Terril D. Faul, Coolman, Denise, Coreil, Paul D. | 4/19/2005 10:29:09 PM
Carl Meaux of Lafayette is happy to learn that electronics are being used in conjunction with other fields to make life easier for people living in Louisiana.
Meaux was one of about 1,800 Louisiana 4-H’ers and adult volunteers who attended 4-H University, formerly known as 4-H Short Course, on the LSU campus June 22-25 in Baton Rouge.
Meaux, who graduated from high school in May, is attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and majoring in electronics. He said the topics discussed during the "Bio-engineering" lecture at 4-H University were interesting and helped assure him he is making the right decision to major in electronics in college.
"I like finding out how electronics are being integrated into other fields," Meaux said. "I like learning about research that is going on in electronics."
Some of the research discussed during the bio-engineering tour included autonomous machinery such as a crawfish harvester, as well as a plane with a camera that can be used to determine how much fertilizer or other nutrients are needed in a field. Other discussions were about the design of a therapeutic glove to use for treating arthritis.
"In this building is a breadth of biological engineering like nowhere else," said Matt Campbell, an LSU engineering graduate student. "What we do here is try to get the latest technology out to the public at the lowest cost possible."
The 4-H’ers also learned about arboriculture, or tree care, during the variety of educational events offered at 4-H University.
Dr. Hallie Dozier of the LSU AgCenter’s School of Renewable Natural Resources said those sessions covered traditional forestry, as well as urban forestry.
"The difference in traditional and urban forestry is that traditional forestry involves growing trees for production of paper, lumber and other things," Dozier said. "Urban forestry is about growing trees for the benefits trees give us."
Some benefits trees offer include filtering air and water to make them cleaner, as well as holding the soil and providing shade.
"If we didn’t have trees, our water wouldn’t be clean," Dozier said. "And trees for shade are important for energy conservation in urban areas. We all benefit from having trees in our neighborhoods."
Melissa McClusky from Bossier Parish said she got a "rush" when she swung from the trees on a rope swing. The swing was just like the ones used by professional arborists when they work on trees.
"It was like nothing else I’ve ever done," McClusky said. "I felt like I was free-falling. It was awesome!"
In addition to learning about trees and biological engineering, some of the 4-H’ers also paid a visit to LSU CAMD, the J. Bennett Johnston Sr. Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices. At this stop, the 4-H’ers visited a lab, learned about the microscopic investigation of microscopic devices, heard about electron beams and magnetism and had the chance to turn silver pennies into gold.
"This center is a synchrotron radiation research center," said Dr. John Scott, scientific director for CAMD. "We provide infrastructure for research and education in synchrotron-based science and technology."
CAMD is housed in a 45,000 square-foot building located on a 15-acre site approximately five miles from the LSU campus. Current investigations at CAMD include basic research in the areas of atomic and molecular structure, as well as applied research in the field of microdevice fabrication.
In addition, CAMD is a center where X-ray spectroscopy and microscopy are used to provide powerful analytic tools for materials research, industry and the environment.
Jasper Knighton, a 4-H’er from St. Helena Parish, found the visit to the CAMD building exciting.
"I’m interested in science and things like this," Knighton said. "I’m glad I came to 4-H University and got to see stuff like this."
Introducing young people to subjects like science is just one of the many advantages of going to 4-H University, said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension.
"4-H provides a ‘learning by doing’ experience that school settings cannot adequately provide," Coreil said. "4-H teaches the life skills that young people need to be successful in their jobs and as community service-oriented citizens once they become adults.
"We call it ‘experiential learning.’ Building character, leadership, community service, the future workforce, citizenship and teamwork are the hallmarks of 4-H – in other words building youth who will become leaders now and in the future!"
Louisiana 4-H’ers have been attending 4-H Short Course for 90 years. The name was changed this year to "4-H University" to reflect the much broader spectrum of educational events that were available for the 4-H’ers.
"We’ve always placed emphasis on quality educational sessions for the competitors during this summer event," said Terril Faul, head of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Department. "But now we even have educational events for young people who aren’t competing, as well as a broader range of educational events for competitors."
Other activities at 4-H University included tours of agricultural research farms and facilities and discussions on such topics as alcohol awareness, drug awareness, communicating and dating, peer pressure management and eating disorders. The 4-H’ers also participated in local literacy projects, learned about coastal erosion and delivered stuffed animals to a local charity.
For more information about the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H program in Louisiana and the many opportunities it offers for young people, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.