4-H Happenings, February 2024


Important Dates: 

County News

Scholarship Applications Opening

Do you have a junior or senior who is planning to go on to higher education after high school? There are some exciting scholarship opportunities available for 4-H members through the County Leaders Association, the Maine 4-H Foundation, UMaine, and others! Reach out to karen.giles@maine.edu at the Extension Office for more information, requirements to apply, and deadlines for submissions.

The Promise Scholarship

The Promise Scholarship at the University of Southern Maine is designed to help underserved young achievers from Maine overcome financial, academic, social, and cultural barriers, remain in school, and graduate in four years with minimal debt — prepared to make their own contributions to Maine’s social and economic well-being.

The Promise Scholarship awards up to 25 students in each incoming cohort, with top-off, multi-year scholarship awards that aims to meet 100% of a scholar’s demonstrated need in covering the cost of tuition, fees, housing, and meal expenses. Our scholarship program promotes access and equity in earning a bachelor’s degree, therefore awards vary based upon a student’s eligibility for other federal, state, and institutional aid to ensure college remains affordable for all. 

January 1 – Application Opens

March 15 – Application Deadline

Mid-April – Applicants notified

May 1 – Selected scholars confirm their attendance to USM

To learn more and apply, see the google form.

New RockHounding Club Opportunity Starting in 2024

We are looking for participants for a new Rockhounding SPIN club starting in 2024. This hands-on experiential club will feature in person and virtual learning modules, utilizing the Gem & Mineral 4-H STEM Toolkit as well as other resources to study, identify and record rocks, gems, and minerals found in Maine. Participants will learn about the history of and discuss contemporary concerns regarding mining in Maine. We are planning to incorporate field trips to gem and mineral destinations, i.e. the Gem & Mineral Museum in Bethel, Poland Mining Camp, and the Gem & Mineral Show in Augusta. We plan to introduce special guest speakers in careers such as Geology, Paleontology, Earth Sciences, Oceanography, GIS, as well as introductions to other resources and groups. Please reach out to Karen Giles karen.giles@maine.edu for more information.

Maple Sugaring 101: From Sap, to Syrup, to Sales

Not long after the New Year celebrations have ended and Maine hunkers down for several more weeks of winter, some farmers and landowners across the state turn their attention to maple sugar season. Depending on the weather, maple trees start to release their sweetness anytime between February and April and there’s a lot of work to be done to prepare for collecting the sap and boiling it down into syrup.

Maple Sugaring 101 is a 6-week program open to Maine youth ages 9 and up who are interested in learning about the entire maple sugaring process. Participants will learn about forest management, tapping trees, transporting sap, using an evaporator, grading and storing syrup, and operating a maple sugaring business.

Each week, participants will learn about the process and connect with other young maple sugar makers through online meetings and in-person workshops led by Extension and University of Maine experts. Online meetings are scheduled for Wednesday evenings: February 7February 14, and February 28. On-site workshops will be held at participating sugarhouses following the virtual sessions. Youth will need to travel to participating sugarhouses.

Enrollment in 4-H is required, but there is no cost. Enrollment ends February 5, 2024

Please get in touch with karen.giles@maine.edu for more information in Somerset County.

Stop Motion Animation Coming Soon

Are you interested in learning about animation? Stop motion is a special type of animation that uses real objects and photography- instead of drawings or computer-generated images- to tell a story. This spring we will be offering a virtual, after-school program for 6 weeks that will dive into this fun activity. Please reach out to karen.giles@maine.edu for more information.

Tidepool Immersion Discovery + Ecology Workshop Series

Explore the intertidal zone and help with marine science research! In this workshop, we will learn about animals you might find during low tide and use some amazing equipment to take awesome pictures on your phone to identify them. Along the way, we’ll learn about invasive species, climate change, species identification, and how you can participate in research by just taking a picture. Please note that the ability to get to the beach and supervision are required (at least once, between sessions). Participants must have access to a durable digital camera (a phone is fine). This workshop is supported by Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine. Register by March 27, so supplies can be mailed to attendees’ homes.

