National Youth Science Day teaches 4-H students about water quality

University Park, Pa. — Youth in Centre County took part in water quality experiments Wednesday (Oct. 6) at the Food Science Building on Penn State's University Park campus and simultaneously joined hundreds of thousands across the nation in the effort. As part of 4-H National Youth Science Day, youth participated in 4-H2O, the 2010 National Science Experiment. This year’s experiment teaches youth the importance of water quality and conservation and helps them determine their own carbon footprints.

In Pennsylvania, 4-H is part of Penn State Cooperative Extension. For photos from the event, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/2335

To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day sparks an early youth interest in science and science education. Currently, more than 5 million youth across the nation take part in year-long 4-H science, engineering and technology programs.

Through the One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4-H has undertaken a goal to engage 1 million new young people in science, engineering and technology programs by the year 2013. In fact, according to a longitudinal study by Tufts University, youth who participate in 4-H are more likely to get better grades in school, to seek out science classes, to see themselves going to college and to contribute positively in their communities. In addition, 4-H youth have been shown to better resist peer pressure and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

“Engaging youth early in scientific exploration has been shown to spark a lasting interest in the sciences,” said Christy Bartley, PA State 4-H Program Leader “Science can often seem intimidating to young people, but 4-H National Youth Science Day makes science fun, real and accessible. Kids will learn about cutting-edge technologies and then take the next step to lead by applying what they’ve learned in their very own community."

Six million 4-H youth and 514,000 volunteers nationwide lead parents, teachers, students, and other youth organizations in 4-H National Youth Science Day. At Penn State 4-H2O participants lead discussions about water quality and conservation and in their communities to demonstrate the world of water conservation and discuss how they could make a difference in their hometowns by lowering their carbon footprints.

As part of the Cooperative Extension System of the United States Department of Agriculture implemented by the nation’s 106 land-grant colleges and universities, 4-H has been educating youth in the sciences for over 100 years. In fact, the land-grant colleges and universities have been deeply involved in water quality research for some time. 4-H’s robust and university research-based science curriculum, combined with new initiatives like 4-H National Youth Science Day, will arm youth with the necessary technical skills to help America maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Visit the 4-H National website for more information

Last Updated April 15, 2011