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4-H National Headquarters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honor Louisiana Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program

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

KANSAS CITY, March 23, 2011 – The 4-H National Headquarters and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presented the 2011 Connecting Youth with Nature through Natural Resources Conservation Education Award to the Louisiana State University AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Wetlands Program at the 76th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Kansas City, Missouri on March 16, 2011.

The 4-H Youth Wetlands Program includes approximately 85,000 students who enrolled in state-wide educational and outreach programs. Since January 2010, youth participants have planted approximately 50,000 wetland plants across Louisiana to combat wetland loss. By developing and distributing wetland education curriculum and teaching materials at no cost to participating educators, this program strives to implement wetlands education in the classroom as well as in the field. Students learn about water quality, invasive species, biodiversity, recreation, adaptations, losses of wetlands and other pressing wetland topics.

“The 4-H Youth Wetlands Program is an excellent example of 4-H’s underlying philosophy – ‘learn by doing’” said Roger Beachy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is the parent organization to 4-H National Headquarters. “Empowering young people to get active in agriculture and natural resources projects can be the spark that ignites their interest in pursuing a career in agricultural sciences and protecting our environment. Programs like this help us to out-educate our competition and win the future.”

4-H National Headquarters recently recognized the 4-H Youth Wetlands Program as a Program of Distinction; such recognition is required for consideration for the annual interagency conservation award.  Programs of Distinction reflect the highest quality 4-H youth development programs found in communities across the United States.

The award program was initiated in 1980 to recognize 4-H volunteer leaders from across the country who assist youth in learning about wildlife and fisheries conservation and management. The Wildlife Management Institute, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Boone and Crockett Club also support the award program.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

4-H National 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. 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.  

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.  More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

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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).