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USDA and NASA to Send 4-H Flag to Space on Shuttle Launch

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2009 – USDA’s National 4-H Headquarters and NASA will send the 4-H flag, depicting the familiar 4-H Clover, into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 13, 2009, as part of the STS-127 mission.

“The inclusion of the 4-H flag on this mission is reflective of the commitment 4-H has to building young leaders in science, engineering and technology,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “As the global economy expands, these leaders will strengthen the United States' global competitiveness and leadership in these fields.”

4-H promotes positive youth development, facilitates learning and engages youth in the work of the land-grant universities and USDA to enhance their quality of life. Nearly 7 million youth, ages 5-19, participate in 4-H youth development experiences in all 50 states, territories and military installations worldwide.

The STS-127 mission will deliver the final components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. The 16-day mission will include five spacewalks and the installation of two platforms outside of the Japanese module.

Azeem Ahmed, 17, who is an avid space enthusiast and 4-H member from Alabama and President of the Alabama 4-H Council, made the original request to NASA to have the flag flown with a future space shuttle mission.

“4-H is more than green and white – it is a collage,” Ahmed said.  “It is agriculture and it’s also healthy living, leadership and citizenship and science, engineering and technology.  Science, engineering and technology is one of the missions of 4-H, and by flying a 4-H flag into space, I hope we shine a new light on 4-H.”

Ahmed has been a 4-H member for seven years.  He has participated in a variety of leadership and science, engineer and technology programs on the state and national level and wants people to see 4-H as he and thousands of other youth do.

The 4-H Youth Development Program began at the start of the 20th century to help rural youth gain technical and leadership skills.  More than 100 years later, the organization continues to promote positive youth development in the areas of citizenship; healthy living and science; engineering; and technology.  According to a two-year study in New York, young people who participate in 4-H clubs do better in school, are more motivated to help others, develop skills in leadership, public speaking, self-esteem, communication and planning and make lasting friendships.

National 4-H Headquarters, along with its private partner National 4-H Council, has set the goal of preparing one million new young people to excel in science, engineering and technology (SET) by 2013.  National 4-H Headquarters seeks to promote positive youth development, facilitate learning and engage youth in the work of the land-grant universities and USDA to enhance their quality of life.

More information is available at www.national4-hheadquarters.gov. Information on the SET initiative can be found at www.4-h.org/4Hset.html.

National 4-H Headquarters is a unit within USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).  Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.

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