All year around, Macomb County MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development offers special educational programs to bring a sense of adventure and fun while learning and gaining life skills to local youth ages 5-19. Most recently, MSU Extension hosted the first of a series of fun educational events at their new location in Warren at the Thompson Community Center.
The program, Soil Science, was geared toward educating youth on where food comes from and how it grows. On a bright sunny May Saturday morning, youth in kindergarten-through-fifth grades anxiously showed up at the former school gym prepared to get dirty and learn about plant science. The workshop, led by MSU Horticultural Specialist Dixie Sandborn, was very interactive with the youth being participants rather than recipients of the lessons. Dixie began by telling the kids that by the end of the day they would all walk away with at least five things they did not know before they started.
And learn they did! They learned that anything with seeds inside and a flesh is a berry, even foods we thought were vegetables like jalapenos. They learned a strawberry was not a berry! Gasp! They learned what germination was and how to germinate plants from seed, cuttings and cloning. They made and devoured their own salsa. The kids learned what a limited and vital resource our water and soil are. By far the most exciting lesson was how easy and important it is to build a work box for composting.
This was a great group and as the kids shouted out answers and asked tons of questions, I could tell they were engaged. By the end of the day, the kids all agreed and could list five new things they had learned. Everyone went home happy, excited and with plants in hand.
There are more events in the works for Macomb youth. Coming up at the end of this month, on May 30, will be an Outdoor-rama for youth who want to explore some outdoor adventure:
In July, there will be two full weeks of 4-H summer day camps. The camps for kindergarten- through-fifth grade will be hosted at the Thompson site July 13-24. Programming will be centered on healthy living, lego robotics and gardening.
For more information, visit http://msue.macombgov.org/MSUE-4H.
Lizz Duran is a 4-H Program Coordinator for MSUE.