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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


4-H Pollinator Program

This program is designed for teens in high school to learn about the importance of pollinators as it relates to food security. Youth do not need prior experience. Amanda Staley, Carri Jagger, and Morrow County Master Gardeners will teach the teens everything they need to know to be successful in this program. 

What is a pollinator? A pollinator is anything that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma). The movement of pollen must occur for the plant to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants. Some plants are self-pollinating, while others may be fertilized by pollen carried by wind or water. Still, other flowers are pollinated by insects and animals - such as bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, birds, flies and small mammals, including bats.(National Park Service)

Who should apply?
We are looking for 10 high school aged teens to participate. They must be 4-H members and willing to participate fully in the program. Below are five questions we'd like you to answer in order to be considered for the program. Deadline to submit your interest is December 8th. Click on the red box to answer the questions.

Click here to apply!

1. What experience do you have with pollinators? (No experience is needed)

2. Why would you like to participate in this opportunity?

3. What makes you a good candidate to participate?

4. Are you able to fully commit to completing all that is expected of you?

5. Would you like to attend the ignite by 4-H Conference or would you like to only participate locally?

What is expected of the teens?
1. At least six of the ten teens have to attend the ignite by 4-H conference is Washington, D.C. on March 13-17, 2024. All expenses will be paid for using grant funds. Below is a press release about two of our county's teens attending this conference last year.

2. Youth must complete six hours of training. Most training will be completed at the ignite by 4-H conference.

3. Youth are expected to teach at least 25 others about pollinators. This will be done in teams. Youth may teach in a couple classes at their school, at 4-H meetings, or at the OSU Extension's Earth Day Celebration in May.

4. A pollinator garden will be constructed for our community to enjoy. Signs will be placed within the garden to educate those who visit. 

5. Approximate Time Committment:

  • January - Youth will have a kick-off meeting to learn more about the project.
  • March - Attend the ignite by 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. March 13-17. We will fly to this conference.
  • April/May - A one-day training and 1 or 2 days to teach other kids about pollinators.
  • May/June - Two days to prepare and construct the pollintor garden. 
  • July/August - Have a wrap-up/evaluation meeting.

If you have questions or would like to disscuss the program, contact Amanda Staley, or 419.947.1070.


4-H Teens Find Their Spark in Washington, DC
By Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator                                     

Amelia Bender, Emma Smith, and Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the Ignite by 4-H conference on March 9-12.

The Summit included high impact programming and speakers featuring national experts and leaders. There were opportunities for career exploration and building connections with teens and leaders from across the country.

Emma Smith, 4-H member, and Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, taught three sessions at the Ignite by 4-H Conference in Washington DC. The sessions were titled The Fowl Truth About Biosecurity (taught twice) and Navigating the Effects of Sugar Using Sphero Bolts. This was a great experience to teach nationally to teens.

This invaluable experience taught about trending topics in agriscience and you met some of the most forward-thinking leaders in agriculture. It opened the teen’s eyes to career or volunteer opportunities that they may not have thought about before and what steps they need to take to obtain those opportunities.

According to Emma Smith, “Participating in ignite by 4-H was a meaningful opportunity in my 4-H journey. I was able to meet and make connections with many businesses and agricultural professionals that I never would have had the chance to meet. I was also able to teach and share my knowledge of agriscience and health topics that I'm passionate about with other members in a fun, interactive way. Being able to travel, learn and make new friends along the way are just a few great things that 4-H has led me to do. I'm so excited to continue my 4-H journey.”

Amelia and Emma chose to participate in the agriscience track of the Summit but healthy living and S.T.E.M. tracks were also available.

Thank you to Ohio 4-H Foundation for helping to fund a portion of this experience. 

Eight Ohio Teens Explore Careers in Denver
By Amanda Staley, 4-H Educator

Eight teens from Knox, Morrow, and Richland Counties traveled to Denver, CO during January 8 to 12, 2020. They explored 12 businesses while on a career exploration trip that was coordinated by OSU Extension – Morrow County.

This trip was a chance to take youth out of their comfort zone to experience a new city, people, ideas, and open their eyes to career opportunities they may not have thought of before. Many of the places visited were similar to businesses in Ohio, but run a bit differently in Colorado or on a much larger scale.

Taylor Rush stated, “More goes into running it (the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association - NCBA) than you think. They monitor the media constantly, try recipes in the culinary kitchen, advocate for the farmers and ranchers, and so much more. The best part was they talked to us like people who were going to achieve something someday.” The NCBA was one of the youth’s favorite stops.

The group toured Cactus Hill Ranch, which currently houses 50,000 head of lamb, but has the capacity to house 150,000. Will Nelson, one of the owners, educated the youth about feeding and watering so many lambs, manure management, making a profit, and more. They also had the opportunity to tour Superior Foods, Inc. where many of Cactus Hill’s lambs are processed. This enabled the youth to see where the lambs were fed and then see the finished product processed into retail cuts and packaged.  

Visiting Five Rivers Cattle was impactful to the youth because they experienced the management of a feed yard having 50,000 head of cattle. Colton Boyer said, “They fed efficiently, and they figured out how to feed on such a large scale and still make money.”  

Some of the other locations they visited were Colorado State University, Great Range Bison, Sombrero Horse Stables, National Western Stock Show, Where Food Comes From, Celestial Seasonings, and others.

The youth gained insight into a vast array of career paths. Some of them had their eyes opened to new interests and others increased their knowledge of what they were already planning to pursue.  

Four of the youth also participated in the National Western Round-up livestock judging contest (Colton Boyer, Ellie Kidwell, Cassidy Small, and Ethan Staley). 

A special thank you to the sponsors of the trip – Ohio 4-H Youth Development, Knox County Cattlemen’s, and the Mildred and Harold Hart Endowment.

Youth pictured above left to right: Bryce Schott of Fredericktown; Taylor Rush of Cardington; Kayla Carlyle of Cardington; Mackenzie Grandstaff of Mt. Gilead; Cassidy Small of Fredericktown; Ellie Kidwell of Walhonding; Amanda Forquer of Mt. Gilead, 4-H Educator; Colton Boyer of Lucas; Ethan Staley of Fredericktown; and Adam Staley of Fredericktown, 4-H Livestock Judging Coach.