Northwest Region Newsletter - Nov. 2009

Patrick Colyer, Van Osdell, Mary Ann  |  12/3/2009 10:30:23 PM

Connie Aclin speaks about superfoods at Captain Shreve High School.

Ricky Kilpatrick performs at the Colorado event.

Taylor Roberts assists at the event in Natchitoches.

Events

LSU AgCenter agents assist Shreveport high school in going green day

Two LSU AgCenter agents led workshops for freshmen at Captain Shreve High School at a Gators Go Green event on Nov. 18 that will beautify a new classroom wing addition.

Dr. Grace Peterson, LSU AgCenter community gardening specialist, led the 140 students in removing grass, preparing soil and directing construction for a garden. The students submitted drawings and measurements that were employed in the design. Peterson explained the benefits of placing the garden in the best location to receive the proper sunlight or shade that certain plants need.

Peterson said the garden would benefit the community for years to come. She began the lesson by having the students imagine how it would look in 2020 with “flowers, butterflies, teachers gathered around providing lessons, students tasting fresh vegetables and neighbors enjoying nature.”

Connie Aclin, LSU AgCenter nutrition educator, led a nutrition station on superfoods.

Students learned which foods are packed with nutrients that can prevent chronic diseases and which foods should be planted in a home garden.

The students sampled blueberries, cheese, cranberries, oranges, pecans and sweet potato chips and learned about their benefits.

Working with a team of teachers to establish cross-curricular units of study with a focus on relevant and meaningful projects, Dr. Sherry Kerr coordinated the event, meeting with teachers at a three-day institute this summer. They reviewed brain-based strategies, mapped the ninth grade curriculum and began developing ideas for units of study which bridge content areas.

Maureen Barclay, AP English teacher, submitted a grant proposal to the 8(g) Competitive Grant Fund in February. The proposal was fully funded for $100,000 and will provide technology and resources to students and teachers, including laptop computers, library books, media presentation stations and professional development and support.

Others participating at the event were:

-- Marc Bordelon, soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, who led the students in examining the history and make-up of their soil. Issues of conservation and erosion were discussed and related to real world problems.

-- Shreveport Green, which assisted the students in planting crepe myrtles.

-- Jeff Forte, owner of Quest Recycling, who brought his truck for students to explore the process of tire recycling as well as food waste from large corporations and how to reduce it.

-- Ian MacIntire, manager of Lowe's Home and Garden Center, who assisted in numerous areas such as planting and meeting with the students.

Plants include Muhly grass, azaleas, loropetalum, boxwood, lantana, Aztec grass, verbena and dianthus.

Master Gardeners provided advice and volunteers, and several players on the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs hockey team spoke about teamwork and each person carrying his weight.

Katherine Pace, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent, invited the students to join 4-H, saying they could develop leadership skills through gardening.

Students also filled in adjectives on a large poster about gardening.

“I had a great day today,” said Devonte Henix. “I learned about recycling tires, what it takes for plants to live and that sweet potatoes have more nutrients than broccoli.”

Cameron Perry said he learned that eating healthy foods is not just tasty, but good for your body. “It is important to exercise daily and eat at the right time of day,” he said.

Queen Nyanganso said she learned some foods can prevent diseases. “Choose baked chicken over fried,” she said. ‘Drink 100 percent juice.”

DeSoto Parish schedules events

The DeSoto Parish Cattlemen meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the David B Means 4-H Center in Grand Cane.

Dr. Charles Hutchison, LSU AgCenter animal nutrition specialist, will speak on supplemental feeding of beef cows during the winter.

For more information, contact Chuck Griffin at 318-872-0533.

The DeSoto Parish Livestock Club Annual Livestock Auction of goods and services and barbecue dinner is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m. at the David B. Means 4-H Center.

Money raised will assist Desoto Parish 4-H and FFA exhibitors with livestock projects. For additional information, contact Molly Usrey at 318-872-0533.

Griffin conducted a dairy judging training and contest for approximately 50 4-H'ers at the Vernon Parish Judging Contest Day on Nov. 19.

Kilpatrick presents PLT in Denver

Oil City Elementary principal Mike Irvin and Ricky and Cindy Kilpatrick just returned from Denver where they presented at two functions on the successes of the environmental science program at Oil City and the role Project Learning Tree has played in their program.

Expenses were paid by Colorado PLT and the National PLT office.

On Nov. 20, the trio presented to about 50 people at the Colorado Science Teachers' Conference. Kilpatrick also sang some of the children’s environmental songs for about 200 folks during lunchtime.

They also got to visit Pike's Peak.

Students amazed by LSU AgCenter AgMagic at State Fair of Louisiana

AgMagic, a new event at the State Fair of Louisiana, can be likened to opening a fun encyclopedia.

Only all of the five senses are involved while the learning takes place.

AgMagic is an interactive, visually stimulating, educational experience for children and their families, said Karen Martin, 4-H regional coordinator for the LSU AgCenter, which co-sponsored the event with the State Fair of Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

AgMagic was open during normal fair hours, but guided tours were conducted for 2,000 third- through sixth-graders Nov. 4-6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Among events were counting the years of growth on a large tree “cookie,” digging for vegetables, exploring dirt, chickens and earthworms, smelling herbs, tasting honey, seeing a mini cotton gin run and looking at insects under a microscope.

“I found a potato." "There’s an onion." "I touched two cotton seeds” are just some of the exclamations heard throughout the event.

Part of AgMagic included sampling Louisiana products and learning about their nutritional value.

Children tasted three super foods or functional foods -- pecans, cranberries and sweet potatoes -- then voted on whether they liked or disliked them.

“Super foods give you added health benefits,” said Joan Almond, LSU AgCenter agent in Webster Parish. “They help protect you against disease.”

Other LSU AgCenter agents taught that pecans provide energy, sweet potatoes have fiber to clean the body out and cranberries make great snacks.

It was reported that votes were positive on all three items. “They overwhelmingly liked everything,” said LaDonna Chreene, LSU AgCenter nutrition educator.

“I learned that cranberries are used in medicine,” said Nicholas Payne, who was jotting in his notebook to remember items for a test to be given later.

“Green June bugs have hair,” is what Cody Cathey recalled from thumbing through his notes.

“Pig skin makes a football,” added Travis Simmons.

Visitors finished their AgMagic experience by leaving their mark on the 4-H graffiti wall, playing 4-H hopscotch and seeing the petting zoo.

“Everything was wonderful. It was the best field trip we have ever been on,” said Madora Abney, third-grade teacher at Apollo Elementary School. “Most kids don’t get to see this at all. It was fascinating to see how food gets from the farm to the table.”

Even parents had their favorite exhibits. “I liked the pecan lineup,” said Michael Byrnes. “I didn’t know there were so many kinds.”

“Louisiana 4-H has always been an integral part of the State Fair of Louisiana,” said Chris Giordano, the fair’s president and general manager. “We are honored to be able to give both youth and adults visual and hands-on opportunities that teach them agriculture, which is the ultimate goal of AgMagic at the State Fair.”

4-H

8 Sabine 4-H’ers receive Discovering Tomorrow’s Leaders awards

All eight students in Sabine Parish who received the Discovering Tomorrow’s Leaders awards, a program sponsored by Chesapeake Energy, are members of 4-H.

Each was honored at his school, and the school received a computer. Winners were recognized at a banquet on Nov. 17, where two students received a laptop computer from a random drawing. Sabine Parish 4-H also received a computer.

Discovering Tomorrow’s Leaders is designed to recognize and reward local school students for their citizenship and community involvement. Beginning Sept. 8, one student a week was selected for eight weeks.

Eligible students could be members of 4-H, FFA or Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Nominations were accepted via the general public.

Sabine Parish winners are:

Victoria Arnold, Pleasant Hill High School, who serves on the state 4-H Food and Fitness Board and recently won the state competition in FFA for public speaking.

Julie Barrios, Converse High School, who has served as the Northwest Region’s 4-H representative on the state executive board and is current state 4-H citizenship board chairman.

Haden Ezernack, Ebarb High School, who is an FFA officer and was on the first team from Louisiana to ever compete in agronomy at the National FFA Convention. He also attended the Valley Electric Co-Op Washington, D.C., educational trip and the National Land Grazing Conference in St. Louis, Mo.

Jacob Heard, Many High School, who tutors classmates in chemistry, algebra and Spanish and helps raise money for the Lions Camp, Operation Christmas Child and Toys For Tots. He also has been a Student Council member and class vice president.

Caroline Matthews, Florien Elementary, who has been an officer in her local 4-H Club and has attended 4-H Camp Grant Walker and the 4-H Fashion Camp. She has won first place in the 4-H Cookery Contest, 4-H Fashion Review and the 4-H Sew with Cotton contests.

