This year, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County (CCE) offered its 40th annual Conservation Field Day events: full days of free educational opportunities for area youth. That's 40 years of participation by dedicated individuals with a passion for helping our young citizens learn about our natural resources and how to enjoy and protect them.
For many of the area's schools and teachers, the event, which is sponsored by the Franklin County CCE 4-H Youth Program and supported by Federal, state and private agencies and businesses serving youth and / or offering natural resources and conservation education and outreach, and / or outdoor recreational opportunities within our region, has become an annual tradition.
The focus of Conservation Field Day is 4th- and 5th-grade students from our local schools. For many children, it is a milestone event that sows within them, the seeds of appreciation for our region's considerable and diverse natural resources while introducing tomorrow's wildlife and wilderness enthusiasts, forest products, natural resources and tourism industry professionals, and hunters and fishermen to the concept of natural resources conservation. Our Franklin County 4-H educators, assistants, and volunteers recognize that positively developing our region's youth and sustainably conserving our natural resources are two key components for building and maintaining strong, vibrant, self-sufficient northern New York communities.
In total, 640 4th- and 5th-grade students attended this year's Conservation Field Day events, which were held Sept. 22 at the Lake Placid Horse Arena and on Sept. 24 at 4-H Camp Overlook in Mountain View. Participating in the Lake Placid event were Bloomingdale, Lake Placid Elementary, Long Lake, L.P. Quinn, Petrova, and St. Bernard's schools, while 4-H Camp Overlook hosted students from Chateaugay, Flanders, Holy Family and St. Joseph's schools. Students in the North Franklin Home Educator Program attended in Mountain View, as well.
An enthusiastic group of presenters from CCE, Department of Environmental Conservation, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers, and private farm and agri-businesses offered a wide-ranging selection of educational programs addressing topics such as wilderness recreation and safety, fly fishing, tree species identification, the life and composition of trees, maple syrup production and history, water conservation, wetland ecosystems, invasive species, predators and prey, Adirondack birds of prey, North Country furbearers, butterflies and honeybees, industrial pollution and its effects, what it means to be a forest ranger, green living, and local food and Christmas tree production. Our 4-H staff is exceedingly grateful to those that took time out from their busy schedules to participate and to those who graciously donated the use of their facilities. Without their ongoing encouragement and cooperation, Conservation Field Day events simply could not happen.
4-H-sponsored youth-focused events are conceived and designed to provide children and adolescents with positive educational, physical, mental, social and emotional growth experiences, as well as positive experiences in leadership and citizenship development. Conservation Field Day is just one of the many positive, meaningful, exciting opportunities and experiences that are offered to our communities' youth by the Franklin County CCE 4-H youth program throughout the year.
If you attended either of this year's Conservation Field Day events and have any suggestions as to how we can improve or enhance future events, or if you or someone that you know would be interested in becoming a presenter at future Conservation Field Day or similar events, please feel free to contact Jody Maneely via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (518) 483-7403.
Whatever your child's area of interest, there is probably an upcoming 4-H event or a 4-H club offering a number of events for him or her. CCE encourages you to learn more about the 4-H programming, 4-H clubs and 4-H Camp Overlook, as well as all of the other programs and services that we offer.
It's easy to join 4-H. All you have to do is contact your local Cooperative Extension office.
Why not join us? Get involved. Become one of the many parents, volunteers, community leaders and Extension staff sharing their time and talents with 4-H youth and the children in your community. You'll be glad you did.