Creating lifelong learners: Summer Day Camp

August 12 is International Youth Day. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be celebrating by highlighting the accomplishments of 4-H, a program that provides positive youth development by promoting citizenship, healthy living, science education, leadership skills, and more. Coincidentally, last week my office held its first ever Youth Summer Day Camp. We have actively been working on creating awareness about 4-H and Extension, and what we can provide to both youth and adults in our community. While this will take time, I am excited about how our camp went over. We are exploring the idea of hosting two to three of these annually.

The goals of the camp were that it had to be educational and it had to be fun. Judging by the youth evaluations we achieved both of those components! We hope that by introducing the youth to a variety of things, we are helping to create lifelong learners.

On Day 1 we did a hike around Spooner Lake, which is near Lake Tahoe. It is just over 2 miles, so perfect to do with kids. On this day the youth learned the differences between trees, shrubs, and forbs, as well as how to identify several within each of those major groups. We grilled hotdogs for lunch and rounded out the day talking about our forests and waterways.IMG_3609

On day 2 we went to the Library. They have computers on which each youth can learn how to code and program on, all of the skills learned resulted in a maze competition later in the day. They built mazes and the other teams had to solve them by writing in the code. We had circuit challenges, they learned how to create designs, and everyone got to have something printed by the 3D printer. IMG_3380

Day 3 was photography day. They learned how to take a good photo, how to work their cameras and change the settings depending on what they were trying to photograph. To hone their skills we visited Silver Saddle Ranch and the river. At the end of the day our instructor gave them tips on the photos they took and encouraged them to look for youth photography exhibits. For more check out Silver Saddle Ranch… Wordless Wednesday.IMG_3465

Day 4 was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day. My colleague taught the youth how to make little cleaning robots which had to clean up an “oil spill” (aka rice). Youth also learned about polymers and their ability to absorbs and hold water in things like diapers or soil. The big hit of the day was learning about CO2 and dry ice, which provided endless fun. IMG_3533

Rounding out Day 5 was entomology, or the study of insects. We visited a bug and butterfly house where one of my colleagues taught the youth how to catch insects. The youth then learned how to identify what they caught based on wings, legs, and other distinguishable body characteristics. The youth learned how to euthanize an insect and how to pin it. They were able to start their own collections. Undoubtedly, we now have some youth who are home insect collectors. IMG_3590

I would say that our first day camp was a huge hit. All of the youth loved it, as did their parents. We are looking forward to future camps which encourage youth to become lifelong learners, ask questions, and have fun!


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Extension Publications… Flashback Friday

Several years ago I was cleaning out a filing cabinet I inherited when I started with Nebraska Extension. There were some fun publications I came across. At the time they were very real issues, and today they are still relevant.

Chickens

Hemp
Published in 1935, reissued in 1943. 

Have you ever found anything interesting cleaning out old files?


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Life Update: Nebraska to Nevada

I cannot believe June is wrapping up! Where has the time gone? I have been terrible at blogging over the last few months, and for that I apologize. My calendar is freeing up, and I am going to get back in the routine. Until then, I thought I would give you an update on how the big move and career change from Nebraska to Nevada is going.

In case you need a refresher, I announced in The Book of Life: Closing and Opening Chapters that I had made the big decision to leave Nebraska Extension and head west to start a career with Nevada Extension. A main reason for making this drastic move was getting back close to the family ranch and my family here. It has been a lot of fun to celebrate holidays and special occasions with my family again. We have probably seen each other more in the last six months than we have in six years!

We (the Hubs, the cat, and I) left Nebraska mid-December(ish). We picked my Dad up in Denver on day 2, and made our way across Colorado and Utah. We continued to have great weather, so on day 3 we took Nevada’s loneliest highway (Highway 50) across Nevada. When you have a roadtrip of ~1,600 miles you hope it is uneventful, and it was. We were blessed by the travel Gods.

Our belongings and their transportation to Nevada weren’t so lucky. We knew when we planned the move that it could take our stuff three to ten days to arrive. Little did we know that storm after storm across the country would derail those plans. In the end it was about 20 days later when our stuff arrived. Since I had to start work in that time I had to buy a few pairs of slacks and blouses, and we camped out in the apartment for about a week. We were sure glad to see the movers arrive.

Once we got our stuff and got unpacked we hit the ground running. A long journey finally came to an end when the Hubs became an official American citizen. You can read more at My story: 10 Immigration tips when marrying a non-American. Almost six years to the date of when he arrived on his fiance visa, he was raising his right hand and swearing allegiance to the USA. It was a great day, and one that we have waited for for a long time.

Tony

Meanwhile, back at my office… My office manager retired about 10 days after I arrived and our part-time office assistant went on vacation. It was a little stressful to not only learn what I was supposed to do, but to also learn about our budget, how to pay bills, and the other 749 things these great ladies had been doing. Happily, we have since hired a new and fabulous Office Manager and our part-time office assistant is back. It feels great to have all of the pieces in place and to be moving forward again. I immediately partnered up with the Chamber of Commerce to offer Social Media classes to local businesses, and it has gone over very well.

At the ranch, there was another great lamb crop born. Even though we had several large snow storms our family was prepared to handle them and to provide the best care for all of the animals. Read more about how we Care for baby lambs in freezing temperatures. My Mom sold several lambs to the 4-H members, and they did a great job raising them and showed them in May at the Nevada Jr. Livestock Show.

This past spring was a busy one as my Dad had a knee replaced. Considering the extent of the surgery, his recovery has been great. Just weeks after the replacement he was driving the skidsteer again – hard to keep a good rancher down. And even more exciting, my nephew was born. My Mom and I have made several trips to go visit him and his parents, and we anxiously await for their visit here at the end of the summer. I think it is safe to say he has all of wrapped around his chubby little fingers.

Untitled design (1)

 

As for fun… Well the Hubs and I took advantage of the nice weather and took a long weekend to Death Valley Super Bloom… A photo journal. Neither of us had ever been there, and it was fantastic. We are already planning our next visit – when the cooler temperatures return. We are also less than 45 minutes from Lake Tahoe, so we have been enjoying that scenic beauty and all that the lake has to offer.

Death AValley Super Bloom

As far as Cali cat, she handled the drive like a champ. However, the entire moving experience traumatized her. My parents have two indoor cats that are not welcoming to other cats, so Cali stayed with my Grandpa until our stuff arrived and we got unpacked (about 3 weeks). He loved the company, but she was not happy with me at all. Once we brought her home it took another month for her to get settled in. She is finally back to her old self now and is not looking forward to moving any time soon.

While there was a lot of other things that happened in the last six months, these are some of the major highlights. I look forward to getting back into a regular blogging routine. As usual, it will be a mixture of current research findings and events, interesting ag stories, and introductions to the people who grow and raise our food.


Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

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