4-H News in Washington County – April 2024

Table of Contents

Dates to Remember
Welcome Becca Whitney, 4-H Community Education Assistant
Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament
Cobscook Currents 4-H Club 
Oh Yea 4-H Grows True Leaders Updates
4-H Camp and Learning Centers Scholarships Available
4-H Member & Volunteer Insurance
Virtual Rainbow Summit
4-H Science Fridays
Save the Date: Washington County Extension Association Annual Meeting
News from the State

Dates to Remember

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 13: Maine 4-H Dairy Judging Contest 
April 18-19:
Maine Agriculture Symposium at the University of Maine
April 22:
4-H Solar Eclipse Wrap-Up Extravaganza
April 24-May 5: Farm Animal Care SPIN Club – FUNdamentals
April 25-26: Virtual Rainbow Summit
April 26: 4-H Science Friday
May 1: Equine ESE Intent forms Due
May 11: Washington County Extension Association Annual Meeting
May 24: 4-H Science Friday-Vernal Pools
June 5:
Fryeburg Market Lamb Intent to Participate Deadline
June 14: 4-H Camp and Learning Center Scholarship Deadline
June 20-27: Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), Washington D.C.
July 19-21: Maine 4-H Days


Welcome Becca Whitney, 4-H Community Education Assistant

Becca Whitney is the new Community Education Assistant for Washington County. Becca’s position is possible under the NASA-funded Learning Ecosystems Northeast (LENE) grant and her 4-H areas of focus are STEM, climate, and data literacy. Becca has many fond memories of attending and volunteering at 4-H science camp in Whitneyville as a child and young adult. She has recently returned to Washington County after ten years away and is very excited to get involved in connecting our local educators via 4-H and volunteering for other community programs. 


Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament

Local 4-H youth conquer the common fear of public speaking by sharing their sparks through public speaking talks. Through the annual 4-H public speaking program youth work with 4-H volunteers, club leaders, parents and peers to develop a demonstrative or illustrated talk about something they are passionate about, in turn growing their public speaking skills and confidence. Youth presented their talks and taught the audience something new at the Washington County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament, which was held on Saturday, March 9th at the University of Maine at Machias campus.

Here are the presentations and results:

Junior Division (ages 9-13)

Ira D., Cobscook Currents 4-H Club, All about Pigs

Théo M., Cobscook Currents 4-H Club, How to  make a Top Water Popping Fishing Lure

Ruth B., Cobscook Currents 4-H Club, Newborn to New Mom – Path to a Dairy Cow

Soren D., Cobscook Currents 4-H Club, D&D Monsters: Adding to your Adversary

All junior division participants received blue ribbons and qualified to present their talks at the Maine State 4-H Public Speaking Tournament on Saturday, April 6th at the University of Maine in Orono. Help us wish them luck as they compete with 4-Hers across the state!


Cobscook Currents 4-H Club 

Mark Wren shared his love and expertise of ice fishing with the Cobscook Currents 4-H Club. Mark first asked for a show of hands of how many folks had been ice fishing.  Over the last 20 years he has fished on many lakes throughout Washington County and has instructed hundreds of folks, young and old, on the fine art and sport of ice fishing.

Mark’s first message to the group was safety first! Appropriate clothing and boots and knowing the depth of the ice are necessary.  The ice chisel he showed them determines the depth of the ice.

He reminded the club of the state fishing regulations to gain knowledge of the body of water and understanding which fish may be taken and how many. Mark showed them the variety of ice augers: hand, gas, and battery powered. They learned about several kinds of tip ups, and how to set them according to wind direction to minimize false flags.

Mark demonstrated a small jigging rod that can be used if the fisherman secures it right at the hole.  He shared a story about him losing a fish and the rod fearing it was lost forever.  Later, he caught a fish in another hole plus his tiny pole, creating a real challenge to get them both up through the hole! At the end of the talk, Mark gathered the fishing items and placed them in the pack basket that he carries. 

