University of California 4-H Sustainable Community Project: Science through Garden-Based Learning
The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program is participating in the 4-H CYFAR Sustainable Communities Projects with three sites: Yolo, Sacramento, and San Diego counties.
The 4-H CYFAR Program is based on research on effective programs for at-risk youth and families and on the human ecological principle of working across the lifespan in the context of the family and community. California's 4-H CYFAR sites target school age youth to improve knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior necessary for fulfilling contributing lives. Each of the three sites chosen for this project is focused on school-age youth who are at-risk for not meeting basic human needs as articulated in the CYFAR philosophy.
Science and technology literacy is a focus of the projects. An analysis of needs and assets in each of the site communities has pointed to the need for a long-term, successful afterschool program aimed at K-8th grade youth, with the added value of incorporating teens in a leadership role, many of whom are older siblings or relatives of younger participants. Research illustrates teens are excellent cross-age teachers of younger youth, especially in the context of science literacy education delivered in non-formal settings.
Borrego Springs, San Diego County
The San Diego site is located in the rural town of Borrego Springs using teens as teachers to engage younger youth with 4-H science, engineering, and technology curricula.
The first phase implements SET curriculum in an afterschool setting, using teens as teachers. An afterschool staff member works with the existing Parent Institute—already established at the Borrego Springs Elementary School—to begin to recruit families through regularly scheduled science nights in which afterschool youth have the opportunity to display their scientific knowledge. The second phase will develop three self-sustaining family Resource Centers in Borrego Springs.
Contact: Sue Manglallan at email@example.com.
The Sacramento site will implement the California Sustainable Community project in an afterschool setting using science, engineering and technology content in an inner city Sacramento neighborhood.
The Sacramento County site model consists of a 4-H delivery model utilizing both teenagers from local high schools and after school program staff to facilitate science curriculum at a K-6th afterschool site. Experiences are expanded by involving families and amplifying the science content and process for participants, teens, parents, and afterschool providers. The program uses an environmental focus for experientially-based learning and positive youth development.
Contact: Marianne Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org
Winters, Yolo County
The Yolo site will implement the California Sustainable Community project in an afterschool setting using science, engineering and technology content in the rural town of Winters.
The Yolo County site model consists of a 4-H delivery model with university/college students and local teen assistant leaders mentoring and teaching K-8th graders, implemented through a low cost self-sustaining, culturally relevant, and replicable nonformal after-school educational program. The program uses gardening and the environment as the integrating context for academic and experiential learning, health-related physical and mental activity, and youth leadership development and civic engagement. Activities focus on science literacy, emphasizing applied science, engineering, and technology in community settings so that activities have relevance to youth.
Contact: Joyce Gutstein at email@example.com