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USDA Participates in 4-H National Youth Science Day

Goal is adding one million young scientists to the education pipeline by 2013

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

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2010—USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today joined hundreds of thousands of young people today as they simultaneously conduct the 2010 National Science Experiment, organized by 4-H as part of its science and technology initiative and supported by 4-H’s One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign.  The campaign hopes to grow the number of students entering science and technology careers by 1 million by 2013.

“Science and research are the underpinning of all our work at USDA, from providing nutritious food to our children, to supporting the incredible productivity of our farmers and helping use our natural resources to create jobs and combat climate change,” said Merrigan.  “Today’s events highlight the importance of investing in the future of scientific research and the value of partnerships like this one with 4-H in encouraging the next generation of scientists and researchers to enter food, agriculture or agriculture enterprises in order to provide innovative solutions to the challenges we face.”

Between 2010 and 2015, there will be an estimated 54,000 U.S. job openings in food, renewable energy and the environment, and organizations like 4-H play an important role in getting students interested in science and on track for careers in these critical areas.

Merrigan was joined by Ann Bartuska, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission area, and some 200 Washington-area school kids in conducting the 2010 National Science Experiment. The experiment, developed this year by North Carolina A&T University, will teach young people how increased amounts of carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. Using workbooks and online guides, the nationwide experiment will also help youth relate their 4-H National Youth Science Day experiences back to their own lives by teaching how to measure a carbon footprint and estimate energy savings by looking at gas and electric bills. In Washington, Merrigan and Bartuska will perform the experiment with 200 elementary students from Hearst Elementary School. 

4-H National Headquarters, located at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 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. Nearly 6 million youth, ages 5-19, participate in 4-H youth development experiences in all 50 states, territories and military installations worldwide.  More information is available at www.national4-hheadquarters.gov.   

National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters.  4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant colleges and universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country.  Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).