BATON ROUGE, La. – 4-H’ers from Naval bases in New Jersey and Florida spent almost two weeks in south Louisiana as part of the 4-H Navy Military Partnership Specialty Camp.
The purpose of the summer program was to reinforce science, technology, engineering and math concepts for these 16 Navy 4-H high school youth, according to Tanya Giroir, LSU AgCenter 4-H events coordinator.
The participants in the program were involved in projects that helped them to better understand the uniqueness of the Louisiana coastal areas, Giroir said.
“We were able to bring our partnerships to bear, and this made for a very educational experience for these teens,” Giroir said.
Caitie Davis, 4-H military program assistant, and Heather Egger, AgCenter 4-H agent from Plaquemine Parish, travelled with the group as they spent time in Grand Isle, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in Cocodrie, Port Fourchon, the Coastal Education and Research Facility at the University of New Orleans, the WWII Museum in New Orleans and a canoe trip from Mandeville down Cane Bayou to Lake Pontchartrain.
During the nine-day field trip, the students had an opportunity to see first-hand how important the Louisiana coast is to the country.
“Heather has a lot of experience in leading this type of camp because of her background in wetlands research and coastal geology,” Davis said.
At UNO, the group took some water samples and used GPS to map all of the areas they visited. At Grand Isle they used surveying equipment to profile the beach and visited the oyster hatchery, Davis said.
At LUMCON, the group was able to go out on a research vessel while there and the staff conducted a workshop to explain what they do, Davis said.
“While we were out on the research vessel we trawled and got to check out some of the wildlife out there,” Davis said.
“The students had fun, educational activities at each of the locations. “At LUMCON, they separated into two teams of girls and two teams of boys and built submersible robots out of PVC pipe,” Davis said.
Giroir said this was one of a few military specialty camps held across the country each year.
“I was really excited to get the camp here because it shows these students who maybe have never been to Louisiana some of the research projects that are conducted on our coast,” Giroir said.
The students were given waterproof journals to track their activities and to help them remember the important projects they saw and discussed during their visit.
Davis said the students were given a pretest and a posttest to measure how informative the camp was to them.
“We found from the posttest that the students had a very positive experience,” Davis said.Johnny Morgan
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