4-H Happenings, March 2023


Important Dates: 

County News

Plan to Participate in the Somerset Extension OPEN HOUSE!!

Photo Collage with youth interacting with 4-H staff, flowers, teens showing off fruit and vegetable tattoos, and tomato seedlingsMark your calendars for Saturday, May 6, 2023 (with a rain date of May 13). Our Somerset County Extension staff, board members, and volunteers will be hosting an Open House. There will be presentations, demonstrations, activities for kids, garden help, seedlings, giveaways, and more. We want 4-H to be well-represented and we need your help and input!

Please start discussing ideas for this event with your clubs. We would love to have as many 4-Hers as possible attend.

Some initial ideas we’ve had so far to showcase 4-H include: a silent auction; a hot dog stand; youth activities such as “seed bomb” making and other crafty items around a theme of “pollinators;” display tables for club educational displays; and animal demonstrations. What do you think? What other ideas do you have? What will your club contribute?

We would like to have an idea of how many plan to participate in this event. Please reach out to Karen karen.giles@maine.edu or Emily emily.collins3@maine.edu, or call the Somerset County office 207.474.9622.

Rabbits and Cavies Interest

Our office was contacted by someone in Somerset County who breeds and shows rabbits. She would like to raise interest and knowledge about them, and has offered to speak to interested 4-H clubs. Please let karen.giles@maine.edu know if you would like more information.

New Project Records are HERE!

Co-designed with Maine 4-H volunteers, youth and staff, these project records have been designed to best serve the needs of Maine youth. Please visit our newly designed project record website. Project records are required for all Maine 4-H Youth. Stay tuned for upcoming training and videos. Please contact karen.giles@maine.edu with questions.

Club News

Engineering SPIN Club was a Huge Success

Seven youth showing their lego creations over ZoomTwenty 4-H members from around the state participated in a virtual six-week beginning engineer program. The weekly projects introduced basic engineering skills by exploring a different topic each week, with a new hands-on challenge to work on while making connections with fellow 4-H engineers around the state. Projects included: “Engineers Communicate LEGO Challenge”- assembling a structure out of Legos by following the instructions of another club member; building a catapult out of craft sticks; constructing a geodesic dome out of coffee stirrers; making simple electrical circuits to light a light bulb or buzz a door alarm; fabricating a “Rube Goldberg” contraption to put toothpaste on a toothbrush, made out of household materials and using the concepts of wedge, lever, wheel and axel, inclined plane and pulley; and creating a marble run out of paper towel tubes and other household materials. The 4-H members were encouraged to plan and draw their projects in their engineering notebooks, try new things and take risks, share their ideas, and help each other during the sessions. 

Seven youth showing their catapult creations over ZoomWe also had a guest speaker, Julie Gannon, a chemical engineer graduate from University of Maine who works in the pulp and paper industry. She talked about her work in designing objects out of paper- specially to replace plastic in manufacturing- and answered questions from the group.

“I had a ton of fun doing all of them (the projects) and meeting new people. I enjoyed learning about the engineering process- I don’t think I’d actually heard of that before,” was a comment from a member at the final meeting.

Maple Sugaring 101: From Sap to Syrup to Sales

Maple Sugaring 101 was a 3-week pilot program about the entire maple sugaring process. Nine 4-H participants learned about the history of maple sugaring, from forest management, tapping trees, transporting sap, using an evaporator, grading and storing syrup, to operating a maple sugaring business.  Participants met other young maple sugar makers at the online sessions and at a sugar house in Dover Foxcroft, Duck Grove Farm, that graciously hosted the youth, staff, volunteers and parents to allow attendees hands-on practice with maple sugaring skills.

We are planning a value-added one-day event later this spring to create other products using maple syrup, and to expand the opportunities of the program for next year.

Don’t forget to attend Maine Maple Sunday Weekend on March 25th and 26th with your family to support your local Maple Sugar producers!

Solon Pine Tree 

Solon Pine Tree had their monthly meeting on March 11 and had one visitor attend. The club has been raising money for the Solon Food Cupboard. They received a donation for the club from the Solon Congregational Church. They discussed members doing demonstrations at the Bingham Grange. 

Demonstrations were given at Saturday’s meeting by: Evelyn F., on “How to Clip a Dairy Heifer”; Charlotte H. on “How to Make a Cat Blanket”; Kaitlin D. on “How to Make Brownies”; Cooper D. on “Edible Cookie Dough”; Audrey F. and Addison C. on “How to Prepare a Dog for Showing”: and Ava W. on “How to Tie a Fish Hook.” The remaining club members will do their demonstrations at the next meeting.

Boots & Spurs

Boots & Spurs Club attended the skijoring event at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds during Winterfest, and had pizza after. They are starting to work on their club educational exhibits for the Fair season and for the Somerset County Extension Office Open House. They are also planning to have a guest speaker attend a meeting to share information about showing rabbits.