The club thoroughly enjoyed the learning opportunity, and Mark offered to take them ice fishing next year!

man shows youth how to ice fish

volunteer shows youth how to ice fish
Photos by Jane Bell


Oh Yea 4-H Grows True Leaders Updates

This month is a very busy month for the Oh Yea! 4-H Grows True Leaders program.  The youths at Princeton Elementary and those in Milbridge will be excited to know that their fish tanks are finally acclimated probably to introduce their long-awaited fish.  Each tank will receive some Platy fish, Guppies, and a Beta fish.  Now that the kids have written their mock grant proposals, they are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their own tanks and aquaponic systems.

Youth work on a hydroponic project.

Our program would have been amiss if we hadn’t prepared our youngsters for the great Eclipse of 2024, so with the help of Gabrielle Brodek, 4-H Youth Development Professional, we crafted an eclipse garland for the kiddos’ rooms and an excellent eclipse model that casted a shadow on our mocked-up earth.  Each child received a bag of goodies which included an information pamphlet and all the materials to complete both activities with their families at home. After our Eclipse seminar, everyone certainly walked away with a better understanding about this rare event taking place on April 8th

Youth learns about the eclipse by making a model. youth works on eclipse project

 The 4-H teens will reconvene for the first time since their Washington D.C. trip where they attended the 4-H Ignite Teen Summit in March.  Although the trip was not without snags, none were caused by our participants, who were perfect gentlepersons and scholars. 

Now they have some real work ahead:  The teens will be manning a 4-H table at the Dia de los Niños event on April 20th at Milbridge Elementary, which is sponsored by the Milbridge Public Library, Mano en Mano, and other community organizations.  The Oh Yea! 4-H program has acquired some basic screen-printing equipment and will be demonstrating the printing process to children who will be able to “pull ink” onto their own mix-media, from t-shirts to paper.  Participation in this activity is part of their teen-teaching requirements to receive further benefits from the Oh Yea! 4-H grant.  We will be doing this and more at the 4-H Days campground in Windsor, ME coming soon later this year, so stay tuned!


4-H Camp and Learning Centers Scholarships Available

We are currently accepting requests for scholarships to attend camp at one of the 4-H Camp and Learning Centers in Maine. Youth must currently be enrolled in the Washington County 4-H Program and registered for camp. Please complete the 4-H Camp Scholarship request form by June 14, 2024 to apply.  A limited number of scholarships are available and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These scholarships are in addition to ones being provided by the 4-H Camp and Learning Centers. 


4-H Member & Volunteer Insurance

The Washington County Cooperative Extension 4-H has renewed our American Income Life Accident Insurance for all enrolled Washington County 4-H youth and volunteers. Please contact the office if you have any questions.


Virtual Rainbow Summit

The Virtual Rainbow Summit is an annual free 4-H event for LGBTQIA+ youth, families, professionals and allies, providing resources and networking opportunities to benefit the physical, mental, emotional and social health and wellness of all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The summit will take place April 25-27, 2024. Click here for more information and to register for the event.


4-H Science Fridays

In March, youth spent time preparing and planning for the Maine Solar Eclipse! Youth modeled what happens in order for a total solar eclipse to occur and learned how they can participate in eclipse-related community science. The highlight of the program for many youth was building a pinhole camera and practicing how to use it in order to safely view the eclipse on April 8th. 


Save the Date: Washington County Extension Association Annual Meeting-May 11, 2024

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting an annual meeting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Washington County office, 116 O’Brien Avenue on the campus of the University of Maine Machias. Rain location is Kilburn Commons cafeteria.

This free, public event will include a meal and showcase many programs and services offered by Extension including 4-H, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), horticulture, sustainable agriculture and livestock. Attendees can pick up free seeds, herbs, tick spoons and soil tests while supplies last. Youth will enjoy a goat petting zoo and nutrition activity. 

The event also includes the annual meeting of the Washington County Extension Association where the Norman W. Duzen Community Service Award and University of Maine Volunteer Pen Awards will be presented. 4-H members will be giving a presentation on national trips!

For more information and to RSVP for the meal, visit the Washington Extension Annual Meeting webpage by May 3. Responses are encouraged, but not required. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Tara Wood at 207.255.3345 or tara.a.wood@maine.edu.


