4-H Animal Science Clubs Offer Children 
a Chance to Reconnect with the Past

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Over one hundred years after its inception, many people still think of 4-H as a program for young people growing up in rural areas. While it is true that 4-H had its roots in agriculture, today’s 4-H Youth Development Program can be found on farms, in the suburbs and even in the inner cities, offering learning opportunities for the varied interests of today’s young people.

The majority of children living in New Jersey today are growing up in the suburbs, but 4-H still offers a special opportunity to connect with the state’s agricultural heritage through the animal science program. Youth can learn about all aspects of raising animals: how to care for, feed, breed and select animals for show, market or pleasure. And, thanks to area livestock owners who participate in the program, children don’t need to own an animal themselves. Owners allow 4-Hers to adopt their animals to use as a 4-H project. Through the 4-H animal science program, children have the opportunity to learn about horses, dairy and beef cattle, sheep and other farm animals to which they otherwise might nothave access.

The goal of the animal science program is the same as that for all 4-H programs: to teach children important life skills through hands-on learning. While learning about their animal of choice, children in the animal science clubs gain a sense of responsibility, learn how to keep accurate records, gain self- confidence, discover potential careers, learn to present themselves in public and at the same time have a lot of fun. They may also participate in special countywide, state and national 4-H programs.

Monmouth County 4-H members who recently tested their knowledge atstate level competitions recently include; Jordan Paolello, Jacqueline Tanzi, and Ralee Wall at The N.J. 4-H Model Horse Show. Horse science team members Daisy Brown, Angela Eastmond, Caitlin Lanigan, Taylor Toriscompeted at  the NJ Horse Quiz Bowl; Rebecca Carmeli-Peslak and Kayla O’Donell at the NJ 4-H Avian Quiz Bowl; 
Rebecca Carmeli-Peslak, at this year’s Livestock Goat Extravaganza and Anna Guinee and Shaena Harastywho placed third as a team at The NJ 4-H Dog Bowl. These events are becoming more popular as farmland continues to decrease in New Jersey. But, regardless of what kind of 4-H club a child belongs to, the theme is the same: to make learning fun.

If you would like more information about the 4-H animal science program or other 4-H clubs in your area, please contact the Monmouth County 4-H office at (732) 431-7260 or e-mail Claudia Lammers, the 4-H department secretary at: Claudia.Lammers@co.monmouth.nj.us.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Now celebrating its 100th year, 4-H offers educational programs to all youth, grades K-13, on an age appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. For additional information, contact their website at www.nj4h.rutgers.edu/.