Program through Cornell Lab of Ornithology gets Orleans 4-H’ers focused on science

Posted 14 February 2019 at 9:50 pm

Courtesy of the Orleans County 4-H Program

Provided photo: Maria, an intern from Honduras at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Joan Gabalski during training at the Lab in January. Maria helped the Orleans County 4-H team practice using the Garmin eTrex 10 GPS (held by Joan) which is part of a High Tech Nature Kit available to Orleans County through Cornell.

Orleans County 4-Hers are joining with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca as part of Cornell’s Citizen-Science Investigators program.

Orleans County 4-Her Joan Gabalski traveled to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with 4-H Program Coordinator Kristina Gabalski in late January for a two day in-person training to deepen course learning and discuss project implementation.

Orleans County CCE has received a $1,250 grant to cover training and implementation of the project which will include participation in a citizen-science program and implementation of an inquiry-based project developed by local 4-Hers and inspired by their participation in citizen-science.

Local participants will be able to determine the citizen-science project and inquiry project parameters themselves and will showcase their efforts in the 4-H Youth Building during the 2019 New York State Fair in August.

“The Cornell Lab of Ornithology funds the Citizen-Science Investigators program to get youth actively involved in citizen-science and to get a better understanding of how youth think about science,” Kristina Gabalski said. “Our training at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in January include an introduction to High Tech Nature Kits available to us through Cornell, a hands-on feeder design challenge, and a mini inquiry project which included planning, data collection, graphing and presentation of results. We will now work at implementing our own inquiry project here in Orleans County with 4-H youth, hopefully through one of our 4-H Clubs.”

“I really enjoyed meeting with other 4-H youth from around New York State,” Joan Gabalski sayid. “I learned how being a citizen-scientist can lead to inquiry-based projects that I can design and implement myself and which will broaden my knowledge of science.  I’m looking forward to implementing the program with fellow 4-Hers here in Orleans County.”

Orleans 4-Hers are still working to determine exactly which citizen-science project they will participate in.

“There is a wide range of possibilities,” Kristina said. “There are citizen-science projects that focus on observations of the weather, monarch butterflies, native bees, invasive species and birds – such as E-Bird and NestWatch. My hope is that the project will eventually lead to educational enhancement of the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. It will also be exciting to present our work at the New York State Fair with youth from around the state in August.”

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