Celebrating nature's gifts focus of new curriculum

By JENNIFER HUDNALL Extension Agent for 4-H Published:

A curriculum is currently being used in 4-H to help Franklin County youth learn more about natural resources and become better stewards of natures gifts. This set of courses continues Cooperative Extension Services role as a leader in natural resource and environmental education for youth through its 4-H Youth Development Programs.

This flexible set of courses is appropriate for various settings and timeframes, based on 4-Hers needs, interests and abilities. The curriculum can be used for camps and club activities as well as other educational settings. For example, one section could be the focus of a one- or two-day camping experience or a year-long project; a few activities for each section could increase youth awareness of the importance of each area to Kentuckys environment; and one or two activities could be used to develop a comprehensive understanding of Kentuckys natural resources.

Students at the Frankfort Christian Academy recently attended a two-day camping experience at North Central 4-H Camp. This camping experience is called Environmental Camp. Students went fishing, participated in Challenge Course, learned about animal population balance among a few things. Some students, while on the night hike, called in a screech owl. These are all examples of how 4-H youth are learning how to appreciate nature through hands-on experiences.

Sections of this natural resource curriculum are soil, insects, forestry, water and stewardship. The concepts in these sections support Kentuckys learning goals and academic expectations. Each section has final assessments to determine how much participants have learned.

The curriculum is organized around essential questions, activities youth can focus on as they go through the courses. These activities represent the essence of what natural resources experts want youth to examine during the courses. The organization of essential questions prevents a potpourri of well-intended activities with no focus.

Many activities are included in the essential questions. Information includes objectives of each activity, materials necessary to carry out the activity, timeframe for the activity, most appropriate grade level, best activity setting, and bullets identifying its alignment with the Kentucky Core Content for Assessment.

This theme-based curriculum is flexible. Educators can choose among various sections and activities and can use it in many different settings. The essential questions provide the opportunity to plan and organize activities and events related to natural resources.

For more information about 4-H educational and youth development activities, contact the Franklin Cooperative Extension Service.

4-H Calendar

May 20 Camp Clean-up Day at North Central

May 25 4:30-6:30 Camp Sign-up Night at Extension Office,

May 30 4-H Fashion Revue, 6:30 p.m.

June 8 4-H Cooking Camp, 9 a.m.

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