Cumberland County 4-H Presents at National Marine Educators Conference

4-H Agent Julie Karavan works with youth on SeaPerch Robotics Project (club photo).

4-H Agent Julie Karavan (at top) works with youth on SeaPerch Robotics Project. Photo credit: Cumberland County 4-H.

County 4-H Agent Julie Karavan was awarded the Expanding Audiences Scholarship, which allowed her to attend the National Marine Educators Association Conference in Newport, Rhode Island, held June 29-July 2. Karavan presented two professional development workshops related to her extension teaching and practice in Cumberland County.

Her presentation, Aquatic Robotics, was offered educators information and hands-on experience relating to two marine robotics platforms Karavan has taught: SeaPerch and Waterbotics. She adapted the Waterbotics curriculum for younger audiences at the Millville Schools Club 21st Century Program in July of 2014, reaching over 40 students. A shortened version of the program was also offered at the 4-H Center to 20 Bridgeton Pathways 21st Century summer camp students. While serving as County 4-H Agent in Cape May, Karavan fielded three award winning teams to the Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge and utilized the PVC-based underwater robots in school enrichment programs. [Read more…]

Cumberland County 4-H Invites Bridgeton Pathways Students to “Spy” on Nature

Students in the Bridgeton 21st Century Pathways Program took part in hands-on experiential learning with Cumberland County 4-H during the week of July 13th… The Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program partnered with Bridgeton Schools to engage youth in science, engineering, and the arts. The week-long program, designed by County 4-H Agent Julie Karavan, invited students to spy on nature, learning how Rutgers scientists and engineers monitor local species and habitats. Students produced their own constructions and personal creations- including underwater robots, contact prints, poetry, and artwork, based on their first-hand observations… The program included a service learning opportunity with Jenny Paterno of Project PORTS. Participants visited the Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Lab and created over 100 shell bags to provide habitat to oysters. Students also were able to take a tour of the gardens at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, where they constructed LEGO based underwater robots designed to retrieve a simulated biological sample or marine debris… "Rutgers colleagues made this a fabulous experience for the kids," said Karavan. "Having a 4-H alum return in a staff position to teach in the schools really enriched the program."

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Rutgers 4-H Hosts Azerbaijani Youth Learning About Democracy and Entrepreneurship

County agent, Alayne Torretta, 2nd from left and Azeris meet with Gregory Marcus, in suit and tie in back, from the US Department of State.

County agent, Alayne Torretta, 2nd from left and Azeris meet with Gregory Marcus, in suit and tie in back, from the US Department of State.

Over the course of three weeks in June this year, 18 youth and two adult educators from Azerbaijan participated in a Youth Leadership Program funded by the U.S. Department of State and facilitated by the 4-H programs of University of Delaware and Rutgers University. During this exchange program, which focused on the general themes of civic education, leadership development, entrepreneurship, and community service, the Azerbaijani youth toured parts of the U.S., learning about democracy and hearing tips and tricks from successful entrepreneurs from New Jersey.

Each of the entrepreneurs the youth heard from had their own methodology for success. One family owned business, Wild West City – a theme park in Netcong, NJ, has been tremendously successful in keeping true to the mission set forth in 1963, while another amusement park ,the Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ, found success in expanding and growing. “Each of them gave the youth sage advice: Stay focused and realize that no job is beneath you,” said Alayne Torretta, County 4-H Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension and program coordinator for the Rutgers grant. In addition, they met entrepreneur Carol Bailey who holds a patent in England for reusable shopping bags that fold into one another called Shopparoos. She spoke with the teens about patenting great ideas and how to market them by keying in on their unique selling point. “We were able to take advantage of the New Ventures and Entrepreneurship program at Rutgers as well,” said Torretta, “Lori Dars was amazing and got the kids thinking of how to write a business plan. They also met a graduate student entrepreneur who spoke about the exciting work he is doing. Several of the teens expressed interest in attending Rutgers once they are finished with schooling in Azerbaijan. [Read more…]

First New Jersey 4-H Youth Leadership Institute to be Held at Rutgers

4-H Youth Development logoTwenty-nine 4-H members representing 13 counties will be participating in the first New Jersey 4-H goLEAD Youth Leadership Institute on July 1-2 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

The New Jersey 4-H goLEAD Youth Leadership Institute will provide an opportunity for middle school aged youth to develop leadership and community service knowledge and skills.

goLEAD (generationOn Leadership, Education, and Development) is an innovative approach to equip middle and high school aged youth with invaluable 21st century skills that will allow them to change themselves and the world through service and is a program of Generation On, a global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. [Read more…]

Third Graders and the Rutgers Master Gardeners “Seeds to Salad” Team Harvest Bountiful Crops at Whiton Elementary

In mid June the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County completed their Seeds to Salad program with third graders at Whiton Elementary school located in Branchburg… It took many weeks of preparation to reach the much anticipated “Harvest Day.” In early spring the children planted various types of lettuce, radishes, beets, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, spinach, onions and were also instructed in how and why it is important to weed, thin and transplant their crops as the plants grew. Master Gardeners also presented weekly lectures about several topics such as soil and soil temperature, “good bugs/bad bugs,” worms, tropism and much more… For many children “Harvest Day” was a highlight as they pulled up all the vegetables they had grown and shortly afterwards enjoyed consuming them at the “Salad Extravaganza” party. The program was a hit with third graders, their teachers and volunteers alike.

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