CHEVY CHASE, Md., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 4-H National Headquarters and National 4-H Council are pleased to announce that this year's National Science Experiment for 4-H National Youth Science Day will be 4-H Maps & Apps. Designed by Colorado State University Extension, 4-H Maps & Apps will introduce youth to the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) and geographic positioning systems (GPS) as they design and map their ideal park, use mapping to solve community problems and contribute data to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) The National Map program as citizen scientists through The National Map Corps project.
The growing fields associated with GIS and GPS are driving demand for critical thinkers who can harness geospatial technology to examine how all things around us relate. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, GIS/GPS is ranked among the fastest growing occupational fields in the nation. Because the uses for geospatial technology are so widespread and diverse, the market is growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent, with the commercial subsection of the market expanding at the rate of 100 percent each year.
4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) is the premiere national rallying event for year-round 4-H science programming that reaches millions of young people each year. The event brings together youth from all around the nation to complete a single, innovative science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) related activity in an effort to expose young people to exciting new science topics and ultimately, drive STEM workforce development. This year, 4-H National Youth Science Day, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013.
"Now entering its sixth year, 4-H National Youth Science Day will again bring science exploration to life for young people all across the country in fun and engaging ways," said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO. "America faces a future of intense global competition with a startling shortage of scientists. However, by providing strong, out-out-of school science programming, like 4-H NYSD, youth are introduced to highly relevant concepts and given the opportunity to solve real world problems in a hands-on way that will ensure their contributions to their communities today and their success as global leaders tomorrow."
Colorado State University Extension designed this year's National Science Experiment, which demonstrates that by utilizing GIS and GPS technologies youth can have a positive impact on their communities. For example, in the first activity, 4-H'ers will become community planners for a day and use their new geospatial skills to design and map their ideal neighborhood park.
"We created this year's experiment to inspire young people to be critical thinkers by embracing a technology that can help change and shape communities in innovative ways," said Christy Fitzpatrick and Claire Dixon, the regional extension specialists with Colorado State University Extension who developed the 2013 National Science Experiment. "Ultimately, we hope that this experiment will motivate young people to stay engaged in science throughout their secondary education, through college and into a rewarding career."
"Introducing science and technology innovation to youth is why 4-H started more than 100 years ago, serving as citizen scientists then and now," said Lisa Lauxman, director of 4-H National Headquarters at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). "In 4-H Map & Apps, youth will explore the technology of GIS/GPS mapping which has applications in numerous fields, including agriculture, healthcare, national defense, environmental defense, aeronautics and city planning."
Every year, 4-H National Headquarters and National 4-H Council invite the Cooperative Extension System faculty and staff from the nation's 109 land-grant colleges and universities to submit proposals to develop an innovative experiment for youth to conduct during 4-H NYSD. Once received, a committee made up of staff from 4-H National Headquarters and National 4-H Council along with a cohort of experts in the fields of education and science review all of the proposals and select that year's National Science Experiment.
The 2013 National Science Experiment kit will be available for pre-sale beginning on Wednesday, June 26th on the 4-H Mall website, www.4-HMall.org.
About 4-H National Youth Science Day
For more than 100 years, 4-H has been at the forefront of teaching youth about science, engineering and technology. Created to combat a shortage of American young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day seeks to spark an early youth interest and leadership in science.
Currently, 4-H young people complete more than five million projects in 4‑H science, engineering and technology programming in topics as varied as robotics, rocketry, agricultural science, environmental science and alternative energy. And, through the One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4‑H is pleased to announce that it has reached its bold goal of engaging one million additional young people in science, engineering and technology programming by 2012. For more information on 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.
The 2013 4-H National Youth Science Day partners include Lockheed Martin, Toyota, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, John Deere, Donaldson Filtration, Philips and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
About Colorado State University Extension
Colorado State University Extension is your local university community connection for research-based information about natural resource management; living well through raising kids, eating right and spending smart; gardening and commercial horticulture; the latest agricultural production technologies and community development. Extension 4-H and youth development programs reach more than 90,000 young people annually, over half in urban communities. Colorado State University Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Learn more at www.ext.colostate.edu
4-H, the largest youth development organization, is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA. In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries.
SOURCE National 4-H Council