4-H News in Washington County – January 2024

Table of Contents

Dates to Remember
4-H Public Speaking Workshop
Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament
What do you want to accomplish this year? Project records can help!
4-H Science Fridays
Oh Yea! 4-H Grows True Leaders
4-H Forest Health SPIN Club
4-H Seasonal Crafts Around the World SPIN Club
Cobscook Currents 4-H Club
4-H Policy A.1.9 Use of Photographs of People
News from the State

Dates to Remember

January 5: Fryeburg Market Steer Intent to Participate Deadline
January 10: 4-H Volunteer Connections – Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Programs
January 15: Office Closed due to Holiday
January 15: Maine 4-H Beef ESE Intent to Participate Deadline
January 16 & 23: Start Your 4-H Volunteer Journey
January 26: Applications due for National 4-H Trips
January 27: 4-H Public Speaking Workshop, UMaine Machias
February 5: Registration Deadline for Maple Sugaring 101
February 7, 14 & 28: Maple Sugaring 101
February 17: 2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl Contest
February 17: ESE 4-H Dairy Intent Forms
February 23: 4-H Science Friday- Ice Cores
February 13:
 4-H Volunteer Connections – Be a Positive Communicator
March 9: Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament, UMaine Machias
March 12: 4-H Volunteer Connections – Finding Space for Mental Wellness in Every Program
March 13-17: Ignite by 4-H Conference, Washington D.C.
March 22: 4-H Science Friday- Eclipse Investigations
March 27: Registration Deadline for Tidepool Immersion Discovery + Ecology Workshop Series
April 6: State 4-H Public Speaking Tournament, Orono
April 8: Solar Eclipse
April 9: 4-H Volunteer Connections – Animal Science: Strong Relationships and Sportsmanship
April 9-May 11: Tidepool Immersion Discovery + Ecology Workshop Series
April 26: 4-H Science Friday
June 5: Fryeburg Market Lamb Intent to Participate Deadline
May 24: 4-H Science Friday-Vernal Pools
June 20-27: Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), Washington D.C.


4-H Public Speaking Workshop

Washington County 4-H is hosting a Public Speaking Workshop on January 27th on the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) campus from 12-2pm. Although public speaking is one of the greatest shared fears, 4-Hers have experienced that practicing this significant life skill about a subject they’re passionate about with adults and peers who want them to succeed is “worth it”. To learn more about what 4-H public speaking is, the opportunities involved and how to set yourself up for success join us in the Science Building on the UMM campus on Jan 27th! This workshop is free, open to enrolled 4-Hers ages 5-18. Registration not required.


three youth receive ribbons at the state 4-H public speaking tournament
Photo by Jane Bell

Washington County Public Speaking Tournament

Practice your public speaking skills and teach others something you’re passionate about at the 2024 Washington County Public Speaking Tournament on March 9th beginning at 10am on the University of Maine at Machias campus. Youth ages 5-18 are encouraged to participate. Youth ages 9-18 who participate in the tournament, and receive the required score, will be invited to the state tournament in Orono on April 6. For more information, to register or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Gabrielle Brodek at 207.255.3345. More information about the 4-H public speaking program is available online at https://extension.umaine.edu/washington/washington4hpublicspeaking/



What do you want to accomplish this year? Project Records can help!project record

As we close the doors to 2023 and are greeted by a new year, this is a great time for 4-Hers to reflect on what they’ve accomplished in 2023 and what they want to accomplish in 2024. Use our Project Records to help! What goals do you have for this year? What are some actions that would help in accomplishing those goals? More information about UMaine 4-H Project Records is available online at https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/volunteers/project-records/.

Or watch this video from Megan Cook, 4-H Youth Development Professional in Aroostook County, to learn how to find, fill out and submit project records.


4-H Science Fridays

We’re back! Join 4-H Youth Professional, Gabby Brodek, and special guests at 4-H Science Fridays at UMM for more fun science activities throughout the 2024 year! Gabby will be hosting a 4-H Science Friday one Friday a month from February to October so youth can get familiar with the University of Maine at Machias campus, explore cool science topics and skills and spend time outside.

On the 4th Friday* of each month Washington County 4-H will host an hour and a half program on the University of Maine at Machias campus where youth will explore a science topic. These programs are free and are targeted towards youth ages 9-13.  *3rd Friday in June and August

Ice Cores – February 23rd, 3-4:30pm

ice cubes
Photo by Enrique Zafra on Pexels

Location: Science Building, 116 O’Brien Ave, Machias

Join Gabby Brodek and special guest Daniel Dixon, ice core drilling specialist from the University of Maine, to explore what information ice cores are able to tell us about environmental conditions from the past by investigating your own ice core model! Dan has been on more than 10 ice core expeditions, helped develop the Ice Core Drill for the Everest Expedition and is the Director of Sustainability at UMaine!

