Cumberland County 4-H and Belleplain State Forest presented a World Water Monitoring Challenge field trip for middle school students from the Landis Intermediate School in Vineland on May 15. Cumberland County 4-H Agent Julie Karavan and Forest Director Lorraine McKay joined forces to immerse students in a natural environment to enjoy the beauty of Belleplain and engage in some hands-on environmental science. Students learned about aquifers, pinelands creatures and ecology, watersheds and macro-invertebrates as indicators of water quality and engaged in dip netting on Lake Nummy.
Educators from New Jersey Pinelands Commission, Americorps/NJ Watershed Ambassadors, 4-H Youth Development, Belleplain State Forest and Cape May Point State Park were recruited to offer 25-minute stations related to freshwater topics throughout the forest. Karavan initiated the program last year while serving as Cape May County 4-H Agent. She joined the Cumberland County 4-H program in November, bringing initiatives like Legopalooza, World Water Monitoring Challenge and 4-H club mini grant initiative to the Cumberland County 4-H program.
Cumberland County 4-H provides afterschool programming at Landis Intermediate School and other area schools as part of the CEZ 21st Century Learning Grant. Under the leadership of teacher Donna Grasso, Landis Intermediate also has enjoyed a consistent 4-H club presence in the school for many years.
“Nature is the perfect classroom”, says Karavan. “Offering a free field trip opportunity like the World Water Monitoring Challenge is something I’d like to do on a regular basis for Cumberland County schools that partner with 4-H.”
4-H will be well-represented at the 2014 Cumberland County Fair, which is scheduled for July 7-12. For more information on partnering with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, contact Julie Karavan at (856) 451-2800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Cumberland County 4-H website for more information about the 4-H program.