Want to help legislators keep Michigan beautiful? Do you want to influence the laws of the state of Michigan? Do you want to make a difference for the natural resources of our state?
Join the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council!
Work with other teens to provide important leadership for conserving Michigan’s natural resources! This opportunity is open to high-school aged students.
The M4-HYCC will meet a total of four times to select and research a natural resource related topic, develop a paper and presentation, and present that information to members of the Michigan Senate. They will also meet with environmental professionals, learn public speaking and leadership skills, and learn about the public policy process.
- April 15, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Library in Mount Pleasant. The council members will choose their topic. There is a lot of discussion and debate about what is the most important issue to take up this year. The workshop also includes research skills.
- May 2-, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Library in Mount Pleasant. In this workshop council members will delve more deeply into their topic by speaking to experts in the subject area. This workshop also includes games on the public policy process and leadership.
- June 3, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Library in Mount Pleasan.: Students will focus on completing their research paper and presentation. Participants will practice communication and public speaking skills.
- Early June TBD. Overnight in Lansing to present to the Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes
The Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4HYCC) offers:
- A leadership and confidence-building opportunity for youth ages 13 to 19.
- Acquisition of important life skills, experiences, knowledge and understanding of current environmental issues.
- A chance to explore solutions to environmental issues and provide “youth voice” in state government public policy-making.
- Exposure to a number of career possibilities and mentoring from caring adults.
- Life-long benefits for teens as future community leaders and stewards of Michigan’s natural resources.
- New friendships with others from across Michigan.
The program selects up to 25 youth from around the state each year. The youth that apply for M4-HYCC typically have an interest in natural resources, environmental problems, outdoor recreation and/or politics.
Information About the Work of the Council:
See photos of the 2012 M4-HHYCC presentation to the Senate Committee of Natural Resources Environment and Great Lakes.
Ricky Tanis, a second year member (2007-2009) from Lapeer County talks about his M4-HYCC experience: ”When I first joined the council, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but once I arrived, I found out that being a part of M4-HYCC was a chance to be with other teenagers like me, who want to make a difference in today’s world. Everything we did, we worked together and helped each other out. We would talk, work, research and of course, laugh together, making everything we did, whether in work or play, enjoyable.”
Making a Difference
M4-HYCC was created by the Michigan Senate in 1999 and is coordinated by Michigan 4-H Youth Development. Each year M4-HYCC members select and research a current environmental issue. They interview people, listen to presentations by professionals, surf the Internet, and read books and articles on the chosen topic. Around Earth Day (April 22) each year, council members testify about their research before a Michigan legislative committee. Their intensive research and testimony have made a difference:
- In 2008, they influenced the passing of SB (senate bill) 152 and 362 by giving testimony to both the House and Senate Committees. This public policy was signed by the governor as Michigan law to significantly reduce the amounts of phosphorus permitted in dishwasher and laundry detergents. High levels of phosphorus in Michigan lakes and rivers have had harmful effects on wildlife and people.
- In 2003, their recommendations led to the introduction of a bill in the state Senate that directed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to include information in its boating safety course on proper marine fueling techniques, the problems that marine fuel spills may cause to lakes and rivers, and how and where to report a marine fuel spill.
- M4-HYCC members testified for a bill introduced in 2000 (and passed in 2002) that promoted the development of the Michigan heritage water trail program.
We invite you to make a difference through involvement in M4-HYCC or a county-based 4-H youth conservation council!
It’s a Winner!
M4-HYCC is an award-winning program! It has been awarded:
- 2005 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Youth Environmental Award
- 2004 Michigan State University Extension John Hannah Award for Program Excellence
- 2004 Sea World/Busch Gardens/Fujifilm Environmental Excellence Award
- 2003 Michigan Senate White Pine Award for Environmental Excellence
For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact yourcounty MSU Extension office or:
Darren Bagley, Extension Educator
605 N. Saginaw St., Suite 1A
Flint, MI 48502
Makena Schultz, Extension Educator
Leadership & Civic Engagement
Michigan State University Extension
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
446 W. Circle Drive, Room 244
East Lansing, MI 48824