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Johnston County 4-H Counts Chickens and Facebook Views

baby chick

The closing of all North Carolina schools put a damper on many class projects across the state, but in Johnston County, an innovative 4-H agent took the program in a new direction.

Courtney Stanley, 4-H Extension agent, had 33 classes in North Carolina conducting the 4-H embryology curriculum. When she learned they had to shut down the program because of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, she took steps to make sure the show would go on.

But she didn’t know that the program itself would go viral.

After collecting the incubators and taking them to North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Johnston County Center, Stanley set out to keep the curriculum alive and, literally, online.

“So many kids are visual learners and they were not going to be getting that being away from the classroom,” she said. “Facebook Live gives them that visual learning opportunity.”

With the help of an eager assistant named Daisy, the daughter of another Extension Agent in Stanley’s office, Stanley created a Facebook Live which allowed her to teach the curriculum and answer questions. This also helped her to virtually show students the incubation and hatching process.

As of March 27, Stanley’s Facebook Live had reached 90,000 individuals and been shared nearly 500 times.

Stanley attributed the success of her live stream to the teachers who promoted it, along with Extension agents and 4-H volunteers.

“Even as an adult I enjoy it,” said Stanley of the embryology curriculum. “It is life –  learning about life. It is great regardless if you are a child or an adult.”

Stanley’s advice to families struggling with the new stay home norm is to, “Take it a day at a time. Get outside and take a break because it can all be so overwhelming.”

Like Stanley, 4-H agents across the state and specialists on campus at NC State have worked hard to develop and promote learning opportunities for youth currently limited to a stay-at-home education. Parents and teachers are encouraged to visit to learn more.