  • Dates: Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00, April 9, 2024 through May 11.
  • In person field day at SMCC, South Portland (optional) scheduled in South Portland on April 13 (rain date April 14).
  • Ages 11-18
  • Most activities will be held via Zoom. Materials will be provided and shipped directly to participants before the workshop. In-person field day scheduled in South Portland on April 13 (rain date April 14th). Participants will be asked to visit the ocean at least once, at low tide, during this series. Facilitators: Emily P. and Sam B.
  • Preregistration is required by March 27, 2024.

Rising Tides, Rising Voices: Climate Science, Justice and Action in Maine

Learn how climate change impacts Maine’s ocean and coastline and what you can do about it in this six-part participatory online series! This program is free for Maine youth aged 13 – 18 and will occur weekly on Zoom from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays February 28April 3, 2024.

We’ll start by grounding ourselves in the science and data of Maine’s changing oceans: rising sea levels, warming temperatures, ecological changes, and other coastal climate impacts. The majority of the program will focus on climate justice and taking action, such as telling your story, engaging in the legislative process, community organizing, and other ways YOU can get involved as an advocate for Maine’s ocean and climate. Youth leaders in Maine’s climate justice movement will facilitate this program.

Register at this link.

Come to Work at Tanglewood and Blueberry Cove!

Tanglewood and Blueberry Cove are now hiring for our spring and summer seasons! Positions include Educators, Counselors, Trip Leaders, and more. Please visit our website for more information and to apply.

Young Explorers Early Childhood Enrichment

Young Explorers at Blueberry Cove, our new early childhood enrichment program, is accepting registrations for 2024! The program focuses on play, sensory learning, and developing social skills in an outdoor setting. Explorers spend time with our camp animals, play at the forest and beach, and read stories. Ages 3 – 5, M, W, & F from 9 am – 12 pm. Visit the program page for more information.

Club News

Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club 

Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club met on January 14, 2024, with 3 members, 2 leaders, and 2 visitors attending. For club business, they discussed the older members presenting their 4-H demonstrations at the next meeting. They also completed some planning of project ideas for future meetings. After the February meeting they are going to a local farm for sleigh rides.

They made and decorated Christmas trees out of foam cones, yarns, and lights for their educational program.

Are You Interested in New Clubs?

We have some new clubs starting soon and will be looking for volunteers and members to join! Please reach out to Karen Giles karen.giles@maine.edu for more information.

  • Embden, Goat Club
  • Fairfield, Horse & Mixed Club
  • Anson, Cloverbud Afterschool SPIN club
  • Palmyra, Mixed

Please share your club news- we’d love to hear from you! Let us know what is happening with your club members. Reach out to karen.giles@maine.edu to share activities, highlights, awards, or events.

State News

Events and Opportunities

2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl Contest

The Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl contest will be held on February 17 at the UMA Randall Student Center in Augusta, ME. The contest consists of a general knowledge exam, individual questions, and buzzer questions. The contest will serve as the official tryout for the Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl Team that will represent Maine 4-H at ESE this fall. All 4-H dairy project members ages 9-18, regardless of whether or not they wish to try out for the quizbowl team, are invited to participate. Contestants will be divided into two age divisions, Jr.’s ages 9-11 and Sr.’s ages 12-18.  In the event of inclement weather on the 17, the event will be rescheduled for February 24.

For a complete set of rules for the contest, study materials, and directions to the venue please visit the program page. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation please contact Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu.

Western/Central Regional Public Speaking Contest

Join other 4-H youth for a Regional Public Speaking contest at UMA in Augusta on March 9 (March 10 snow date) at Jewett Hall at 9:30. We welcome 4-Her’s of all ages, including Cloverbuds. The event is open to anyone who wishes to join.  Cloverbuds are welcome, too!  Please help us by spreading this around to your kids and leaders. This event will allow youth to qualify for the State contest held in April. 

Register using this google form.

Want to know more information about Public Speaking? Check out our public speaking page.

Contact Tara Marble (tara.marble@maine.edu) if you have questions or need an accommodation.

Join the Youth Council!

The Youth Council is seeking nominations for the class of 2024. If you have a young person who demonstrates leadership potential and has an interest in creating opportunities for Maine Youth as well as feels comfortable guiding and strengthening the Maine 4-H program please nominate them for a youth council seat using this google form. Terms are three years in length.

