Animals, art, and anything-goes: 4-H has something for every student

Participants and winners in the 4-H Blocks Rock contest at DSES pose with their projects and Extension Agent Dylan Gilbert. Left to right are the team of Chris Moore and Brantley Hood, 3rd place in Mrs. Box's class; Elise Beach, 1st place in Mrs. Box's class; Natalie Eward, 1st place in Ms. Nix's class; and Karsyn Caudle. The participants not shown were absent.

Winston County 4-Hers are busy with a variety of fun—and educational—projects. Addison 4-Hers, for example, are working on the eXtreme Birdhouse project and a photography project called the World I See/Imagine.

Soon, registered participants in the Pig Squeal will receive pigs to raise for the next 120 days before showing and auctioning them off.

The 4-H shooting team will have its first practice of the year on Sunday, Jan. 16 behind C2 Freight, 24420, HWY 278, Houston, Ala.

On Thursday, Jan. 13, fourth grade 4-Hers at Double Springs Elementary School presented their Blocks Rock projects to be judged at their monthly meeting.

The Blocks Rock project required students to design and build a project out of toy building blocks, such as Legos. Use of a kit was not allowed. Entries were scored on design (30 points), quality of construction (30 points) and creativity (40 points).

The participants in Mrs. Box’s class were Elise Beach, 1st place, Raylon Ward, 2nd place (not pictured), the team of Chris Moore and Brantley Hood (3rd place) and Karsyn Caudle. In Ms. Nix’s class, participants were Natalie Eward, 1st place, Stevie Porath, 2nd place (not pictured) and Emily Gable, 3rd place (not pictured). Winners have qualified to compete in the County Roundup at the end of the school year at which they can try to qualify for regionals.

County Extension Coordinator Zach Brannon evaluated the projects while the students had their first meeting with Winston County’s new 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent, Dylan Gilbert, who helped the students elect club officers and conduct a meeting according to parliamentary procedure.

Gilbert also taught students the 4-H pledge and informed them about 4-H summer camp and an upcoming at-home project for all ages called Chick Chain, in which, for a $35 registration fee, students will receive ten fully vaccinated, female chicks, five Rhode Island Reds and five Amberlinks, from local Valley Farms Hatchery to raise for 20 weeks. The students will then show two of their chickens and auction them off; they will get to keep the proceeds and the remaining chickens. Gilbert will be teaching participants how to care for the chicks during the course of the project. The deadline to register is Thursday, March 10. Students who register also receive t-shirts. More details and important dates are available in the .pdf file attached at the bottom.

The DSES fourth grade’s new project is the Freestyle Demonstration. At the February in-class meetings, fourth graders may give demonstrations on the subjects of their choice. Anything goes! With a few exceptions, of course. See the full guidelines and rules.

Any student in the county between the ages of 9 and 18 can participate in 4-H projects. A list of projects is available by category. Categories include science and technology, healthy living and leadership in addition to animals (which includes dogs and rabbits as well as livestock), outdoor education and the arts. Gilbert said he would be happy to help students with any projects that interest them. He can be reached at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System office at (205) 489-5376 or by email at

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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