Honey bee challenge: 4-H global connection with Poland

Michigan 4-Hers met virtually with youth in Poland to participate together in the 2016 4-H Ag Innovators Experience Honey Bee Challenge.

Zoom meeting between MSU Extension educators Janis Brinn and Betty Jo Krosnicki, Michigan 4-H resource leader Renee Applegate, Michigan 4-H teen leader Jonah W., Poland 4-H educator Grazyna Tucholska and Poland teen leaders.

Zoom meeting between MSU Extension educators Janis Brinn and Betty Jo Krosnicki, Michigan 4-H resource leader Renee Applegate, Michigan 4-H teen leader Jonah W., Poland 4-H educator Grazyna Tucholska and Poland teen leaders.

What would happen if honey bees became extinct? Did you know that one in every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by bees? The world population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. How will we be able to grow enough food to feed everyone? 4-H members around the United States and across the globe are stepping up to meet the challenge of feeding our growing global population. The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience encourages youth to explore future career opportunities in agriculture and science while engaging in an unique agricultural challenge.

Michigan 4-H members met virtually with global partners in Poland for a second year in a row. The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience is sponsored by the National 4-H Council and Monsanto. In 2015, Michigan youth connected with youth in Poland and participated in the Water Windmill Challenge, and this year they are participating in the Honey Bee Challenge. More than 10,000 youth across eight states will engage in the hands-on activity throughout the summer. This includes 4-Hers in Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and, of course, 4-Hers in Michigan who have partnered with the youth in Poland to add a global perspective.

The key concepts are focused around four areas: science, career education, leadership and civic engagement. All the youth involved in the Ag Innovation Challenge are engaged in civic engagement as they are responding to the call to action to help address a global concern. In science, youth are engaged in problem-solving and develop crucial critical thinking skills. Career education is imbedded throughout the challenge as youth explore and learn about the variety of careers connected to the challenge. Throughout the challenge, youth are building leadership skills as they work together as a team to successfully meet the challenge.

Grazyna Tucholska, a 4-H educator in Poland, in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension educators Betty Jo Krosnicki and Janis Brinn, created a YouTube video, “Honey Bee Challenge: 4-H Innovators Experience 2016,” capturing the unique global perspective of the youth during the Honey Bee Challenge. Grazyna stated, “The activity was marvelous. Children came the next day to improve and we decided to try once again with some new sets. FUNtastic!”

Michigan 4-H has many 4-H science programming areas for youth to explore. Science is everywhere with many questions to ask and discoveries to be made. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension county office.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in many areas. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.”

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