The youth council comprises 4-H members between the ages of 16-24.  Four subcommittees are currently: Teen Conference, Youth Mental Health, Teen Dance, and Ag Science (biosecurity focus).

Highlights from 2023:

The Teen Conference was held in June at the Windsor Fairgrounds. There were six different workshops for the weekend event. Youth Mental Health Subcommittee participated in professional development.

Solar Eclipse Coming to Maine!

On April 8, 2024 Maine will experience a full solar eclipse, a once in a lifetime opportunity!

What is a solar eclipse? When the moon orbits the earth, sometimes the moon moves between the earth and sun. At the right angle, the moon blocks the sun’s light from reaching earth and causes a solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse the Moon’s shadow is cast upon earth in certain locations.

What is a total solar eclipse? A total solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon and Earth are in a direct line. It is visible from only certain locations on earth during a solar eclipse when the center of the Moon’s shadow hits the earth, the sky goes dark and we can experience changes in a short amount of time (temperature, sounds, etc.).

This link will bring you to a short animation from NASA that explains what we will see during a solar eclipse and why it happens. Curious whether you’ll be in the path of totality? This solar eclipse look up tool allows you to see whether you will experience a total or partial solar eclipse on April 8.

Stay tuned for more eclipse information and opportunities!

4-H Tick Project

The 4-H Tick Project is a community science project engaging K-12 youth and educators, made possible through a partnership between 4-H Youth Development, UMaine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab, Maine Forest Tick Survey, and members of the Learning Ecosystems Northeast partnership. The project provides youth an opportunity to explore ticks and tick-borne diseases, which is a connected story of climate, ecosystem change, and public health.

All educators interested in teaching about ticks in Maine are encouraged to participate in the project at no cost to you. This is a great project for 4-H clubs, SPIN clubs, homeschool groups, and more. For more information and to register, visit the 4-H Tick Project webpage.

National 4-H Trips for 2024/2025

The National Trip websites will be updated by the beginning of the year. They will be updated with as much information as known currently, and will continue to be updated as information is available. The State of Maine 4-H Program sends 4 delegates to “The National 4-H Conference” in Washington DC held in April 2025. (National Conference delegates for 2024 were selected this past year.) State of Maine 4-H also sends 4 delegates to “The National Congress” on November 29-December 3, 2024to be held in Atlanta, GA. Interviews for both these trips will be set for Friday and Saturday February 9 and 10, 2024 via zoom. All online applications are due on January 26, 2024, to your county office. As with all of our trips, special thanks to the Maine 4-H Foundation for supplementing significantly to these trips. For more information or help with the interviewing process, please contact heidi.thuotte@maine.edu.

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF)

CWF will be held on June 20-27, 2024 in Washington DC.  We have reserved space for 15 Maine delegates. The cost will be in the area of $1200 + or -.  We will most likely fly and will be staying at a different hotel than in the last couple of years. Be sure to connect with your county office and let them know your interest. They in turn will correspond, on behalf of their entire county to me.  **They also will know if there is additional help in funding the trip through your county. A big “Thank You” to The Maine 4-H Foundation for significantly funding this incredible trip. (County Offices, Heidi Palmer will need your delegate names by March 20, 2024). This trip is amazing and very well known and liked. This trip will be on a first come basis. There are limited spaces as the program is only being run for 1 additional week from our spoken week. So only two weeks total. An orientation will be planned as we get closer and will be on the website and communicated to candidates directly. If you need more information, you can check the CWF UMaine website in early January, or email, Heidi Palmer: heidi.thuotte@umaine.edu.

Fairs and Shows

Fryeburg Market Animal Intents Now Available

Intent to sell forms for Fryeburg market projects are now available online. Lambs must be owned and in the possession of the 4-H member by June 1 and intent forms, including bill of sale, scrapie tag number, and photos of the animal, must be submitted by June 5. For more information on 4-H market animal projects please contact your county cooperative extension office or call 207.581.3877.

ESE 4-H Dairy Intent Forms

The 2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Eastern States intent to participate form is available online. In order to be eligible for participation on the Maine 4-H Dairy Eastern States Team this fall, 4-H members must submit their completed intent form online or to the Waldo County Cooperative Extension office before February 17, 2024. Please contact Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu or 207.342.5971 with any questions.

