Esther Coco Boe
Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Date: March 28, 2014
Avoyelles 4-H Partners with LASAS and BELA for a Science Adventure
The Avoyelles 4-H program is the recipient of a grant from the National 4-H Mentoring Program in Washington, DC. This grant pairs mentors (teens) with mentees (4th graders) to share in unique learning opportunities together.
This week teens from LASAS traveled to BELA for a Science Adventure. The goals of the day were to improve the youths understanding of science; connecting with real-world situations where youth could adopt the use of the scientific method and to increase the awareness of what youth could potentially accomplish in the future as scientists in Louisiana.
The day was planned out well in advance as the teens were trained in lessons central to the Louisiana Wetlands. The lessons included exploring and protecting habitats in Louisiana, alligator hunting and egg survival rates in the wild, the salinity of different types of water located in wetlands and freshwater channels, animal adaptations for survival, and dissecting owl pellets to learn more about the habitat’s balance in nature where owls are at the top of the food chain.
By far, the favorite of the day was the lesson on dissecting owl pellets. The children were given a little background on owl’s and their role in the food chain with other animals, such as rodents, voles, and birds. Each group was given scientist tools and encouraged to dissect the pellet. The groups were able to reconstruct animals that were consumed by the owls from the pellets. Some discovered that their owl had eaten multiple animals. Vocabulary and the scientific method were taught through this rich learning opportunity.
The 4-H mentoring program is provided to promote learning experiences and support for youth in their elementary years. The lessons were received well and the kids at BELA were hungry for more.
They are in luck, because in April the two groups will partner again to travel to Baton Rouge to visit the LSU campus to tour AgMagic and the Body Walk. They will eat lunch together in the LSU Union and visit Mike the Tiger’s Habitat. Also, in May, the group will travel to Baton Rouge to visit the Louisiana State Capital and the Louisiana State Museum.
The staff at BELA and LASAS has been warm and receptive to the unique challenges that the program has brought about. We look forward to a long relationship as these two groups grow together through upper elementary and into high school.