The Impact of 4-H Youth
4-H began because adults in the farming community were unwilling to learn new agricultural technologies in the late 1800s. To combat this issue, researchers began tapping into youth. These researchers discovered that youth were more willing to experiment with innovative ideas and developments. As youth and adults recognized the success of new agricultural technologies, they began presenting and applying them in their communities. Without rural youth programs such as 4-H, farmers would not have adopted new agricultural technologies.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), at least 45% of the invasive non-native plant species are found in Florida. These plants were imported for ornamental or agricultural reasons. Of these invasive plant species, 39% are commercially available for sale and continue to spread. It is estimated that more than 1.7 million acres of Florida’s remaining natural areas have become infested with non-native plant species. This spread of invasive plants stems from people being uninformed. Invasive non-native plants damage Florida’s natural environment and lead to a loss of biodiversity and resources. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services states that Florida spends about $30 million annually on invasive plants. It is essential that residents become informed about invasive plants and that we start doing our part to prevent invasive outbreaks. For more information on invasive plant species in Florida, check out the FWC’s website: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/invasive-plants/
4-H Youth Providing Education On Invasive Plants
Considering the history of 4-H, I know that educating youth is crucial to reducing the impact of invasive plants. As 4-H youth once educated farmers on new agricultural technologies, Lake County 4-H youth will educate locals on invasive plants. Education is key for the preservation of Florida’s remaining ecosystems. Lake County 4-H aims to train youth to develop into environmental and civic servants, take that knowledge, and educate other youth and adults on being responsible conservationists.