Investi-gators!: Learning All About the American Alligator Through 4-H

P1086481.JPG thumbnail

A 4-H member gets the chance to hold a baby alligator during a middle school workshop. Photo by Craig Gautreaux

Youth in the Northeast Region got to learn all about a unique Louisiana commodity – the American alligator, during two educational workshops that focused on the biology, habitat, conservation and uses of alligators.

Catherine Fox, the assistant specialist for the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program, and Ashley Powell, the 4-H coordinator for the Northeast Region, collaborated to provide the workshops to youth through the Youth Wetlands Program’s Mini Grants.

“There is a definite need to educate youth on the alligator population in our state – the economic impact alligators have on our economy; and the uses of the alligator,” said Ashley Powell. “The two workshops we offered in the Northeast region provided a great overview of all of these things.”

The first workshop was held in Vidalia, Louisiana, for 4-H members in middle school and focused on how alligator meat can be used as food.

“The middle schoolers really enjoyed learning how to cook alligator sauce piquante and learning about alligator nests,” said Powell.

The second workshop was for high school 4-H members and took place at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. This workshop focused on how alligator hides are processed and tanned while also giving participants the chance to make their own alligator leather good – a keychain.

“We learned a lot about the importance of the alligator farming industry in relation to the creation of clothing – shoes, handbags, dresses,” said Catahoula Parish 4-H member, Maddy Campbell. “We also learned about the possible dyes that can be put on alligator skins. Any color or pattern imaginable is available.”

Matt Fannin, a professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, and Casey Stannard, a professor of textiles, apparel design and merchandising, presented about alligator leather and leathercrafting and helped 4-H’ers make their keychains.

“The Northeast Regional 4-H Leadership Board members had a great time learning about the fashion industry’s uses of alligator along with making the alligator leather keychains,” said Powell.

Both workshops provided unique and engaging experiences for 4-H’ers in the Northeast Region.

P1086431.JPG thumbnail

Catherine Fox, assistant specialist for the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program, presents on the biology and conservation of alligators during a middle school workshop. Photo by Craig Gautreaux

P1086400.JPG thumbnail

Ashley Powell, 4-H coordinator for the Northeast Region, supervises while youth prepare the alligator meat for the sauce piquante. Photo by Craig Gautreaux

IMG_2807.JPG thumbnail

Matt Fannin helps two 4-H’ers from East Carroll Parish as they sew together their alligator keychains. Photo by Catherine Fox

3/5/2024 10:07:37 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture