Although it will still feel like summer for several more months, the summer vacation for students is over half way through. Students will be starting back classes next month, but our 4-Hers will hopefully be taking fond memories back with them.
We started the summer break with our Cloverbuds. Campers between the ages of 5 and 7 learned about plants and animals through seeing chick hatch from their shells, going on a nature walk for specimens to view under the microscope, and visiting a local farm. The farm was a huge hit as campers could pet and feed a variety of different animals including horses, chickens, ducklings, cats, dogs, and even a calf named Annabelle.
Along with learning about animals, Cloverbud campers became aware of how taking responsibility with their trash and recycling choices can have a huge impact on the health of our planet and the creatures who live here.They even made reusable shopping bags out of t-shirts to use as a replacement to plastic grocery bags.
The following week, Environmental Actions camp was completely dedicated to the subject of environmental preservation. We spent the first day learning about the effects of plastics on our environment – particularly the ocean and life therein. For the second day, these 4-Hers also created reusable shopping bags, but ones requiring the skill of a sewing machine, patience, and lots of straight pins. On the last day, campers brainstormed how to market their reusable bags and created posters depicting ways to bring single use plastic awareness to their community.
Our third camp of the summer was a collaboration between Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler counties. We started the week visiting the Hasting (research center) to practice plant propagation techniques, and traveled to the research farm to learn about sweet potato field preparation, and fly drones!
On Tuesday, we took a trip to Gainesville to a visit to the Dairy Unit and the Swine Unit. Campers got to see cows being milked in the milking parlour, learn about some of the foods dairy cows eat to keep them healthy, and meet cows staying cool in the barn. At the swine unit, they were introduced to the world of pork production, and how the industry keeps the animals healthy and happy.
I’m sure the students were all exhausted after just the first two days at camps, but Wednesday they were put right back to work at the Putnam County office making smoothies on the self-propelled Smoothie-Bike Blender, making tie-dye t-shirts from natural plant dyes, and learning about pollinators from a beekeeper. On the final day, we hit the road for the last time to see the Revels Pepper Farm in Hastings, and the St. John’s Oaks Farm in Crescent City.
Despite summer vacation beginning to draw to a close, there are several more camps we are looking forward to! Be sure to check out our Flagler County 4-H Facebook page for pictures from our past, current, and future camps!