A group of Johnston County 4-H’ers turned out at the county livestock arena last week, but they weren’t showing cattle or goats. The group was one of many across the country that gathered for 4-H National Youth Science Day activities.
4-H Agent Lori McBryde said the science experiment for the day involved skills of community planning, and geospatial thinking using tools like GPS. About 17 Johnston County 4-H’ers came to the livestock arena to participate in the two-hour project, on a school night. They had so much fun, the biggest challenge was getting them to leave on time, McBryde said.
“They were having some fun, but very serious about their assigned feature layers. They were really into it,” she said.
National 4-H Youth Science Day is designed to generate youth interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help America stay competitive in those fields. NYSD reflects 4-H’s long-term goal of teaching young people.
This year’s science experiment – 4-H Maps & Apps – was designed by Colorado State University Extension. The goal was to help young people use GIS mapping to develop a map of their ideal park. McBryde said the project involved using a base layer map of the park and adding eight layers to depict features like water, trees and structures.
The youth also got some assistance from two professionals engaged in planning as part of their work. Zach Brammer of the Johnston County GIS department and Ray Chilcote, who works with the N.C. Department of Transportation shared how they use maps in their work and participated with the youth in creating their park maps.
Learn more about 4-H National Youth Science Day at: www.4-h.org/4-h-national-youth-science-day.