Joshua Maxie, Florien High School, who serves as FFA vice president and placed at the state level in the floriculture competition. He is Florien 4-H parliamentarian, received a blue ribbon at 4-H University and has served on the state 4-H Food and Fitness Board.

Allie Sattler, Pleasant Hill High School, who has earned blue ribbons for four years at 4-H University and has earned a blue ribbon in FFA for dairy judging. She is also a member of FCA and cheer captain.

The students were selected from more than 170 nominations and judged on qualities of leadership, character, volunteerism and a sense of community.

The event has also been held in Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto and Red River parishes.

Caddo 4-H’er wins rice scholarship

Caddo 4-H’er Daniel McFarland won a $4,000 scholarship from the National Rice Federation for his promotion of rice. For winning first place, he will go to New Orleans on Dec. 10 to attend a luncheon.

He is a member of the Quatrefoil 4-H Club and a student at Caddo Magnet High School. He also has been recognized as one of Chesapeake Energy’s Discovering Tomorrow’s Leaders and is on the Legislative Youth Advisory Council.

Natchitoches participates in Operation Hard Drive

The first-ever Operation Hard Drive held in Natchitoches resulted in more than 500 electronics items to be recycled in the community.

Individuals, churches and businesses participated in a recycling drive of unused electronic devices, resulting in 522 items collected on Nov. 14.

Operation Hard Drive is a recycling drive designed to help keep harmful toxins out of the environment by repurposing and recycling household electronics. Natchitoches’ Operation Hard Drive was a joint effort led by Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana with support from the City of Natchitoches, Keep Natchitoches Beautiful, Natchitoches Parish 4-H clubs, the LSU AgCenter, NSU Green and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Natchitoches Parish 4-H youth Leneigh Hennigan, Taylor Roberts and Tyler Roberts volunteered by helping donors unload their electronics.

“The drive coincides perfectly with our 2009 4-H focus ‘Geauxing Green,’” said Gwen Fontenot, LSU AgCenter agent. “We have been teaching 4-H members about reducing, reusing and recycling at their monthly club meetings and this is a great way to give back to the community at large.”

Items included computers, printers, fax machines, cell phones, gaming devices, VCRs and stereos.

The Natchitoches LSU AgCenter held a competition Nov. 16-20 through local 4-H clubs to encourage the collection of unused electronics and to create awareness at schools.

Bossier Parish 4-H’er wins Entrepreneur Award through Special Olympics

A Bossier Parish was among winners recognized at the Louisiana Leaders of Tomorrow Celebration luncheon on Nov. 6 in Baton Rouge.

Special Olympics Louisiana and Supriya Jindal honored Louisiana’s youth who are “Making a World of Difference” while promoting good citizenship, entrepreneurship, leadership and excellence.

Amanda Pittmon, 19, of Benton, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. She began stringing beads in the hospital at an early age to keep her occupied while she endured and recovered from nearly 80 surgeries and procedures, said Jeannie Crnkovic, LSU AgCenter agent. She then started sharing her creations with other patients, her nurses and doctors.

Amanda donates any “tip” she receives from these items to Water for Life in Africa and has given more than $5,000.

Her most recent project was making blankets to raise money for the Walk for Education.

Pittmon has been a 4-H member for 10 years. Her 4-H community service learning interest has revolved around working with the therapy dogs at a local retirement facility and volunteering at the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home.

Pittmon is an active member of her church, where she serves on the hospital ministry team. She has participated in parish and area 4-H cookery contests and entered items for the State Fair of Louisiana.

Employees

Clark retires

Ruthie Clark has retired after 25 years of service to the LSU Pecan Station. A surprise celebration took place Nov. 14 at the Consortium Venue in Shreveport.

Sorely missed, fondly remembered

Troy Menard, 46, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent, died suddenly on Nov. 11.

Menard began his LSU AgCenter career as a research associate at the Red River Research Station in 1999. He was appointed Caddo Parish county agent in 2000 and then assumed 4-H duties for Bossier Parish in 2006. Recently he was appointed county agent for Bossier Parish.

Menard was current vice president of the Louisiana Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Michelle Maillet Menard, daughter Sara and son Scott.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the LSU Foundation 4-H Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 25100, Baton Rouge, La. 70894.

Calendar

Dec. 16—Ag Careers Exhibit at Butler Educational Complex

Dec. 25—Merry Christmas!

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