News from the State

Are you ready?! How to prepare for the Maine Solar Eclipse
First, it is good to know some background information about what you will see on Monday, April 8th. A solar eclipse occurs when 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. 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 when the center of the Moon’s shadow hits the earth, the sky goes dark and we can experience changes in temperature and sounds. Watch this solar eclipse animation from NASA for a visual.

Second, in order to watch the solar eclipse, you will need to wear eclipse glasses or use a pinhole camera. This means at all times except for totality when the moon completely covers the Sun’s face (yes, even if it’s cloudy or raining).

The only safe way to view partial phases of the eclipse is with viewing (eclipse) glasses or through a handheld solar viewing (i.e. a pinhole camera)

Do not view partial eclipse phases with sunglasses, through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope.

If your viewing glasses are damaged in any way, discard them and do not use them.

You can view the eclipse directly without eye protection only when the moon completely blocks the Sun’s face (totality) 

Third, plan ahead for viewing the eclipse. If you are traveling, be aware that Maine is expecting an influx of travelers, so plan for traffic, packed gas stations and restaurants. Here are a few suggested items to bring with you to experience the solar eclipse:

  • Eclipse viewing glasses and/or pinhole camera
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Snacks, water
  • First Aid kit
  • A comfortable spot for viewing (ex: folding chairs, blankets for warmth)


4-H Market Lamb Intent for Fryeburg Fair
Youth planning to participate in the Market Lamb program at Fryeburg Fair need to submit the 2024 Fryeburg Fair Market Lamb Intent form by June 5th. An online form is available, otherwise youth can print and mail a copy downloaded from the website.


4-H Dairy Judging Contest
The 2024 Maine 4-H Dairy Judging Contest will be held on April 13th at Quimby Farm in Albion, ME and Springdale Farm in Waldo, ME.  The event is open to all enrolled 4-H dairy members and will serve as the official tryouts for the 2024 Maine 4-H Eastern States Dairy Judging Team.

For a complete schedule for the day please visit https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/animal-science-resources/dairy/judging/.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation please contact Sadee Mehuren at sadee.mehuren@maine.edu or 207.342.5971.


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:
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.


Equine ESE Intent forms Due May 1, 2024
The 2024 Eastern States (ESE) Horse Intent Form is now live and online.  The form indicates your interest in participating in the Eastern States Team Tryout event this summer.  The event this year will offer a weekend opportunity for youth to qualify and to learn and grow while getting to know other youth who are also interested in trying out. Youth can try out to be a Teen Leader (4-H age 12 and up) or to be a Rider or Driver (4-H age 13 and up).

More details will go out to those who fill out the intent forms in the registration packets.  The intent form does not bind you to the tryout event. Applications will be used to determine the event roster.

Here is the ESE intent form to be filled out by May 1st. Approval forms must also be filled out and sent to your county office by May 1st as well.

If you have any questions, please reach out to: Tara Marble, tara.marble@maine.edu, or 207.778.4650.


New SPIN Club: Farm Animal Care – FUNdamentals
Are you interested in learning about livestock animals (such as cows, goats or sheep)? How to care for them? How do you know what to feed them, how do you actually do regular health checks and have proper housing? Join the 4-H Animal Science SPIN club. We will have 3 virtual sessions focused on what livestock need to live a healthy life and one field day that provides hands-on experience. Set yourself up for success in your 4-H project by learning the basics of animal care. Participants do not need to have any prior animal experience or currently own livestock to participate. This is a beginner/introductory level program.

Virtual sessions will be on Wednesdays, April 24, May 1, and May 8, 2024. An Optional in-person field day will take place Saturday, May 4.

This club is open to youth ages 9 – 18, space is limited to 15 participants.

More information and registration are available online. Registration closes April 8, 2024.


Save the Date: Maine 4-H Days is Happening in 2024!
Where: Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor, Maine
When: Friday evening, July 19 – Saturday, July 20. Animal Science tracks are being scheduled from Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21.
Workshop sessions for Saturday are still needed. If you know anyone who might want to run a workshop on Saturday, please reach out to Karen Giles (karen.giles@maine.edu) via email or phone: 207.474.9622.

All workshop forms are due by May 1, 2024.

Registration for the event for 4-H’ers and their families will be opening in mid-May. More information is coming soon.  We can’t wait to see you there!