Geared towards youth ages 9-13 and is limited to 12 participants.

For more information about upcoming sessions and to register, visit the website [extension.umaine.edu/washington/4-h-science-fridays-at-umaine-machias].


Oh Yea! 4-H Grows True Leaders

Oh Yea! 4-H Grows True Leaders hit the ground running at the start of the new year. The program is headed by 4-H Development Professional, Jason Palomo, and the newest workshop on aquaponics started on Jan. 5 th at Princeton Elementary School. long with help of the aquaculture specialist, Carla Scocchi. Using grant funds from both Oh Yea! 4-H and the USDA-NIFA, the aquaculture specialist, Carl Scocchi will be providing her expertise on all things aquatic. The students will be receiving their own aquarium and aquaponics system to create a farming technique that utilizes fish water to provide nutrients in the growth of edible plants. The workshop is so intensive that it will run the entire spring semester. Milbridge will begin the same workshop on Jan. 9th.

Also, Oh Yea! 4-H will be joining Washington County’s Education Specialist, Gabbie Brodek, in providing a Public Speaking Workshop in preparation for the county’s 4-H Public Speaking competition. All participants will be scored individually, and those with adequate scores may compete on the state level. The introduction workshop will be on January 27th.

Finally, Oh Yea! 4-H has created a Youth Development Program for teenagers that will meet monthly to strengthen club norms and to choose a community project that seeks to improve and enhance Downeast communities, especially their teens. Currently, seven members are preparing to attend the national 4-H Ignite Summit in Washington D.C. in March.


4-H Forest Health SPIN Club

Youth participants utilized leadership skills during the Forest Health SPIN by identifying forest-related games they have learned and leading the group in playing them. Unfortunately field trips for this crew were canceled due to weather conditions.


4-H Seasonal Crafts Around the World SPIN Club

There was plenty of holiday cheer to go around during these SPIN club meetings! Youth had a blast learning about the customs and traditions that are celebrated around the world during the months of November and December, and were extremely proud of their origami wreaths and hanging decorations.


Cobscook Currents 4-H Club

The Cobscook Current 4-H Club and community members spread joy and seasonal cheer as they helped assemble dozens of gift bags and hand-delivered them to brighten the holidays for several elderly residents in the Edmunds area. 

The heartwarming community service project, organized by Debbie Leighton for the past 33 years, has become an annual tradition, anticipated by the volunteers and the seniors.

For an hour, a few of the club members along with some students from Edmunds school and several community members, filled snowman decorated bags in an assembly line setup. A special appearance by Santa Claus brought an extra dose of holiday magic to the event as he joined the community to help pack the goodie bags.

“The joy of giving and the understanding of the impact that small acts of kindness can have on others, is a valuable lesson for our youth,” said Jane Bell, one of the leaders of the 4-H Club. “The event is a wonderful opportunity for them to connect with the seniors in our community and spread holiday cheer.”

All the gift bags were filled with an assortment of seasonal treats, including homemade fudge and candy. In addition, several students from Edmunds School had also crafted festive decorations to add a personal touch to each bag. The 4-H club members also contributed by baking cookies that were included in the bags. 

“It feels good to do something good for the world,” said Theo M., a 4-H club member. 

Once assembled, the gift bags were distributed to seniors within a 15-mile radius of the school with the help of volunteers, 4-H club members and their parents. The groups visited several individual homes, brightening the day of the elderly residents.

Bell said the reactions from the seniors were heartwarming and filled with gratitude. Many expressed their appreciation for the thoughtful gesture and the opportunity to connect with the younger generation. The gift bags not only brought joy but also served as a reminder that they are valued members of the community.

“The young volunteers received heartfelt thanks and, in some cases, even hugs,” said Bell. 

Looking ahead, the Cobscook Currents Club is already planning to participate in the project next year. Bell said the creation and delivery of the seasonal bags in the Edmunds area is a special event that has spread cheer for over three decades.

“The event not only brings joy to the seniors, but also teaches the club members the value of community service and working together,” said Bell.


4-H Policy A.1.9 Use of Photographs of People
Whenever 4-H staff or volunteers use photographs of people in a publication (including newspaper articles) or a web page, we must obtain a signed release from the people in the pictures. If the faces can’t be recognized, because they are too small, turned away from the camera, or blocked by another person or object, no release is necessary. If the person is recognizable, a signed release is necessary.

Do not rely on a verbal okay to use a photo, particularly if the picture is of a child. Get written permission from the child’s legal guardian. You can use the 4-H Program Participation Permission, Agreements, and Photo Release Form  (Word | PDF).

