4-H Programs Introduce Youth to GIS and GPS Technology

By Directions Staff


The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services or CSREES. The CSREES mission is to "advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities through national program leadership and federal assistance." One of the programs they maintain is the 4-H Youth Technology Leadership Team Program that fosters the learning of geographic information systems and the global positioning satellite system.

According to their mission statement:

"Through the 4-H Youth Technology Leadership Team Program, more than 5,000 tech-savvy youth members learn to use computers, the Internet, and emerging technologies effectively.The teams then carry out a wide array of educational and community service projects to share their technology knowledge and skills with others to improve their communities. The Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning Systems (GIS/GPS) Integration Team brings GIS- and GPS-savvy professionals and youth to teach local groups to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).The teams help to launch local "community mapping" projects that provide local decision makers with graphical maps to improve public understanding of community situations.These maps improve the quality of decisions affecting the local community's social, economic, or environmental conditions.This partnership has resulted in the establishment of intergenerational GIS design teams in 15 states.Fifteen new states will be added each year."

Tom Tate, one of the administrators of the program said that, "We had 4-H delegations from 14 states that attended this years ESRI conference in San Diego. They shared their plans for GIS and GPS activities in their states and recruited partners and mentors to help out with their hometown programs." Recently, each state recounted their progress from the previous year.We would like to share the accomplishments of the 4-H design teams and their plans with you:

State Program
Accomplishments & Programs
Photo & Plans
  • Soil Surveys
  • Crop Management
  • West Nile Virus For State and County Health Programs
  • Colorado River Information for the Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Colorado River Indian Tribes Leased Farm Land Information
  • Colorado River Indian Tribes - Tribal and Private Land Ownership in Parker County
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Irrigation System

  • Madison County serving as pilot county for GPS/GIS
  • Purchased GPS kit from Iowa State University
  • Developing educational plans for Kit Use
    • Summer class - GPS Functions & Use
    • Map Volunteer Locations
    • Self Guided Tour of Madison County
    • Turkey Survey for Wildlife Project
  • GPS/GIS applications in judging events
  • Orienteering at camps
  • Scavenger hunt using GPS during 4-H Rally
  • Career classes related to GPS/GIS applications
  • Determine judging event locations based on county's participation
  • Session on GPS/GIS technology at 4-H Tech Team Retreat
  • Getting Started
    • 10 Delorme GPS/palm units purchased
    • GPS training at local school with tech team
    • Youth, teachers, and adult volunteers
    • Palm basics, navigation, street atlas software
  • Idaho State Leaders Forum
    • Five youth tech team members
    • Workshop on technology in 4-H
    • GPS/palm units models
    • GPS caching with workshop participants
  • 4-H GPS/GIS Project in school
    • GPS/GIS teaching unit purchased from Iowa 4-H Program
    • 60 mid-high students learned basic map,compass, and GPS skills
    • Will be utilized to teach 4-H youth on tech teams
MYCOE (My Community, Our Earth) Project Ideas
  • Partner with local, state, and federal agencies to create a map of businesses along Indian Creek as part of the uncovering project.
  • Create a GIS of the Jump Creek Recreation area to show potential users dangerous areas.

The "untapped" use of technology in our State
  • Rural Areas:
    • Lack of basic computer skills
    • Lack of "In Depth" classes
    • Lack of Face to Face teachers
  • Urban Areas
    • Technology present, but more knowledge needed
    • Training needed for technology career
    • Lack of after school computer clubs
    • The need of youth to youth teaching
The future with GIS/GPS
  • Linking groups of teens teaching technology to others
  • Training Internet Masters GIS/GPS skills
  • Plotting land to identify the territories of endangered animals and location of endangered plants
  • Outreach to veterans and low income housing and teaching GIS/GPS
  • Assist local governments in gathering information for land use planning
  • Assist environmental groups

Exploration Days '03
  • Training for 50 Youth
  • Providing an Introduction to GPS
    • GPS Basics
    • Geocaching Activities
Great Lakes Natural Resource Camp
  • Creating a Greater Awareness of the Environmental Concerns for the Great Lakes
    • Exploring Web Based Resources
    • GPS Skill Development
      • Mapping the Camp
      • GPS Scavenger Hunt
Wilderness Technology Immersion Camp
  • Building on Last Year
  • Technology use in the Wilderness
    • GPS, PDA's, Digital Cameras
  • Developing GIS/GPS Skills
    • Geocaching
    • GPS Scavenger Hunts

