OSU extension 4-H program wins national recognition

December 29, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program - a partnership between Oregon 4-H and public schools to teach children about nature, science and the environment - has won two national achievement awards.

The National 4-H Council presented the 2005 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Youth Environmental Award to the Oregon 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. Sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National 4-H Council award includes $7,500.

The council is a national, non-profit partner of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System.

Last fall, OSU's Wildlife Stewards program received the Wildlife Society's Group Achievement Award for "outstanding accomplishments to benefit wildlife." The society is an international, non-profit scientific and educational organization of wildlife conservation and resource management professionals.

The NRCS Youth Environmental Award citation commended the Wildlife Stewards Program for "changing the way 4-H faculty and staff deliver 4-H programs and creating new ways for parents and teachers to work together in providing informal science education inside and outside of the classroom."

"These awards are great recognition for all the volunteers and Extension 4-H faculty who have built the 4-H Wildlife Stewards into a nationally recognized model program," said Roger Rennekamp, OSU Extension 4-H statewide program leader.

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards program trains volunteers who partner with K-12 educators to create and sustain wildlife habitat education sites on school grounds that allow students to experience some of the science they learn in class. Volunteer wildlife stewards use these sites as outdoor laboratories to help students gain a better understanding and appreciation of science, wildlife and natural resources topics.

In return for 25-30 hours of training, the stewards volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of service. Trained 4-H Wildlife Stewards volunteer in 54 schools in 19 Oregon counties, according to Maureen Hosty, OSU Extension 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program coordinator. "These volunteers, and the students and teachers they work with, are doing a wonderful job of improving our environment and helping young people to become good stewards of our natural heritage," said Hosty.

Author: Bob Rost
Source: Maureen Hosty