A grant will fund a new phase in the Wyoming County 4-H’s move towards environmentally friendly projects.
The 4-H received an $8,000 Project FLOW (Future Leaders of Watersheds) grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“The 4-H green teams have been doing recycling, and this will be a spinoff from that,” said Susan England-Lord, WVU Extension Agent for Wyoming County.
“What we’re doing is teaching young people the importance of keeping our county clean and how trash in everything around us impacts the water.
“This came about because the 4-H in this county in the last few years has been focused on recycling,” she explained. “When this grant became available, it was a perfect transition.”
The project will target 20 middle school age students at Herndon Consolidated, Glen Fork and Mullens Middle, each of whom will turn in 30 hours of community service.
“They’ll be planting trees at the Dogwood Festival and doing a stream cleanup,” England-Lord commented.
Participants will also be eligible for a partial scholarship to 4-H Camp and a full scholarship to Camp Horseshoe.
“We’ll take them to Washington and actually talk to our representatives about the importance of watersheds,” stated England-Lord.
“This is a good way to keep kids active and involved,” she observed. “Kids like to do service, but they like to have rewards for that service.”
The 4-H will be working with the County Commission, Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association and the Board of Education, she indicated.
There will be after school and in-school programs, and high school students will be used to mentor middle school children.
Curriculum training begins in February, and England-Lord hopes to have the project complete by July 1. “Then we’ll apply for a follow up grant to keep this going,” she pointed out.
“When people find out you’re working with kids, they all come together to make things happen and make them successful,” she remarked. “It’s a really exciting time.”