4-H Youth Take On Water Quality and Environmental Issues

Oct 06, 2010, 09:00 ET from National 4-H Council

Young people learn how to stomp out their carbon footprint on 4-H National Youth Science Day

CHEVY CHASE, Md., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, hundreds of thousands of young people throughout the nation will simultaneously conduct a three-tiered science experiment to learn how heightened levels of carbon dioxide can impact water quality. As part of 4-H National Youth Science Day, youth will participate in 4-H2O: the 2010 National Science Experiment.

This year's experiment, designed by North Carolina A&T University, will teach young people how increased amounts of carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. Using workbooks and online guides, the nationwide experiment will also help youth relate their 4-H National Youth Science Day experiences back to their own lives by teaching how to measure a carbon footprint and estimate energy savings by looking at gas and electric bills.

To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and occupations, 4-H National Youth Science Day works to spark an early youth interest in science and science careers. Currently, more than five million youth across the nation participate in 4-H science, engineering, technology and applied math year-long programming. Through the One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4-H is working toward a bold goal to engage one million new young people in science, engineering, technology and applied math programs by the year 2013.

"Engaging youth early in scientific exploration provides the necessary platform to build a long-lasting interest in the field, and creates an interest in making ongoing contributions to the sciences," said Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. "Science is often an overwhelming and consequently overlooked subject for young people, but 4-H National Youth Science Day makes science exciting, accessible, and relevant to their lives. Kids learn about cutting-edge technologies and are encouraged to continue their science exploration by applying what they've learned in their communities and their homes."

Research has shown that participation in 4-H makes a positive difference in the lives of youth. Youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, works with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University to conduct The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. The longitudinal study has found that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:

  • Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school;
  • Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college;
  • Nearly three times more likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs;
  • Three times more likely to make positive contributions to their families and communities; and,
  • 56% more likely to spend more hours exercising or being physically active.

Overall, the study found that the advantages of 4-H participation include higher educational achievement and higher motivation for future education. In addition, youth in 4-H are more civically active and make more community and civic contributions than youth in other out-of-school activities.

As part of the Cooperative Extension System of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by the nation's 109 land-grant colleges and universities, 4-H has been educating youth in the sciences for more than 100 years. In fact, the land-grant colleges and universities have been deeply involved in environmental research for some time and will showcase their work to inspire youth on 4-H National Youth Science Day.

4-H's robust, university research-based science curriculum, combined with new initiatives like  4-H National Youth Science Day, will arm youth with the necessary technical skills to help America maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace.

About 4-H National Youth Science Day

4-H National Youth Science Day takes place every year during National 4-H Week (this year October 3rd through the 9th). In 2008, 4-H National Youth Science Day kicked off its inaugural year by partnering with Steve Spangler to showcase Helpful Hydrogels – an experiment that uses scientific principles to teach youth across the nation about water conservation. In 2009, the 4-H National Science Experiment – Biofuel Blast – taught young people about alternative energy as they learned how ethanol is created.

This year's national science experiment – 4-H2O – was developed in conjunction with North Carolina A&T State University and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Program. Generous sponsor support has been provided by Toyota, John Deere, IBM, BAE Systems and Karo. For more information on 4-H National Youth Science Day, please visit


About 4-H

4-H is a community of six million young people across America 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 of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.  4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant colleges and universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country.  Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H.

SOURCE National 4-H Council