For Volunteers

4H Clover

4-H Volunteer Workshops for the 2023-2024 4-H Year

We invite you to participate in our 4-H Volunteer Connections virtual workshops! Join other 4-H volunteers from the North East region to learn, share and engage with one another on a variety of topics related to 4-H. All workshops are free and offered via Zoom in the evenings from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Topics include:

February 13 – Be a Positive Communicator (see description below)
March 12 – Finding Space for Mental Wellness in Every Program
April 9 – Animal Science: Strong Relationships and Sportsmanship

Click here to register now! Come to one or come to all! We look forward to connecting with YOU!

Be a Positive Communicator

Tuesday, February 13, 6:30-8:00pm (virtual via ZOOM)
This session will focus on how to use positive communication strategies to manage difficult conversations or conflict with others. Learn about constructive responses, and conciliatory gestures and how they can be used to de-escalate conflicts.

Volunteer Connections offer monthly ZOOM calls for 4-H volunteers from the entire Northeast region. Join us to connect and learn with and from other 4-H volunteers! It’s free, but you must register Sign up today and invite a friend-we hope to see you there.

Total Eclipse Prep Party for 4-H Volunteers

On April 8, 2024, parts of Maine will experience a total solar eclipse- and this won’t happen for another 20 years! A total solar eclipse happens when the moon lies exactly between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow on a small patch of the Earth’s surface. Does the idea of a total solar eclipse light your spark? Are you interested in learning more about it and sharing your excitement with youth? If so, we want you to join us!

  • When: Thursday, March 7, 2024, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Where: We’ll be at the University of Maine campus in Orono, starting at the Lafayette and Rawcliffe 4-H Science and Engineering Learning Center.  Address: 491 College Avenue, Orono, and then heading to the Versant Power Astronomy Center & Jordan Planetarium Address:167 Rangeley Rd., Orono.
  • What do I need to bring? We want you to bring a friend, a colleague, a neighbor, a parent from your 4-H club… a SUN-BUDDY! This person doesn’t have to be an enrolled 4-H volunteer, but someone that is excited about the total eclipse and would like to share their enthusiasm and help you do ONE activity with youth prior to, or on April 8th. You could plan to do an activity with your club, at your Extension office, at a library, in a classroom or maybe with a homeschool group- it’s totally up to you!
  • What are we going to do at the Total Eclipse Prep Party? We will feed you dinner, take you to a show at the University of Maine Jordan Planetarium, do a hands-on activity with you, help you and your “sun-buddy” plan your activity and have materials, supplies and resources available for you to take.
  • Why should you participate? This will be a fun in-person evening with other people who have a common interest, you will get to enjoy dinner on us (pizza and salad), and the opportunity to learn more about the total eclipse! You will also receive free materials to implement activities, solar eclipse viewing glasses, AND a t-shirt!
  • Cost: The event is free, but registration is required and space is limited.

Registration: Register here! Registration deadline: February 16, 2024

Leaders Meeting Minutes

January 17, 2024

Attendees: Eleanor Pooler, Hailey Dellarma, Karen Giles, Lori Swenson

Fair Rules Amendments: We discussed amending some of the fair rules so that there was consistency between Skowhegan Fair, Bangor Fair, and Dover. This is working in concert with work being done by Extension staff in other counties. We reviewed the categories and fine tuned some of the language. We took copies home and, if we see other areas for improvement, we will forward them to Karen Giles by 1/31/24.

Vice-President candidate- We continue to have a vacancy for a vice-president. If anyone is interested, please contact Karen at the extension office. karen.giles@maine.edu

CLT (County Leadership Team) Scholarship Deadlines 2024-  The deadline for the county scholarship applications is April 1, 2024. These include the following scholarships: Norridgewock Northern Light Scholarship, Shawn L. Dean Memorial Scholarship, Somerset County 4-H Dairy Foundation Scholarship, and the Somerset County 4-H Leaders’ Food Booth Scholarship (for second year students). 

The deadline for applications for Maine 4-H Foundation Scholarships is March 1, 2024 to the county office.

The deadline for applications for the 4-H Camp Scholarships is May 1, 2024.

Lori motioned for the meeting to be adjourned. Hailey seconded. Motion passed.

Next meeting: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.