Many counties ask parents to sign the Release Form when members enroll at the beginning of the 4-H year. This release form would be valid for one year. Images for which you have a signed release may be used at any time. Otherwise, the most convenient time to get a release signed is when participants sign up for an event or program or at a preplanned photo shoot, before any pictures are taken. Make it a practice. Keep all your signed release forms in an easy-to-find file. Volunteers please submit your completed photo release forms to the county office.

If you’re submitting a picture of a 4-H member to the media, you must have a signed release form.

Do not put photos of children on web pages (including social media) that identify the names or locations of the children, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SIGNED RELEASE FORM FROM THE CHILD’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. For example, do not use pictures of children standing in front of their homes, schools, well-known landmarks, or places with obvious signs posted nearby. Don’t include captions beneath your photos that include the child’s last name, home address or any address that locates the child. This simple practice will help ensure the safety of the children who participate in our programs. It’s unfortunate we have to take precautions of this nature, but that’s the reality. Internet predators are real. Please do all you can to protect the anonymity of our 4-H members and their families.


News from the State

Start Your 4-H Volunteer Journey
Do you know someone who is interested in becoming a 4-H Volunteer? Tell them to Start Their 4-H Volunteer Journey!

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a two-part online informational session for adults interested in becoming Maine 4-H volunteers on Jan. 16 & 23 from 6 – 7 p.m. “Start Your 4-H Volunteer Journey” will provide participants with information about the UMaine Extension 4-H youth development program through four short e-Learning modules. Attendees will also participate in an experimental learning activity, learn about the key aspects of positive youth development, and be introduced to ages and stages of youth. The two one-hour virtual sessions will wrap up with an outline of next steps and an introduction to a county staff contact to help with the application process if desired.

Registration is required. The sessions are free. To register, visit our website.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Jennifer Lobley, jennifer.lobley@maine.edu, 207.255.3345.


Solar Eclipse Coming to Maine!
On April 8th, 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 NASAthat 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 8th.

Stay tuned for more eclipse information and opportunities!


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 to 15 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 7, February 14, and February 28. On-site workshops will be held at participating sugarhouses following the virtual sessions.

Club leaders who would like to have their club participate in this program, please contact your 4-H County Professional or Andrew Hudacs by Monday, January 29, 2024: andrew.hudacs@maine.edu, (207) 581-8204.

Youth who are interested in the program but are not a member of a participating club are welcome to register.  Travel beyond their home county may be required to attend onsite sessions. Registration ends: February 5, 2024.


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 27th, so supplies can be mailed to attendees’ homes.

Dates: Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00, April 9, 2024 through May 11th.

In person field day at SMCC, South Portland (optional) scheduled in South Portland on April 13th (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 13th(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.


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 at umaine.edu/tanglewood/employment/ 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. More information: umaine.edu/tanglewood/st-george-school-programs/young-explorers-day-program/.


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:
January 10 – Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Programs
February 13 – Be a Positive Communicator
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!  


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 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.


Fryeburg Market Animal Intents Now Available
Intent to sell forms for Fryeburg market projects are now available at umaine.edu/4h/animal-science-resources. Steers must be owned and in the possession of the 4-H member by December 31st and intent forms, including RFID tags, bill of sale, and photos of the steer must be submitted by January 5th. Lambs must be owned and in the possession of the 4-H member by June 1st and intent forms, including bill of sale, scrapie tag number, and photos of the animal, must be submitted by June 5th. For more information on 4-H market animal projects please contact your county cooperative extension office or call 207.581.3877.


Maine 4-H ESE Beef Intent to Participate Forms are Now Available
The 2024 Maine 4-H Beef ESE Intent to Participate form is now available online and must be submitted by January 15, 2024. This is a requirement for all youth intending to participate as members of the Maine 4-H Beef Team at the Eastern States Exposition in September. Youth must be 12-18 years old as of December 31, 2023 and have completed one year in a beef project prior to this year. Please contact Kristen Grondin, kristen.grondin@maine.edu, 207.581.8193, with any questions.


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, 2024 to be held in Atlanta, GA.  Interviews for both these trips will be set for Friday and Saturday February 9th and 10th, 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.palmer@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.palmer@umaine.edu.


National 4-H Congress, November, 2023
National Congress this year was held in Atlanta GA.  Maine sent three delegates and one chaperone in November.  Congratulations to Kendall S. and Sadie O. from Cumberland County, Nathan D. from Waldo County, and our chaperone, Jenn Grant from Cumberland County.  A very special “thanks” to Jenn for agreeing to chaperone.  Congratulations to our Maine delegation!


ESE 4-H Dairy Intent Forms
The 2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Eastern States intent to participate form is available online at https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/dairy/. 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.eduor 207.342.5971 with any questions.


2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl Contest
The Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl contest will be held on February 17th 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 17th, the event will be rescheduled for February 24th.

For a complete set of rules for the contest, study materials, and directions to the venue please visit https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/dairy/. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation please contact Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu.