PORTLAND, Ore. – After a five-year absence, the 4-H Youth Development program will return to Multnomah County in 2009 and with a new focus on sustainable living.

Urban gardens, renewable energy and nutrition and food security will be among topics to be explored, according to Maureen Hosty, faculty member of OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development.

"Preliminary plans are for clubs and groups to focus on preparing food from local gardens; exploring alternative solar, wind and wave energy; making and repairing clothing; taking care of 'back-yard' chickens; and owning and maintaining a bicycle," she said.

4-H activities include students from grades kindergarten through high school, and teen leadership programs are likely to begin again. The popular 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program also will continue in Multnomah County, and the 4-H Urban-Rural exchange program will grow and expand, Hosty said.

The Wildlife Stewards program engages students in grades K–12 to help establish and maintain habitat education sites on school grounds in 19 Oregon counties. The award-winning exchange program gives urban and rural middle school students the opportunity to experience lives unlike their own.

Five years ago the Multnomah County government was unable to contribute the local match necessary to maintain a county Extension office, according to Roger Rennekamp, department head of the OSU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program.

"Today, however, locally generated grants, gifts, contracts, endowments, and in-kind contributions are of a significant magnitude that they allow us to do limited programming," he said.

The Sunnyside Environmental School PTA and Sarah Taylor, Sunnyside School principal, provided almost the entire match for funding, Hosty said, providing space for the 4-H office and raising money to fill a position. 4-H clubs will be established throughout the county.

Beginning in January, anyone who has an idea for a 4-H club or topic is invited to call the 4-H office at Sunnyside at 503-916-6074.


Maureen Hosty,

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