Independent Members

4-H Member, Samantha BCongratulations to Samantha B. who represents Somerset County on the 4-H Youth Council executive committee as Treasurer. Samantha and two other 4-Hers were acknowledged as Northeast Region Award winners by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals for their Animal Science Programming presentations at the Litchfield Fair.

Many Independent members are working with the new Project Record forms as they work on their projects. Several members have also been attending online SPIN club activities, including the Engineering Club.

State News

Events and Opportunities

4-H Ecological Studies (4Est) SPIN Club

  • Cost: Free.
  • Ages: Youth ages 12 – 18
  • Dates/Time: Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, April 12May 17, 2023

Did you know that YOU are a scientist and can contribute to the science community?!? This virtual 4-H citizen scientists club encourages youth to practice citizen science in their own backyard, with a variety of citizen science opportunities to consider, and report their observations while making connections with fellow citizen scientists in their community and around the state.  Along the way, we’ll learn about Maine ecology and how you can participate in research by just taking a picture. Register by March 31, 2023.

Maine 4-H Ag Ambassador and Ag Symposium- Teens sign up now!

For teens that are 13-18 years old, we invite you to join us for our Ag Ambassador program this spring! Connect with other teens from around the state to explore and share your interests in the Maine food system, agriculture, climate change, environmental justice, and where all these interests collide. The spring 2023 cohort will meet 3:30-5:00pm on Tuesday afternoons from March 7 to April 18 on zoom with an in-person luncheon in Orono for families on April 20, kicking off our overnight Teen Ag Symposium at the UMaine Orono campus on April 20 and April 21. This will be a hands-on exploration of many aspects of the Maine food system and the research and education happening at the University.

For more information and to register, visit the event website. For questions or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Sadee Mehuren; 207.342.5971; extension.4hagleadership@maine.edu.

Androscoggin/Sagadahoc 4-H Monthly Workshops – Open to All Maine 4-Hers!

Come join the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties 4-H program at their monthly workshops on the third Friday of every month (unless otherwise noted) from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the Lisbon Extension Office at 24 Main Street. Anyone interested can contact Melissa Freeman or Cathy Gray to find out more information.

Currently Scheduled Topics:

  • April 21, 2023 – Movie Premier Night
  • May 19, 2023 – Wool Spinning Workshop

Public Speaking Online Workshop

The Maine 4-H Communication Science Team invites all enrolled 4-H members to an open-to-all workshop on March 15 from 6 – 7  pm. Participants will learn about using posters and slide decks to enhance their presentations, as well as have an opportunity to practice different parts of their own presentation for informal feedback. Please contact cathy.gray@maine.edu for more information. Register online.

4-H Page Day in Augusta – March 23, 2023 – Sign Up Now!

Date: March 23, 2023

Where: Augusta, Maine State Legislature & First Amendment Museum

Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Deadline: First come, first serve, March 3, 2023

UMaine Day at the Legislature, Thursday, March 23, is approaching.  It’s a day where Cooperative Extension gets to highlight our awesome programs, and 4-H is one of the best! It’s also a time for youth to get actively involved in their democracy, to see how and who makes decisions that impact our state, and to be involved in that process themselves. 4-Hers age 13 or older are encouraged to serve as Honorary Pages. The Maine 4-H program has up to 22 slots for Honorary Pages and registration is first come, first serve with a deadline of March 3.

What does a page do? Legislators are constantly communicating and making decisions while in session and pages make that communication possible. Pages hand out information packets or place the paper information on their desks. Pages will also run communication and documents directly from legislator to legislator. It’s fast paced and pages will be moving around the chambers quite a bit, taking direction from the Clerks. We will meet at 8:30 for pictures and an orientation. Then at 9:00am we will divide our group with one going to the House and the other to the Senate where each group will receive their instructions. Session will begin by 10:00am and will likely conclude around 12:30pm, but the timing is never certain. Lunch will be on your own.

NEW: First Amendment Museum- Supreme Court in Action! The Museum will host our group from 1:30-3:30pm with a free interactive learning series that places each of us into different roles within the U.S. Supreme Court. You will get real life court cases to argue for or against, to make a ruling, and to report on, to get an in depth look at what happens when free speech, the courts, and citizens come together. Democracy can be messy, so let’s dig in!

If you are interested in serving as a page, please register via the online form. If you have questions or would like to request an accommodation please do so by March 3 to Alisha Targonski at alisha.r.targonski@maine.edu. Thank you!

Apply Now for National 4-H Trips

National 4-H Trips are excellent opportunities to meet 4-H members from across the nation. Participants learn about many career options, and learn through educational workshops at Congress or become a part of a team making recommendations to National 4-H Council at Conference. To learn more about these trips, visit: https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/national-trips/.

New for 2023: Complete and submit your application and supplemental materials online!

