The second day of the water workshop brought in 16 youth and their parents for a fun day of learning about water quality, conservation, and management. The youth mingled while eating dinner and then Brody, from the Barnyard Bandits 4-H Club, introduced the first speaker, Dierdre Irwin, the Water Conservation Coordinator at the SJRWMD. Ms. Irwin brought models and interactive activities to engage the youth on groundwater, water quality, and conservation. Youth learned about where the wastewater from their homes goes and could barely contain their excitement as they debated about where the “unicorn poop” would flow off of the Unicorn Farm landscape.
Next, Mr. Luke Harlow, the Clay County UF/IFAS Agriculture Extension Agent, separated the youth into two teams to play an oversized card game about urban water conservation. Each team would take a turn to pull a “card” that determined the fate of their currency (water bottles that they try to stock pile). The cards had a water conservation practice or a waste/pollution practice written on them and indicated how many water bottles they can earn or must lose. Mr. Luke used each card as an opportunity to discuss the importance of water conservation measures and 94% of youth agreed that they “will try to save water because of this workshop”. Finally, Ms. Anne Elise gave a brief demonstration on water quality monitoring and discussed the practices used in the LakeWatch program. Youth thought the workshop was “cool” and “very informative” and we hope to do this sort of thing more often! Our goal is to use science programming to teach youth life skills and develop them to be ready for the changing workforce. Please contact Ms. Anne Elise Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting more involved with the 4-H program here in Clay County!