The SBAR 4-H Youth Extension and Outreach program is directly connected to and implemented by the Cooperative Extension 4-H Programs in Arizona and New Mexico. SBAR 4-H is an integral component to the overall project because it combines traditional 4-H programming with hands-on activities and engaging learning opportunities for youth to explore bioenergy concepts. The program also exposes youth from diverse backgrounds to multiple career opportunities in the agricultural industry and emerging technologies, perhaps inspiring them to pursue STEM related careers.
The SBAR 4-H program builds on the success of the National 4-H Youth Development program, by developing a 4-H Bioenergy Youth Outreach and Engagement (BYOE) program locally with an intentional focus on Native American and Hispanic youth.
SBAR 4-H will develop and implement age-appropriate SBAR activities, workshops, and events that support biofuel and energy-related extension and outreach to middle and high school students in inner city, rural, and Native American communities. The program will offer teaching modules and summer biofuel camp activities that focus on the use of growing crops for their valuable co-products, possible biofuel production, and long term sustainability. Through this program, youth participants explore how the Southwest’s natural resources, agricultural industry, and technologies are changing to address emerging needs, and what it will mean for their family, community, and the world.
The SBAR 4-H Bioenergy Youth Outreach and Engagement (BYOE) program includes a variety of tasks including:
- Selecting materials and activities most appropriate for the Southwest to highlight during summer camps and workshops.
- Creating new lessons and activities related to guayule and guar, and more specifically for the Southwest.
- Evaluating lessons and activities through feedback obtained from 4-H Leaders and teachers in the Southwest.
- Incorporating the 4-H Science 101 Core Competencies and the Latino Youth Outreach Best Practices Toolkit into outreach activities as guiding principles for effective youth engagement.
Progress Made Thus Far
The SBAR 4-H program has developed a bioenergy camp curriculum involving a series of age-appropriate bioenergy activities and teaching modules. A comprehensive literature review of existing biofuel curriculum was completed in Spring 2018, and from this existing library of materials, a number of highly engaging and appropriate hands-on activities were selected for inclusion in a week-long summer camp in 2018. Additional activities were modified and new activities were created to supplement the camp curriculum. The SBAR 4-H Team completed a thorough evaluation and vetting of the selected materials and activities to ensure Southwest topics were considered and SBAR-focused research was incorporated into the activities.
The selected curriculum materials, activities, topics, and projects were utilized to engage a diverse group of youth participants at the Biofuels 4-H Summer Camp hosted at the University of Arizona in July 2018. Portions of the curriculum were used during day-long camps on the Navajo Nation and in Doña Ana County, New Mexico in August 2018.
Comprehensive evaluations were conducted following each hosted camp in Arizona and New Mexico that addressed lessons, activities and implementation. Student concept comprehension regarding bioenergy topics and student career interests were examined to document changes in understanding and goals.
Research and Results