Virtual program

Pennsylvania 4-H virtual program to teach kids to reduce their carbon appetite


People may not always pay attention to the impact of their daily actions on the environment, but a state-wide virtual 4-H program will aim to teach students how to do things as simple as preparing lunch can have environmental consequences.

With a program called Curbing Our Carbon Appetite, students across the state will learn how to reduce their carbon footprint. The program is hosted by 4-H – a United States Department of Agriculture non-formal education youth development program. In Pennsylvania, 4-H is administered by Penn State Extension.

The Curbing Our Carbon Appetite program has been offered in in-person classrooms across the state in recent months, reaching approximately 1,800 Pennsylvania students.

On July 15, it will switch to a virtual format, where 4-H students in Grades 3 to 6 can participate via Zoom, said Jennifer Covey, extension program assistant for 4-H and youth development.

“Our last event is sort of our last hurray,” Covey said. “We’re going to make this a live virtual education through the Penn State platform.”

The event includes five challenges and interactive games, Covey said. Participants will be asked to purchase a small list of supplies for the program.

“The supplies will be used to build their own atmospheric model that demonstrates the effect of carbon emissions in our atmosphere in current, increasing and decreasing stages, and participants will learn what each means in terms of agricultural activity. , business and industry and individual and family, ”Covey said.

Participants will also learn how something as simple as what they eat for lunch can impact the environment. For example, items with less packaging or recyclable packaging are more environmentally friendly than those that use additional packaging materials. Mainly plant-based diets are more carbon-friendly than diets consisting mainly of meat. Through the Carbon-Friendly Lunch Challenge, students will use an online carbon-based food calculator to compare lunch options and determine which ones are best for the environment.

Students participating in 4-H programs can Sign up online for the Zoom event, which is free for attendees.

The program was sponsored with a grant from Bayer.

According to a press release from 4-H, the program will teach students to “explain how human activities increase atmospheric carbon and contribute to climate change, plan a carbon-friendly meal by selecting low-carbon foods, identify actions carbon friendly which agriculture, business and industry, and individuals and families can take to reduce atmospheric carbon [and] identify careers in STEM and agriculture related to the environment and carbon reduction. ”

Covey said they are hoping for around 500 attendees. In Butler County alone, she said, she predicts that about a third of their 250 4-H members could participate.

The program will be taught by 20 teen leaders from Commonwealth 4-H Chapters, Covey said.

Participants must register before July 9.

Julia Felton is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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