4-H Community Mapping Goes Beyond Cows, Sows, and Plows

some of you may know, 4-H is a member of our My
Wonderful World coalition
. The national organization offers youth opportunities for hands-on
learning in leadership, citizenship, and life skills. Every summer, 4-H has a strong presence at county and
state fairs across the country, exhibiting everything from livestock to saddles
to… community maps created with GIS technology! It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of 4-H,
which stands for “Head, Hands, Heart, and Health,” but dozens of local chapters
are incorporating geographic skills and technology into their existing programs.
Some are even creating GIS and GPS teams. Barbara Roberts, of Richmond County, Illinois,
shared her fair experience with us.

Read about it and see a map of the Richland County Fairgrounds made by kids at Barbara’s 4-H booth after the jump!

I created
a simple activity ensuring success for the kids; collecting a waypoint,
adding it to an aerial map, and creating a layout view as an optional
activity. While the general projects
were being judged, I presented this hands-on activity in a park gazebo close to
the general 4H project exhibit area. Despite pouring rain, about ten kids benefited. The group map includes their cumulative
waypoints and symbols, and some additional labels that the kids felt were
important. This was the first time any of these children had worked with GIS;
most had never even worked with GPS. They were learning computer skills as well as geospatial skills, i.e.
opening files, downloading, etc. The activities lasted between 10 minutes (very
youngest child) to 40 minutes; I had to stop some kids because their parents
wanted to leave, or because other children were waiting to do the
activity. I would consider this a
success – for all of us.

to Barbara for going above and beyond with her interactive fairgrounds mapping

you’re walking around your county or state fair this summer, make sure to stop
by the 4-H booth! While you’re there,
check out the community mapping projects kids have created with help from 4-H
extension leaders. Bonus:
some booths will be distributing My Wonderful World temporary tattoos, posters,
t-shirts, and other cool stuff!


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