Great Lakes
Starting with the Basics
  • Basic GPS Training
  • Find Different Points on the State Fairgrounds with GPS
  • Find something
  • Find some place
  • Become familiar with an area
  • Set a trail

  • Working with GIS
    • Working with ArcVoyager and Center for Agriculture, Resource and Environmental Systems
  • 4-H Aerospace Camp
    • 2 Sessions on GPS
    • Participants in both 2001 & 2002
      • 170 youth
      • 15 adults
  • Loaner Equipment and Software
    • 2 GPS units
    • 29 copies of ArcView

North Carolina
Trying to learn as much as we can about GPS and GIS programs already in NC

North Dakota
Starting with the Basics
  • Learning about GIS & GPS
  • Learning how the technology can be use in 4-H Programming
    • Wildlife Mapping
    • Environmental Education
    • Trip Planning
    • Search and Rescue
    • ...and more

Move into GPS
  • Using GPS
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • GPS Challenges & Games
  • Geocaching

4-H Goals
  • Teach students GPS-GIS technology
  • Teach life and workforce skills
  • Establish Innovative Community Partnership
  • Real world projects
  • Adelante con Tecnologia
    • Hispanic families
    • Increase access and computer literacy
    • 4-H GPS-GIS members will gather data, create maps, and teach classes
  • County Culvert Project and Threatened species
    • Students mark and map culverts
    • Culverts mapped which are not Fish-Friendly
  • Sheriff's Department GIS program
    • Real-time vehicle locator
    • Plotting 911 calls
    • Staffing and routing

Technology Activities
  • Tech Camps
  • CyberSeniors/ CyberTeens Program
  • GPS workshops
  • Tech Teams at State 4-H Events
  • Community mapping partnership with Tennessee State University
Intro to GPS Workshops
  • 5 GPS units purchased with local grant
  • Discussion about uses of GPS
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Hands on application to practice using GPS
  • Teams follow routes to find long lost treasure
  • Successful teams keep spoils of treasure hunt
Radar Gun GIS/GPS Application
  • Discuss Experimental Design
  • Clocked cars with police radar
  • Used GIS/GPS to plot location and meta data about the "speeders"
The Tennessee Tourism Mapping and Analysis Model
  • To implement and maintain an interactive partnership between local and state 4-H community with chambers of commerce, the state department of tourism, and universities to use tourism as an rural/urban economic development tool.
  • Identification of community resources
  • Information is mapped and shareable
  • Youth immersed in authentic practice
  • Youth empowered with new technology skills and career opportunities
  • Win - Win situation for both youth and community
  • Model's Development Steps:
    • Mapping of community's resources that can be used by tourists (4-H Tech Teams).
    • Development of Web Pages for community resources identified (4-H Tech Teams).
    • Link developed Web Pages with local Chamber of Commerce and State Department of Tourist Development (4-H Tech Teams, Universities).
      • Collection and Analysis of Community/Tourism Centered Economic Data (4-H Tech Teams, Universities).

GPS Technology Program
  • School Papers and Presentations
  • 4-H Demonstrations
  • Geocaching
  • Outdoor Activities
    • Hunting
    • Camping
    • Fishing
    • Riding 4-wheelers
  • In June 2003
    • 519 4-H Youth Trained
    • 2-4 Hours of Instruction
    • 2-4 Hours of Practice using GPS

T.E.C.S - Teens Exploring Computer and Sharing
  • Snohomish County
    • Working with the county natural resource department to teach GPS and GIS skills to youth.
    • Working with commercial GPS equipment companies to use rental equipments for free on the weekends
    • Put together a GPS and put GIS software on Computer lab computers
  • Lincoln County
    • Working with the weed department to use the youths GPS and GIS knowledge to track weeds
  • King County
    • Working with the agriculture department to track bugs

Published Sunday, July 4th, 2004

Written by Directions Staff

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