4-H water projects are making a splash in Ohio, around nation

OSU, CFAES, 4-H, AG Innovators Experience

Ohio 4-H is leading efforts to help youths gain a deeper understanding of one of the most vital 21st century concerns: assuring access to fresh, clean water.

Water is rising in prominence in Ohio 4-H youth development activities.

In the Water Windmill Challenge, teams create mock-ups of wind-operated water supply systems.

“There are many possibilities of how to meet the challenge,” said creator Bob Horton, Ohio 4-H specialist. “If their structure fails, students quickly want to reinvent it. They don’t realize it, but this activity introduces them to engineering.”

 In Ways of Knowing Water, a project idea starter for individual 4-H members, activities help youths sharpen awareness about their local watershed and where their household water originates.
Meera Nadathur, 15, of Hamilton County, took the Ways of Knowing Water project and plans to study environmental sciences in college
“With 4-H, you get to actually experience what you’re learning
about,” she said. “You don’t just learn by reading about it. It really enhances the whole experience.”

In a new idea starter, Field to Faucet: Nutrients, Sediment and Water Quality, activities focus on preventing harmful algal blooms. Co-author and 4-H educator Jackie Krieger said, “For many around the world who have little access to fresh, clean water, we owe our best science and dedicated action to understanding this basic human need. Who knows what spark might be ignited in the minds of 4-H members by these activities?”

ESSENTIALS

OSU Extension’s 4-H STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education program is making a mark regionally and nationally by developing projects including:

  • The Water Windmill Challenge. In 2015, nearly 10,000 youths in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin participated in this challenge as part of the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, sponsored by the National 4-H Council and Monsanto.
  • The Fish Farm Challenge, which was named as the 2014 4-H Ag Innovators Experience. More than 8,000 youths engineered a system to evenly dispense soy-based fish food pellets in an aquaculture tank.
  • The 4-H National Youth Science Experiment, the world’s largest youth-led science experiment. Ohio 4-H created the activities used in this program in 2008 and 2012.

More: go.osu.edu/oh4hsci

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