Club leaders try to start the Blue Mt. 4-H Livestock Club meeting off with some type of STEM challenge for their members. February Stem challenge was to build a spaghetti tower. Club members were given nine spaghetti noodles and 9 marshmallows. Each group of three or four members were challenged to create the highest free standing tower. No one was allowed to touch the tower for at least 5 seconds while it was measured. The winning tower was created by the team of Elijah Noecker, of Schuylkill Haven, Larisa Yourkonis of Auburn and Conner Felty of Tamaqua. Winning tower stood at 27 inches from base to tip.
The club progressed from the STEM Challenge into the business meeting portion of the evening where 4-H’ers were advised of all the various upcoming activities they can involve themselves in outside the regular monthly meeting. Some of the upcoming activities for spring include livestock judging held on the campus of PSU, and a Wildlife Science Field Day also held outside PSU in Rock Springs. More local activities that 4-H’ers can involve themselves in include a Science Explosion and a Lego Communication Contest. Teen leaders with the club will participate in a Teen Leadership Retreat and an Officers training program to be held this spring.
Measuring was the theme for the educational portion of the club meeting. The club is piloting a new record book for PSU this year. One of the requirements in the record book is to record the Market Animal Performance. That is to weigh the animal at regular intervals to calculate how much the animal is gaining in weight. Very few 4-H’ers have a scale at their disposal to weigh their animal whether the animal is a steer or a goat. To solve this problem, the club invested in weight tapes for the various families and species that the family carries as market projects. Therefore each 4-H’er can get an accurate weight measurement on their animal by measuring the heart girth of the animal and body length. Heart girth and body length information is put into a formula with a variable and the 4-H’er can calculate the animal’s weight within a two pound variance. Then all this information can be recorded into the new record books. The club members can also use this page in their record book to submit to leaders as record of the animal’s rate of gain. Each year the club holds a contest for the greatest rate of gain per species of animal with a first, second and a third. Prizes are awarded to the winners in each specie. The recording of this weight gain information allows the 4-H’er to have insight into the knowledge of whether he or she is properly meeting the nutritional needs of the animal.
The evening was finished with a few light refreshments celebrating the time of the year with Fastnachts (potato donuts). A tradition before lent celebrate some of our German heritage. All having a good time to socializing with friends within the club that they only see once a month.
The Blue Mt 4-H Livestock Club meets the forth Monday of every month at the Schuylkill Haven Fire Company number two. The members of the club are a diverse group of individuals that share a common interest in livestock. The age range of members within the club are 8 to 18. Club members live throughout the county on both sides of the Blue Mountain. The club meets at 6:30 in the evening and the meetings are generally over by 8 PM. If interested in this club or other 4-H activities, call the 4-H office at 570-622-4225.