without access to their homes and businesses, flooded out and stranded by a hurricane-force storm that didn’t come with the luxury of a week’s warning. Rainfall records in Pensacola go back to 1879, and the April 29-30 storm broke them all, estimating just over 20 inches over the two days. Not only was the rainfall heavy, but the torrent was high in both velocity and volume—at one point, a mind-boggling 5.68 inches fell in the span of one hour. That’s half the annual rainfall of many cities in California and Texas!

gas geysers

A residential street in Pensacola became a raging river a year ago during the torrential floods, putting dozens of people out of their homes. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson UF/IFAS Extension.

With every dark storm cloud comes a silver lining, though, and just like the millions pumped into our regional economy from oil spill-related fines, the April 2014 floods have awakened a “greener” ethic among many residents, business owners, and politicians. According to a study just released by an environmental consulting firm, when asked about infrastructure changes and improvements to flooding and stormwater, attendees at community meetings overwhelmingly preferred “low impact” solutions such as expanded green space, cisterns, rain gardens, and stream restoration to “hard” structures such as bigger underground pipes and more pumps. While traditional engineering infrastructure is still crucial to a community that must maintain roads, stormwater ponds, and buildings, I find it encouraging that residents are interested in trying different techniques that have proven successful both here and in other parts of the world.

rain barrel

The new Langley Bell 4-H Center has four large rain barrels around the building, used to collect roof runoff for landscape design. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson UF/IFAS Extension.

So, how does one prepare for unexpected rain and floods? The first thing is to realize that northwest Florida receives the most annual rainfall (over 60”) of any region of the state, and sometimes it seems to come down all at once.  Preparing landscapes to handle both frequent and heavy rains is an important place to start.  This article will begin a series of articles delving into those “low-impact” stormwater management techniques that can help lessen the impact of the intense storms we experience here in northwest Florida. Many of these practices, such as creating mulch pathways, harvesting rainwater, and installing shoreline vegetative buffers, can be implemented by individual homeowners and help reduce the impact of flooding on a neighborhood and city-wide level


Author: Carrie Stevenson – ctsteven@ufl.edu

Coastal Sustainability Agent, Escambia County Extension

Carrie Stevenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/05/07/learning-from-the-floods/

Pledge Your Hands to Service Learning

April kicks off the global month of service. If you are responsible for guiding and organizing service learning projects for your 4-H Club (or any other organization), follow this five step process to ensure a successful, enriching experience for all involved:

1. Assess.

Who (or what) needs help in your local community? Ask for youth input for a specific area, location, or population.

2. Plan.

Define learning objectives for the project. These can be general or specific, but the service project should be guided by an educational goal.

3. Participate.

To engage youth in a true service learning experience, ask reflection questions during the actual service project.

4. Analyze and Generalize.

Immediately following the experience, ask questions to learn how youth felt while they were engaged in the service project, such as: “What was the most difficult task you did today?”

To generalize is to understand the “so what.” Ask questions like: “What did you learn about yourself while completing this project?”

5. Apply.

Ideally, service learning is a continuous process. Whether giving an illustrated talk on increased awareness of animal abuse or volunteering at a local hospital on their own time, service learning hopes to foster “self-worth, citizenship, critical thinking skills, [and ] responsibility” in youth (Mashburn, Harder, & Pracht, 2011).


For more information on how to can make community service more enriching and meaningful for youth and adults:

Mashburn, D., Harder, A., & Pracht, D. (2011). Learning by doing: Utilizing service-learning projects (AEC392). Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved August 23, 2012 from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc073#FIGURE%201

The Leon County 4-H Horticulture Club grew and donated over 150lbs of fresh vegetables to local food banks in 2012.


Author: Stefanie Prevatt – sduda1@ufl.edu


Stefanie Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/04/12/pledge-your-hands-to-service-learning/