Three Cape May County youth were part of the 28 teens representing the New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program at the National 4-H Agri-Science Youth Summit held March 10-13, 2022, in Washington D.C.
The purpose of the summit was to provide youth with an opportunity to learn about and develop an understanding of the critical role of agricultural science innovation in addressing world food issues. Nearly 350 youth and adults representing 33 states attended the summit. All NJ youth were supported by full scholarships in partnership with National 4-H, Corteva Agriscience, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
New Jersey delegates attending the summit included: Emilia Aris
Andrew Cadwallader, Jude Campbell, Christian Chigo, Leela Colley, Kayleen De Matos, Juliana Edokpolor, Ariel Estrada, Kaitlyn Flynn, Erick Garcia, Aracelis Hannah, Mariah Hariram, Jesus Hernandez, Kevin Lopez, Scout Lowrie, Felicia Mahamoody, Gabriela and Susana Mejia, Terique Miller, Gabrielle Napolitano, Jasmine Narine, Prina Patel, Cyrard Phillips, Luis Ramos, Loriann Rego, Anais Rodriguez-Gomez, Ashley Sanchez, Kareena Singh and Sylia Snyder.
Sylia Snyder, a 10th grade student at Cape May County Technical High School in Cape May Court House, enjoyed her experience at the summit. “I think my favorite workshop was “Growing with the Planet in Mind.” We learned how to make seed balls out of paper and flower seeds, and I got to share my ideas on how to start my own garden using recycled containers.”
Hudson County 4-H Program Associate Claudia Urdanivia chaperoned the teens and had this to say, “the National 4-H AgriScience Summit was an engaging learning and networking opportunity for the 28 New Jersey youth delegates from various regions of the state. For many of the youth from urban communities, this experience highlighted the many ways that agriculture and food systems are relevant in their lives and how it impacts their communities. In addition to hearing keynote speakers, attending workshops, and meeting youth from across the country, the youth delegates created a community action plan focused on pollinator habitats and bee keeping to engage their peers and communities. This diverse group of youth also made lasting friendships with peers from across New Jersey and plan to continue collaborating through their community action plan and beyond.”
Other NJ educators chaperoning the teens included Daniel Delcher and Amarilys Olivo-Mockabee, 4-H volunteers and Agricultural Science Instructors at Essex County Schools of Technology–West Caldwell Tech Campus; Lana Mustafa, 4-H Community Assistant and Director at Montclair Community Farm; Camden County 4-H Program Assistant Shaquille Sanchez, and Cape May County 4-H Program Coordinator Linda Horner.
Many of the teens will now carry these ideas forward this year as part of two Lead to Change Projects developed at the summit.
South Jersey teens will participate in a New Jersey 4-H Pollinator Habitat grant from National 4-H Council and Corteva Agriscience. The teens will serve as Pollinator Habitat Ambassadors and will earn community service hours by planting pollinator gardens and educating younger children about the critical importance of pollinators in producing adequate food to feed this nation and the world.
Snyder will be a part of this Pollinator Habitat Ambassador Team. “I am excited to be a pollinator ambassador and to help educate children about the importance of all species of pollinators. Many people know about Monarch Butterflies and the decline in their species, but there are many other species of bees, flies and moths that are critical as well. That’s where I hope to make some impact.” Fellow Cape May County attendees Kaitlyn Flynn and Jude Campbell also intend to serve as Pollinator Habitat Ambassadors this summer.
North Jersey teens are pursuing a grant from National 4-H Council that will fund a project to expand urban gardening efforts and beekeeping in urban communities. Like their South Jersey peers, their goal is to increase awareness of the importance of pollinators and find ways to increase pollinator populations.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station – Cooperative Extension. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13(one year out of high school), on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status and any other category protected by law.
For more information about the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program visit https://capemay.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h/