4-H Renewable Energy Camp allows youth to ask questions and explore answers

Follow your passion for science, natural resources and renewable energy, build your science skills and meet new people at the 2016 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

4-H science is about asking questions and exploring the answers. Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Renewable Energy Camp is one example of a 4-H science program where youth research and explore answers to their questions while learning valuable critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills. The 4-H Renewable Energy Camp is for youth ages 13 to 19 years old who have a passion for science, natural resources and renewable energy, like to brainstorm ideas, research and conduct experiments and, of course, like to have fun and meet fellow young people from around the state.

The camp is a five-day pre-college program held at MSU that explores ideas, research and opportunities in the field of energy as they relate to natural resources and agriculture. To deepen their knowledge and to focus on one renewable energy source, youth have the opportunity to choose one of three tracks: bio-diesel, solar or wind energy. Within their track, youth conduct experiments such as making their own bio-diesel, designing and building their own solar powered car or building and testing wind turbines.

Youth spend time on campus visiting labs and interacting with scientists and engineers. They also travel on field trips to:

  • Tour a windfarm and a commercial ethanol plant to see how renewable energy is created.
  • Visit the Kellogg Biological Station and participate in hands-on research of biofuel crops.
  • Explore renewable energy in action by visiting farms and homes that have gone off the grid.
  • Tour the MSU Breslin Center.

In the Vantage, Fall 2015 issue, a former camp participant who is now a teen leader for the Renewable Energy Camp shared her camp experience.

 “4-H Renewable Energy Camp is a week filled with non-stop knowledge, hands-on interaction and idea sharing with people from all over Michigan – sometimes even other states. It’s a very beneficial and educational, yet fun week that is well worth part of your summer vacation. My favorite part of 4-H Renewable Energy Camp are the hands-on activities we complete while meeting new people in the process. My first time attending camp, at only 13 years old, I used technology in the labs that I could have only dreamed about. Making my own biofuel (for the first time) throughout the duration of the week was very educational. I had no idea so many tests had to be done before it went to market. We take a plethora of field trips in such a short amount of time; as a result, we are able to experience many real-world scenarios of how renewable energy is affecting our lives every day. My biggest take away that I’ve learned from camp is how much using renewable energy will benefit our future. For example, cutting back on petroleum usage by using biofuel like ethanol and using earth’s renewable resources like wind, water and sun to collect energy.”

What was the impact of the 2015 4-H Renewable Energy Camp?

  • 100 percent of participants who responded to the evaluation reported that after completing this camp they were more knowledgeable about bioenergy.
  • 89 percent of participants also indicated they were more likely to pursue a degree or career in a bioenergy-related field following the completion of this camp.
  • 73 percent indicated an anticipated change in personal energy use.
  • 97 percent planned to apply the knowledge gained through the program.
  • 78 percent planned to teach what they have learned to others.
  • 97 percent felt that after completing the camp were better prepared to attend college.

The 2016 4-H Renewable Energy Camp is scheduled for June 27-July 1, 2016, and is open for registration. The registration process is online. For detailed camp information and to register, please visit the 2016 4-H Renewable Energy Camp Event page.

Don’t delay. Registration deadline is May 1, 2016.

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