Any Maine 4-H Youth, ages 14 to 18, is eligible to apply. Applicants must be current Maine 4-H members both at the time of application and the time of the actual trip. Application packets must be submitted online, or sent to your county office and postmarked by April 25, 2023. Interview dates will be the second week of May, 2023.  If you have any questions, please contact Heidi Palmer at 207.310.4235 or heidi.thuotte@maine.edu.

2023 National 4-H Congress is November 24 – 30, 2023 in Atlanta GA with an orientation for the trip on October 21, 2023.  2024  National 4-H Conference has not yet been announced, but will likely take place in April of 2024 in Washington, DC., orientation for that trip will be announced to those selected.  Leaders and office staff, if you have senior members in your clubs, please encourage them to participate.  They are amazing trips!

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF)

Start making plans now to visit our Nation’s Capitol during the week of June 24 – 30, 2023. CWF is a leadership program conducted by the National 4-H Council for high school youth ages 14 to 18. Delegations of 4-Hers from across the country spend six days touring the city and attending leadership skill-building workshops. This summer, the Maine delegation will travel down on June 24 and travel home June 30. Youth will be staying in a hotel just outside of the DC limits. Visiting the most popular sites in Washington, DC will be a part of the trip. There is a mandatory orientation for Maine delegates on April 29, 2023.  For more information visit the program page. Contact your county 4-H office for details about how to be a part of this. All county offices have different criteria/dates to apply.

Maine 4-H Days: Save the Date! July 21 – 22, 2023

4H CloverWe’re back for fun times, workshops, overnight camping, animal tracks and more at the Windsor Fairgrounds in Kennebec County! More information to come, so save the dates!

Contests and Competitions

State Public Speaking Tournament – Save the Date!

Our state public speaking tournament will be held on April 8, 2023 at DP Corbett Hall on the University of Maine campus. Youth must qualify for this event by achieving a score of 78 or higher at their county or regional tournament. Check with your county 4-H staff to find out when your county tournament will be held.

Fairs and Shows

ESE Sheep Team Intent Form

The 2023 Maine 4-H ESE Sheep Team intent to participate form is now available online. If you are interested in participating in the team, the form must be submitted to Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu or mailed to the Waldo County Cooperative Extension office by April 1, 2023. To be eligible you must have participated in a 4-H sheep project for at least one year and be at least 12 years old as of December 31, 2022. Please contact Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu  or 207.342.5971 for more information.

Save the Date for 4-H Dairy Judging and State Show

The Maine 4-H Dairy Judging Contest will take place on May 6, 2023 at Hardy Farm in Farmington, ME and Silver Valley Farm in New Sharon, ME. The contest is open to all enrolled dairy members and will serve as the official tryouts for the Maine 4-H Dairy Judging Team. 

The Maine State 4-H Dairy Show will take place on July 22 and 23 at the Windsor Fairgrounds in Windsor, ME. The contest is open to all 4-H members who want to participate and will include educational workshops, a fitting contest, a grilled cheese contest, and more!

For more information on upcoming 4-H dairy events visit extension.umaine.edu/4h/dairy or contact sadee.mehuren@maine.edu; 207.342.5971.

For Volunteers

2022/2023 4-H Volunteer Training Opportunities

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a two-part online training for adults interested in becoming 4-H volunteers from noon–1 p.m. on March 28 and April 4. A second round of the training will be offered from 6-7 p.m. on April 19 and 26.

Start Your 4-H Volunteer Journey will explore the ways volunteers can become involved with UMaine Extension 4-H, what the 4-H youth development program is about and requirements for becoming a volunteer. Participants will also hear from youth and volunteers currently active in 4-H and do a hands-on activity together.

The training is free; registration is required. Register on the event webpage. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Jennifer Lobley, 207.255.3345; jennifer.lobley@maine.edu.

Leaders Meeting Minutes

February 15, 2023

Attendees: Cheryl Perkins, Eleanor Pooler, Lori Swenson, Wanda Kranz, Karen Giles

Scholarships:  We need to contact the Pine Tree State account to see how we access the money. The foodbooth scholarship is for second year students. We decided to table our discussion on how much the scholarships should be and to see if we get any applicants. The deadline for the applications is March 1st.

Upcoming Events:  See the State 4-H newsletter.

Somerset County Open House- It will be May 6th. The Extension would love to have a 4-H presence. There can be table displays or possibly sell hot dogs. Maybe one table could sell seed bombs. Lori could set up the general 4-H and a dog displays that she had in the fair. Cheryl can do a horse display. 

CWF-  An independent member, Samantha Bissell, is interested in going to CWF. CWF is still working on busing quotes and cost estimates. It runs from June 24th-30th. We will revisit this in March when the costs come out. 

Cheryl motioned to adjourn. Wanda seconded. 

Next Meeting: March 22 6 PM at the extension office