Nevada 4-H to participate in national science experiment
NV Energy demonstration of wind energy part of nationwide event
Youth across Nevada will join hundreds of thousands of young people around the country Oct. 5 in simultaneously conducting an experiment to design a working wind energy turbine.
The "Wired for Wind" event is part of 4-H National Youth Science Day, a 4-year-old program that works to spark an interest among youth in science and science careers. Nearly 50,000 youth participate in 4-H in Nevada in programs and clubs in both rural and urban areas.
In Nevada, 4-H groups from Las Vegas to Humboldt County and from Washoe to Elko will be designing and building their own wind turbine, experimenting with different blade pitches and analyzing the state’s geography to determine the best location for generating power from wind.
In Reno, a group of 4-H ambassadors will be conducting the experiment at 3 p.m. Oct. 5 in the auditorium at NV Energy at 6100 Neil Road. The event is free and open to the public.
Jason Geddes, the chairman of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, will be assisting the 4-H’ers in conducting the experiment. Geddes is also the environmental services administrator for the city of Reno, where he implements programs to make city operations more sustainable and helps business with environmental and renewable energy issues.
The 4-H program is conducted under the auspices of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Cooperative Extension Dean and Director Karen Hinton said programs like the science experiment are an important part of 4-H learning.
"Getting young people involved in experiments like this sparks a lasting interest in the sciences," Hinton said. "Some people who think of 4-H as being mostly interested in farming and livestock are surprised by how much we do with science."
The National Youth Science Day is part of the 4-H organization’s goal of engaging 1 million new young people in science, engineering and technology programs by the year 2013. The One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign seeks to battle a national shortage of youth pursuing science college majors and careers.
"These experiments are a great way to learn about science and the methods scientists use to make discoveries," said Anna Baumann, a North Valleys High student who has participated in the last two National Science Experiments. In 2009, she and other 4-H’ers learned how cellulose and sugars in plants — such as corn, switchgrass, sorghum and algae — can be converted into fuel.
The national experiment is another example of 4-H’s positive impact on youth. Youth development scholar Dr. Richard Lerner, who works with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, has found that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:
- Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school;
- Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college;
- 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors; and
- 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.
About 4-H National Youth Science Day
- What: 4-H 2011 National Science Experiment
- When: 3 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 5
- Where: NV Energy auditorium, 6100 Neil Road