Inspiring Young Nebraskans-HHD 2011

Last week was busy with Husker Harvest Days-the coldest one I can remember!  It’s always fun for me to see many familiar faces-like a big reunion!  The theme at the IANR booth this year was “Inspiring Young Nebraskans”.  This theme was important  to showcase how IANR is influencing our youth from early childhood development to entrepreneurship activities and future careers.  A statistic that may surprise you is that over 144,000 Nebraska youth (nearly every 1 in 3 youth in the State) is involved with 4-H.  That’s something we would like to continue to grow as I think any of you who have been involved with youth programs whether 4-H, FFA, or scouts can attest they build life skills!  The goal of this year’s exhibit was to show how IANR is impacting youth to hopefully keep more local youth here in Nebraska.  

The first exhibit dealt with UNL Extension’s focus on Early Childhood Development which focuses on youth ages 5 and under by helping childcare providers, babysitters, and parents understand brain development and UNL’s research in this area.  An alarming statistic is that up to 25% of children are not ready to begin school.  The second exhibit was Teaching Science through Soybeans in which an iPad app was created for youth to drag and drop items into grocery carts to learn from where their food comes.  There are many additional activities involved in the partnership between the College of Ag Sciences and Natural Resources, UNL teacher education, and local schools.

The third exhibit showcased the Unique Role of Teachers in Rural Communities and a research grant obtained by UNL to study the best strategies for supporting rural teachers in reading (K-3) and science education (6-12).  Robotics is a curricula exploding with interest amongst youth in the State and was the fourth exhibit.  “Bots are Hot” but they’re not only toys, they’re teaching technology to our youth with Nebraska being the leader in this National Science Foundation initiative.  The fifth display showcased Youth-Adult Partnerships in which youth are encouraged to define and address community issues in addition to helping provide youth a voice and responsibility in their communities by working with adults.  Connecting the Dots for Nebraska Youth was the sixth display in which an iPad app was developed for youth to link actions and personal choice to his/her future success in a college or career.  So often we showcase projects in 4-H, but we’re striving consciously link them with future careers-to show youth how their 4-H projects truly are their first class at the University of Nebraska!

The seventh exhibit showcased Public/Private partnerships in which UNL Extension is working with Nebraska businesses to create opportunities for young Nebraskans across the State.  Entrepreneurship was the focus of the eighth display with the goal of building a strong root system for homegrown Nebraska businesses.   Reid Ely was front and center on that display banner with his asparagus and Ashley Nunnenkamp helped in the booth as part of the Paul Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at UNL.  Market Journal taped their latest show there and the Mobile Diagnostic Lab had interactive displays this year on Soybean Cyst Nematode kits for FFA youth, Pine Wilt Nematode, Biological Invaders, and Crop Science Investigation (CSI) for youth.  I was thankful for the Clay and Fillmore County youth who helped us in our CSI display as youth can better inspire their peers to be involved! 

Like in the past, a Web site was developed and rolled out at Husker Harvest Days.  To find out more about what UNL Extension is doing in the child and youth area, please check out our latest Web site at   

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in 4-H, Event, Reflections and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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