True 4-H science teen leaders: Marquette County

Marquette County has a true 4-H science teen leader in environmental and outdoor education.

Hannah Peterson holding a bear cub during a den check for the DNR Predator–Prey Project. Photo by Jason Peterson.

Hannah Peterson holding a bear cub during a den check for the DNR Predator–Prey Project. Photo by Jason Peterson.

Marquette County has a true 4-H teen environmental and outdoor education science leader in Hannah Peterson. As a younger 4-H member, Peterson had amazing experiences at the Upper Peninsula 4-H Camp. Ever since, Peterson and her family have been big supporters of the program. They work hard to promote the program and recruit new campers every year. She believes in it so much that she not only wanted to be a junior counselor, but chose to get certified as a 4-H archery instructor to strengthen the program this past summer.

Peterson generally has a quiet demeanor and notices the younger members who tend to be on the shy side and works to make them feel at ease. This characteristic and her passion for the outdoors made Peterson a valuable asset to the Upper Peninsula 4-H Camp program this past summer. Her excitement spread throughout the camp and many new young people have a new found love of the outdoors and the Upper Peninsula 4-H camp.

Hannah line dancing with campers

Hannah Peterson teaching campers to line dance. Photo by Liana Graves.

Peterson has been a member of the Upper Peninsula Riders 4-H Club for five years, Upper Peninsula Challenge Seekers 4-H Club for eight years and Lake Superior 4-H Club for one year with a total membership of 12 years.

Club leader Kim Frost spoke very highly of Peterson, saying, “Hannah has such a positive attitude and is always willing to step in and lend a hand. She is so comfortable in the outdoors and is always looking for a new challenge. We are so fortunate to have Hannah in our program!”

Peterson is being nominated for the 4-H Shooting Sports and Outdoor Recreation Awards at the county level for the 2016-17 4-H year. She has been nominated for a Rotary Youth Leadership Award and has also participated in a trip to Isle Royale to learn about invasive species.

Peterson spends a lot of time serving her community. She is a dog handler for the Upper Peninsula 200 Dog Sled Race. She is a horseback rider and has spent many years mentoring younger riders. She volunteered at the 2016 Hockeyville USA event in Marquette, Michigan; the ForCory Rail Jam at Marquette Mountain; and the Relay for Life. She also currently volunteers with the Superior Alliance for Independent Living on a gardening project with physically challenged clients.

Hannah and her horse

Hannah Peterson on her horse Bailey during the Great Lakes Rodeo. Photo by Jen Weide.

Somehow, Peterson has found the time to help plan and implement challenge trips for the Upper Peninsula Challenge Seekers 4-H Club. She was a 4-H camper for three years, a junior counselor for three years, a 4-H Exploration Days delegate for five years and became a 4-H certified archery instructor in April 2017.

Peterson is planning to attend Northern Michigan University in the fall of 2018 to major in wildlife biology.

Marquette County 4-H program coordinator Liana Graves commented on why she believes Peterson is a true environmental and outdoor science teen leader.

“Hannah has been excited about the 4-H program since she joined,” said Graves. “She loves the outdoors and 4-H has allowed her opportunities to explore new avenues. Hannah especially enjoys learning about the environment and the importance of being a good steward through her Outdoor Adventure Challenge 4-H Club. She uses her knowledge and passion to help the environment and currently has an internship with the DNR in Marquette. Hannah is job shadowing multiple staff and participating in biology projects like duck banding, the moose survey, bear den checks for the predator-prey project, and planting wild rice. She is also an avid fisherwoman and a successful hunter.”

Hannah surveying moose

Hannah Peterson helping the DNR with the moose survey. Photo by Jason Peterson.

Graves also offered advice for other youth interested in becoming a 4-H teen leader.

“There are so many ways to lead and everyone has the capacity to be a leader,” said Graves. “Even if you don’t feel comfortable up in front, speaking to crowds or leading a club meeting, you are still an important part of your club. Your skills are needed, no matter what they may be. Talk to your club leader or your 4-H program coordinator to find out needs within your program and think of how your strengths can help fill those gaps—that is what Hannah did when she became a certified 4-H archery instructor. Also, consider service as a form of leadership. You may be raking leaves for the elderly on Make a Difference Day or planning a fundraiser to support your local homeless shelter—it is behind-the-scenes, but it is still very much leadership.”

Marquette County 4-H is growing a true 4-H teen environmental and outdoor education leader in Hannah Peterson!

Michigan 4-H is proud to be part of the National 4-H tradition of supporting and growing true leaders. Some 4-H alumni true leaders you may know include Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, professional American football player Reggie White, Michigan State University Extension educator Janis Brinn and “The Lion Whisperer” Kevin Richardson.

The next generation of empowered 4-H true science leaders continues growing in Michigan!

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success.

To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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 office.

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