4-H News in Washington County – February 2024

Table of Contents

Dates to Remember
Cobscook Currents 4-H Club Updates
Oh Yea 4-H Grows True Leaders Updates
4-H Public Speaking Workshop
Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament
4-H Science Fridays
4-H at Winter Family Fun Day
News from the State

Dates to Remember

February 14 & 28: Maple Sugaring 101
February 17: 2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Quizbowl Contest
February 17: ESE 4-H Dairy Intent Forms
February 13:
 4-H Volunteer Connections – Be a Positive Communicator
February 23: 4-H Science Friday- Ice Cores
February 23: Registration Deadline for Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament
February 24: DCC Winter Family Fun Day, Middle River Park, Machias
March 7: Total Eclipse Prep Party for 4-H Volunteers
March 9: Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament, UMaine Machias
March 10: Snow Date: Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament
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.


Cobscook Currents 4-H Club Update

Cobscook Currents 4-H Club recently began an animal science project where members are learning how animals are raised for meat, fibre, milk, and other products. 

Some club members also attended the 4-H Public Speaking Workshop on January 27th. Ira and Soren presented illustrated talks from previous years helping youth new to public speaking learn the proper techniques of a 4-H Illustrated Talk. Members are working on their presentations for the 4-H Public Speaking Tournament in March. 

youth with pigs in a barn
Photo by Jane Bell.
youth with pigs
Photo by Jane Bell.


Oh Yea 4-H Grows True Leaders Updates

January was a busy month for the Oh Yea! 4-H Grows True Leaders! In addition to kicking off the new year with an Aquaponics Workshop for elementary school kids in Princeton and Milbridge, Oh Yea! enticed new members to its first Youth Development meeting with a trip to the Penobscot Skate Arena in Brewer, ME.

A handful of Oh Yea! members – not to be deterred by snowy conditions – also attended the Public Speaking Workshop where Gabrielle Brodek introduced the rules and tactics of presenting a public oration at the upcoming regional Public Speaking Competition that takes place on March 9 the on the UMM campus.

While the youngsters gain knowledge about aquarium care and the older members are getting ready for their trip to the 4-H Ignite Teen Summit in Washington D.C., some Oh Yea! members will participate in the Starting Seeds Indoors workshop presented by the Horticulture Specialist, Kate Garland, at the Bangor Public Library on Feb. 10th . Still others will be manning a craft table at Machias’ Winter Family Fun Day on Feb. 24 th at Middle River Park. Keep tuned for the upcoming state Public Speaking Competition in Orono and a Solar Eclipse party in Princeton, both in the month of April.

youth looking at flash cards fish tank


Public Speaking Workshop

At the end of January youth gathered at the University of Maine at Machias campus to learn about Maine 4-H’s Public Speaking Program. The successful day revolved around youth participating in hands-on activities about how to structure a talk and the 4-H youth who presented talks from previous years. “I am really excited to see this program grow, especially because the 4-Hers who have participated in the program year after year are the ones leading the charge. When they share their experiences, previous talks and how they have developed their confidence over the years – it’s more meaningful.” says Gabby Brodek, 4-H Youth Development Professional.

Youth and 4-H professional stand in front of room to discuss public speaking. youth and 4-H professional gather around a table at the public speaking workshop.


Register for the Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament

Please remember to register for the Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament. Registration deadline is Friday, February 23, 2024. The event will take place on Saturday, March 9, 2024 with a snow date of Sunday, March 10, 2024 at the  University of Maine Machias, Science Building, Room 102 at 10:00 a.m. We look forward to your demonstrations and illustrated talks!


4-H Science Fridays

Pexels photo: Cheney

4-H will offer 4-H Science Fridays beginning Feb. 23. Youth, ages nine to fourteen, will meet with 4-H Professional, Gabby Brodek, one Friday a month February through October on the campus of the University of Maine at Machias.

This club will focus on exploring science topics and skills, spending time outside, and becoming; familiar with the University of Maine at Machias campus. Sessions include Ice Cores on Feb. 23, Eclipse Investigations on Mar. 22, and Vernal Pools on May 24.

The events are free; registration is required. Register and find more information on the program webpage. For more information or to request reasonable accommodation, contact 207.255.3345; gabrielle.brodek@maine.edu.


4-H at Winter Family Fun Day

4-H will be participating in the Downeast Coastal Conservancy Winter Family Fun Day. This event will take place on Saturday, February 24th from 11am-1pm at the Middle River Park in Machias. Activities include sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, bonfire, food and decorated cardboard-box sled contest! Prizes for Best Design & Fastest Down the Hill! Register your sled in advance at downeastcoastalconservancy.org/event/winter-family-fun-day-2.

News from the State

Solar Eclipse Coming to Maine!
On April 8th, 2024 Maine will experience a full solar eclipse. The last time Maine experienced this was in 1963, and the next one won’t be until 2079!

How we react and experience solar eclipses today may look different from the past and/or across cultures. The oldest known recorded eclipse is in 3340 B.C.E. based on petroglyphs found in Ireland. Around 1200 B.C.E scribes in China recorded experiences of eclipses, which later helped scientists calculate the speed of Earth’s spin. In some cultures it is believed that the sun is being eaten by a creature, as the beginning stages of an eclipse look like a bite has been taken out. For some, a solar eclipse is seen as a rebirth and for others it represents a scary, uncertain time and they do not go outside. Learn more about the history of eclipses.

Whether you are creating new eclipse traditions or following generational experiences, you can find helpful information for eclipse safety guidelines and preparing audiences.

See “Total Eclipse Prep Party for 4-H Volunteers” to learn more about how you can participate!

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.

Volunteer Connections- 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

Tidepool Immersion Discovery + Ecology Workshop Series
The 4-H Tidepool Immersion Discovery + Ecology Workshop Series will 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. University of New England graduate students Emily and Sam will lead the workshop. An optional in person field day exploring tide pools is scheduled for Saturday, April 13th.

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

Ages 13-18

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 L. 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:
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.

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@maine.edu.

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.edu or 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.