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University of Illinois

Become a 4-H Citizen Scientist and help improve the local environment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2014

Each time they recite the 4-H pledge, 4-H members promise to use their "hands to larger service." Now, Illinois 4-H members are taking that pledge to a new level as they use science to improve the communities in which they live.

With financial support from Archer Daniels Midland, the 4-H Citizen Scientist program provides junior and senior high youth opportunities to extend learning beyond current 4-H project work into the world of hands-on research. As a citizen scientist, 4-H members observe and record information from an environmental area close to their home. The members will collect data from samples taken at their site and contribute their data to the growing field of scientific research related to water quality.

The program is open to current 4-H members and volunteers, as we well as youth and adults who aren't current members but wish to learn how to improve their local environment. All participants will receive specialized training at no cost and receive materials toward the project.

The next Citizen Scientist training closest to area residents will be held

<use whichever site information is closest to your location>

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at University of St. Francis in Joliet.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29 at John A. Logan Community College in Carterville.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29 at Benedictine University in Springfield.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 5 at John Wood Community College in Quincy.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in Mahomet.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at Sugar Grove Nature Center in McLean.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at The Nature Institute in Godfrey.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Black Hawk College in Moline.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 8 at University of St. Francis in Joliet.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10 at Sommer Park in Edwards.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at College of Lake County in Grayslake.

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at Severson Dells Nature Center in Rockford.

To register, one may contact your local Extension office at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

4-H members and adult volunteers will be trained in this stream-monitoring program and, in turn, help monitor water quality of Illinois wadeable streams. Each 4-H Citizen Scientist team will be assigned a stream site in their community to monitor over the course of the summer.

Upon successful completion of the Illinois RiverWatch training, each 4-H Citizen Scientist team will receive a 4-H Citizen Scientist Took Kit. The kit will contain supplies needed to conduct the monitoring over the summer. 4-H Citizen Scientists will be contributing new knowledge to the field of water quality monitoring here in Illinois.

"Adults interested in environmental issues might find 4-H Citizen Scientist to their liking," said University of Illinois 4-H Youth Development Specialist Bill Million, "especially if they like working with youth on relevant environmental issues.

"Additionally, this program offers certified Master Naturalists' an opportunity to work alongside and guide 4-H members as they study the world around them," Million said. Master Naturalists are encouraged to contact their local Extension Office to see how they can become involved.

Source: William J. Million, Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development, wmillion@illinois.edu

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