4-H Discovery Camp prepares the next generation of green scientists

4-H Discovery Camp offers youth an opportunity to work with scientists, conduct experiments and visit with bioenergy industry leaders. Applications need to be in by May 1.

4-H Discovery Camp is July 9-13 on the MSU Campus. Applications must be in by May 1. Visit the 4-H Discovery Camp webpage for more information and details on how to apply.

The world is much different today than it was 200 years ago when Ben Franklin experimented with electricity, or even 150 years ago when the first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania. Americans didn’t have many choices when it came to energy sources. As technology started improving, we were able to better harness energy and rely on it for more everyday tasks.

Our economy, communities and families today depend on energy to function and thrive.  It is this dependency that urges investigation into our energy use and opportunities for the future. According to Dennis Fijalkowski and Mary Steele, authors of Energy Savings for the Novice, the U.S. as a whole has less than five percent of the world’s population, but we consume 25 percent of its resources. Ninety-three percent of the energy we use is from oil (40 percent), coal (22 percent) and natural gas (23 percent) which are classified as non-renewable resources. In other words, these resources are running out.

Scientists are researching renewable energy sources and new technologies. Currently, seven percent of the energy we use in the U.S. is renewable, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal energy, with numbers growing. In Michigan, we have abundant agricultural and natural resource-related products that offer potential energy solutions for the future. It is an exciting time in energy research with new ideas and technologies being tested every year. 

This excitement isn’t just for scientists like those at Michigan State University (MSU), it is also for youth. MSU’s 4-H Discovery Camp is helping prepare youth to lead us into the future. This five-day camp allows youth ages 13-19 to interact with leading scientists in the fields of bioenergy at MSU, learn about cutting-edge research, collect data and conduct their own experiments (including making their own biofuel). Participants will also tour energy facilities including a wind farm and ethanol plant. Youth participants will experience campus life by staying in an MSU dorm and participating in on-campus recreational activities.  4-H Discovery Camp will take place July 9-13, 2012.  

This camp will help build critical thinkers, problem solvers and the next generation of Ben Franklins to lead our country forward. Today’s researchers will likely make an impact on energy solutions, but it is the next generation of great thinkers, today’s youth, who are poised for the biggest breakthroughs. 

To learn more and apply for 4-H Discovery Camp, visit: http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/events/event/4_h_discovery_camp.