Chevy Chase, Md., Oct. 8, 2013—Tomorrow, millions of young people across the nation will become geospatial scientists for the day during the sixth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). This event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to bolster the nation’s leadership position in scientific exploration. As part of 4-H NYSD on October 9th, youth will participate in the 2013 National Science Experiment: 4-H Maps & Apps.
Designed by Colorado State University Extension, 4-H Maps & Apps will introduce youth to the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) as they use an important GIS technique called “layering” to map and design their ideal park.
The growing fields associated with GIS and GPS are driving demand for critical thinkers who can harness geospatial technology to examine how all things around us relate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, GIS and GPS are ranked among the fastest growing occupational fields in the nation.
4-H National Youth Science Day is the premier national rallying event for year-round 4-H science programming that reaches millions of young people each year. The event brings together youth from around the nation to complete a single, innovative science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) related activity in an effort to expose young people to exciting new science topics and ultimately drive STEM workforce development.
Several hundred events are planned across the country at a variety of locations, including elementary and middle schools, colleges and universities, 4-H, youth, community, science centers, as well as National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“4-H National Youth Science Day will again bring science exploration to life for young people in fun and interactive ways,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO. “By providing proven out-of-school time science programming, like 4-H NYSD, youth are given the opportunity to solve real world problems in a hands-on way that will ensure their contributions to their communities today and their success as global leaders tomorrow.”
“Improving access to quality STEM education will strengthen the caliber of the U.S. workforce, drive economic growth, and keep the U.S. competitive,” according to a report prepared by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (April 2012). The report also emphasized the need for young people to have more access to hands-on activities. Youth with “more opportunities to engage in STEM-related activities such as science fairs, projects, and clubs, are more likely to go onto STEM careers and have accomplishments in STEM fields.”
New additions to the 2013 National Science Experiment include an online game and free app (via iTunes), so that young people can participate in a traditional way or by accessing an exciting online version of the activity.
“We created this year’s experiment to inspire young people to be critical thinkers by embracing a technology that can help change and shape communities in innovative ways,” said Claire Dixon, regional extension specialist, Colorado State University Extension. “Ultimately, we hope that this experiment will motivate young people to stay engaged in science throughout their secondary education, through college and into a rewarding career.”
The 2013 4-H National Youth Science Day partners include Lockheed Martin, Philips, Toyota, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, John Deere, Donaldson Filtration, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
“Success in building the next generation of STEM workers depends on collaboration among industry, organizations, educators, policy makers and families,” said Emily Simone, Lockheed Martin Director of Community Relations. “Lockheed Martin is committed to working with 4-H to develop programs that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”
About 4-H National Youth Science Day
For more than 100 years, 4-H has been at the forefront of teaching youth about science, engineering and technology. Created to combat a shortage of American young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day seeks to spark an early youth interest and leadership in science.
Currently, 4-H young people participate in more than five million projects in 4‑H science, engineering and technology programming in topics as varied as robotics, rocketry, agricultural science, environmental science and alternative energy. For more information on 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.
The 2013 National Science Experiment 4-H Maps & Apps kit is available for sale on the 4-H Mall website, www.4-HMall.org.
4-H, the largest youth development organization, is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries.